1998-08-11

Operation of a Hydrogen-Powered Hybrid Electric Bus 981923

The H2Fuel Bus, the world's first hydrogen-fueled electric hybrid transit bus (see Figure1.). It was a project developed through a public/private partnership involving several leading technological and industrial organizations, with primary funding by the Department of Energy (DOE). Using the bus, the primary goals of the project are to gain valuable information on the technical readiness and economic viability of hydrogen fueled buses and to enhance the public awareness and acceptance of emerging hydrogen technologies. The bus has been in test operation mode by the Augusta Public Transit in Augusta, Georgia, since April 1997. The bus employs a hybrid Internal Combustion (IC) engine/battery/electric drive system, with onboard storage of hydrogen in metal hydride beds. Initial operating results have demonstrated an overall energy efficiency (miles/BTU) of twice that of a similar diesel-fueled bus while nearly doubling the range of an all-electric battery powered vehicle. The project development also reduced the bus' tail-pipe emissions with NOx measured at less than 0.2 ppm. The project in addition addressed permit and safety issues as a result of the safety risk assessment undertaken regarding the metal hydride storage system. Demonstrating the inherent safety of a solid-state storage system, the project also demonstrated the state of technology in electrical system management.
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