Ballard Secures $40M in DOE Grants for Integrated Fuel Cell Production Gigafactory in Texas

March 18, 2024
Ballard aims to establish a manufacturing hub to produce 8 million MEAs, 8 million bipolar plates, 20,000 fuel cell stacks, and up to 20,000 fuel cell engines annually, equivalent to 3 GW of fuel cells

According to the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office within the US Department of Energy (DOE), Ballard Power Systems’ applications for two grants worth $40 million under the Clean Hydrogen Electrolysis, Manufacturing, and Recycling Program to construct and build out an integrated fuel cell production gigafactory in Rockwall, Texas, have been selected and recommended for negotiation of financial awards.

Ballard plans to build the new facility, called Ballard Rockwall Giga 1, on 22 acres of industrial land within the Rockwall Technology Park in Rockwall, Texas. The facility represents the next stage of Ballard's "local for local" and advanced manufacturing strategy. 

"We are grateful for the strong support of the DOE's hydrogen policies that position the U.S. for future scaling of hydrogen and fuel cells. This is particularly important as the U.S. accelerates a path towards environmental sustainability and energy security while continuing to boost domestic manufacturing and bolster critical supply chains," said Randy MacEwen, Ballard's President and CEO.

In Phase I, Ballard plans to invest approximately $160 million (net of the $40 million in expected DOE grants) from 2024 through the end of 2027 to build and commission a new manufacturing facility with an annual production capacity of 8 million membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs), 8 million bipolar plates, 20,000 fuel cell stacks, and up to 20,000 fuel cell engines per year, or the equivalent of 3 GW of fuel cells. 

The land acquisition rights and facility design will help Ballard with options for additional future phases at the site. Future phases are expected to further increase production scaling and capacity expansion with much lower capital requirements.

Ballard expects to make a final investment decision on this facility later in 2024, pending the completion of customary conditions, including necessary approvals, negotiation of final awards with the DOE, and definitive agreements.

The $40 million grant includes $30 million for advanced proton exchange membrane (PEM) MEAs and automated stack assembly and an additional $10 million for a next-generation flexible graphite bipolar plate manufacturing line. The grants have been awarded by the US DOE's Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office to implement provisions of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, providing for the award of $750 million for Clean Hydrogen Electrolysis, Manufacturing, and Recycling. 

Ballard has also applied for additional funding under other US government funding programs.

Ballard is supported by the Rockwall Economic Development Corporation (REDC), which owns and manages the Rockwall Technology Park. The REDC has not only provided a mix of land, financial, fee, and permit incentives for the facility but has also assisted in the planning and approval process. 

Additionally, the facility will also benefit from its proximity to the Gulf Coast hydrogen hub.