Connecticut Transit (CTTRANSIT) Fuel Cell Transit Bus Preliminary Evaluation Results
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Connecticut Transit (CTTRANSIT) Fuel Cell Transit Bus Preliminary Evaluation Results

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    This report describes operations at Connecticut Transit (CTTRANSIT) in Hartford for one prototype fuel cell bus and three new diesel buses operating from the same location. The report discusses the planned fuel cell bus demonstration and equipment used (bus and hydrogen fueling), and provides the early results and the agency’s overall experience with the technology. The evaluation periods presented in this report are as follows. Fuel Cell Bus—April 2007 through June 2008 (15 months of operation). Diesel Buses—September 2007 through June 2008 (10 months of operation) In this evaluation report, the fuel cell bus is considered to be prototype technology that is in the process of being commercialized. The analysis and comparison discussions regarding standard diesel buses help baseline the progress of the fuel cell bus technology. There is no intent to consider this implementation of fuel cell buses as commercial (or full revenue transit service). This evaluation focuses on documenting progress and opportunities for improving the vehicles, infrastructure, and procedures. CTTRANSIT unveiled its new fuel cell bus in April 2007. This was not only a first for the agency, but was also the first fuel cell bus to be operated in New England. Prior to this, most fuel cell buses in the United States were used in demonstration projects in California. The design for CTTRANSIT’s bus was leveraged from an earlier procurement of four fuel cell buses now in operation at AC Transit and SunLine in California. Testing the bus in Connecticut provides the project partners with the opportunity to understand how the system operates in a cold and hot, humid climate. Facilities CTTRANSIT was only required to make minor modifications to allow operation of the fuel cell bus in its maintenance facility. More significant facility modifications were not required as long as the fuel cell bus operated only on battery power and the hydrogen fuel was isolated (turned off) during operation within the building. In comparison to earlier fuel cell bus projects, the cost for these modifications was low. The bus is fueled at an existing hydrogen fueling station located within seven miles of the facility, at UTC Power. The site required only a few modifications to enable bus fueling. The hydrogen is produced at Niagara Falls as part of a chemical process using hydropower, is cleaned and liquefied, and then is trucked to Hartford. So far, the fuel cell bus was filled a total of 109 times with 2,486 kg of hydrogen during the evaluation period. Training and Public Awareness To date, CTTRANSIT’s experiences with integrating a fuel cell bus into its operation have been exceptionally easy. CTTRANSIT and its project partners organized a comprehensive training program to provide hydrogen familiarization and detailed maintenance and operations for the fuel cell bus to the appropriate staff. CTTRANSIT also has experienced a high level of interest in the fuel cell bus demonstration from the local community and the larger New England region. The fuel cell bus operates on a free downtown circulator/shuttle (Star) route that makes providing rides to visitors extremely simple. The bus also operates in normal revenue service on other CTTRANSIT local routes on the weekends.
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