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US DOT awards $13.6M to 8 projects to advance fuel cell technology for transit industry

The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) awarded $13.6 million in federal funding to 8 projects to advance the commercialization of American-made fuel cell buses for the transit industry. The awards come from FY2012 funds via FTA’s National Fuel Cell Bus Program, which has provided nearly $90 million since 2006 to speed the development of fuel cell technology.

Over the period of that program, fuel cell lifetimes (in transit operations) have more than doubled while costs have declined by 50%.

Funding for the new projects will be managed by CALSTART ($7.7 million) and the Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE), two non-profit organizations that are responsible for developing and managing projects as part of the National Fuel Cell Bus Program.

FY 2012 National Fuel Cell Bus Program Awards
Consortia lead Partners/
Project Funding
CTE AC Transit Fuel Cell Bus Fleet Extended Operation and Support
Continues operation of existing fuel cell buses at AC Transit in revenue service, the largest most successful fuel cell bus fleet in the U.S. This project provides critical information on long-term operation, performance and maintenance of fuel cell buses against technical targets.
CALSTARTGreater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority; ElDorado National; BAE Systems; Ballard Power Systems American Fuel Cell Bus
Builds a next-generation fuel cell bus with latest fuel cell technology and demonstrates in transit service in greater Cleveland area for 2 years. This project builds on success of the American Fuel Cell Bus project, funded under National Fuel Cell Bus Program, with a less costly, more reliable system.
CALSTART SunLine Transit Agency; ElDorado National; BAE Systems Battery Dominant Fuel Cell Hybrid Bus
Develops and demonstrates a battery-dominant fuel cell bus based on a commercial hybrid platform, and smaller, less expensive fuel cells. The bus will operate in similar service to the American Fuel Cell Bus, allowing direct comparison.
CTE Tompkins Consolidated Transit Authority; ElDorado National; BAE Systems; Ballard Power Systems Central New York Fuel Cell Transportation Program
Builds and operates a next-generation American Fuel Cell Bus in a cold, northeast climate. This project builds on the success of first American Fuel Cell Bus Project with more reliable, less-costly technology.
CTE Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Birmingham Fuel Cell Bus Program Operational Support
Supports existing Birmingham fuel cell bus development and demonstration project and enables full demonstration of the bus and evaluation on its operation at small transit agency.
CALSTART National Bus Testing Facility Fuel Cell Bus Altoona Testing
Comprehensive testing of an existing fuel cell bus, essential for commercialization of fuel cell electric buses. This project will help develop consistent procedures and guidelines for testing all fuel cell buses.
CALSTART CALSTART Best Practices in Hydrogen Fueling and Maintenance Facilities
Develops a best practices guide for transit agencies in hydrogen fueling and maintenance facilities.
CTE CTE National Fuel Cell Bus Program Education & Transit Outreach
Conducts targeted education and outreach on the current state of the fuel cell bus technology and industry, and helps develop needed guidelines for fuel cell specific procurements.

Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff made the announcement at BAE Systems in Endicott, N.Y., which makes hybrid propulsion systems. A current funding recipient under FTA’s National Fuel Cell Bus Program, BAE is helping to build next-generation fuel cell buses for the Sunline Transit Agency in Thousand Palms, California; the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority in Cleveland, Ohio, and Tompkins Consolidated Transit Authority in Ithaca, New York.

Later this year, FTA expects to announce funding for a new Low or No Emission Vehicle Deployment grant program to support the commercialization of a variety of clean fuel technologies, including fuel cell and battery-powered buses. The program, authorized under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), will continue to move FTA’s energy research goals forward.


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