In the 1970s, Canadian geophysicist and businessman Geoffrey Ballard had an ambitious dream. He wanted to create a hydrogen-powered fuel cell that might one day eclipse the internal combustion engine.
That led him and two business partners, Keith Prater and Paul Howard, to launch Ballard Research Inc. in 1979.
The first Ballard fuel cell stack operating on pressurized air was developed in 1986.
Today, Burnaby-based Ballard Power Systems announced that its proton-exchange membrane fuel-cell technology and products reached a milestone.
They've provided power for fuel-cell electric vehicles to travel more than 100 million kilometres. These power devices are used in about 3,500 zero-emission buses and trucks in nearly a dozen countries.
“Ballard’s proven in-service experience continues to be a compelling value proposition for our customers as it provides confidence in our technology, product durability, and total cost of ownership," Ballard president and CEO Randy MacEwen said in a news release.
Geoffrey Ballard died in 2002, three years after Time magazine named him as a "Hero of the Planet". For many years, the company was headed by Firoz Rasul, who raised enough investment capital and formed partnerships with major corporations to keep it operating through an extensive period of research and development.
Today's announcement came after a fairly brutal week for the stock price. On October 4, it closed at $16.67, down 12.22 percent over the previous five days.
Its 52-week high on the Toronto Stock Exchange is $53.90.