U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced $13.1 million in federal funding for 11 innovative research and demonstration projects under FTA’s National Fuel Cell Bus Program. The program advances hydrogen fuel cell power for transit buses and reflects the Obama Administration’s commitment to address our nation’s energy challenges, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and promote cleaner air.
“President Obama’s all-of-the-above energy strategy includes adopting alternative fuels that let transit agencies bypass the gas pump altogether and reduce our carbon footprint,” said Secretary LaHood. “This investment moves us closer to achieving the president’s goal of reducing oil imports by a third in a little over a decade.”
The funds are shared by Calstart in Pasadena, Calif.; the Center for Transportation and the Environment in Atlanta, Ga.; and the Northeast Advanced Vehicle Consortium in Boston, Mass. All three will engage in work to develop various fuel cell components, test American-made buses under real-world conditions powered by fuel cells, and conduct educational outreach.
“With gas prices on the rise, we know that the availability of reliable transit as a transportation choice is a significant part of relieving the pain at the pump for millions of riders each day,” said Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff. “And the Department is taking it a step further by investing in a new generation of clean-fuel technology to make transit an even more significant part of our nation’s overall approach to a secure energy future.”
Research funding announced today may result in getting fuel cell buses into commercial service quicker, which would have positive environmental and energy-saving impacts. According to the National Renewable Energy Lab and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), every fuel cell-powered bus put into service in the United States could reduce the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere by 100 tons annually and eliminate the need for 9,000 gallons of fuel every year over the life of the vehicle. For buses currently running on diesel fuel, that translates into a savings of more than $37,000 per year, per vehicle.
FTA’s National Fuel Cell Bus program was created in 2005 to develop affordable hydrogen fuel cell buses for the nation’s public transit agencies, and to increase public acceptance of fuel cell-powered vehicles. The 11 projects were selected from among 26 proposals seeking $52 million in federal funds. Details about the projects can be found here.