Four next-generation fuel cell-powered hybrid-electric transit buses were introduced in Hartford, Conn., joining an earlier generation bus that began service in 2007. The new buses will be operated by Connecticut Transit (CTTransit) and are equipped with UTC Power fuel cell systems. UTC Power is a United Technologies Corp. company.
The new buses, part of the Federal Transit Administration's national Fuel Cell Bus Program, establish Hartford as a leader in adopting fuel cell technology to power transit buses. Only the Greater Oakland/San Francisco, Calif., area will have a larger fuel cell bus fleet in the U.S., also equipped with UTC Power fuel cell systems.
The new model 40-foot Van Hool transit buses are lighter than the earlier generation fuel cell bus, which rolled out in 2007 and continues to operate on various routes in Greater Hartford, including the free downtown Star Shuttle route. Advanced lithium-ion battery systems and a more durable fuel cell powerplant are key features of the new buses.
The buses also will be instrumental in capturing real-time information, which will be used in developing more commercially viable fuel cells in the future.
Fuel cell buses run on hydrogen and produce no harmful tailpipe emissions; they emit only water vapor. Their clean operation can have an immediate positive impact on street-level emissions.
CTTransit is building a new garage to store up to six fuel cell buses, and the agency also plans to install a hydrogen fueling station on-site. Some of the buses will continue to refuel at a hydrogen station at UTC Power's headquarters in South Windsor, Conn.