Ballard Signs Large Fuel Cell Bus Deal For Deployment In China

OCT 4 2015 BY MARK KANE 32

 Ballard's fuel cell stacks

Ballard’s fuel cell stacks

Ballard announced a $17 million order for hydrogen fuel cells for roughly 300 buses.   A segment where the fuel cell probably makes a great deal more sense than passenger cars.

This largest-ever order comes from an existing partner in China – Guangdong Synergy Hydrogen Power Technology Co. The buses will be used in the cities of Foshan and Yunfu, China

Ballard first needs to develop 30 kW and 60 kW version of its FCvelocity HD7 power modules, currently available in 90 kW version, launched in June (and also ordered by Chinese partners under previous deal – 33 units for $10 million).

Commercial deployment of 30/60 kW modules is scheduled for 2016.

“The deal has an estimated initial value of $17 million through 2016, with the opportunity for significant recurring royalties starting in 2017. The agreement includes supply and sale of fully-assembled fuel cell power modules, ready-to-assemble module kits, a technology license for localization of assembly, supply of proprietary fuel cell stacks and long-term recurring royalties leveraged to unit volumes of locally assembled modules.”

Randy MacEwen, Ballard President and CEO remarked:

“We are thrilled to have Ballard selected as the exclusive supplier of fuel cell technology for the largest ever global deployment of fuel cell buses. The Foshan and Yunfu governments are demonstrating strong vision and leadership by championing a collaboration model that addresses mass transit needs, supports air quality initiatives and contributes to continued economic development.”

Mr. Xu Guo, Vice Mayor of the City of Yunfu said:

“We are moving the Cities of Foshan and Yunfu into the future by adopting clean, quiet and economical fuel cell buses. And, we are pleased to have a strong consortium of partners, including Ballard, Synergy and Feichi Bus.”

Mr. Ma Dongsheng Frank, CEO of Synergy stated:

“We selected Ballard, the global leader in fuel cell technology for buses, as our exclusive technology partner. Ballard’s flexible approach in developing a partnership model along with leading technical solutions that address the unique needs and opportunities in the Chinese market has been impressive. We look forward to localizing assembly of Ballard fuel cell modules in Foshan / Yunfu to meet the fast-growing demand for clean energy buses in China.”

Mr. Chen Xiaomin, Vice Chairman of Foshan Automobile Transportation Group Co., Ltd. added:

“Foshan Automotive is a leader in the manufacture of clean energy buses in Guangdong Province. We see strong demand for low carbon solutions, and are excited by the opportunity to be first-to-market with a fuel cell bus offering. This deal represents a potential catalyst for further advancement and adoption of fuel cell buses in China.”

Ballard’s FCvelocity

Ballard’s FCvelocity

About the Ballard FCvelocity (see spec):

Ballard’s high performance FCvelocity®-HD modules have demonstrated exceptional reliability while clocking millions of kilometers on the road, principally in bus fleets. FCvelocity®-HD7, Ballard’s seventh-generation heavy duty module, offers a number of key advantages:

Performance – The FCvelocity®-HD7 heavy duty zero-emission fuel cell power module offers superior performance based on Ballard’s proprietary fuel cell stack technology, demonstrating unmatched fuel efficiency, durability and flexibility to operate in extreme conditions that include cold as well as hot, humid environments.
Integration – A simplified and scalable design enables the module to be integrated into multiple transportation applications and the modular design of the air and cooling systems allow flexible and simple “drop-in” integration into vehicle drive trains.
Cost Reduction – The new FCvelocity®-HD7 power module features a reduced parts count, simplified design and lower parasitic load. Key components are manufactured with high-volume production processes, thereby reducing capital cost of the module and maintenance costs associated with parts replacement over the life of the product. Ballard’s HD7 represents a cost reduction of more than 30% from the prior generation HD6 product and a cost reduction of approximately 65% in this product line over the past six years.
Leadership – The FCvelocity®-HD7 reflects Ballard’s unmatched experience in the field, including: more than 20-years’ supporting transit applications; production of more than 150 modules through seven generations of product; working with ten different system integrators and OEMs to power more than 100 buses in 20 cities worldwide; powering fuel cell buses over more than 7.5 million kilometers (4.7 million miles) and transporting more than 10 million passengers in revenue service.

Categories: Bus


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32 Comments on "Ballard Signs Large Fuel Cell Bus Deal For Deployment In China"

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I thought Ballard completely bailed out on vehicular fuel cell stacks at one point. I guess they got back in.

They bailed out of automotive. They didn’t bail out of the bus/forklift/stationary market.

In the bus market, there is municipal funding for such projects.

I’m A Firm Believer That Fuel Cells should N0T be used any place where people are Present, Especially In Cars ,Correct Me If I am Wrong., They Are A Disaster waiting to Happen,There are Too Many Safety Questions, With all that “HIGHLY” Compressed Hydrogen Onboard???? . I’d Be extremely Leary Being Anywhere near them, Let alone Using Them In any Application …They Are Dangerous!

You’re wrong.

I’d be extremely leery being anywhere near someone who randomly capitalizes most of their words. I’d wouldn’t be so paranoid if everybody wasn’t out to get me. 😉

My Capitalizing Letters & So On Has ZER0 To do With the subject .Yes I am Leeeeery Of Highly Pressurized Hydrogen Gas, Does “Hydrogen Bomb” Ring A Bell? . I don’t want to driving around with 0ne Installed in my car, in case a severe impact were to occur. Can you Explain as to why the personal Attacks?….I do not know you….

The hydrogen in buses is normally stored in the roof in large cylinders. These are typically not held at the same pressure as in a car (weight is more of an issue than space in a bus so bus tanks are usually much lower in pressure). These cylinders are not particularly dangerous compared to diesel, petrol, CNG or very large battery packs. Different hazards but essentially all manageable. Switching to one or other fuel tank choice will be very unlikely to result in more or less road fatalities if you ignore the effect of emissions.

The hydrogen bomb was a nuclear device and, unless you choose to make the tank out of plutonium and carefully designed plastic explosives, is unlikely to be relevant to the safety of a bus.

“Can you Explain as to why the personal Attacks?”

Because you are fear mongering and spreading FUD about hydrogen FCVs. Hydrogen FCVs have their drawbacks, but your comment was a little over the top.

One more thing. I would avoid going to the next Olympic games in Tokyo if I were you. 😀

Same question here. The picture of the fuel cell it looks like aerospace or military equipment. Thx JakeY for the response.

The fuel cell is one more tool in the war chest. The energy density is so much more than batteries it should find some uses where “heavy lifting ” is required.

Elon isn’t launching rockets on battery power.

and yet batteries work just fine for buses, as is evidenced by all the successful EV buses that already exist.

I never said the word “bus”. I said heavy lifting.

Yeah, I agree for bus routes within a city. Maybe for long range buses hydrogen would work, but it’s will take awhile to beat diesel there.

Works well for some buses, maybe even a large percentage of buses but probably not all buses. A lot of buses are maintained and fueled at an out of town bus depot. The buses are driven into town operate from perhaps 5am until mid-night and then are driven back out of town to be re-fueled and cleaned for the next day. The drivers swap shifts at various points but the bus works pretty continuously. This is not a duty cycle that is well suited to a battery. If you have large enough tanks on the roof it can be done with a fuel cell. 300 buses is not a “mass adoption” of the technology but really just a large scale trial. There are still issue that need to be resolved. IMO some bus applications, heavy goods vehicles and long distance (as in freight) are unlikely to be serviced by battery vehicles, even if we get to significantly higher energy densities. A current generation HGV has a 1000+ mile range and can fill up at 19,000 kW charger (high flow diesel pump). We are a long way off meeting that duty cycle with a BEV that can tow in excess of… Read more »


“That’s farther than most tiny electric cars can go and also farther than a daily city bus route.”

While also having drastically lower upfront AND operating costs.

I think Proterra and BYD buses are great, I would love to see them on the city streets where I am but that doesn’t mean that we’re done, we’ve got a bus that can do 130 miles on a rough road that’s it no more room in that market.

GeorgeS said:

“Elon isn’t launching rockets on battery power.”

So, your argument is that since hydrogen makes a good fuel for the booster stage of large rockets, it must be good for powering buses too?

Ummm… no. Not buses, or anything else but rocketships.

What about aircraft? emissions from planes is not insignificant.

I wouldn’t think that a fuel cell would be the way you’d convert the hydrogen to energy but a gas turbine on hydrogen seems like a perfectly sensible alternative to hydrocarbon fuels.

Yes, maybe, or you could continue the way we are and have airlines pay to scrub the carbon dioxide they emit out of the air. I’m not sure which is cheaper.


Project Suntan was a towering failure, and replaced with a hydrocarbon plane. A failure, due to horrendous hydrogen logistics, and thus costs- quite a feat coming from the military.

Elon isn’t launching rockets on hydrogen, either. Hydrogen has its place in the final upper stage. Rockets with hydrogen first stages have all failed in the marketplace, and are either subsidized/aided with protectionism, and/or being replaced with non-hydrogen stages. Stages that are actually practical.

Next I suppose you’ll have some bumper-sticker wisdom about what breakfast I had this morning.

Of course he isn’t launching them with fuel cells either or even hydrogen.

The propellant Space X uses right now is RP-1 (kerosene) oxidized with LOX (liquid oxygen).

They are currently working on a motor that oxidizes methane with LOX.

EVCarNut said:

“My Capitalizing Letters & So On Has ZER0 To do With the subject”

But it makes your posts very hard to read, it’s distracting, and in short it tends to cause people to ignore what you’re saying.

I shall refrain.I welcome constructive criticism…

Gosh, do the Laws of Physics work differently in China? No? Still a dead-end technology, then.

But at least American taxpayer dollars aren’t being wasted on this.

Perhaps you could expand past the “laws of physics”. My belief is that you won’t be able to achieve the energy density in a battery for a long range 500-1000 mile vehicle application and that even if you could that charging this vehicle (over a short time period) would require so much power that if you wanted to charge say a few hundred in 2-3 hours that the infrastructure costs would be prohibitively expensive. This, I believe is not a bizarre scenario, with a number of municipal fleet and HGV applications doing exactly this (they of course spend 10-30 min filling up rather than plugging in for 2-3 hours but I think most vehicles could be plugged in for this sort of time). I understand the efficiency argument, if you can do it with a battery then that’s fine – you should, it is more efficient. I also understand the fear that hydrogen would be produced from natural gas which has a high environmental impact. But what I don’t understand is why you think hydrogen is such a dead end? needing 3-4 times as much energy is an issue but that energy can be delivered at any time over long… Read more »


The energy for electrolysis could power 3-4 Proterras.

Canada is an interesting nation to look at, they have 2 solutions to supplying energy hungry east Asian nations with energy:

1 – Hydrogen produced from hydro or wind


2 – oil produced from mixing US shale gas with Canadian tar sands.

I guess you could argue there is a 3rd that involves accessing hydrocarbon reserves in the Arctic either through deep sea drilling or methane extraction.

IMO the world will not change, you have to offer it a viable sustainable option to its current needs rather than a hypothetical solution that is very different and more unpleasant to how things currently work, batteries plus RE can simply not allow us to continue the way we want to live our lives.

The energy for electrolysis would only charge 1.2 to 1.4 electric buses the 3-4 times figure includes the compression, transport and utilization losses.

No, you don’t understand the ridiculous costs of hydrogen production and infrastructure. After synthesis losses (set permanently by physics), the distribution network is expensive in upfront installation, and frequent replacement due to hydrogen embrittlement. Distribution operations are then expensive, due to the ridiculous pumping losses of hydrogen, again defined by physics.

You seem far from sensible. It seems you’re far from knowing what you’re talking about, let alone from the decades of industry experience, let alone basic physics. Yet you post anyway.

Hydrogen is not some mystical beast sent from hell to destroy the world. It is one of the most commonly used industrial chemicals with over 60 million tons of it produced, stored, pumped, compressed and transported every year. Hydrogen embrittlement is not a major issue, it is well understood and can be avoided with proper material selection. It was pumped throughout Germany (mixed with 40-60% carbon monoxide) before being replaced with natural gas. Town gas was also used pretty widely and is technically far harder to transport and store due the the CO. The cost of transporting or storing energy in a fuel (hydrogen, natural gas, methanol, petrol, diesel) is far cheaper and more practical than in a battery. If you had to truck the energy in for the Vancouver bus trial in batteries then it would have been far more expensive and less practical. Vancouver can, obviously, charge buses from their grid and electric buses might be a better choice for the majority of their road based public transport need. Will it be able to cover all of its buses? unlikely there will be some routes and uses that battery electric buses will simply not work out for. There… Read more »

I apologize for bad English. Is it better to use hydrogen for trucks instead of passenger cars.Trucks require large batteries, which increases the cost price, while hydrogen technology is the same and should not be a difference in price for cars and trucks.