AC Transit Opens Hydrogen Fuel Station

Hydrogen fuel cell buses and cars can now fill up with this zero-emission fuel at AC Transit’s municipal bus facility in Emeryville, California. The hydrogen fueling systems provided by Linde North America are capable of fueling up to 12 buses and 20 passenger cars per day. A second AC Transit hydrogen fueling station in Oakland is expected to begin operating in 2013. Part of AC Transit’s HyRoad project, the stations aim to demonstrate the commercial viability of hydrogen fuel cell technology for public transit.

The transit agency operates buses in 13 cities in the East Bay Area of Northern California, including Emeryville, Oakland, and Berkeley. AC Transit additionally operates trans-bay service to San Francisco.

The California Air Resources Board estimates that fuel cell buses will deliver a net reduction of 2.7 pounds of carbon dioxide per mile using hydrogen reformed from methane, and 6.3 pounds per mile using hydrogen derived from solar, wind, or other renewable sources. With each AC Transit bus projected to travel 36,000 miles annually, this could potentially reduce carbon emissions by 44 metric tons per year when using methane as a source of fuel, or 103 metric tons using renewables.

Importantly, these are tailpipe and carbon emissions reductions that can be duplicated by transit agencies across the country. To do so, however, requires significant public and private investment to enable the effort.