The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced today that it will provide $12 million in funding for several major advanced fuel-cell bus projects to CALSTART, the California operating division of WestStart-CALSTART. The projects will advance fuel-cell activities across California—in Oakland, San Francisco, the Coachella Valley and Southern California.
The CALSTART projects will include new projects as well as enhancements of existing fuel cell bus demonstration programs at AC Transit in Oakland and at SunLine Transit in the Coachella Valley. UTC Power will provide the fuel cell for the SunLine and AC Transit buses. New Flyer Industries will develop a purpose-built bus specifically designed for fuel-cell applications for the SunLine project.
CALSTART led a coalition of industry, government, and non-profit organizations to secure $49 million in the federal transportation reauthorization legislation. The program provided targeted funding for the fuel-cell bus industry because it’s seen as a likely early adopter of the technology. Hydrogen is more viable in a mass transit application because it doesn’t require a widespread re-fueling infrastructure and the large fuel-storage cylinders can be placed on the roof of the buses.
In addition to the funding provided for the AC Transit and SunLine projects, the FTA is providing $5.35 million for the development of a battery-dominant fuel-cell hybrid bus with the San Francisco Municipal Railways (Muni). BAE Systems will provide the hybrid propulsion system and do the systems integration on the bus.
Additional funding totaling nearly $300,000 was provided to develop a hybrid fuel-cell power converter and an integrated auxiliary module for fuel-cell buses. These components play small but important roles in improving the efficiency and lowering the cost of fuel cell buses. US Hybrid will be the lead contractor on those two projects.
The full $12 million will be provided to CALSTART which will be responsible for managing the over-all multi-year program. CALSTART will then provide the funding to the companies mentioned above.