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U.S. Government Backs Fuel Cell Bus Program

In another example of the U.S. Government warming up to the potential of a hydrogen-assisted infrastructure, federal dollars will be steered toward the development of fuel cell powered buses.

South Windsor, Connecticut and Boston, Massachusetts – November 14, 2002 [SolarAccess.com] The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has awarded a contract to UTC Fuel Cells (UTCFC), a unit of United Technologies and the Northeast Advanced Vehicle Consortium (NAVC) to design a heavy-duty, zero emission, ambient-pressure fuel cell power plant for buses. The effort is being funded by US$2.6 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation with a US$2 million match from UTCFC. The funding was included in the FY’02 DOT Appropriations Bill and secured by Senators Chris Dodd and Joe Lieberman (both D-CT) and Representative John Larson (D-CT1) NAVC, a non-profit association of private and public sector firms and agencies working together to promote advanced vehicle technologies in the Northeast, will administer the project, which calls for UTCFC to design a hydrogen-fueled fuel cell power plant in the range of 200 kW. The project specifically calls for the unit to be an ambient-pressure fuel cell system. According to UTCFC, ambient-pressure fuel cells better manage the water produced by the fuel cell. The result is a simpler, lower cost system that is quieter, significantly more fuel efficient and easier to install into a vehicle. UTCFC is the only fuel cell company developing ambient pressure fuel cell technology for transportation applications. “We cannot solve our energy needs without including conservation, energy efficiency, and alternative resources in the process, and we cannot compromise environmental and safety standards in order to increase the energy supply in this country, said Dodd. “Fuel cell technology provides some of the cleanest, most efficient energy using both conventional and renewable fuels, and I am pleased that Connecticut is at the forefront of this important innovation.”