Ballard Hydrogen Fuel Cell Modules Powering Freight Trucks in Canadian Hydrogen Project

May 07, 2019 by Scott McMahan

Ballard Power Systems reported that it will supply next-generation FCmove®-HD fuel cell modules using the company's LCS technology to power two tractor-trailer trucks as part of a C$15 million (US$11.2 million) Alberta Zero-Emissions Truck Electrification Collaboration (AZETEC) project. The project will test the ability of hydrogen to fuel the Province of Alberta's heavy-duty freight transportation sector. The project is seen as a first step in investigating a potential made-in-Alberta hydrogen economy.

Ballard will supply a total of six FCmove®-HD fuel cell modules, each generating 70kW of power. Three modules will be installed in each truck. These modules will employ Ballard's LCS technology that the company intends to release commercially in 2019.

The AZETEC project is expected to help ensure the continuation of a timely, efficient and cost-effective supply chain of goods. The supply chain of goods will be transported via 64-tonne B-train tractor-trailers carrying very large freight loads over long distances.

The project will test the use of hydrogen as a zero-emissions alternative fuel to diesel. It will also study the refueling infrastructure and other systems that would be needed for Alberta to implement this new fuel solution.

The 3-year project also will also examine hydrogen fuel's potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and airborne pollutants from Alberta's freight transportation sector.

In addition to Ballard, other project participants will include: project manager Dana Inc., a maker of heavy-duty electric drive axles; Zen Clean Energy Solutions; Nordresa, a Quebec-based electric drive train producer; Daimler, a maker of freightliner truck bodies; hydrogen producers, Air Products and Praxair; and Hydrogen Technology & Energy Corporation (HTEC), a hydrogen solutions and infrastructure provider.

Freight transportation accounts for nearly 70% of diesel fuel demand in Alberta and produces about 12 million tonnes of greenhouse gases (GHGs) annually in the Province.

The AZETEC project is scheduled to run until mid-2022. It will involve the design and manufacturing of two heavy-duty, extended-range, hydrogen fuel cell electric hybrid trucks that will transport freight year-round between the cities of Edmonton and Calgary, Alberta.

Alberta trucking companies Trimac Transportation and Bison Transport will operate the 64-tonne (gross vehicle weight) B-train tractor-trailers, developed for Alberta's unique operating environment. The tractor trailers will be capable of traveling up to 430 miles (700 km) between refuelings. By the end of the project the trucks will have traveled more than 300,000 miles (500,000 km) and carried about 20 million tonne-km (12 million tonne-miles) of freight.

"The tractor-trailer trucks being used in the AZETEC project are the first Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles - or FCEVs - of this size and capacity to be built and tested anywhere globally. We are delighted to expand Ballard's participation in FCEV truck trials across a growing range of sizes and classes, as we demonstrate the compelling value proposition that fuel cells offer for Heavy and Medium Duty Motive applications requiring long range, rapid refueling, heavy payloads and route flexibility," Rob Campbell, Ballard Chief Commercial Officer said.

The AZETEC project builds on more than a year's worth of research that the Canadian Energy Systems Analysis Research (CESAR) Initiative performed including data analysis and scenario modeling.

Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) is contributing over C$7.3 million (US$5.4 million) to the AZETEC project, which is led by the Alberta Motor Transportation Association. ERA is funding the project through its competitive BEST Challenge program. The BEST Challenge program targets technologies that demonstrate a potential for reducing GHG emissions in Alberta and securing the province's success in a lower-carbon economy.