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Ballard fuel cell modules to power fleet of 10 buses in Aberdeen, Scotland

Ballard Power Systems announced the recent signing of an agreement between Van Hool NV, Europe’s fourth largest bus manufacturer, and the Transit Authority in Aberdeen, Scotland for delivery of 10 buses that will be powered by Ballard’s 150 kW FCvelocity-HD6 fuel cell module.

When deployed in revenue service, the 10-bus fleet to be operated in Aberdeen will be Europe’s largest hydrogen fuel cell bus fleet. Ballard says that by early-2014, approximately 40 buses in Europe will be powered by Ballard fuel cell modules.

In December 2011, Ballard announced an equipment supply agreement (ESA) with Van Hool for 21 latest-generation 150 kW FCvelocity-HD6 modules, with an expectation that the majority of these would be shipped in 2012. By the end of 2012, 14 modules had been shipped to Van Hool.

These will be used in 5 buses to be deployed in San Remo, Italy; 5 buses to be deployed in Flanders, Belgium; as well as 4 of the buses to be deployed in Aberdeen. All these deployments are being supported by European Joint Technology Initiative (JTI) funding through the High V.LO-City program.

Through the remainder of 2013 Ballard expects to ship a further 8 power modules to Van Hool, including 6 to be used in the Aberdeen deployment and 2 for use in buses to be deployed in Cologne, Germany.

The Cologne buses are being procured by the government of North Rhine Westphalia (NRW), with funding support from the German National Innovation Program. The Aberdeen buses are being supported by JTI funding through the High V.LO-City and HyTransit programs. This will bring the total number of modules shipped to Van Hool to 22 since December 2011.

Ballard’s sixth-generation FCvelocity-HD6 fuel cell module—available in 75 kW and 150 kW configurations—features a control unit which interfaces with a system controller to make it a plug-and-play product for any fuel cell or hybrid fuel cell bus platform. The module also offers significant advances in durability, power density and fuel efficiency compared to earlier generation products.

Increased volumes of fuel cell-powered buses are supporting cost and price reductions through scale of economies, enabling fuel cell solutions to compete more effectively with incumbent transit technologies, Ballard noted.

(Van Hool has also used UTC Power fuel cell systems in hydrogen buses. UTC Power was recently acquired by ClearEdge Power; the deal closed in February).



You would think they could find some diesel up in Aberdeen.


Or a few old wood or coal steamers?

Seriously, FCEVs are a logical alternate solution for city buses and cabs, at least until such time as lower cost ($110 to $150/kWh) much higher performance (4X to 5X) solid states e-storage units-batteries or equivalent are available?

Kit P

"FCEVs are a logical alternate solution for city buses and cabs"

Really! So where does the hydrogen come from?

Hydrogen and batteries are just inherently inefficient energy carriers that a very expensive.

"Or a few old wood or coal steamers?"

Proven technology that actually worked for many years until replaced by the much cleaner ICE.

You will only see HFC buses where politicians ignore good engineer choices preferring politically but bad for the environment choices.


OK, Seriously, electric or partially electric buses are a good idea IMO, the question is what is the best way to do it.

Full battery,
High Speed charging
Fuel cell

I would go for the high speed charging / PHEV like the Arctic Whisper which seems like the optimum solution to me.


Yes, electrification of city buses can and will be done in various ways, such as:

1. pure BEVs with improved quick charge batteries and ultra quick chargers,

2. extended range BEV with on board ICE generator,

3. extended range BEV with FC as on board charger.

Clean buses will use alternative 1) and/or 3). ICE supporters will use alternative 2).

Eventually, when batteries are improved by (5x to 10X), pure battery city buses, with wireless quick charge points, will compose the major share of the new units.


kit P. may have to accept technical evolution soon or will he go back to horses and buggies?

By the way, ultra long lasting 200+ lm/watt dimmable LED A-19 light bulbs are coming out soon. They will use about 15 times less energy than incandescent bulbs and about 3 to 4 tmes less than CFLs. Will Kit P use them?

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