October 01, 2013

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has awarded $5.9 million to the Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE) to manage several applied research projects across the USA. These projects, which include full-scale fuel cell bus demonstrations and international outreach, were funded as part of FTA’s National Fuel Cell Bus Program. The projects include collaborations with manufacturers, engineering firms, universities and transit agencies throughout the USA.

In an effort to facilitate development of commercially viable fuel cells bus technologies, CTE will coordinate a new vehicle demonstration with Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit (TCAT) and Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. CTE will also manage the extension of existing demonstration projects at Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit) in Oakland, California and Birmingham Jefferson County Transit Authority in Birmingham, Alabama. In addition, CTE will orchestrate a variety of educational efforts including international workshops and fuel cell bus informational guides to assist transit agencies with adoption of this clean technology.

“Federal investments in fuel cell technology and other green energy sources have been a tremendous catalyst for America’s innovators as they find new ways to power public transportation for the future,” said Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff. “We’re proud of our role in supporting cutting-edge research that protects and creates good jobs.”

CTE’s Central New York demonstration project will build upon the successful ElDorado-BAE Systems “All American” fuel cell bus technology currently in operation at SunLine Transit. The pre-production heavy-duty urban transit bus features a Ballard Power Systems FCvelocity-HD7 fuel cell and BAE Systems HybriDrive® propulsion system. The vehicle is fully fuel cell-powered providing energy efficient propulsion with a full suite of electric accessories, a quieter and more comfortable ride, and zero harmful emissions when compared to conventional buses with combustion engines. Also as part of the project, Cornell University’s School of Business will conduct a commercialisation study for larger scale deployments.

CTE will also manage the extended operation of AC Transit’s 12 fuel cell bus fleet until 2016. The grant provides component support for warranties that began expiring in August 2013. The fleet entered operation in 2010 and has since accumulated 29,649 fuel cell hours over 286,934 miles. The fuel cell buses have provided an 83% increase in fuel economy over the control diesel fleet. This grant will allow these buses to continue to operate for a total of six years of continuous demonstration, providing critical operational and maintenance cost data on performance over time, and fuel cell, battery and drive system durability.

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