A Clean Air Endurance Record for a Hydrogen Fuel Cell Stack
A hydrogen fuel cell powering a Van Hool transit bus operated by the Oakland, Calif.-based Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District has logged 20,000 hours of continuous operation – “a record-breaking milestone.” updated August 19
The proton exchange membrane fuel cell, manufactured by Connecticut’s UTC Power, was not expected to operate beyond 5,000 hours, or about one year of service for an AC Transit bus.
“With 20,000 hours of zero emission service,” states and announcement by AC Transit and CTE, the Center for Transportation and the Environment, “AC Transit’s quiet-running fuel cell bus has helped to improve the overall air quality, dramatically reducing the amount of noise and pollution in the communities it serves.
Like Taking 108 Cars Off the Road
“By itself, the fuel cell bus has removed 1,134,000 pounds of CO2 from the atmosphere – equivalent to planting 13,189 trees or taking 108 passenger vehicles off the road for one year.”
CTE obtained a $1.8 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration in 2013 to provide continuing service and support for AC Transit’s fuel cell bus fleet through 2016.
“The performance of AC Transit’s fuel cell fleet is impressive and clearly leading the way to commercialize fuel cell technology,” said CTE executive director Dan Raudebaugh.
AC Transit currently operates 12 of the zero emission Van Hool buses that together have logged more than 150,000 hours of service.
“The fuel cell bus is a workhorse, quietly and cleanly logging thousands of passenger miles over the years and still going strong,” California Air Resources Board chair Mary Nichols said in the AC-CTE announcement. “CARB’s strategic investment in this demonstration project has shown that hydrogen fuel cells are a viable option for transit agencies in tough, demanding applications.”
‘An Environmentally and Economically Viable Product’
“This milestone is proof that fuel cell technology is an environmentally and economically viable product for the future of mass transit,” US Hybrid president and CEO Abas Goodarzi said in his company’s release.
“This latest milestone of over 20,000 hours of continuous power plant operation exceeds the DOE/FTA target of 18,000 hours by 2016,” US Hybrid said.
The intellectual property for UTC’s proton exchange membrane fuel cells was subsequently acquired by Ballard Power Systems. Early this year Ballard said it was selling the automotive-related portion of the fuel cell IP assets from UTC to the Volkswagen Group for $50 million U.S.
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Source: CTE and AC Transit with Fleets & Fuels follow-up