Buses within this project will look like this New Flyer XE60 model in Altoona.

CTE will be working with Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District (MTD) to deploy two 60’ New Flyer fuel cell electric buses. Jaimie Levin, Senior Managing Consultant and Director of West Coast Operations, and others at CTE will provide support to MTD. They will retrofit their garage for servicing and storing hydrogen-fueled buses, and install a hydrogen refueling station with onsite generation. This project will be the first commercial deployment of articulated fuel cell electric buses in North America. By deploying these buses in place of existing 18-year old diesel vehicles, MTD will reduce the energy consumption, emission of harmful pollutants, and emission of greenhouse gases associated with its fleet.

CTE will be joined by the Fiedler Group, a design and engineering group specializing in hydrogen and other alternative fuels, to prepare site plans and engineering drawings for upgrading MTD’s 111-Bus Maintenance and Storage garage to be fully compliant with hydrogen-safe codes and standards. CTE will be working with MTD to request proposals for firms to design, build, and commission the hydrogen refueling station. This project is funded by the Federal Transit Administration’s Low or No Emission Vehicle Program.

For more information about our work with Champaign-Urbana, please refer to our project page.


Here are a few commonly asked questions related to this news update:

What do you need to store hydrogen for fuel?
The United States’ Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy explains physical storage of hydrogen for fuel cell technology like buses. “Hydrogen can be stored physically as either a gas or a liquid. Storage of hydrogen as a gas typically requires high-pressure tanks (350–700 bar [5,000–10,000 psi] tank pressure). Storage of hydrogen as a liquid requires cryogenic temperatures because the boiling point of hydrogen at one atmosphere pressure is −252.8°C. Hydrogen can also be stored on the surfaces of solids (by adsorption) or within solids (by absorption).”

Is hydrogen fuel dangerous as an energy source for buses?
Not any more dangerous than fueling with traditional fuels like gasoline or diesel. All fuels are flammable and must be handled carefully. According to OCTA, “hydrogen is safer to use than conventional fossil fuels. If a leak occurs, lighter-than-air hydrogen gas rises up and disperses rapidly. This non-toxic gas is also safe to breathe.”