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Transportation & Fuel Source Technology

New England's First Fuel Cell-powered Hybrid Bus Begins Service In Hartford

New England's first zero-emission fuel cell-powered hybrid bus made its debut today in ceremonies at the Connecticut Convention Center.

U.S. Rep. John Larson, D-Conn., and officials from the Federal Transit Administration, Connecticut Department of Transportation, Greater Hartford Transit District, CTTRANSIT, Capitol Region Council of Governments and UTC Power were on hand as the 40-foot hybrid electric fuel cell transit bus quietly rolled out onto the streets of Hartford.

The bus will immediately enter CTTRANSIT service and operate first on the free downtown Hartford Star Shuttle route, and then in a few months on other routes that serve the capital city and surrounding towns. This will be done to meet the project goal of testing the bus in all types of typical transit service, including low and high speeds, and routes with steep grades.

CTTRANSIT and project partners will gather and analyze data on fuel economy, maintenance costs and reliability.

The many benefits of this fuel cell-powered hybrid bus include zero harmful tailpipe emissions, smooth and quiet operation and fuel efficiency that is expected to be two times better than a standard diesel-powered bus. The clean operation means it will have an immediate positive impact on street- level emissions. These benefits are reflected in the distinctive green, leafy graphics on the sides of the bus.

"The people who live and work in Hartford and the people who visit the city are not only going to enjoy riding this quiet bus, but also will like the fact it emits nothing but water vapor, making for cleaner air for all of us to breathe," said Jan van Dokkum, UTC Power president.

The Greater Hartford Transit District contracted last year with UTC Power for the fuel cell-powered bus and two years of program support, including the use of a hydrogen refueling station located at UTC Power's headquarters in South Windsor, Connecticut. The bus was transferred to CTTRANSIT, Connecticut's state-owned bus system. Operation of the bus will be funded by the Connecticut Department of Transportation.

In addition to UTC Power and CTTRANSIT, the special project partnership includes AC Transit of Oakland, California, which now has three UTC Power fuel cell-powered buses in operation; Van Hool of Belgium, one of the world's largest bus and coach manufacturers; and ISE Corporation of Poway, California, a leading integrator of hybrid-electric and integrated fuel cell drive systems for buses. A $2.9 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to the Greater Hartford Transit District has funded the bus and infrastructure to support this and future fuel cell transportation projects in Greater Hartford.

UTC Power has provided fuel cell power plants for fleet transportation since 1998 and its fuel cells have powered buses in the United States, Spain and Italy; another new bus will soon debut in Belgium. UTC Power is a United Technologies company.

Additionally, UTC Power and its partners are participating in three multimillion-dollar zero-emission transit bus projects in California and Washington, D.C., as part of an FTA $49 million cost-shared program. Congress established the National Fuel Cell Bus Technology Development Program in 2005 to facilitate development of commercially viable fuel cell bus technology. The FTA goal is to have fuel cell buses represent 10 percent of new U.S. transit bus purchases starting in the year 2015.

UTC Power's PureMotion fuel cell system for transit buses represents more than six years of research and development in partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense through the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command and the U.S. Department of Transportation through the Northeast Advanced Vehicle Consortium.

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