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Canadian government funds Ballard to advance fuel cell module tech for transit buses

Vancouver-based Ballard Power Systems has been awarded up to C$4.8 million (US$4.5 million) by Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), for a project to further develop its fuel cell power module technology for the transit bus market. Design improvements will be implemented on test buses to be operated in Metro Vancouver from the fourth quarter of 2010.

In the development project funded by SDTC, Ballard Power Systems and its system integration partner, California-based ISE Corporation, will design, assemble and test key subcomponents for Ballard’s FCvelocity™-HD6 fuel cell power module and the hybrid electric drive system.

Refinement of this critical new technology will facilitate the commercial introduction of fuel cell hybrid buses by reducing cost, improving durability and robustness of select subsystems, and improving overall bus performance.

‘Heavy-duty diesel vehicles account for almost half of Canada’s road transportation greenhouse gas emissions,’ says Vicky Sharpe, President and CEO of SDTC. ‘The technology developed by Ballard will increase the cost-effectiveness and performance of fuel cell hybrid buses, making them more accessible to public transit authorities, and helping Canada to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.’

‘This level of support from the Canadian federal government and SDTC will have a measurable impact on the evolution of clean energy fuel cell products for commercial mass transit applications here in Canada, and in locations around the globe,’ adds Michael Goldstein, Chief Commercial Officer of Ballard.

The Ballard power module is a ‘plug-and-play’ polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell based product that enables system integrators to build clean energy buses more easily and at lower cost. The fuel cell hybrid platform eliminates all emissions from bus tailpipes, while meeting the demands of range and duty cycle for virtually any bus route.

SDTC operates two funds to develop and demonstrate innovative technological solutions. The C$550 million SD Tech Fund™ supports projects that address climate change, air quality, clean water, and clean soil. The C$500 million NextGen Biofuels Fund™ supports the establishment of first-of-kind, large demonstration-scale facilities for the production of next-generation renewable fuels.

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