Fuel Cell Buses in U.S. Transit Fleets : Current Status 2012
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Fuel Cell Buses in U.S. Transit Fleets : Current Status 2012

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      This report is the sixth 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. The report also provides a snapshot of current FCEB performance results over the last year. There are 25 active FCEBs in demonstrations this year at eight locations. Previous reports outlined the six-stage process that manufacturers typically use in developing new prototype transit buses. To better align this status report with other programs within DOE, NREL developed a guideline for assessing the technology readiness level (TRL) for FCEBs. This TRL guide begins with basic technology research at TRL 1—early concept development—and moves through the TRLs to demonstration and eventually to TRL9—deployment. The technology demonstration/commissioning phase that includes TRLs 6 through 8 begins the iterative process to validate the design, analyze the results, and reconfigure or optimize the design as needed. This report also provides a summary of results from evaluations performed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Transit Administration (FTA). These evaluations cover 21 of the 25 FCEBs currently operating. Summary results from August 2011 through July 2012 for these buses account for more than 248,200 miles traveled and 24,930 hours of fuel cell power system operation. The summary results are from four demonstrations at three 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 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 2012, NREL documented a single fuel cell power plant (FCPP) that has reached 12,000 hours. Two more FCPPs are approaching 10,000 and 8,000 hours.
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