Ballard modules for bus deployments in California and Ohio

Ballard modules for bus deployments in California and Ohio

NEWS / EDITORIAL ‘When the vehicle is running, the electric motor is fed by two complementary energy sources; the fuel cell is capable of delivering a...

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NEWS / EDITORIAL ‘When the vehicle is running, the electric motor is fed by two complementary energy sources; the fuel cell is capable of delivering a maximum power of 20 kW and, once that threshold has been reached, the batteries kick in to supply whatever power is still required,’ explains project supervisor Christophe Vacquier. ‘When idle, the fuel cell is available to recharge the battery as needed.’ The Maxity Electric truck with the fuel cell range-extender was delivered in February to the city of Dole, in the Jura department of the FrancheComté region. The test is scheduled to last 12 months, so that the vehicle’s capabilities can be fully assessed in all seasons, including the region’s especially harsh winter weather. The vehicle will be used on a mainly rural mail and package collection route that is approximately 70 km (44 miles) long.

The buses will use the previously deployed American Fuel Cell Bus (AFCB) configuration, first introduced with SunLine in 2011 [FCB, December 2011, p2]. The AFCB configuration utilises Ballard’s heavy-duty PEM fuel cell module to provide primary power, in combination with BAE Systems’ HybriDrive® propulsion and power management systems deployed in an ElDorado National 40 ft (12 m) Axess model transit bus. Ballard has also just closed its Technology Solutions transaction with Volkswagen Group [see page 2], and signed new Technology Solutions contracts with Ardica Technologies in California and an unnamed global automotive OEM [see page 10].

Symbio FCell, Grenoble, France. Tel: +33 1 5679 1506,

SunLine Transit Agency, Clean Fuels Fleet:

Ballard modules for bus deployments in California and Ohio

Ballard Power Systems, Burnaby, BC, Canada. Tel: +1 604 454 0900,

Stark Area Regional Transit Authority: FTA, LoNo Program project selections: Calstart, National Fuel Cell Bus Program:


anadian-based Ballard Power Systems expects to supply 10 FCvelocity®-HD6 fuel cell modules to power buses as part of two projects recently awarded funding under the US Federal Transit Administration’s Low and No Emission (LoNo) Vehicle Deployment Program. Ballard’s partners are BAE Systems, a system integrator and supplier of hybrid drive components, and ElDorado National, a North American bus OEM. The companies plan to supply 10 fuel cell buses – five each for SunLine Transit Agency in Thousand Palms, California and Stark Area Regional Transit Authority (SARTA) in Canton, Ohio. SunLine will receive $9.8 million in FTA funding to purchase and deploy five hydrogen hybrid fuel cell buses. This will double its current fuel cell bus fleet, and allow it to offer expanded transit service in the Coachella Valley in southern California [FCB, July 2014, p2]. SARTA will receive $8.9 million in FTA funding to purchase and deploy its five fuel cell buses. They will be operated under a variety of operating conditions in congested downtown areas, on major urban roads and on rural highways throughout Stark County. Ballard anticipates orders for these modules once agreements with the transit agencies are finalised, and expects to begin shipments in the second half of 2015. Calstart, the nonprofit consortium of clean transportation technology companies, will also be involved as a project partner.

March 2015


IE-CHP, Hyteon sign deal to commercialise domestic CHP unit


anadian PEM fuel cell manufacturer Hyteon and smart power pioneer IE-CHP in Scotland, UK have signed a commercialisation agreement, as further trials of an innovative domestic smart power unit get under way in Scotland. Quebec-based Hyteon and IE-CHP will combine their R&D capabilities as further field testing is undertaken on the natural gas fueled combined heat and power (CHP) unit. The prototype CHP system, smaller than a domestic fridge, was first tested at a detached home in Perth, Scotland last year. IE-CHP now plans to expand trials to other residential properties in Scotland, prior to rolling it out in a larger demonstration project across the UK in 2016. ‘The joint commercialisation agreement with Hyteon will enable us to trial their fuel cell within the prototype IE-CHP smart power unit, and accelerate our progress towards a commercial product,’ says Mark Bugler, who has subsequently retired as managing director of IE-CHP. Established in 2003 in Montreal, Hyteon manufactures micro CHP fuel cell based systems for residential applications ranging from 0.5 to



ntellectual property (IP) is very important in the fuel cell and hydrogen energy sector, where so much research and development is still under way to bring out lower-cost and higher-efficiency materials, components, devices, systems and the necessary supporting infrastructure. The importance of IP is particularly highlighted in a couple of news items in this issue, where IP rights have been sold on to a new owner. In the transportation sector, Ballard Power Systems in Canada has transferred the automotive-related portion of fuel cell IP assets it had previously acquired from United Technologies Corporation (UTC) in the US, to the German automotive giant Volkswagen Group [see page 2]. This US$50 million deal gives an indication of what is at stake as the major automakers push their fuel cell electric vehicle programmes ever closer to commercial viability. And in the portable power arena, UK-based Intelligent Energy has acquired the portable fuel cell and disposable fuel cartridge assets of Société Bic, the French ballpoint pen and cigarette lighter manufacturer [see page 6]. Bic had been working on portable fuel cell R&D in partnership with CEA-Liten, the Laboratory for Innovation in New Energy Technologies and Nanomaterials of the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA). Bic also later acquired the assets of Angstrom Power, a Canadian developer of portable fuel cell technology. On the other hand, at the beginning of this year Toyota announced that it is making nearly 5700 hydrogen fuel cell patents available royalty-free, to accelerate the global development and introduction of fuel cell technologies [FCB, January 2015, p9]. We have two News Features in this issue. The Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project in Scotland recently inaugurated the UK’s first hydrogen production and bus refueling station [pages 12–13]. This new hydrogen station is part of a US$28 million ‘green’ transport demonstration project in Aberdeen, which will see a fleet of 10 fuel cell buses in public service. It is the most high-profile of a range of projects designed to create a hydrogen economy in the city and surrounding region. On the research front, scientists at Nanjing Tech University in China and Curtin University in Perth, Australia have created an anodesupported tubular solid oxide fuel cell that functions as a carbon fuel container as well as an electrochemical device for power generation [page 14]. Their dual-phase, ion-conducting ceramic membrane is gastight but highly permeable for CO2, allowing separation of CO2 and CO, resulting in a high power density SOFC that directly uses carbon as a fuel source.

Steve Barrett

Fuel Cells Bulletin