Canadian Manufacturing

BC firm expects to power 80% of fuel cell buses in Europe by 2014

Ballard Power Systems' FCvelocity modules emit only water and heat, produce zero emissions

VANCOUVER—A British Columbia fuel cell firm says it anticipates powering 80 per cent of the zero emissions fuel cell buses used by public transit operators in Europe by 2014.

Ballard Power Systems, headquartered in Burnaby, B.C., expects to power about 40 of the 50 fuel cell buses running on European roads, all using the firm’s latest 75- and 150-kilowatt FCvelocity-HD6 modules.

The FCvelocity modules are based on zero emission technology that provides power while emitting only water and heat.

“Our fuel cell power module has proven to be highly reliable in a large number of buses in Europe and elsewhere,” Dr. Christopher Guzy, chief technology officer at Ballard, said in a statement.

“And, since fuel cells are a zero emission solution, this has made the Ballard module an increasingly popular choice of transit authorities as an alternative power technology.”

Helping boost Ballard’s in-service numbers in Europe By 2014 is its partnership with Van Hool NV, the continent’s fourth-largest bus maker.

The B.C.-based firm will be powering 27 new fuel cell buses made by Van Hool, which will be operating in Norway, Germany, Italy, Belgium and Scotland by next year.

The 10 buses destined for Scotland will call the central city of Aberdeen home, according to the company, and will be the second-largest such fleet in the world behind the 20-bus fleet that has been running in Whistler, B.C., wince 2010.

Ballard has also worked with other bus manufacturers to integrate its fuel cell modules into buses operating in additional European cities, including: London, Amsterdam and Cologne, Germany.

The company says fuel cell hybrid buses in Europe have logged more than three million kilometres in revenue service since 2003.

Ballard is currently working to further commercialize its FCvelocity-HD power modules—with funding support from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC)—through improvements in durability and reliability, as well as reduced costs.

Expanded fuel cell bus deployments are also expected to generate technology enhancements for vehicles and fueling infrastructure, including improvements in well-to-wheel performance and significant reductions in life-cycle cost and purchase price.

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