If you were told that a city in the UK would be leading the way with fuel cell technology you’d be forgiven if you expected the city in question to be London, Edinburgh, Cardiff or Belfast. In reality however, it is Aberdeen that will soon boast Europe’s largest hydrogen fuel cell bus fleet.
That’s because Ballard Power Systems has signed an agreement with Van Hool NV, the fourth largest bus manufacturer in Europe and the Transit Authority in Aberdeen: to bring 10 buses powered by Ballard’s fuel cell module to the city (pictured).
Ballard hopes to bring its technology to around 40 buses across Europe by 2014 with Aberdeen to boast the largest fleet. Other areas to benefit include five buses in San Remo, Italy; five in Flanders, Belgium; and two in Cologne, Germany. All of the deployments come with the backing of the European Joint Initiative, which is funded through the High V.LO City programme.
The sixth-generation FCvelocity-HD6 fuel cell module comes in both 75kW and 150kW configurations. At its heart is a control unit that interfaces with a system controller and makes it a plug-and-play product with any fuel cell or hybrid fuel cell bus platform. It is also more fuel efficient, power dense and durable compared to earlier generations.
According to Ballard, the increased use of fuel cell buses is also helping to drive down costs and allowing fuel cells to compete with other technologies.