We've been reporting on British Columbia-based Ballard Power Systems ever since AutoblogGreen got started, but the company hasn't been a big player in our pages for a while since it was focusing more on stationary power and larger vehicles. Turns out, shifting attention to slower, hydrogen fuel-cell powered vehicles should justify the company's rapid share-price growth

Ballard's surging stock has generated a fair share of debate among equity holders who wonder if the underlying business justifies the price, Bloomberg News reports. Ballard, which is set to report its first profitable quarter in its 21 years as a public company, has seen its share price quadruple from a year ago. What's interesting is that the stock is actually down 40 percent from a six-year high last month, but CEO John Sheridan is out there defending the company's value proposition. Sheridan tells Bloomberg that much of its future growth is based on selling its systems to makers of forklifts, buses and telecommunications towers. Rural communities that can use power sources that don't depend on the grid may also provide a future sales bump. Ballard's revenue has jumped about 40 percent in the past year. "Fifteen years ago, we were a one-track company," Sheridan said. "We were subsidizing R&D for the likes of Ford and Daimler and it didn't make sense."

We wrote in 2006 that it cut a deal with General Hydrogen to replace lead-acid batteries in electric forklifts with hydrogen fuel cells, which were said to work three times as long. Three years later, Ballard showed off its fuel-cell forklift at the Hydrogen + Fuel Cells 2009 conference in Vancouver, complete with a hoist of a lime-green cube consisting of a logo of the H2i campaign run by the Canadian Hydrogen Highway project.