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Ballard to supply fuel cell modules for transit buses in Norway

Ballard FCvelocity module. Click to enlarge.

Ballard Power Systems has entered into a contract for the supply of fuel cell power modules to power five zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell buses operated by the HyNor Oslo Buss group, to service the greater Oslo area.

Belgian coach manufacturer Van Hool NV has contracted with Ballard to use the company’s FCvelocity fuel cell module in the buses it will provide to the HyNor Oslo Buss group, comprising the Ruter transit agency, Akershus County Administration, Oslo Municipality and Zero, an environmental organization. Siemens will also be a participant in the project, providing electric drive systems that will draw power from the Ballard fuel cell modules. Increased volumes of fuel cell-powered buses are expected to support cost and price reductions through scale economies, enabling fuel cell solutions to compete effectively with incumbent transit technologies.

Ballard is on its 6th generation of fuel cell module. The FCvelocity – HD6 modules for heavy-duty applications such as buses comes in two ratings—75 and 150 kW—, with 240 Amps and 313 – 626 Volts. Cell efficiency is 62 – 71%.

The zero-emission 13-meter (43-foot) fuel cell buses will be put into regular passenger service by the end of 2011 and will be fueled by clean hydrogen produced locally at the Rosenholm bus depot. Hydrogen will be generated through electrolysis of water, using electrical energy from renewable sources. As a result, the Oslo bus fleet will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 100% on a well-to-wheels basis, compared to diesel or diesel hybrid alternatives, eliminating as much as 4,000 tons of CO2 over the first five-years of use.

Over that same period, the fleet is expected to operate approximately 20,000 hours, the equivalent of 450,000 kilometers (280,000 miles) per bus. The fleet will continue operating up to ten years, with the Ruter transit agency having an option to purchase as many as five additional buses during that time.

Project funding will be provided by Norwegian state and municipal governments as well as the European Union’s Joint Technology Initiative (JTI). The JTI will accelerate development and deployment of clean technologies, including hydrogen and fuel cell-based energy systems and component technologies, helping the European Union achieve aggressive GHG reduction targets.



Now that is interesting up until now I had never seen the eff rating of that fuel cell stack.. 62-71% is alot better then I was expecting from them.


In the link it is only rated for a fairly crappy 6,000 hours. Everyone else does better than that.


Whatever happened to the Bloom Box? Why can't vehicles be equipped with Bloom Box fuel cells?

Henry Gibson

Absolute foolishness to use hydrogen fuel cells. ZEBRA batteries are far more efficient and less costly. They are just a different kind of fuel cell. In the long run sodium sulphur batteries may be the best option for long range city buses. Hydraulic hybrid operation may also be the best option even with electric vehicles to keep the price low. Put in a OPOC diesel(DME from wood) powered range extender for limping to recharge stations. ..HG..


Well you will note dave the other fuel cell stacks they make get 8000 10000 even 40000 hour lifespans.. and concidering how a bus is made its very likely the thing can run for 9-12000 hours between changes,

George Furey

Zebra batteries have an energy density of around 160Wh/l as compared to lithium ion with an energy density of 250-620Wh/l. The battery in the chevy volt has an energy density of around 400Wh/l. Sodium sulphur batteries have similar specific energies and densities.

Now if the Volt requires an enormous battery to go 40 miles, I can't begin to imagine how big and heavy the battery required to power a bus would have to be.


What is the efficiency of hydrogen generated through electrolysis of water? Seems like there would a lot of waste heat? I question that hydrogen could ever be a safe fuel.


Nordic I have seen alot of systems around 70% eff and I have also seen some more spendy models that reached 85% eff. But I think the most common number is right around 70.


It is a lot (almost four times) more efficient than our 18% SUVs.

We also have a lot of surplus clean hydro power that we could use (specially a night) to produce tonnes of clean hydrogen every day for our 5000 city buses. However, we do not have the will to do it. We prefer to import crude oil at high price because elections have to be funded.


A few things to note.. the old design was 900 kg and the design before that was something like 13-1500 kg. This one is 250 kg and as such now allows em to offer a 355 kg version thats twice as powerful...

Its ALOT smaller. The old version was something like almost 2 meters by 1.2 meters by 800 mm or so in size.

It lasts ALOT longer and it gets much better milage.

Also for busses its important to note just replacing a bus engine will run ALOT of moola and time.. replacing this box likely is rather fast.... and as the cost drops like a rock it could wind up being cheaper cost wise then fossil fuel maintenance in just a few more years.... and h2 is cheaper then diesel per mile driven.

If they keep improving the stack like this in a few more years it could weigh 100 kg or less and fit in a rack mount with others so the bus never needs downtime for replacements... a few suitcase or even briefcase sized units and replacement when they want at thier leasure.... alot cheaper then how ice engined busses run now thats for sure.


Recent FCs, Batteries, Supercaps and ICE deliver more energy by Kg than 5 or 10 years ago. If this trend keeps up at the same rate, the average 2020 car power unit may be much smaller. A typical average car FC may weight less than 100 Kg and so would a 100 KWh battery pack, a 200+ hp ICE plant etc.

The final choice may be influenced by total life time cost including initial cost, fuel availability & cost together with other ongoing maintenance cost.

Will all three types co-exist for an extended time?

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