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Fuel Cell Buses in U.S. Transit Fleets: Current Status 2016
  • Published Date:
    2016-11-01
  • Language:
    English
Filetype[PDF-1.60 MB]


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  • Abstract:
    This report, published annually, summarizes the progress of fuel cell electric bus (FCEB) development in the United States and discusses the achievements and challenges of introducing fuel cell propulsion in transit. The report provides a summary of results from evaluations performed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Funding for this effort is provided by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Fuel Cell Technologies Office within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA). NREL publishes individual reports on each demonstration that focus on the results and experiences for that specific project. The annual status report combines results from all of those FCEB demonstrations, tracks the progress of the FCEB industry toward meeting technical targets (as shown in Table ES-1), documents the lessons learned, and discusses the path forward for commercial viability of fuel cell technology for transit buses. Its intent is to inform FTA and DOE decision makers who direct research and funding, state and local government agencies that fund new propulsion technology transit buses, and interested transit agencies and industry manufacturers. The 2016 summary results primarily focus on the most recent year for each demonstration, from August 2015 through July 2016. The results for these buses account for more than 550,000 miles traveled and 59,500 hours of fuel cell power system operation. The primary results presented in the report are from three demonstrations of two different fuel-cell-dominant bus designs: Zero Emission Bay Area Demonstration Group led by Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit) in California. American Fuel Cell Bus Project at SunLine Transit Agency in California. American Fuel Cell Bus Project at the University of California at Irvine (UCI). NREL considers these FCEB designs to be around technology readiness level (TRL) 7, that is, full-scale validation in a relevant environment. At this point in development, capital and operating costs for FCEBs are still much higher than those of conventional diesel technology. This is to be expected considering diesel is a very mature technology (TRL 9) and FCEBs are still in the development stage.

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