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Integrated Energy

Public transport is making the move to fuel cells

A major contract gives Canadian fuel cell manufacturer Ballard a boost. Siemens also stands to reap the benefits – given the two partners have big plans.

22 Mar. 2018
HMI-ID03-038ts_Siemens AG
Public transport is making the move to fuel cells (photo: Siemens AG)

Ballard Power Systems has reason to smile again: Cologne’s public transport company Regionalverkehr Köln GmbH (RVK) and Wuppertal’s public utilities Wuppertaler Stadtwerke (WSW) have placed an order with Van Hool in Belgium for 40 A330 electric fuel cell public service buses with a 350 km operating range. Ballard is providing the heavy duty FCvelocity-HD85 fuel cell module and Siemens the 210 kW electric motors.

Siemens is no stranger to collaborating with Ballard: In 2007, Siemens acquired Ballard’s electric drive business , and the two companies are currently conducting research on c lean solutions for rail traffic in cooperation with RWTH Aachen University . “We’re currently seeing rapid growing market demand for clean energy fuel cell technology,” says Randy MacEwen , CEO of the Canadian Ballard Group. The project with Siemens aims to replace diesel-powered rail vehicles over the long term, with the focus initially on local routes. The German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) is supporting the project with €12 million. The long-term goal is to develop a modular and scalable traction system that can be used for all rail vehicles. There is, however, still some way to go: The fuel cell technology is anticipated to be ready for service across extensive areas by 2021. First, though, Siemens wants to install the drive in its new Mireo line.