Four next-generation fuel cell-powered hybrid-electric transit buses were introduced today in Hartford, United Technologies announced. The buses join an earlier generation bus that began service in 2007. The new buses will be operated by Connecticut Transit (CTTransit) and are equipped with UTC Power fuel cell systems from Connecticut-based UTC Power, a United Technologies company.
“We’re delighted to have continued opportunities in our home state to demonstrate the benefits of fuel cell buses in real-world service,” said UTC Power Vice President and General Manager Joe Triompo. “Residents of Greater Hartford will now have more opportunities to catch a ride on a fuel cell bus and experience its benefits.”
The new buses, part of the Federal Transit Administration’s national Fuel Cell Bus Program, establish Hartford as a leader in adopting fuel cell technology to power transit buses. Only the Greater Oakland/San Francisco, Calif., area will have a larger fuel cell bus fleet in the United States, also equipped with UTC Power fuel cell systems.
The new model 40-foot Van Hool transit buses are lighter than the earlier generation fuel cell bus, which rolled out in 2007 and continues to operate on various routes in Greater Hartford, including the free downtown Star Shuttle route. Advanced lithium-ion battery systems and a more durable fuel cell powerplant are key features of the new buses. The buses also will be instrumental in capturing real-time information, which will be used in developing more commercially viable fuel cells in the future.
Fuel cell buses run on hydrogen and produce no harmful tailpipe emissions; they emit only water vapor. Their clean operation can have an immediate positive impact on street-level emissions.
According to CTTransit’s Assistant General Manager-Maintenance Services, Steve Warren, “The fuel cell bus we’ve been operating since 2007 has demonstrated that the technology works and its fuel efficiency is about two times better than a standard diesel-powered bus. With the reduced weight of the new model bus, our fuel economy should get even better. And drivers and the riding public tell us they love the quiet, smooth ride and appreciate the environmental benefits.”
CTTransit is building a new garage to store up to six fuel cell buses, and the agency also plans to install a hydrogen fueling station on-site. Some of the buses will continue to refuel at a hydrogen station at UTC Power’s headquarters in South Windsor, Conn.
“Connecticut is a world leader in the development and implementation of fuel cell technology, and today we begin another exciting chapter in its practical application,” said U.S. Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.), who participated in today’s event along with Conn. Dept. of Transportation Bureau Chief of Public Transportation James Redeker, Director of Planning and Program Development for the Federal Transit Administration Peter Butler, Conn. Dept. of Transportation Deputy Commissioner Al Martin, and UTC Power Vice President and General Manager Joe Triompo.
UTC Power has provided fuel cell powerplants for fleet transportation since 1998 and its made-in-Connecticut fuel cells have powered buses in the United States, Spain, Italy and Belgium. The company’s PureMotion® Model 120 fuel cell system for transit buses represents more than nine years of research and development in partnership with the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command and the U.S. Department of Transportation through the Northeast Advanced Vehicle Consortium. Based in South Windsor, Conn., UTC Power is the world leader in developing and producing fuel cells that generate power for buildings and for transportation, space and defense applications.
CTTransit is the state-owned bus transit system serving the Greater Hartford, New Haven, Stamford, Waterbury, New Britain, Meriden, Bristol and Wallingford areas. Van Hool of Belgium is one of the world’s largest bus and coach manufacturers.
United Technologies Corp. provides energy-efficient products and services to the aerospace and building industries. UTC is a founding member of the U.S. Green Building Council and the Pew Center on Global Climate Change and has been named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index every year since it was launched in 1999. For more information, please visit www.utcpower.com.
The five newest fuel cell buses in the CT Transit fleet will be part of a larger research project to improve the commercial viability of these and other alternative-fuel bus fleets, officials say.
On Friday, CT Transit rolled out its last generation of fuel cell buses, which are powered by hydrogen and emit only water vapor. The four buses added to the fleet join the one that has been in service since 2007, given the central Connecticut transit system the largest fuel cell bus fleet outside of San Francisco.