Santa Clara VTA and 3 Ballard Buses

Over 1,000,000 people have taken rides on the 30 CUTE hydrogen buses running in Europe. We are now playing catch-up in the USA. Over 2,000 people take daily rides on the eight hydrogen buses in California.

NREL has published the detailed evaluation of Santa Clara’s implementation of 3 hydrogen buses and the Air Products liquid hydrogen storage and gaseous fueling. The study includes helpful details about infrastructure, codes and standards, emergency responder issues, fueling and transportation. More than 300 successful fuel cell bus and light-duty vehicle fills have been achieved with no injuries or reportable incidents. Until April 2005, it took approximately 18-24 minutes to fuel a fuel cell bus. Since then, when Air Products put the new cryogenic compressor online, fueling time has been reduced to an average of 10-14 minutes.

Hydrogen fuel cost an average of $8.56 per kg throughout the evaluation period. One factor that makes the fueling cost higher than diesel is that the buses do not use hydrid technology such as regenerative braking. At nearby AC Transit, the fuel cells are 50% smaller because hydrid technology and advanced batteries are used. Batteries and ultracapacitors are less expensive than fuel cells. Look for advanced hydrid design in future hydrogen vehicles. The 60 page report is available free:

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