Natural Gas – Conversions, Vehicles and Technology

MTA Unveils New Hydrogen Fuel Cell Bus and Alt-Fuel Facility

May 30, 2012

FLINT, MI – The Mass Transportation Authority (MTA) recently unveiled its new hydrogen fuel cell bus and opened its alternative-fuel facility in Grand Blanc Township. The vehicles will be stored at the Grand Blanc Service Center and Alternative Fuel Facility location.

"Hydrogen as an alternative fuel for the public transit industry is environmentally friendly, reduces the carbon footprint, and is technically feasible for a sustainable future," said Ed Benning, MTA general manager.

MTA's new fuel cell bus is hybrid-electric, zero emission and powered by a 120 kW UTC Power PureMotion fuel cell system, which helps reduce nitrogen oxide emissions equivalent to removing 77 cars from the road per year, according to the MTA.

"With the introduction of a bus powered by a PureMotion fuel cell system, MTA is leading by example and reaping the benefits of superior efficiency, increased reliability and reduced emissions for environmentally responsible operations," said Joe Triompo, VP and general manager, UTC Power. "We're very proud that one of our fuel cells will be helping to serve the Flint community."

The MTA will be procuring additional hydrogen vehicles in the near future. The Grand Blanc service center garage will be expanded to provide storage for hydrogen and CNG vehicles and provide a work bay for the MTA maintenance.

The MTA will issue a request for proposals (RFP) to purchase additional hydrogen vehicles within the next year. Modeled on a facility in Toronto, it will also serve as an educational training ground for Kettering University students and the larger community. The station will also be designed to generate compressed natural gas (CNG). Five CNG vehicles will be purchased for MTA's regional transportation. A storage and maintenance facility will be built to address these new vehicles in the 2013-2014 time frames.

During the second phase of construction, the MTA plans include an educational research facility and a public fuel station operated by the private sector, which is expected to be ready by fall 2013. The MTA will work with local colleges to further develop the alternative fuels. The site will provide a classroom in which area students can be involved in the research of alternative fuel sources.

During the third phase of construction, plans include the use of solar power capable of generating the electricity necessary to fulfill the needs of the proton electrolyzer, a unit which is used to provide a mix of electricity and water to generate hydrogen. A needs assessment will be conducted to establish alternative fuel requirements throughout Genesee County and municipalities and private businesses.  The MTA will build a new alternative-fuel maintenance facility which will include the installation of a static fuel cell that will generate both electricity for the fueling facility, as well as hot water heat for the site.

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