An innovative application for pneumatics helps power a unique vehicle. The Hydrogen Hybrid Bus (HHB), was built by Golden, CO-based Proterra with funding from the U.S. Federal Transit Administration (FTA) as part of the National Fuel Cell Bus Program, and is managed by the Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE).
The HHB is operating on existing bus routes through the Victoria, BC adding hilly, cold weather operations to the ongoing evaluation of the bus. The bus received significant positive exposure by operating throughout the Winter Olympic Games and was featured as part of a formal demonstration and media event on March 11, sponsored by the Southern Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Coalition (SHFCC).
The bus is powered by lithium titanate batteries and two 16 kw hydrogen fuel cells, producing clean electric power in a lighter, quieter, and more aerodynamic design that is better suited for today’s transportation demands. The only emission is water vapor. Although the bus was certified for use in the U.S., it successfully underwent additional testing and safety inspections in order to be driven in Canada. With more than twice the energy efficiency of other hybrid buses and four times that of conventional diesel buses, Proterra buses combine tremendous environmental benefits with substantial cost savings to the operator.
Hydrogen Hybrid Bus Details:
- The HHB is an electric hybrid bus that was purpose built for an electric drive train and can be configured with a wide variety of ‘engines’ or as battery electric only. This version uses clean fuel cells as the ‘engine’.
- The HHB carries 29 kilograms of hydrogen on board and can achieve up to a 480 km range.
- The use of composite materials for the body makes it much lighter – and stronger – than conventional buses.
- Initial BC Transit evaluation has determined that the fuel economy for this bus in shadow service is approximately 70% better than typical diesel buses.
- South Carolina and the University of South Carolina were selected as the primary site for the bus demonstration and evaluation because of their prominence in fuel cell and hydrogen research.
- The HHB meets Buy America Requirements while utilizing fuel cells provided by Hydrogenics (headquartered in Mississauga, Canada) representing a great US/Canadian partnership for technology development and job creation.
The Hydrogen Hybrid Bus was deployed in August 2009 and is engaged in a two-year demonstration and evaluation project to prove the feasibility of advanced hydrogen-fuel-cell technology applications for mass transit. The demonstration and evaluation project will be conducted in three cities; Columbia, SC, Austin, TX, and Victoria, B.C. Upon completion of the BC Transit demonstration, the bus will return to Columbia to continue its evaluation as part of the University of South Carolina shuttle fleet.