Fuel cell expert Ballard Power Systems has signed an initial Equipment Sales Agreement to deliver fuel cell engines to China’s budding zero-emission vehicle sector.

Under the deal with Zhuhai Yinlong Energy Group (Yinlong), a major Chinese manufacturer of battery electric buses, the Canadian company will provide 10 FCveloCity®-MD 30-kilowatt fuel cell engines to be deployed in Yinlong’s buses throughout the country.

Yinlong plans to deploy and operate 10 fuel cell buses using Ballard’s engines for demonstration and optimisation trials, initially in Beijing later this year, prior to a broader commercial launch throughout China. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

The fuel cell engines will be integrated into the buses new battery hybrid configurations to increase energy and power density and extend operating ranges. Yinlong aims to manufacture approximately 35,000 electric vehicles this year alone as part of its product portfolio expansion to include hybrid fuel cell-powered buses.

Yincang Wei, Chairman of the Board of Yinlong, explained, “We believe adding fuel cell power for range extension will complement our offering of zero-emission buses to meet a variety of operating conditions and duty cycles in Chinese cities. Our ‘20-20 Plan’ is that 20% of our buses sold by 2020 will include fuel cell technology.”

Beijing, like many cities throughout the North Pacific rim country, suffers from severe air pollution, a major driving force for the country’s move towards zero-emission mass transportation alternatives.