Jose Vega, fuel-cell technician & trainer, and Roland Fecteau, assistant director, maintenance, both with the fuel-cell program from its inception. Behind them, Fuel Cell Bus 7, whose fuel cell has clocked 20,000 hours of service.

Jose Vega, fuel-cell technician & trainer, and Roland Fecteau, assistant director, maintenance, both with the fuel-cell program from its inception. Behind them, Fuel Cell Bus 7, whose fuel cell has clocked 20,000 hours of service.

A fuel-cell installed in an Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District’s (AC Transit) bus set a record-breaking milestone — 20,000 hours of continuous operation. The fuel-cell, manufactured by UTC Power, was not expected to operate beyond 5,000 hours, or about one year of service for an AC Transit bus.

With 20,000 hours of zero emission service, AC Transit’s quiet-running fuel-cell bus has helped to improve the overall air quality, dramatically reducing the amount of noise and pollution in the communities it serves. By itself, the fuel-cell bus has removed 1,134,000 pounds of CO2 from the atmosphere — equivalent to planting 13,189 trees or taking 108 passenger vehicles off the road for one year.

AC Transit currently operates 12 of these zero emission buses that together have logged more than 150,000 hours of service.

AC Transit has been running zero emission fuel-cell buses in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2001. In 2005, AC Transit took delivery of three Van Hool fuel-cell buses embedded with UTC Power’s 120 kW PC40 fuel-cell powerplant. In 2010, two of the fuel cells were transferred into new buses that AC Transit acquired as part of a consortium of San Francisco bay area transit agencies, known as Zero Emission Bay Area.

AC Transit’s 20,000-hour milestone demonstrates the potential for fuel cells to meet the high standards for durability and reliability in public transit. AC Transit is proving that hydrogen and fuel cells are working to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gases.

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