TransLink, the Greater Vancouver (Canada) Transportation Authority, has put two test buses powered by a hydrogen-compressed natural gas blend (HCNG) into regular passenger service. The buses, converted 1998 New Flyer coaches that are part of TransLink’s Bus Demonstration Project, have been going through evaluation for the past two years.
Westport Innovations upgraded the 8.3-liter C Gas Plus engines in the buses to run on a mix of 80% CNG and 20% hydrogen, obtained through the Integrated Waste Hydrogen Utilization Project (IWHUP). (Earlier post.)
The HCNG-fueled engines produce 40% less NOx (NOx) than straight CNG, along with 20% fewer hydrocarbons and 11% less greenhouse gas.
TransLink, working with its partners Sacré-Davey, Westport Innovations and Clean Energy, plans to convert two more buses to HCNG and evaluate all four in revenue service over the next 18 months.
Only one other transit system in North America uses HCNG: SunLine Transit in Palm Springs, California.
A report on Phase Two of the Bus Demonstration Project—evaluating the performance of CNG, low-sulphur diesels and diesel-electric hybrids as well as the new electric trolley buses—is expected this fall.
An updated report covering the HCNG buses will come out in the spring of 2008. That report will assist TransLink directors and staff in deciding whether to bring these technologies into wider service in the region.
TransLink is contributing just over C$2 million to the HCNG project, of which C$1 million is an in-kind contribution—foregoing 18 months’ revenue service on the two buses during the initial testing period. The remainder is funded by the Government of Canada through IWHUP.