Fuel Cell Buses in U.S. Transit Fleets : Current Status 2013
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Fuel Cell Buses in U.S. Transit Fleets : Current Status 2013

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      This report is the seventh in an annual series of reports that summarize the progress of fuel cell electric bus (FCEB) development in the United States and discuss the achievements and challenges of introducing fuel cell propulsion in transit. This report provides a summary of results from evaluations performed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Fuel Cell Technologies Office and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Transit Administration (FTA). Summary results from August 2012 through July 2013 for these buses account for more than 241,579 miles traveled and 21,301 hours of fuel cell power system operation. The summary results are from five demonstrations at four transit agencies: Zero Emission Bay Area (ZEBA) Demonstration Group led by Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit). Connecticut Transit (CTTRANSIT) Nutmeg Project. SunLine Transit Agency: Advanced Technology FCEB and American Fuel Cell Bus Project. Proterra bus demonstration at Capital Metro in Austin, Texas. In late July 2013, NREL began working with British Columbia (BC) Transit to conduct a third-party evaluation of the FCEB fleet in Whistler, Canada. This evaluation is being funded by the California Air Resources Board. Because of that involvement, NREL is expanding the annual status report to include FCEB demonstrations in Canada. NREL is currently analyzing data on the BC Transit buses. Because the analysis is not complete, the results are not included in this report. A summary of the results will be included in the 2014 status report. With the addition of the BC Transit buses, NREL’s evaluations cover 35 of the 38 FCEBs currently operating in North America. DOE and FTA have established performance, cost, and durability targets for FCEBs. These targets, established with industry input, include interim targets for 2016 and ultimate targets for commercialization. Table ES-1 summarizes the performance of the FCEBs in the report compared to these targets. DOE/FTA set an ultimate performance target of 4–6 years (or 25,000 hours) durability for the fuel cell propulsion system, with an interim target of 18,000 hours by 2016. Manufacturers have continued to make significant progress toward meeting the target over the last year. As of July 2013, NREL documented a single fuel cell power plant (FCPP) that has reached 13,800 hours. Two more FCPPs have reached 10,000 and 9,000 hours. Availability continues to vary from site to site with data from the last year ranging from a low of 31% up to a high of 81%, with the overall average at 69%. There appears to be a general upward trend for availability over time, despite extensive downtime for two of the projects. The most common issue affecting the availability for the buses was general bus maintenance, followed by traction batteries and the fuel cell system.
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