The Hydrogen Hybrid Bus is Here

A new technologically advanced bus with zero emissions is about to hit the streets of Austin. The Hydrogen Hybrid Bus will go into service this month among the University of Texas shuttles, alternating between the Forty Acres and Intramural Fields routes.

Capital Metro along with the University of Texas Center for Electromechanics (UT-CEM) and several other local and national partners have a unique opportunity to be a part of an important project by studying and further refining fuel cell technology.

During the yearlong demonstration, the bus will be fueled at UT-CEM’s state-of-the-art hydrogen  fueling station located on the J.J. Pickle Research Campus. Thanks to support by Gas Technology Institute and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), this station allows for the generation, compression, storage and dispensing of hydrogen on-site.

The prototype bus, manufactured by Proterra, combines electric battery power and mobile hydrogen fuel cells. The bus is a zero emission vehicle; water is the only exhaust. It uses a large lithium battery pack along with an electric drive train and custom transmission. Two hydrogen fuel cells operate to keep the battery pack fully charged.

The bus is a result of an investment of the National Fuel Cell Bus Program, created by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and managed by the Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE). During the demonstration, UT-CEM researchers will study various aspects of the bus and the data will be sent to the FTA and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) for further analysis.

According to the NREL, “transit buses are one of the best early transportation applications for fuel cell technology. By evaluating the experiences of these early adopters, researchers can determine the status of bus fuel cell systems and establish lessons learned to aid other fleets in implementing the next generation of these systems.”

This effort would not be possible without the collaboration of many local and national partners, including: UT-CEM, Capital Metro, First Transit, TCEQ, the State Energy Conservation Office, the FTA, CTE, Proterra, Signature Transportation, Gas Technology Institute and Hydrogenics.

Want to know more from the experts? Check out The Daily Texan‘s video report on the new bus.

9 thoughts on “The Hydrogen Hybrid Bus is Here

  1. Matt

    “alternating between the Forty Acres and Intramural Fields routes”

    Why these routes? If it’s refueling at Pickle, I would have expected a route that runs by there.

    1. Misty

      The IF and FA run more frequently and carry more passengers than the PRC. Those routes are the best options for the bus right now. We may try running it on other routes. The bus will be housed at our north Austin garage, which is very close to the PRC. ^Misty

  2. Pingback: The Hydrogen Hybrid Bus is Here « Capital MetroBlog | O'hai

  3. Pingback: UT Paves The Way For Hydrogen Fuel Technology [Watch] | The Alcalde

  4. ashly85jones

    You think I am gonna go on a bus powered by hydrogen when that stuff is even more explosive than petroleum? If that bus is involved in a major crash or MI5 decides to do another false flag terrorism event in London, the potential death toll would be horrifying.

  5. The point of the hydrogen bus seems to be that it will help with AIR QUALITY in the capital, rather than being the spearhead of some new revolution in green transport.
    If the capitals usual buses spew out anything like the quite visible particulate pollution (that is real pollution, not CO2) the buses do in my town, this is probably a good thing.

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