Buses will be eligible for US$150,000 government subsidy.
VANCOUVER — Ballard Power Systems has received an order from an unnamed Chinese customer to supply its FCvelocityTM-HD7 fuel cell power modules for eight transit buses in China.
The Vancouver-based fuel cell manufacturer expects to ship the modules this year.
China’s rapid economic expansion is resulting in public concern regarding deteriorating levels of air quality. The country’s government has invested heavily in renewables to save energy and reduce emissions.
The size and rapid growth of China’s economy has resulted in considerably larger carbon dioxide emissions than other nations. In 2013, China’s carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels accounted for 29% of the global total, compared to 15% from the US.
This growth has also spawned the largest commercial vehicle segment in the world, including the manufacture of more than 70,000 city buses in 2011. Automotive emissions contributed more than 33% of the air pollution in Beijing, Shanghai and the Pearl River Delta Region.
A new energy program, launched in 2011 and involving 48 Chinese cities, aims to expand public transit and reduce the number of vehicles in cities. One of the program’s goals is to deploy more than 1,000 clean energy buses in each of its participating cities, taking advantage of government subsidies.
Fuel cell buses, along with electric buses, are eligible for a subsidy of approximately US$150,000 through 2017. Hydrogen fueling stations are eligible for a further subsidy of US$650,000.
“[There is] meaningful evidence of growing demand for clean energy mass transportation alternatives in China, including both buses and trams,” said Randy MacEwen, Ballard’s president and CEO. “This demand is being driven by a pressing need to address [China’s] challenging air quality issues, for which fuel cell technology is seen as an emerging option.”