Ballard plans to invest approximately $130 million over the next three years, enabling annual production capacity at the new MEA production facility of about 13 million MEAs, which will supply around 20,000 engines.
As part of its ‘local for local’ strategy, Ballard has entered into an investment agreement with the Government of Anting in Shanghai’s Jiading District to establish its new China headquarters, membrane electrode assembly (MEA) manufacturing facility and R&D centre at a site strategically located at the Jiading Hydrogen Port, located in one of China’s leading automotive industry clusters.
Ballard expects to achieve significant capacity expansion of this facility in future phases with much lower capital requirements. The facility will also include space to assemble approximately 600 engines annually to support the production and sale of Ballard engines in the rail, marine, off-road and stationary markets in China and for certain export markets.
This investment is expected to reduce MEA manufacturing costs, align with China’s fuel cell value chain localization policy, and position Ballard more strongly in the hydrogen fuel cell demonstration cluster regions and for the post-subsidy market.
The facility is planned to be in operation in 2025 to meet expected market demand in China, including from the Weichai-Ballard Joint Venture (WBJV) for the bus, truck and forklift markets, as well as other opportunities outside the WBJV scope. The Weichai-Ballard joint venture facility’s annual production capacity in Weifang, Shandong, is approximately 40,000 stacks and 20,000 engines.
Ballard will also be setting up an R&D and innovation centre at the same site. The centre will be focused on MEA research to achieve key corporate technical advancements, support cost reduction initiatives, and engage the emerging China local supply chain for fuel cell materials and components.
Ballard has also signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding with Weichai Power, whereby Weichai Power plans to make an equity investment for 2% of Ballard’s new MEA manufacturing company.
Randy MacEwen, Ballard’s CEO said, “In the case of China, we already have volume manufacturing capacity for fuel cell engines, bipolar plates and stack assembly at our WBJV.”
Alfred Wong, Ballard China CEO, said, “This new MEA manufacturing facility will significantly reduce MEA production costs, improve China market access and meet long-term market demand, including providing MEA supply to our Weichai-Ballard JV.”