Fuel cell bus

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A fuel cell bus is a bus that uses a hydrogen fuel cell as its power source for electrically driven wheels, sometimes augmented in a hybrid fashion with batteries or a supercapacitor.

Several companies are conducting hydrogen fuel cell research and practical fuel cell bus trials. These include:

There are also fuel cell powered buses currently active or in production, such as a fleet of Thor buses with UTC Power fuel cells in California, operated by SunLine Transit Agency.[3]

Hydrogen-powered fuel-cell buses began operating in Beijing on an experimental basis in 2006.[4] Three fuel cell buses, made by Daimler in Germany and purchased with a grant from the U.N. Development Programme, were the first fuel cell buses to enter operation in China.[4] The technology has not gained broader use in the city because air pollution reduced the efficiency and operating life of fuel cells.[5]

The first Brazilian hydrogen fuel cell bus prototype began operation in São Paulo during the first semester of 2009. The hydrogen bus was manufactured in Caxias do Sul, and the hydrogen fuel will be produced in São Bernardo do Campo from water through electrolysis. The programme, called "Ônibus Brasileiro a Hidrogênio" (Brazilian Hydrogen Autobus), includes three additional buses.[6][7]

Currently, the town of Whistler in British Columbia, Canada owns and operates the largest fuel-cell bus fleet in the world, having been put in operation for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

In Aberdeen, Scotland, the Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project currently has 10 hydrogen fuel cell buses operating, the largest fleet in Europe.[8]

The Fuel Cell Bus Club is a global cooperative effort in trial fuel cell buses. Ford began leasing E-350 shuttle buses in late 2006. It conducted some trials:

  • 1998 - Chicago and Vancouver, there were two-year three-bus demonstration projects. The six buses in those trials, which used an earlier version of Ballard fuel cell than the Fuel Cell Bus Club's trial and New Flyer Industries 40 foot low floor F40LF bodies, carried more than 200,000 passengers and traveled over 118,000 kilometers (73,000 mi). The 3 Vancouver units were deactivated,some were sold back to Ballard, who made the fuel cells and the others were converted to diesel- electric hybrids and eventually scrapped.
  • 2004–present Oakland and California a two-year three-bus trial. During this period, AC Transit and Sunline Transit (Palm Springs, California) have been operating three buses and one bus respectively. This trial has shown promising results and has been extended until new buses listed below are delivered.
  • 2004–2006 Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (Santa Clara, California) operated 3 buses Manufactured by Gilig Corp of Hayward California which were equipped with Ballard fuel cells. VTA reported in the press that these buses were too expensive to operate and that they would not continue with their trial.

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