April 3, 2012

FTA releases $13.1M for fuel cell bus program

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) released $13.1 million in federal funding for 11 innovative research and demonstration projects under its National Fuel Cell Bus Program. The program advances hydrogen fuel-cell power for transit buses and reflects the Obama Administration’s commitment to address the country's energy challenges, reduce its dependence on foreign oil and promote cleaner air.

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

The research funding may help get fuel cell buses into commercial service quicker, which would have positive environmental and energy-saving impacts. According to the National Renewable Energy Lab and the FTA, every fuel cell-powered bus put into service in the U.S. 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. Details about the projects can be found here.  

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