Fuel cell technologies to power cleaner, greener transit buses

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Pursuing new technologies to let fuel cell buses operate in cold climates is among the research projects to receive money from the Federal Transit Administration’s National Fuel Cell Bus Program, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced Tuesday, Dec. 21.

The Center for Transportation and the Environment in Atlanta will receive $6.42 million and CALSTART in Pasadena, Calif., will receive $10.17 million to coordinate research among fuel cell manufacturers, engineering firms and transit agencies throughout the country.

“The Obama administration is proud to partner with researchers who are exploring greener, more efficient ways to power buses,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says. “Adapting fuel-cell technology to buses will result in a cleaner environment and quieter streets for everyone.”

“The transit industry must continue to be at the forefront of creating green jobs and establishing globally competitive technologies right here at home in the United States,” says FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff. “As we move clean fuel-efficient bus projects from the drawing board to the street, we move the nation closer to energy independence and a cleaner environment.”

Other projects being funded this year include an effort to develop a smaller, less costly and more durable fuel cell power system that will enable commercialization of U.S. fuel cell buses, and an effort to develop and demonstrate a lightweight highly efficient bus that incorporates an improved hybrid-electric drive and enhanced bus design.

The purpose of the program is to facilitate the development of commercially viable fuel cell bus technologies and increase public acceptance of the fuel cell vehicles. The program is one of three environmentally friendly FTA grant competitions whose winners have been announced recently. The others are the Transit Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction TIGGER and the Clean Fuels programs.