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Ballard signs fuel cell supply agreement with Solaris; initial order of 10 modules as range extenders for electric trolley buses

Ballard Power Systems has signed a Long-Term Sales Agreement (LTSA) with Solaris Bus & Coach, a bus OEM headquartered in Poland, for the sale and supply of fuel cell modules to support deployment of Solaris fuel cell buses in Europe. An initial order placed under the LTSA is for 10 FCveloCity-HD fuel cell modules, with deliveries planned to start in 2017.

Each 85 kilowatt FCveloCity-HD fuel cell module that has been ordered will be deployed as a range extender in a Solaris Trollino model low-floor trolley bus. Solaris has signed a contract with Rigas Satiksme, the transport operator in the city of Riga, Latvia for 10 of the Trollino trolley buses.

The FCveloCity-HD includes separate air and coolant systems for simplified and flexible integration into the electric drive system. These two discrete modules have been designed, tested and validated for transit bus and light rail applications.

  • The coolant sub-system delivers a water/ethylene glycol (WEG) mixture at a prescribed flow rate to the fuel cell module. Sub-system includes coolant pump, piping, control valve.

  • The air sub-system delivers air at a prescribed flow rate to the fuel cell stack to support the electrochemical reaction. Sub-system includes motor, controller, air compressor and freeze protection.

Standard Solaris Trollino 18. Click to enlarge.

The Solaris Trollino model articulated bus that will be delivered to Rigas is 18.75 meters (61.5 feet) long and is equipped with a battery (energy storage is an option on the Trollino 18 model). The onboard fuel cell module will engage as the trolley bus moves into any portion of its route that does not have catenary wiring, thereby extending the operating range of the bus.

The fuel cell module is a clean energy alternative to diesel auxiliary power units (APUs) currently used in Trollino buses allowing them to operate on short distances without external power supply—for example, the route between the depot and the beginning of electric traction.

These fuel cell buses represent a highly flexible clean energy mass transportation solution, since they will be capable of operating on routes that have no overhead or catenary wiring.

We look forward to our long-term partnership with Solaris. We believe this initial deployment of 10 buses will represent the first fuel cell-equipped trolley buses deployed anywhere in the world.

—Karim Kassam, Ballard’s Vice President – Commercial

Solaris is a major European manufacturer of city, intercity and special-purpose buses as well as low-floor trams. Since the start of production in 1996, Solaris has manufactured more than 15,000 vehicles for delivery to 30 countries including Latvia, where the company has been active since 2001.



Its obvious that fuel cells and batteries are a great combination, and enable and enhance each other.

The one solution BEV only enthusiasts are for some reason cutting off their noses to spite their face.

Use whatever works, where it works, in any combination.

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The problem is that fuel cells do not work for transportation. They are unpractical (hydrogen tanks are too big) and they cost far more than all the alternatives. Fuel cells really are fool cells when their application is transportation. It is a waste of time to report the news about fuel cells in transportation as it will never happen and every progress made on BEVs with 1) self-driving tech, 2) less costly batteries, 3) more efficient designs and 4) higher watt charging is proving that the FCV is a hopeless effort.

FCV is only happening for political reasons. To fool people into thinking that those who do it is actually working on a sustainable solution for transportation when in fact they are not.



So write to the DOE and tell them that the PhDs advising them are all wrong, and clearly their expertise is worthless.

You know better, of course.

Only on the Bloggoverse.

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I am also a PhD so that does not intimidate me. You can find people, even clever ones that will publish any result they are paid to publish. As I said. It is political. The FCV scam is only to make dummies believe the old auto industry is doing real work on sustainability in order to shout up some of their critics. The scam will not work forever of cause and especially not when BEVs start to take over for good after 2020.


Henrik, I'm inclined to believe you with regards to small EVs with enough batteries for GOOD WEATHER short range users, who have time to stop for 30 to 60 minutes for every recharge, with TESLA's super chargers. New 350 KW ultra fast chargers may help but many batteries may not tolerate for extended periods.

However, for ALL weather conditions and ultra quick refills (3 to 4 minutes) for medium and heavy trucks, intercity buses and locomotives, batteries are not (yet) the ideal solution. A small FC (80 to 250 KW) as a range extender may be a better solution.

Ultra quick charging for large (300+ KW) battery packs remains a chalenge, until voltage is raised to 1500+ Volts.


CNG buses have been around a long time, there is room for tanks. Just stating your opinion as THE opinion is not helping open discussion.

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SJC CH4 is a much better fuel than hydrogen because it is more energy dense and can be compressed at lower pressure. Hydrogen is not even good as rocket fuel. Space X will use LNG for their future interplanetary transportation system because it is more compact than liquid hydrogen and far easier/less costly to handle safely. It is not me saying it. It is a physical fact that hydrogen is a high volume and super expensive fuel to use because of the needed high pressure fuel tanks (or super cooled cryogenic tanks) and pipes and costliness of making fuel cells. Both the fuel cells and the hydrogen pressure tanks need frequent replacement as they do not last long. Do not expect more than 150.000 miles warranty. 50.000 miles will be more likely. They are therefore most unsuited for driverless vehicles that could drive more than 100.000 miles per year. FCV are more expensive in every way compared to BEVs or gassers. If you wanted to you can look up all my statements and verify them by yourself.

Renewable hydrogen could work for stationary storage where you could pump liquid hydrogen into depleted gas fields for storage and use it later for power generation in a conventional combined cycle plant. However, for mobile applications forget about it.


Could it be that Henrik is underestimating the progress made with FCs and future further progress by 2025?

Near future FC will have at least twice the performance, cost less than half as much and will last up to 25,000 hours. A high performance mass produced 100 KW FC may cost about $5 K (USD). An extended range (close to 400 miles) FCEV driverless taxis will last between 750,000 and 1,500,000 miles without FC or H2 tank changes, specially if operated at lower H2 pressure.

Of course, batteries will also evolve and may become competitive for shorter range ADVs but an FC may have to be added for heavy trucks, intercity buses and light rails.

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