Road Map for fuel cell development

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Map assesses progress of fuel cell electric buses and offers recommendations

USA The California Fuel Cell Partnership has published ‘A Roadmap for Fuel Cell Electric Buses in California: A Zero- Emission Solution for Public Transit’. The Roadmap assesses the progress of fuel cell electric buses in California and globally, offering recommendations to state and federal policy makers in California regarding actions they can take to put fuel cell buses on the path to full commercial readiness.

California has gained considerable experience with the development and demonstration of Zero emission vehicle (ZEV) technologies through its zero-emission bus (ZBus) program. Fuel cell buses have consistently demonstrated superb operating performance in their ability to maintain sustained power and acceleration in a wide spectrum of operating conditions, smooth and quiet operation and unmatched fuel efficiency.

Two fuel cell electric bus programs are active in California at AC Transit (San Francisco Bay area and SunLine Transit (Coachella Valley) using Ballard fuel cells.

The Roadmap proposes two Centres of Excellence for fuel cell buses within California. It is envisioned 40 buses would operate at each location, providing service over a 12-year period and with operating costs competitive with conventional buses. Each centre would cost approximately $50 million, including buses, fuelling infrastructure, and fuelling station operations and maintenance.

According to Roadmap the Centres of Excellence would incorporate:

  • Buses introduced in 2015-2016 ;
  • Two production runs of 40 buses each, to ensure capital cost at or below $1m per bus;
  • 40 fuel cell electric buses at each location which meet transit agency requirements and are operated in normal revenue service;
  • A 12-year operating period;
  • Hydrogen fuel use sufficient to achieve a cost-per-mile comparable to diesel and CNG buses; and
  • Regional training and education for transit staff and community stakeholders.

Highly innovative, zero-emission fuel cell buses are expected to play a critical role in the future of transit, preserving non-renewable energy sources and substantially reducing the environmental footprint.

Ballard’s FCvelocity–HD6 fuel cell module is designed as a ‘plugand- play’ product, enabling system integrators to readily build clean energy buses at reduced cost.