Hydrogen buses for Bolzano, Italy

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Hydrogen powered public buses are due to be running on the streets of the northern Italian town of Bolzano by 2021, according to Canadian fuel cell manufacturer Ballard Power Systems.

The British Columbia-based manufacturer this morning revealed it had received an order for a dozen of its FCmove heavy duty fuel cell modules from Polish bus maker Solaris Bus and Coach SA.

Solaris and Ballard both showcased new products at last month’s UITP (Union Internationale des Transports Publics) Global Public Transport Summit 2019 in Stockholm, according to the press release issued by the Canadian company.

The Burnaby-based manufacturer was launching the FCmove module it claims is 35% less costly to maintain than its rivals, offers a service lifetime of 30,000 hours and occupies 40% less volume than its previous version as well as being 35% lighter.

Almost 100 orders

Solaris was showcasing the module in its new Urbino12 hydrogen fuel cell electric bus, which the Polish company says offers a range of 350km for each refuelling.

The FCmove modules will be shipped next year and used in a dozen Urbino12 buses to be deployed on the streets of Bolzano by 2021, according to Ballard. The fuel cell module maker says the latest 12 units take the tally of European orders for its product up to 92 across five European nations after exports were secured for operation in Germany, France, England and Scotland.

Those orders were all secured under the European Commission’s Joint Initiative for Hydrogen Vehicles Across Europe. The ‘JIVE’ program has a €106 million budget to procure 142 hydrogen fuel public transport vehicles across nine countries by the end of 2022. The initiative procures batches of 10-30 buses to benefit from economies of scale and is administered by the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen joint undertaking, which draws together the commission, hydrogen industry body Hydrogen Europe and research organization Hydrogen Europe Research.

Ballard did not reveal the value of the 12-module order secured from Solaris.