A leading fuel cell solution

Randy MacEwen
Interview with Randy MacEwen

Ballard Power Systems is a pioneer in the fuel cell industry. Since 1983, fuel cells have been developed in the company founded by Geoffrey Ballard in Burnaby near Vancouver. Randy MacEwen has been President & CEO of the Canadian fuel cell manufacturer since 2014. On October 23, 2019, the International Hydrogen Symposium brought him to Hamburg where H2-international seized the opportunity for an interview.

H2-international: Is it your first stay here in Germany, or how come you are visiting Europe, and Hamburg in particular?

R: I have been in the hydrogen, fuel cell and renewables industry for a long time. So I have visited Germany many times, including Hamburg. And we have two fuel cell buses by Solaris operating here currently. There is also a tender out right now for another 30. So it is a market we know well and I am really pleased with the momentum we are seeing in Europe particularly. The conviction level on hydrogen is very strong here, so we have to seize the moment.

What is your perspective from Canada, from North America? What is the role of Germany in the worldwide fuel cell sector?

I would start a little bit broader in terms of Europe. I would say Europe is leading the international charge on decarbonization of mobility. Europe is the most aggressive on reducing emissions. So when you look at things like climate change, energy security, air quality, Europe I think has the highest conviction level genuinely to address these issues. In my mind Europe, while it may not be the largest market, is perhaps the most important.

Where do we stand right now in our process of decarbonizing the mobility sector?

What we see happening is a major and exciting transformation occurring in mobility right now. And I think the transformation is just as profound as it was a hundred years ago, when we saw the first great transportation revolution – from horse and buggy to vehicles powered by combustion engines. That transformation brought with it a whole new ecosystem: the manufacturing of engines with powertrains, the manufacturing of cars and buses and trucks, building of roads and highways, parking facilities, fueling stations, dealerships, air pollution, and traffic. That was a whole new value chain that has been in place for a hundred years until now.

read more in H2-international February 2020

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