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DOT awarding $13.1M to 11 projects under National Fuel Cell Bus Program

US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced $13.1 million in federal funding for 11 research and demonstration projects under FTA’s National Fuel Cell Bus Program.

The funds are shared by Calstart in Pasadena, Calif.; the Center for Transportation and the Environment in Atlanta, Ga.; and the Northeast Advanced Vehicle Consortium in Boston, Mass. All three will engage in work to develop various fuel cell components; test US-made buses under real-world conditions powered by fuel cells; and conduct educational outreach.

According to the National Renewable Energy Lab and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), every fuel cell-powered bus put into service in the US could reduce the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere by 100 tons annually and eliminate the need for 9,000 gallons of fuel every year over the life of the vehicle. For buses currently running on diesel fuel, that translates into a savings of more than $37,000 per year, per vehicle.

FTA’s National Fuel Cell Bus program was created in 2005 to develop affordable hydrogen fuel cell buses for the nation’s public transit agencies, and to increase public acceptance of fuel cell-powered vehicles. The 11 projects were selected from among 26 proposals seeking $52 million in federal funds.

Source: FTA. Click to enlarge.


Henry Gibson

A very expensive fuel cell is not needed to achieve the reductions in fuel use proposed by this project. UPS has demonstrated the much higher efficiencies of hydraulic hybrids for large vehicles as well as the use of the Prius has demonstrated the lower fuel use of the electric hybrid.

Artemis demonstrated double efficiency in city traffic of an ordinary automobile with its switched hydraulic hybrid technology. INNAS NOAX has a no crankshaft free-piston hydraulic pump which is the ultimate in stop go operation.

Hydraulic gas pressure accumulators are simple very high power energy stores as demonstrated by UPS Artemis and others. Steam locomotives made great use of this feature resulting in many fireless locomotives, and the unique Kitson-Still diesel locomotive that died because North Sea oil had not yet been found, and it was not built in California by the Southern Pacific railway which used oil in most of its steam locomotives.

Two flywheel hydraulic hybrids from Parry People movers doubled or tripled the fuel efficiency of a railway branch line service for several years now even with expanded operation. The Artemis switched hydraulic technology could have even improved the efficiency beyond this.

The high efficiencies of the English flywheel locomotives with their very efficient simple electrical system allowed electric locomotives to transit gaps in third rail electrification systems without notice before diesel engines were well built and cheap and lightweight.

The magic associated with the name "fuel cell" is dimmed by its cost and complexity and the actual low well-to-wire efficiency of the crude-fuel-to-hydrogen-process.

The largest diesel burning engines in the world are used in ships and can have efficiencies as high as commercial fuel cells but use very low cost fuel and could even burn liquid natural gas methane as a major part of their fuel.

The ZEBRA battery and its proposed GE version the Durathon sodium nickel chloride cells are quite adequate for transit buses that can be recharged at some or many stops with energy that is far cheaper than any petroleum. A lightweight highspeed OPOC powered range extender can keep the vehicle moving far beyond any grid for un-schedualed or emergency use. Even Bladen jets are interesting as range extenders. Capstone turbines have been continuously used as range extenders of transit buses for about a decade. But larger banks of less expensive mass produced ZEBRA cells are indicated for scheduled transit needs and range extenders are seldom used or needed and do not need to be expensive high efficiency fuel cells. ..HG..

Roger Pham

"A very expensive fuel cell..." is no longer. HFC is becoming more and more affordable.

Where do one gets the H2? Eventually, from surplus solar and wind electricity. That's how one increases the value of intermittent renewable energy sources and help reduce the payback time for these investments. H2 as storage means for intermittent energy sources is a lot cheapter than battery by an order of magnitude, and won't be subjected to calender life issue. More H2-fueled vehicles using renewable energy, more saving from costly petroleum that is getting more and more costly, while renewable energy is getting cheaper and cheaper.


There is no technical or cost problems with fuelcells cars or truck or bus. The only problem is to start hydrogen stations. Hydrogen stations can be powered by a combination of water and windmills and solar panels or electricity from the grid when there is no wind or sun. As soon as this system is started somewhere then gasoline/diesel prices will start decreasing because hydrogen will be the only competitor to ice/gasoline-diesel market.


I see alot of you forget why this is happening. Zev mandates.

Many cities declared zev mandates for thier bus fleets and batteries alone couldnt fill the mandate so they HAD TO BUILD FUEL CELL BUSSES.

The interesting thing is tho that it is turning out to be a very good thing as these busses are projected to actualy cost less to run then fossil fuel busses fairly soon.


If the hydrogen is made by reforming natural gas, for all intents and purposes they still are fossil-fuel buses.

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