Canadian hydrogen company Ballard Power Systems has signed a deal with long-time partner Guangdong Synergy Hydrogen Power Technology to provide fully-assembled fuel cells for 300 hydrogen-powered buses. The project, the largest ever deployment of fuel-cell public transport, will see the buses roll out in the mid-sized Guangdong cities of Foshan and Yunfu and comes after a June announcement of a similar deal to deploy thirty-three fuel-cell buses in the same province.
At the same time, Ballard has signed a joint development agreement with CRRC Qingdao Sifang Company to develop a world-first fuel-cell engine for eight hydrogen trams, also in Foshan. The deals have a combined value of US$23 million.
Mr. Xu Guo, Vice Mayor of the City of Yunfu declared,
“Our planned move toward clean mass transit technology is being accelerated with this announcement of fuel cell-powered trams as well as our announcement of 300 fuel cell powered buses in Foshan/Yunfu. We have confidence that the consortium partners, including Ballard and CRRC Sifang, will effectively deliver ground-breaking solutions for the benefit of our Chinese citizens.”
The coastal province of Guangdong has often proved a fertile testing ground for economic and technological projects that can then be replicated throughout China. Hydrogen transport, which emits only water vapour and oxygen, could be of enormous importance in Chinese cities, many of which are currently suffering from some of the worst air pollution in human history. If the Guangdong buses are a success, there are over 650 other Chinese cities that will be observing with interest.