A couple of weeks ago I talked about how the 40 HyCUTE:FLEET buses mostly in Europe had transported over 8.5 million passengers in their demonstration and testing phase. In the U. S. right now there are 10 hydrogen fuel cell buses operating in six locations.
If we include the 20 H2 fuel cell buses being built for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, this brings the North American total to 30 buses.
But, yesterday the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) issued a report that in 2010 and 2011, this number will rise to a total of 58 hydrogen fuel cell buses in operation in North America, almost doubling the current total.
According to the NREL there are three steps in bringing fuel cell buses to commercialization including: phase 1 operational field testing; phase 2 full-scale operational demonstration and fleet ready reliability testing; and phase 3 limited production and full operation.
Right now, the U. S. has been in phase 1, but next year the fuel cell bus program will move into phase 2. The three groups that are driving this effort are the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) National Fuel Cell Bus Program, Zero Emission Bay Area (ZEBA) Group Demonstration and BC Transit Fuel Cell Bus Demonstration.
Part of the funding for this project also comes from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009. Continuing to build, demonstrate and test hydrogen buses in phase 2 will create high tech green jobs, from those who build the fuel cells and hybrid systems to those who build the H2 fueling stations. It will also create jobs as we get ready for commercialization of buses as fuel cell longevity needs to be increased, better hydrogen storage methods developed and the building of H2 fueling pumps standardized.
The U. S. is starting to catch up to what other countries are already doing and green jobs will be one of the side benefits of this endeavor. For the full text, read this report.