Photo by CCAT
The transit bus market is ideal for initiating the first steps towards a hydrogen economy. Hydrogen fuel cell powered buses can provide urban and commercial areas with advantages over typical transportation methods due to their quiet, greenhouse gas emission free capabilities.
These hydrogen fuel cell buses operate entirely on electricity which is cleanly generated from hydrogen and oxygen. Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe and oxygen can be found from the surrounding air.
As part of the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) National Fuel Cell Bus Program (NFCBP), a team led by the Northeast Advanced Vehicle Consortium (NAVC) and UTC Power developed four next-generation fuel cell electric buses (FCEB) as part of the Connecticut Nutmeg Fuel Cell Bus Demonstration Program. The first fuel cell bus in Connecticut (above) was deployed by CTTRANSIT in 2007. This fuel cell bus was a prototype developed by UTC Power, ISE Corporation, and Van Hool. The bus utilized a hybrid system in which a UTC Power fuel cell and ZEBRA batteries provide electricity to two electric drive motors that were coupled to the driveline through a combining gearbox. The bus had a hydrogen storage capacity of 50 kg at 5,000 psi. Four more FCEB were added in 2010. Connecticut was home to one of the largest hydrogen fuel cell bus fleets in the country. CTTRANSIT plans to operate this fuel cell bus for as long as possible although the agency’s primary focus will transition to the new fuel cell bus project under the FTA’s National Fuel Cell Bus Program (NFCBP). Under this project, CTTRANSIT will operate up to four new fuel cell buses from Van Hool and UTC Power. The United States Department of Energy National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will continue to evaluate fuel cell bus operations under funding from FTA and as part of the NFCBP