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FTA awards almost $16.6M to coordinate fuel cell bus research

US Federal Transit Administration is awarding $6.42 million to the Center for Transportation and the Environment in Atlanta and $10.17 million to CALSTART in Pasadena, CA to coordinate research among fuel cell manufacturers, engineering firms and transit agencies throughout the country for fuel-cell powered buses. Funded projects include:

  • Next Generation Fuel Cell Power System Development Towards Transit Bus Commercialization (Phase I)
    Partner: CALSTART, Pasadena, CA, UTC Power, South Windsor, CT
    Amount: $7,200,000
    The first phase of a multi-phase project to develop a next generation fuel cell power system, leading to commercialization of a fuel cell bus that is compliant with FTA Buy America regulations.

  • Chicago Transit Authority Fuel Cell Bus Demonstration
    Partners: CALSTART, Pasadena, CA; El Dorado Inc., Riverside, CA; Ballard Power Systems Inc., Lowell, MA; BAE Systems Inc., Johnson City, NY; Chicago Transit Authority; Air Products Inc., Allentown, PA.
    Amount: $2,970,000
    Develop and conduct in-service testing for a next generation Buy America compliant fuel cell bus in Chicago’s RTA fleet. This project will demonstrate a fuel cell bus in a large transit agency, with the potential for larger fleets of cell bus procurements, as well as develop and demonstrate new technology that enables operation of fuel cell buses in cold climates.

  • Advanced Composite Fuel Cell Bus Demonstration
    Partners: CTE, Atlanta, GA; Proterra, Greenville, SC; Ballard Power Systems Inc., Lowell, MA; CMRTA, Columbia, SC; Univ of Texas CEM - Austin, TX
    Amount: $2,421,724
    CTE will use the funds to develop and demonstrate a highly-efficient 35-foot Proterra fuel cell bus with an enhanced Ballard HD6 fuel cell and fast-charging capabilities and will demonstrate the bus in revenue service.

  • Birmingham Fuel Cell Bus Demonstration Program
    Partners: CTE, Atlanta, GA; BJCTA - Birmingham, AL; EV America, Chattanooga, TN; UAB- Birmingham, AL; Ballard Power Systems, Lowell, MA; Altairnano, Reno, NV
    Amount: $1,545,148
    CTE will use the funds for continuation of Birmingham’s fuel cell bus demonstration. The funds will support the development and demonstration of a 30-foot battery-dominant fuel cell bus, incorporating advanced Lithium battery technology, with improved range, acceleration, and fuel economy.

  • Austin Demonstration Program Enhancement
    Partners: CTE, Atlanta, GA; CapMetro, Austin, TX; Proterra, Greenville, SC
    Amount: $133,774
    CTE will use the funds to continue operation of Austin’s fuel cell bus demonstration program with enhancements.

  • DC/DC Converter Development Program
    Partners: CTE, Atlanta, GA; Embedded Power Controls, Salem, VA
    Amount: $195,573
    CTE will use the funds to develop an 18 kilowatt DC-DC converter that will interface with equivalent fuel cell systems and traction battery systems with greater efficiency.

  • Coordination of Communications and Outreach for Fuel Cell Bus Program
    Partners: CTE, Atlanta, GA; CIC Research, San Diego, CA
    Amount: $459,120
    CTE will coordinate outreach and communications of fuel cell buses through international and national workgroups, fuel cell bus website, and worldwide report on demonstrations.

  • ECO Saver IV Hybrid Electric Fuel Cell Bus Demonstration Partners: CTE, Atlanta, GA; Ohio State ,Columbus, OH; Design Line, Charlotte, NC; Ballard Power Systems, Lowell, MA
    Amount: $1,667,408
    CTE will use the funds to initiate a project to integrate an advanced Ballard fuel cell with hybrid drive/energy management and storage systems into a commercially viable transit bus using an existing hybrid platform.

Other projects being funded this year include an effort to develop a smaller, less costly and more durable fuel cell power system that will enable commercialization of US fuel cell buses, and an effort to develop and demonstrate a lightweight highly efficient bus that incorporates an improved hybrid-electric drive and enhanced bus design.



NYC FC buses demonstrated the same thing about 10 years years. Was the report lost? Why all this duplication?


Mercedes has had fuel cell buses operating in various large cities around the world for years. Maybe these clowns should talk to Mercedes before spending a boat load of tax payer money.


Three reasons they do this.

1 They need to fund the local comanies working on fuel cells and such.

2 They need to find out exactly how close things are getting.

3 Mandates force them to make new tech busses no matter what the real world might say as to the cost effectiveness of trying it yet again so soon after other governments tried it.


That is it, they want U.S. fuel cell buses. We can all wait for other countries to do it, buy theirs and become even more import dependent or we can make our own and keep the money here. You do not need tariffs, just get with the program and make it home grown.

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