In the counted-by-the-billions world of Washington budgets, it’s small potatoes. But backers of using fuel cell technology in transit buses got a sweet holiday gift from the Federal Transportation Administration (FTA) in the waning days of 2010 – nearly $16.6 million in funding for eight projects around the country.
CALSTART, an alternative-transportation consortium based in Pasadena, Calif., was a big winner in the FTA announcement. It grabbed $7.2 million for a UTC Power project focused on a next generation fuel cell that could be used commercially in transit buses. CALSTART also scored nearly $3 million to work with Ballard Power Systems to develop and conduct in-service testing with Chicago’s Regional Transit Authority fleet.
The goal there is to demonstrate a fuel cell bus in a large transit agency, with the potential for larger fleets of cell bus procurements, and to develop and demonstrate new technology that enables fuel-cell buses to work smoothly in cold climates.
The rest of the FTA money went to projects led by the Atlanta-based Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE). CTE will lead six projects, including: one to develop and demonstrate a highly-efficient 35-foot Proterra fuel cell bus with an enhanced Ballard HD6 fuel cell and fast-charging capabilities, including demonstrating the bus in revenue service; one for 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; and another 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.
More information on U.S. investment in fuel-cell techonology is available here on the National Renewable Energy Laboratory website.
Like what you are reading? Follow us on RSS, Twitter and Facebook to learn more and join the green technology discussion. Have a story idea or correction for this story? Drop us a line through our contact form.