Boston Celebrates Fuel Cell Bus, Hydrogen Fueling Station

Nuvera, which develops fuel cell systems and hydrogen generation and dispensing products, joined Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) and state officials at a press event to celebrate a zero-emissions fuel cell bus and hydrogen fueling station that are both now in service in Boston.

According to Nuvera, the bus and fueling station are deployed at the MBTA through the National Fuel Cell Bus Program (NFCBP), which is sponsored by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).

At the event, MBTA Interim General Manager Steve Poftak described MBTA’s commitment to sustainability and improved fuel economy. Massachusetts Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack highlighted investments in bus service, and MBTA Deputy General Manager Jeff Gonneville introduced MBTA buses with new propulsion systems, including the fuel cell bus.

Jon Taylor, Nuvera CEO, described this program as an exciting opportunity to familiarize the community with hydrogen fuel cells and help expand alternative energy and jobs.

Brian Bowers, Nuvera program manager, coordinated the multi-agency effort, saying, “This is an exciting day for our team and for the green economy. After working with hydrogen and fuel cell systems for over 15 years, I’m happy to see this efficient technology becoming available in our everyday lives. This program offers another step toward cleaner and more sustainable transportation.”

The program is providing a fuel cell bus and hydrogen station to MBTA for an in-service demonstration that began in 2016. The current phase covers through early 2018. Funding for the bus and station is provided by FTA and Nuvera.

Nuvera says it manages the program while the nonprofit Northeast Advanced Vehicle Consortium administers the grant on behalf of FTA.

As for the vehicle itself, the fuel cell bus team has an experienced lineup, including BAE Systems as the bus system integrator, ElDorado National as the bus supplier and Ballard Power Systems as the fuel cell supplier.

According to the announcement, BAE Systems designed its hybrid propulsion system combining a fuel cell and battery to roughly double fuel economy over compressed natural gas buses, and ElDorado National incorporated a stainless steel frame specifically for the Boston climate.

Nuvera notes that feedback from this FTA program is an important step toward wider adoption of fuel cell technology in transit.

In addition, the hydrogen station is designed and operated by Nuvera and is located at MBTA’s Charlestown facility, which supports about 260 buses and 54 service routes around metro Boston.

Nuvera says its on-site hydrogen generator is unique with its small footprint and ability to match the refueling demand by adjusting the production rate and cycling on and off more frequently than large industrial plants. The station utilizes existing natural gas pipelines to create hydrogen on-site and avoid trucking of hydrogen. In addition, these stations can create hydrogen from other sources, including bio-fuels.

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