Ballard Power Systems today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement with Tangshan Railway Vehicle Company, Limited (TRC) for development of a new fuel cell module that will be designed to meet the requirements of tram or Modern Ground Rail Transit Equipment applications.
The value of this work to Ballard is approximately $3 million and represents the next step toward a commercial product, following the June 2015 signing and announcement of a framework agreement between the Companies.
Randy MacEwen, Ballard's President and CEO said, "The growing need for mass transit solutions in China, together with acknowledgement of the severe air quality issues, certainly makes fuel cell-powered trams an intriguing market opportunity. And Ballard is well positioned to address this opportunity, given our ongoing work with TRC."
This agreement contemplates that TRC trams will use next-generation Ballard fuel cell power modules designed specifically for the Modern Ground Rail Transit Equipment application, with a goal of powering the initial prototype by 2016. The purpose-designed product is expected to deliver at least 200 kilowatts of power and have a lifetime of at least 20,000 operating hours.
A representative of TRC said, "The selection of Ballard Power Systems as our cooperation partner was based on their demonstrated leadership in fuel cell technology and their extensive field experience. Addressing the market need for clean energy trams is something we are keen to accomplish, given the history of innovation at TRC and at Ballard. Based on the beginning of good cooperation, TRC is interested in further cooperation with Ballard."
The agreement was finalized during a British Columbia trade mission to China, led by Premier Christy Clark.
"As countries look for solutions to address climate change, British Columbia's world-class clean technology industry is making a real difference," Premier Christy Clark said. "The agreement between Tangshan Railway Vehicle Company and Ballard Power Systems is a prime example of a market-leading B.C. firm addressing a real commercial challenge with groundbreaking solutions. That's why B.C.'s clean tech sector continues to attract new investment and create jobs that British Columbians depend on."
TRC was established in 1881 as China's first manufacturer of locomotives and rolling stock. In the Company's many years of operation it has delivered a number of important "firsts" in China, including the first: locomotive; passenger train; freight wagon; inspection train; titling train; and 70% low-floor light rail train. In January 2011, TRC also recorded the world's fastest railway test speed of 487.3 kilometers per hour (302 miles per hour).
In aggregate, TRC has manufactured more than 10,000 trains throughout its long history. Headquartered in Tangshan, Hebei province of China, today TRC offers a range of electric train cars and magnetic levitation products as well as technologies for electric multiple unit (EMU) system integration and network controls.