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Fuel Cell Buses in U.S. Transit Fleets: Current Status 2011
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    his report is the fifth in a series of annual status reports that summarize the progress resulting from fuel cell transit bus demonstrations in the United States and provide a discussion of the achievements and challenges of fuel cell propulsion in transit. Progress this year includes an increase in the number of fuel cell electric buses (FCEBs), from 15 to 25, operating at eight transit agencies. The operating FCEBs include 16 new buses from Van Hool and UTC Power that use a Siemens hybrid electric propulsion system and Ener1 lithium-based batteries for energy storage. These buses are operating in two locations: 12 in San Francisco, California; and 4 in Hartford, Connecticut. This represents the largest FCEB demonstration in the United States. Three of the FCEBs in the San Francisco Zero Emission Bay Area (ZEBA) demonstration are accumulating significant fuel cell power system operating hours—at 6,000, 7,500, and 10,000 hours without any significant issues or cell replacements. This represents significant progress toward meeting targets for reliability and durability of the fuel cell power system in this application. Additionally, the newer buses that began operating this past year have increased the diversity of the fuel cell design options for transit buses. In previous years, the focus has been on fuel cell dominant hybrid electric bus designs (accounting for 19 of the current 25 FCEBs). Several new FCEBs have been introduced with battery dominant fuel cell hybrid electric designs. This bus design has a larger energy storage system and a relatively small fuel cell power system that charges the batteries and acts primarily as a range extender (accounting for 5 of the current 25 FCEBs). One of the new FCEBs uses a small fuel cell power system as an auxiliary power unit for electric accessories; this system can also be used to help propel the hybrid electric bus. This report also provides a summary of evaluation results from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) 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 22 of the 25 FCEBs currently operating. Summary results through July 2011 for these buses account for nearly 400,000 miles and 37,500 hours of fuel cell power system operation. Fuel economy has achieved twice that of standard diesel buses, but these results are highly duty cycle dependent. Roadcall results for the FCEBs have shown great improvement, with some FCEBs achieving more than 10,000 miles between roadcalls (MBRC). Hydrogen dispensed into the buses includes more than 101,000 kg with no fueling safety incidents. In the next year, several more FCEBs (a total of up to 32 buses) and operating sites are expected to begin demonstration; these will be included in next year’s status report. And by the next report, the 16 new Van Hool/UTC Power FCEBs will have a full year’s operation and analysis. results

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