AC Transit Begins Fueling Buses with Hydrogen Made From Solar Electricity and Water
EMERYVILLE, Calif., April 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — AC Transit, and a coalition of regional transit partners serving 7 million people in the San Francisco Bay Area, this week inaugurated the newest hydrogen production and dispensing station to fuel the latest generation of zero-emission fuel cell buses operating throughout the region. Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Chair of the California Air Resources Board Mary Nichols were joined by over 300 guests and a dozen other federal, state, and local officials as they formally dedicated the station at AC Transit’s Emeryville division, where hydrogen to fuel the fleet is produced in part by solar-powered electrolysis.
AC Transit General Manager David Armijo said, “For over a decade, AC Transit has been developing the most comprehensive, zero-emission, fuel cell transit program in North America, and operating zero-emission buses in real-world service. Now, with increased fueling capacity, we have a greater capability to offer clean, quiet, zero-emission transportation to the communities we serve.”
“AC Transit continues to be a model for the rest of the nation,” said Congresswoman Lee. “Today’s unveiling of these innovative, zero-emission fuel cell buses and this state-of-the-art HyRoad Fueling Station further highlights AC Transit’s commitment to excellence in promoting and maintaining zero-emission vehicles.”
California Air Resources Board Chair Nichols added, “We are building on a record of success and partnership between the federal and state governments and AC Transit – which has truly been a pioneer in bringing fuel cell technology into the community and demonstrating its virtues for clean air and energy efficiency.”
AC Transit’s newest on-site energy station, engineered by Linde North America, Jacobs, and EPC, and built by W.L. Butler Construction, demonstrates the use of “renewable” hydrogen – hydrogen produced using Proton OnSite’s solar-powered electrolyzer. Engineering and construction firm Cupertino Electric, Inc. installed a 510 kilowatt DC solar photovoltaic system for AC Transit that will generate energy to help fuel the transit system’s hydrogen-powered buses running throughout the Bay Area.
The station also features Linde’s latest advancements in compression and dispensing technology, enabling buses to be refueled at rates up to 5 kilograms/minute – a time comparable to refueling diesel buses. Thanks to a major grant from the California Air Resources Board, one dispenser is accessible to the public for fueling hydrogen fuel cell electric passenger cars, including the Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-CELL, now on the road in both Northern and Southern California.
“Linde is excited to provide a clean fuel solution that delivers so many quality-of-life benefits to Bay Area residents. Their public transportation has just gotten quieter, the air they’re breathing is fresher and cleaner, and we’re using a domestically produced fuel instead of imported oil. These are positive, concrete steps toward reducing greenhouse gases and increasing sustainability. Linde is proud to take such a prominent role in improving our future,” said Pat Murphy, President, Linde North America.
Fuel cells do not burn the fuel they use. Instead, they combine hydrogen with oxygen from the air electrochemically to produce electricity and emit only water vapor. AC Transit operates twelve 40-foot hybrid-electric, zero-emission fuel cell buses, each powered by a 120 kW UTC Power fuel cell system and a Siemens ELFA Drive System.
“We believe the future of energy is here and embodied in the fuel cell buses operated by AC Transit,” said Joe Triompo, Vice President and General Manager, UTC Power. “With multiple fuel cell buses in operation today, AC Transit and the community they serve are already reaping the benefits of superior efficiency, increased reliability and reduced emissions for environmentally responsible operations.”
In recognition of AC Transit’s solar installations across its facilities, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) presented a check, representing what will amount to more than $500,000 in rebate incentives from PG&E through the California Solar Initiative (CSI) program, to AC Transit’s General Manager. Additionally, in honor of AC Transit’s HyRoad Program, Tom Sullivan, Chairman of Proton OnSite, presented a $20,000 check to Lawrence Hall of Science at UC Berkeley to further youth science education in alternative fuels.
AC Transit is one of the largest transit agencies in California, serving over 60 million passengers a year throughout a 364-square mile region. For over 50 years, AC Transit has been recognized as a national leader in the transit industry. AC Transit has captured the American Public Transit Association’s “Best of the Best” award numerous times; and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) of Washington, D.C. has named AC Transit a “National Clean Bus Leader” for its advanced environmental technology initiatives. www.actransit.org/environment
Linde LLC, North America (www.lindeus.com) is a member of The Linde Group, a leader in the design, construction and operation of the most efficient and reliable hydrogen vehicle fueling systems. Linde has provided AC Transit with a system that provides a real commercial solution for a real market and real customers. The Linde Group is a world-leading gases and engineering company with around 50,500 employees in more than 100 countries worldwide. In the 2011 financial year, it achieved sales of EUR 13.787 bn (USD 18.1 billion). The strategy of The Linde Group is geared towards long-term profitable growth and focuses on the expansion of its international business with forward-looking products and services. Linde acts responsibly towards its shareholders, business partners, employees, society and the environment – in every one of its business areas, regions and locations across the globe. The Group is committed to technologies and products that unite the goals of customer value and sustainable development. For more information, contact: Amy Ficon, 201-741-1656 firstname.lastname@example.org
UTC Power is a United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) company, which 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 each year since it was launched in 1999. Based in South Windsor, Conn., UTC Power is the world leader in developing and producing fuel cells that generate energy for buildings and for transportation, space and defense applications. For more information, please contact Mike Glynn at (860) 727-2431, email@example.com, or visit www.utcpower.com
Proton OnSite (www.protononsite.com) is responsible for providing part of the hydrogen needs to the AC Transit Emeryville station. Proton, through its C-Series Fuelgen, is making hydrogen on site via PEM electrolysis, and using part of the available solar energy to do so.
Jacobs, as designer of AC Transit’s new hydrogen fueling facility, created an effective solution that supported AC Transit’s goals to create safe access to both public and city vehicles within a secure environment. In addition, Jacobs developed a functional layout that allows for educational tours and provides areas for informative displays. AC Transit has contracted Jacobs since 2008 to provide design and engineering services for its new hydrogen fueling station. Jacobs is one of the world’s largest and most diverse providers of technical, professional, design and construction services. Headquartered in Pasadena, Calif., its Northern California operations is located in downtown Oakland. For more company information, please visit www.jacobs.com. For media inquiries, please contact Michelle Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org.
W. L. Butler Construction, Inc. is a full-service general contractor committed to building our client’s vision by creating relationships and providing superior quality and services that exceed our client’s expectations. The Company is pleased to continue its relationship with AC Transit, serving as the general contractor for the new Emeryville Hydrogen Fuel Station. With over 36 years of experience serving the western region from offices throughout California. W. L. Butler Construction, Inc. specializes in commercial, healthcare, public works, mixed-use, retail, hospitality, and education projects. More information is available at www.wlbutler.com.
Cupertino Electric, Inc. (CEI) is a private company headquartered in San Jose, Calif. that has provided expert engineering and construction services for a constantly evolving world for more than 57 years. CEI’s Energy Alternatives Division engineers, procures, constructs and maintains solar and renewable energy solutions. For more information, visit www.cei.com or contact Autumn Casadonte at (408) 808-8034 or email@example.com.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation, is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to 15 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit www.pge.com/about/newsroom/ or contact PG&E External Communications – (415) 973-5930.
Siemens (www.siemens.com), with more than 100 years of electric drives experience, is the world leader in realizing drive solutions for public transportation systems. Siemens global presence is demonstrated by a variety of successful hybrid bus projects, with more than 1,500 hybrid drive systems installed globally. Siemens ELFA electric drive system is a modular and cost effective solution that combines a maximum degree of design flexibility with adaptability with a variety of storage devices, power sources and hybrid configurations. The Siemens ELFA hybrid propulsion system was initially developed in the mid 1990′s for diesel-electric buses. Siemens has a long partnership with AC Transit, and provides the electric power train consisting of the traction motors including gearbox, the inverter system and the application software that ties in the fuel cell power plant with the power train and vehicle functionalities. Business Contact: Thomas Orberger, firstname.lastname@example.org; Media Contact: Robert Bartels, email@example.com
Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) is responsible for the distribution, marketing and customer service for all Mercedes-Benz and Maybach products in the United States, as well as for Sprinter Vans and smart. The MBUSA portfolio of environmentally oriented vehicles includes the S400 HYBRID, B-Class hydrogen electric Fuel Cell (F-CELL) and a full line-up of BlueTEC clean diesel models. The smart EV is currently available for lease and a new generation electric drive will be available end of 2012. Since 2010, Mercedes-Benz USA has been leasing its latest generation fuel cell vehicle, the B-Class F-CELL, to select customers in Southern California. With the grand opening of the AC Transit hydrogen fueling station in Emeryville, Mercedes-Benz USA can now extend this lease opportunity to customers in the Bay Area as well. For more information, go to: www.mbusa.com/fcell or contact Sabrina Glavan (201) 573-4734.
EPC (www.epc4h2.com) is a small business that specializes in design and construction of hydrogen and fuel cell systems. EPC, under subcontract to Carter Burgess, developed the original concept and design for the Emeryville Station. EPC continued as a consultant to AC Transit during the selection of Linde as the major supplier, and through construction and commissioning.
The California Fuel Cell Partnership (www.cafcp.org) is a collaboration of organizations, including auto manufacturers, energy providers, government agencies and fuel cell technology companies, that work together to promote the commercialization of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. By working together, they help ensure that vehicles, stations, regulations and people are in step with each other as the technology comes to market. For more information, contact: Chris White, (916) 371-2899, cwhite@CAFCP.org.
SOURCE AC Transit