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Fuel Cell Hybrid Bus Begins Service In Hartford

CTTRANSIT fuel cell bus.

New England’s first zero-emission fuel cell-powered hybrid bus in regular urban service made its debut today in ceremonies at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, Connecticut. 

The 40-foot bus will immediately enter CTTRANSIT service and operate first on the free downtown Hartford Star Shuttle route, and then in a few months on other routes that serve the capital city and surrounding towns. This will be done to meet the project goal of testing the bus in all types of typical transit service, including low and high speeds, and routes with steep grades.

CTTRANSIT and project partners will gather and analyze data on fuel economy, maintenance costs and reliability. 

The Greater Hartford Transit District contracted last year with UTC Power for the fuel cell-powered bus and two years of program support, including the use of a hydrogen refueling station located at UTC Power’s headquarters in South Windsor, Connecticut. The bus was transferred to CTTRANSIT, Connecticut’s state-owned bus system. Operation of the bus will be funded by the Connecticut Department of Transportation. (Earlier post.)

In addition to UTC Power and CTTRANSIT, the special project partnership includes AC Transit of Oakland, California, which now has three UTC Power fuel cell-powered buses in operation; Van Hool of Belgium, one of the world’s largest bus and coach manufacturers; and ISE Corporation of Poway, California, a leading integrator of hybrid-electric and integrated fuel cell drive systems for buses.

Components of the fuel cell bus. Click to enlarge. Source: ISE Corp.

The bus, similar to those in service with AC Transit in Oakland, California features a UTC PureMotion 120 kW fuel cell system as the power source for the ISE hybrid drive. The PureMotion stack combines oxygen from the air with hydrogen gas stored on-board the bus, at low, near-ambient pressure, removing the need for a compressor and increasing fuel efficiency and reliability.

The bus stores 50kg of hydrogen at 5,000 psi in Type III tanks on the roof and has a range of 250-300 miles. The drive system features dual 170 kW rated (300 kW peak) AC induction motors and a Zebra sodium nickel chloride battery pack.

A $2.9 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to the Greater Hartford Transit District has funded the bus and infrastructure to support this and future fuel cell transportation projects in Greater Hartford.

Additionally, UTC Power and its partners are participating in three multimillion-dollar zero-emission transit bus projects in California and Washington, D.C., as part of an FTA $49 million cost-shared program. Congress established the National Fuel Cell Bus Technology Development Program in 2005 to facilitate development of commercially viable fuel cell bus technology.  The FTA goal is to have fuel cell buses represent 10% of new US transit bus purchases starting in the year 2015.

UTC Power’s PureMotion fuel cell system for transit buses represents more than six years of research and development in partnership with the US Department of Defense through the US Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command and the US Department of Transportation through the Northeast Advanced Vehicle Consortium.



The more long term testing of these configurations the more we will know. Some will say "where are they going to get the hydrogen?" You could ask where are they going to get the NG, oil, gasoline or diesel in the not too distant future as well.

Cheryl Ho

There are DME developments in China today and Since DME has an advantage of decomposition at lower temperature than methane and LPG, R&D for hydrogen source for fuel cell has been carried out.

If you would like to know more on the latest DME developments, join us at upcoming North Asia DME / Methanol conference in Beijing, 27-28 June 2007, St Regis Hotel. The conference covers key areas which include:

DME productivity can be much higher especially if
country energy policies makes an effort comparable to
that invested in increasing supply.
National Development Reform Commission NDRC
Ministry of Energy for Mongolia

Production of DME/ Methanol through biomass
gasification could potentially be commercialized
Shandong University completed Pilot plant in Jinan and
will be sharing their experience.

Advances in conversion technologies are readily
available and offer exciting potential of DME as a
chemical feedstock
By: Kogas, Lurgi and Haldor Topsoe

Available project finance supports the investments
that DME/ Methanol can play a large energy supply role
By: International Finance Corporation

For more information:

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