At a recent kick-off ceremony of the major projects of Foshan Yunfu Eco Environmental Protection Industries International Cooperation Zone, local and foreign guests took a special type of transportation to the venue – the first hydrogen fuel cell bus manufactured in Guangdong province.

The bus will be joined by another 28 buses next year, all of which will be used for public transport in Foshan and Yunfu for demonstration operation.

The bus can carry 78 passengers and consumes 7kg of hydrogen for each 100km, and can achieve a range of 300km when fully fuelled.

It was jointly developed by a consortium comprised of Guangdong Guohong Hydrogen Energy Technology Company Ltd, Foshan Feichi Bus Manufacturing Co Ltd, Energy Conservation and New Energy Vehicles Engineering Centre of Qinghua University, and Ballard Power Systems Inc of Canada. The bus is driven by the latest generation of HD-7 proton exchange membrane hydrogen fuel cells developed by Ballard.

The development is seen as the ground breaking of the hydrogen energy industry of the dedicated zone _ it is expected that commercial production will start in mid 2016, with the ultimate goal to produce 12,000 sets of hydrogen fuel cell modules for buses each year and to manufacture 3,000 fuel cell buses each year. This would see the zone become the largest production base of hydrogen-powered buses in the country, and potentially even in the world.

China business deal financial

Parallel development

Meanwhile in Xiamen, China, there is parallel developments in the hydrogen bus market, with Ballard again involved.

The second-largest bus manufacturer in the world – Xiamen King Long United Automotive Industry Co., Ltd – announced its strategic collaboration with Ballard Power Systems Inc. to design and deploy hydrogen-powered buses.

The two companies will work jointly on the development, optimisation and production of a prototype fuel cell bus, and Ballard will supply its proprietary fuel cells and technical support.

Randy MacEwen, Ballard’s President and CEO, said of the deal, “We are delighted to be working with the second-largest bus OEM in the world on this important fuel cell bus design and market opportunity. Together, we are looking to optimize the design in order to improve performance, while lowering cost.”

“This will help drive fuel cell buses to cost parity with incumbent bus technologies. King Long’s strategic commitment to fuel cell bus deployment represents further validation of the substantial potential for zero-emission mass transit solutions in China and beyond.”

Lian Xiaoqiang, Chairman of the Board of King Long, also added, “As the public bus market continues to develop towards low carbon solutions, fuel cell technology will be the major development for the future. The strategy of King Long is to lead the bus industry into the future by collaborating with Ballard, which is the world cutting-edge PEM fuel cell company.”

“The field experience of Ballard in the development of fuel cell bus power system is unparalleled. Ballard carries a strong brand for fuel cell leadership in China and King Long is also a strong brand of leadership and innovation in the bus industry.”