Clean transportation in the Midwest could get a boost from zero-emission hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles, according to a new roadmap released by the Stark Area Regional Transit Authority (SARTA) and the Renewable Hydrogen Fuel Cell Collaborative (RHFCC).
The roadmap is collaboration between SARTA, RHFCC, and CALSTART, an organization dedicated to clean and efficient transportation solutions, and was commissioned to support future funding proposals for regional vehicle deployment.
With adequate funding, the roadmap lays out a 15-year plan of action to deploy 135,000 fuel cell electric vehicles — trucks, buses, and cars releasing zero greenhouse gases and proven twice as efficient as those powered by internal combustion engines. SARTA is already implementing the early phase of the roadmap, with 15 fuel-cell buses planned for deployment in the Stark County, Ohio, area by the end of 2017.
"By aligning its resources and building on its leading expertise in automotive manufacturing and related services, the Midwest region can become a dominant player, enjoying strong job growth in the process," said Fred Silver, VP, CALSTART.
The strategy behind the roadmap is based on the early deployment of technology-ready commercial vehicles to enable the hydrogen refueling infrastructure, which will make way for the long-term rollout of public light-duty cars.
In addition to vehicle deployment, the roadmap outlines a process to move toward renewable hydrogen production and projects the potential for 65,000 new jobs and 250 hydrogen stations, bolstering the region's fueling and manufacturing infrastructure.
The roadmap prioritizes major metropolitan areas for initial deployment and infrastructure. Ohio, in particular, hosts a robust network of fuel-cell component and material suppliers, ranging from cell manufacturers to integrators to end users. The state has become the third largest site for fuel-cell electric buses in the nation.
"With Ohio leading the charge for deploying commercially ready fuel cell vehicles, a zero-emission future will become a reality," said Dr. James Durand, director, RHFCC.
A full copy of the roadmap is available here.