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Ballard announces U.S. government funding support and plans for Gigafactory in Rockwell, TX

4 minute read
May. 1, 2024

Rendering of Ballard's facility at Rockwall Technology Park, Texas

Ballard recently announced it has been awarded significant grant support from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and additional tax credits from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), totalling $94 million. The grants will support the build-out of a new fuel cell Gigafactory in Rockwall, Texas.

The DOE grants, awarded by the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office, include $30 million for advanced proton exchange membrane (PEM), membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) and automated stack assembly; and $10 million for a next-generation flexible graphite bipolar plate manufacturing line. The $54 million in tax credits from the IRS’s Inflation Reduction Act supports clean energy manufacturing projects. These grant programs are designed to bolster U.S. domestic clean energy supply chains and will support the establishment of Ballard's first fuel cell gigafactory.

"Ballard sits at the convergence of the megatrends of decarbonization, energy security, and technology change, with highly disruptive and proven zero-emission fuel cell products. We are encouraged with the increasingly constructive policy landscape, including the recent unveiling of the U.S. National Blueprint for Transportation Decarbonization and the National Zero-Emission Freight Corridor Strategy. At the same time, we are seeing growing customer interest across our market verticals. Customers are being very clear – they are counting on us to be there for them at volume and at the right costs. The ability for us to demonstrate a clear roadmap to high production volumes at significantly reduced costs is critical to customers transitioning from demonstrations to future scaled deployments.”

Randy MacEwen CEO, Ballard

Randy MacEwen

Gigafactory plans

The planned facility, dubbed Ballard Rockwall Giga 1, will be built on a 22-acre site within the Rockwall TechnologyAutomated assembly at Ballard facility Park. Phase I of the project is expected to start in 2024, with planned completion in 2027. The new manufacturing facility will have an annual production capacity of 8 million MEAs, 8 million bipolar plates, 20,000 fuel cell stacks, and up to 20,000 fuel cell engines, totaling 3 gigawatts of fuel cells.

The new gigafactory is a critical part of Ballard’s ‘local for local’ advanced manufacturing strategy, aimed at producing fuel cell products closer to their end markets. This strategy will enhance Ballard’s ability to meet growing market demands while reducing costs through advanced automation and innovative manufacturing processes.

“The Gigafactory is a strategically important initiative in our ‘local for local’ global manufacturing plan to enable future growth. We plan to manufacture next-generation fuel cell products incorporating the benefits of our work relating to technology innovation and design changes, supply chain collaboration, and the introduction of volume production processes and advanced automation to drive down costs.”

Mark Biznek Chief Operating Officer, Ballard

Mark Biznek

Strategic and economic impact

Ballard has also received significant support from the Rockwall Economic Development Corporation (REDC), which has provided land, financial incentives, and assistance in the planning and approval process. The facility’s location near the Gulf Coast hydrogen hub is expected to be advantageous for both logistics and supply chain integration.

“With an increasingly constructive policy environment and growing customer interest, it is critical to invest in this innovative manufacturing line. We have been working hard to develop next-generation, automated production processes for MEAs, bipolar plates, and stack assembly that will position Ballard to meet expected future market demand, while significantly driving down the cost of our market-leading fuel cell engines. We are delighted to partner with the REDC to establish Ballard Rockwall Giga 1, which we expect to contribute to the local community and add high quality jobs in Rockwall.”

Lee Sweetland Chief Transformation Officer, Ballard

Lee Sweetland