By Tracy Correa
EMERYVILLE—A cutting-edge hydrogen fueling station – that will also be available to the public – was unveiled today (April 10) at AC Transit’s operating center.
The station will fuel the 12 hybrid-electric, zero-emission fuel cell buses already in use by AC Transit. And, with a grant from the California Air Resources Board, one dispenser will be accessible to the public for fueling hydrogen fuel-cell electric passenger cars now on the road.
The center was celebrated with a long list of local dignitaries, elected officials and representatives of the private and public sector who collaborated on what is being described as an environmentally, innovative project. PG&E’s Steve Nichols, a director with energy solutions and services, also presented AC Transit with an oversized check representing what will amount to more $500,000 in incentives from the utility through the California Solar Initiative program.
The unveiling of the fueling station represents a decade of dedicated work, said David Armijo, general manager of AC Transit, which serves the east San Francisco Bay Area.
“Now, with increased fueling capacity, we have a greater capability to offer clean, quiet, zero-emission transportation to the communities we serve,” Armijo said.
Greg Harper, director of AC Transit, said the gathering of a few hundred people was uplifting as rain poured down in the station yard.
“People here are pioneers,” he said.
Congresswoman Barbara Lee was among the speakers joining representatives of AC Transit at the event, along with the California Energy Commission and the U.S. Department of Energy.
“This really is good news, not just for our district, but for the country,” said Lee. She called AC Transit “a model for the nation.” Lee later toured the public fueling station and got a close up view of the fuel-cell buses in the yard.
Many of those who addressed the crowd highlighted the importance of fuel-cell technology, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and breaking free from dependence on petroleum.
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. About three years ago, AC Transit began running hybrid-electric, zero-emission fuel-cell buses and now operates 12 of them. Each one is powered by 120 kilowatt UTC Power fuel-cell system and a Siemens ELFA Drive System.
AC Transit’s new on-site energy station features Linde North America’s latest advancements in compression and dispensing technology. Built by W.L. Butler Construction, the energy station demonstrates the use of “renewable” hydrogen – hydrogen produced using Proton OnSite’s solar-powered electrolyzer. Cupertino Electric installed a 510 kilowatt DC photovoltaic system that will generate energy to help fuel the transit system’s hydrogen-powered buses running throughout the Bay Area.
E-mail Tracy Correa at email@example.com.