Cleveland RTA launches hydrogen bus project

Posted on December 11, 2012

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA), in coordination with NASA Glenn Research Center, launched a hydrogen bus project in Cleveland, allowing customers on various routes to experience a quieter and greener ride, powered by hydrogen, not diesel.

RTA is the first transit system in Ohio — and one of the few in the nation — to produce its own hydrogen fuel using electrolysis, a process that separates water into hydrogen and oxygen.

RTA worked with Sierra Lobo, a Glenn contractor, to install a hydrogen fueling station at its Hayden Garage in East Cleveland. The garage already had fueling equipment for compressed natural gas (CNG), including 50 sensors to monitor the tanks. The hydrogen-fueled bus will operate out of this garage.

The 40-foot bus has a capacity of 57 passengers and will be in service between six and eight hours daily on various RTA routes. The bus operates with nearly twice the fuel-efficiency as diesel-fueled bus, and is much quieter as well.

The joint project between RTA and Glenn supports the development of new technologies and clean and renewable energy sources.

This hydrogen-fueled bus is on loan from United Technologies Corp. (UTC Power) and the electrolyzer is on loan from Glenn. The entire program, which includes the fueling system and bus, is valued at $3 million. RTA Board members approved a $50,000 investment in this project, which pays for the installation and use of fueling equipment.

This goal of this collaboration between RTA and Glenn is demonstrating the safety, fuel-efficiency, economy, and reliability of hydrogen production and fueling using electrolysis. The fuel-cell bus is powered by hydrogen and does not produce harmful emissions — the only emission is water vapor.

For additional information with video on how electrolysis works, click here.

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