Ballard takes follow-on orders for fuel cell units for locomotives and buses

Ballard Power Systems has received further follow-up orders for its fuel cell modules for locomotives in North America from the Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC), and from Solaris for fuel cell buses in Europe.

Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC) has ordered twelve additional 200 kW modules from Ballard for hydrogen-powered locomotives in the Canadian province of Alberta. In Europe, Solaris has ordered 62 fuel cell units for its hydrogen buses in Europe

Earlier this year, Ballard supplied CPKC with 20 fuel cell engines for use in three different locomotives over the past two years that underwent field testing in 2022 and early 2023. On the strength of these tests, CPKC ordered 18 further modules in August this year and has now followed through with an order for twelve additional modules.

The twelve 200 kW fuel cell engines are planned for delivery in 2023 and will be used in locomotives for regular switching and local freight service applications in Alberta, Canada. Over the past two years, Ballard has supplied CPKC with 38 fuel cell engines for use in its hydrogen locomotives, with a combined fuel cell power of 7.6 MW. The additional locomotives are expected to enter service in late 2024.

“We are excited by CPKC’s vision and action plan to demonstrate and validate the use of hydrogen-powered locomotives to decarbonize their locomotive fleet,” said Seungsoo Jung, Ballard’s Vice President of Rail & Emerging Markets. “This latest order demonstrates CPKC’s continued progress against this vision and plan while also serving as another proof point for the enabling role of Ballard’s fuel cell engines in the electrification of locomotive rail applications in North America.”

The cooperation with Ballard goes back to 2021 when Ballard Power Systems announced that Canadian Pacific would employ Ballard fuel cell modules for its Hydrogen Locomotive Program. As part of this program, CPKC is converting three different types of diesel–electric locomotives into hydrogen–powered locomotives using fuel cells and batteries to power electric traction motors.

It was only in April this year that CPKC resulted from the merger of Canadian Pacific Railway and Kansas City Southern. The rail network now includes the first and only single-line railway connecting Canada, Mexico, and the United States. CPKC itself is headquartered in Calgary. The rail transport authority’s Hydrogen Locomotive program aims to develop North America’s first line–haul hydrogen–powered freight locomotive.

Solaris fuel cell buses in Europe

In Europe, the Polish bus manufacturer Solaris has also ordered further fuel cell modules from Ballard. Most of the 62 new units for hydrogen buses in Europe are to be delivered to Solaris in 2024.

The number of FC modules ordered by Solaris from Ballard since the beginning of the year now stands at almost 350. In October this year, the Polish bus maker ordered 177 modules for delivery from 2023 until 2026. Solaris had already ordered 96 fuel cell modules from Ballard in August.

“The impressive order activity from Solaris gives us confidence in our expectations that the current momentum in our bus vertical will continue into 2024,” said David Mucciacciaro, Ballard’s Chief Commercial Officer. “The commercial traction of hydrogen-powered fuel cell buses in Europe proves the market increasingly understands fuel cell bus advantages including range, refuelling time, similar operating practices as diesel, and scalable infrastructure.” (locomotives), (buses)


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