The United States Federal Transit Authority (FTA) announced on October 12 that it will be doling out $49 million to a variety of different companies in order to get hydrogen buses rolling in several cities nationwide. Congresswoman Mary Bono (R-CA) and FTA Administrator James Simpson announced the federal grants for researchers geared towards making hydrogen fuel cell buses a commercial reality.
Under this program the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) will test fuel cell maker Ballard’s newest HD6 module. The fuel cell module will be placed in two 40-foot hybrid buses in the Washington D. C. area.
In a separate initiative under the same grant, Ballard will also be working with General Electric and A123 Systems (lithium-ion battery maker) to develop a lightweight hydrogen-powered hybrid bus in Niskayuna, New York. Part of General Electric’s plan is to reduce the weight of the buses as much as possible to save on hydrogen fuel consumption.
The FTA is also handing out $12 million as part of the project to Calstart for various major hydrogen fuel cell projects across California. AC Transit in Oakland and SunLine transit in Coachella Valley will be two of the recipients for the hydrogen bus funding.
The FTA has also awarded Nuvera Fuel Cells, $4.875 million in funding to develop a hydrogen fuel cell bus at Logan International Airport in Boston, Massachusetts. Nuvera will not only develop the bus with an 82 kW HDL-82 fuel cell power module, but also the hydrogen refueling infrastructure to support the bus.
A few years from now, long gone will be the city buses belching diesel smoke, fouling the air and chugging down foreign fossil fuels and it will have been intiatives such as this that made it all possible.