Ballard Power Systems BLDP has signed an Equipment Supply Agreement with Norway's one of the largest ferry and express boat operator — Norled A/S. Per the terms, the company will provide two next-generation 200 kilowatt (kW) modules, which will be designed and manufactured at the new Marine Center of Excellence in Hobro, Denmark.
Norled plans to initiate a hybrid ferry services in 2021. The vessel — with the capacity to carry up to 299 passengers and 80 cars — is expected to be the first liquid hydrogen fuel cell-powered ferry in global commercial operation.
Focus on Zero-Emission Fuel Cell Technology
Demand for fuel cell technology is gaining popularity, courtesy of reliability and cheaper-than-conventional power sources. It has become a viable option for vehicles owing to inherent zero emissions. Fuel Cell technology is witnessing higher adoption in trains, trams, transit buses, commercial trucks and marine vessels. Per REASERCH AND MARKETS, during the 2018-2023 period, the fuel cell market is expected to witness a CAGR of more than 28.21% and reach $13.83 billion from the base level of $3.114 billion in 2017. Currently, North America and Europe are the largest users of fuel cell in the global market.
Additionally, Norway's government is promoting clean energy by mandating zero-emission tourist ships and ferries in its world heritage fjords by 2026. Since battery-powered propulsion systems are not compatible with Norway’s high-speed ferries, the demand for Fuel Cell batteries are likely to increase. Ballard Power’s technology team is working relentlessly to provide clean services. We believe that the recent deal will increase demand for its clean services in the future.
Order Backlog and Recent Project
Ballard Power ended 2018 with a total order backlog of $194.8 million, up $72.1 million on a sequential basis. In addition, the company has $69 million order book deliveries in 2019, which are likely to be delivered in the upcoming 12 months.
Recently, Ballard Power announced that it will establish a Marine Center of Excellence ("Marine CoE") in Hobro to provide engineering, manufacturing as well as services. Moreover, the company will design and manufacture heavy duty fuel cell modules. This fuel cell system manufacturing hall is expected to produce 15 megawatts (MW) of fuel cell modules annually and is likely to be operational by the end of 2019.
Apart from Ballard Power, other companies like Plug Power PLUG, Bloom Energy Corporation BE and FuelCell Energy, Inc FCEL are undertaking initiatives to introduce fuel cell alternatives.
Ballard Power has outperformed the industry in the past year. The company’s shares have inched up 0.8%, against the industry’s decline of 5.5%.
Ballard Power currently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Strong Sell).
You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
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