Ballard signs MOU with Van Hool for further fuel cell bus deployments; next-gen FCvelocity-HD7 power module
Ballard Power Systems has signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Van Hool NV, Europe’s fourth largest bus manufacturer, in support of the manufacture and further deployment of fuel cell buses. By February 2014, the companies plan jointly to respond to last week’s call for proposals under the EU Hydrogen Fuel Cell Joint Undertaking, and also plan jointly to respond to other future calls for proposals under the Horizon 2020 program. (Earlier post.)
For the newly funded buses, Ballard will deliver its next-generation fuel cell power module to Van Hool for incorporation into hybrid bus platforms. This new FCvelocity-HD7 power module will offer improved durability and reliability along with significant cost reduction. (Earlier post.)
The MOU also provides for the establishment of a dedicated service and parts center at Van Hool facilities in Belgium, to support all buses powered by Ballard fuel cells in Europe.
Van Hool is a Belgium-based independent bus, coach and industrial vehicle OEM with a strong history of innovation in bus manufacturing. In 2014, there will be 27 Van Hool fuel cell buses in public transit operation in Europe, powered by Ballard fuel cell power modules.
Ballard says that its FCvelocity-HD6 fuel cell power modules are delivering a high level of performance in European buses. For example, on a year-to-date basis, Ballard fuel cell modules have delivered availability greater than 97% in buses operating in London and Amsterdam.
The EU Hydrogen Fuel Cell Joint Undertaking is a public-private partnership supporting research, technological development and demonstration activities in fuel cell and hydrogen energy technologies, providing subsidies for eligible projects through a cost share mechanism.
The European Commission and industry have each committed to contribute €470 million of funding into fuel cell and hydrogen research in the 2008-17 period. The next program, Horizon 2020, will extend this initiative through the year 2020 with an incremental budget of €700 million.