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Clean Power fuel cell powered bus

Published on January 3rd, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan


Fuel Cell Bus Fleets for Brazil & Europe; Fuel Cell Buses in British Columbia Hit Milestone

January 3rd, 2012 by  


fuel cell powered bus

Fuel cell-powered bus by Ballard in Cologne, Germany.

Sau Paulo, Brazil getting fuel cells to power 25 buses; Europe getting fuel cells for 21 buses; British Columbia bus fleet hits fuel cell milestone.

“Ballard Power Systems has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with The City of Sao Paulo, Brazil for 25 FCvelocityTM-HD6 fuel cell modules to power 25 buses in that city,” a Ballard news release last week stated. “Delivery of the modules is planned for 2012. A final agreement with The City of Sao Paulo is now in negotiation.”

Brazil is looking to green its transportation sector significantly to combat global warming and climate change, and to prepare for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympic Games (both of which will be held in the country). “Sao Paulo is Brazil’s largest city, generating significant emissions of particulate matter together with 3 million tons of greenhouse gases annually, 85% of which are created by vehicles.” The city intends to decrease fossil fuel use of its buses 10% annually over the coming several years.

British Columbia Bus Fleet Hits Fuel Cell Milestone

This announcement follows an announcement earlier in the month that a 20-bus fleet operated by BC Transit in the Resort Municipality of Whistler, British Columbia and powered by Ballard’s fuel cells, “the largest hydrogen fuel cell-powered bus fleet in operation anywhere since it went into service approximately 2-years ago,” had become the first such fleet to hit (and surpass) one million miles (1.6 million kilometers) of revenue service. “The buses went into service in January, 2010 prior to the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, and have been an effective showcase for clean transportation alternatives.”

Here are some more statistics on this fleet from the end of November, 2011:

• The 20-bus fleet had operated a total of 80,000 hours;
• More than 9,600 safe refuellings had been completed, by which 220,000 kilograms of hydrogen was dispensed to the fleet’s buses; and
• 2,200 tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions were avoided, in comparison to diesel buses, which is equivalent to removing approximately 400 passenger vehicles from the roads.

Europe Getting Fuel Cells to Power 21 Buses

Ballard also made an announcement in December that it would be supplying Van Hool NV, Europe’s fourth largest bus manufacturer, with 21 of its latest-generation FCvelocityTM-HD6 fuel cell power modules.

“The 21 FCvelocityTM-HD6 modules will power zero-emission buses to be deployed in several European cities, which will be named following completion of the associated contracts between Van Hool and public transit authorities in these cities,” Ballard noted. “It is expected that the majority of the modules will be shipped in 2012.”

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About the Author

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.

  • Roland Mösl

    What an extreme waste of energy compared to battery busses.
    220.000 kg hydrogen for 1,6 million km means 13,75 kg for 100 km.

    1 kg hydrogen is 33 kWh. But to make one kg hydrogen by electric power and to put it in the tank, about 45 kWh electric power required.

    This means 619 kWh electric power for 100 km compared to
    only 100 kWh, the BYD k9 all electric bus (12m long) needs.

    • Alec

      You may be correct, but are the busses and the drive cycle comparable? I’m not a big fan of hydrogen, the energy density is just too low, but you also have to consider battery efficiency, life, etc, I suppose the whole life cycle cost given the same energy source.

      • Roland Mösl

        Typical city lines have 170 to 230 km a day. The range of the BYD K9 is big enogh to handle this with one charge at night time. For longer daily distances, quick charging during the day can enlarge the range.
        6000 charge cycles are enough for the normal 12 yeard usage of an public bus.

        The hydrogen bus needs 6 times more for the same task, this is a total waste of energy.

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