Fuel Cell Buses in U.S. Transit Fleets: Current Status 2010
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Fuel Cell Buses in U.S. Transit Fleets: Current Status 2010

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      This past year has been one of transition for the introduction of fuel cell transit buses. The existing generation of fuel cell buses from Van Hool and UTC Power has continued to operate in service at three transit agencies. At the same time, a new generation of fuel cell bus from Van Hool and UTC Power transit bus has been developed, including 12 new buses for AC Transit and the Zero Emission Bay Area (ZEBA) demonstration group and 4 new buses for UTC Power with operation planned at Connecticut Transit (CTTRANSIT) and New York City Transit (NYCT). Delivery of these new buses has begun with 6 of the 16 buses between the two operating locations. During this reporting period for bus operation (August 2009 to July 2010), two of the five existing fuel cell buses from Van Hool and UTC Power were retired and one of the fuel cell power systems was installed into a new fuel cell bus. At the same time, several new fuel cell bus designs have been introduced or are progressing toward introduction into service and demonstration. This includes the battery dominant Proterra fuel cell bus with fuel cell systems from Hydrogenics. One bus is in demonstration in Columbia, South Carolina, and one in Burbank, California. New Flyer, ISE, and Ballard introduced their 20 new fuel cell buses in Vancouver, Canada in time for the Winter Olympics. One bus of this design has started service at SunLine Transit Agency during the reporting period in this report. Another demonstration at San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) is nearly ready to start with an Orion bus with hybrid propulsion from BAE Systems and new electric accessories and an auxiliary power unit fuel cell power system from Hydrogenics. A few more fuel cell bus designs are also expected in the next year. This year’s assessment report provides the results from the fifth year of operation of five Van Hool, ISE, and UTC Power fuel cell buses operating at AC Transit, SunLine, and CTTRANSIT. This will be the last assessment report solely focused on this fuel cell bus design. Two of the AC Transit fuel cell buses completed their service during the evaluation period in this report and the third bus is expected to be retired in the next year. The other two existing fuel cell buses operating at SunLine and CTTRANSIT will be operated until the buses are no longer serviceable or supported by the manufacturers. The achievements and challenges of this bus design, implementation, and operation are presented in this report with a focus on the next steps for implementing larger numbers of fuel cell buses and new and different designs of fuel cell buses. The achievements and challenges are presented in six categories: Bus Operations, Reliability/Durability, Optimization of Components/Systems, Preparation for Market Introduction, Hydrogen Fueling, and Cost Reduction. The major positive result from nearly five years of operation is the dramatic increase in reliability experienced for the fuel cell power system. In preparation for the larger number of buses at AC Transit, two new fueling stations are being constructed with a design to accommodate up to 25 fuel cell buses being fueled nightly. Next year’s report will add the newer design fuel cell buses mentioned above and will include several new operating locations and the experience with fueling and infrastructure.
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