By Cameron Chai
AC Transit, a transit agency, and several other associates have launched a hydrogen production and dispensing fuel station. The station provides hydrogen fuel for the new zero-emission fuel cell buses plying across the San Francisco Bay Area. Furthermore, the hydrogen fuel is partly generated using solar-powered electrolysis.
AC Transit General Manager David Armijo Introduces Congresswoman Barbara Lee. (Photo credit: Andrew Fornasier/Filmsight Productions). (PRNewsFoto/AC Transit, Andrew Fornasier/Filmsight Productions)
Instead of burning the fuel, the fuel cells mix hydrogen with oxygen electrochemically to generate power and emits out only water vapor. The 12, 40-foot hybrid-electric fuel cell buses are powered by Siemens ELFA Drive System and a 120 kW UTC Power fuel cell system.
The station was constructed by W.L. Butler Construction, and engineered by EPC, a company that focuses on designing and constructing fuel and hydrogen cell systems, Jacobs, a facility designer, and Linde North America, a company that designs, constructs and operates hydrogen vehicle fueling systems. The solar-powered electrolyzer of Proton OnSite is used for hydrogen production. A 510 kW DC solar system has been installed by Cupertino Electric, an engineering and construction company. This solar system will produce energy to provide fuel for fuel cell buses.
Advanced compression and dispensing technology from Linde has been used in the station. Using this technology the buses are refueled at a rate of 5 kg/ min, which is equivalent to refueling diesel-powered buses.
The California Air Resources Board has offered a major grant to the station through which a dispenser has been allotted for hydrogen fuel cell electric passenger cars including Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-CELL.