Battery Electric and Fuel Cell Electric: Two Complementary Electric Bus Options

At CTE, we pride ourselves in working with the latest and greatest in zero-emission technology. There are many misconceptions about battery electric and fuel cell electric buses as completely different systems for clean transit when they are similar electric drive solutions. We’re going to break down the basics of battery electric and fuel cell electric bus options to dispel any doubts about both technologies. In the infographic to the left, there is a breakdown of the similarities and differences between the two technologies. Overall, there are more commonalities in the buses than there are differences. In the first section, we talk about energy storage. In a battery electric bus, as the name suggests, power is stored in a battery pack in the rear of the bus until it is time to be converted to kinetic energy. For a fuel cell electric bus, the fuel cells will also be stored in the rear of the bus along with a battery pack similar to a conventional battery electric bus. Hydrogen is stored in tanks on the roof to be used by the fuel cells that create onboard energy to recharge the batteries. As the battery electric bus decelerates through taxi or stopping, kinetic energy is brought back into the battery via regenerative braking. Fuel cell electric buses also have this available technology, in order to reduce unnecessary waste of energy when bringing the bus to a halt. A technological difference between battery electric and fuel cell electric bus technology is in the fueling infrastructure. For a battery electric bus, the battery may be charged in a variety of places inside or... read more

3 Things ZEB Industry Leaders Need to Know about the West Coast Center of Excellence

A Center of Excellence is loosely defined as a “team, a shared facility, or an entity that provides leadership, best practices, research, support, and/or training for a focus area.” From information technology to the military, most genres have room for a type of competency or knowledge center. Now more than ever, the zero-emission bus industry relies on each other to provide key updates related to technology, utility structures, and lessons learned by transit agencies across the country. As a non-profit, environmental advocacy organization, CTE is assisting with the advancement of two regionally distinct Centers of Excellence focused on different aspects of zero-emission bus workforce development.  In California, SunLine Transit Agency is building the West Coast Center of Excellence in Zero-Emission Technology (CoEZET).  While in Ohio, Stark Area Regional Transit Authority (SARTA) is home of the Midwest Hydrogen Center of Excellence that will provide early outreach and education on fuel cell electric buses to Midwest and east coast operators. We will go in detail in a future post about the Midwest Center of Excellence, and the unique ways they support their region. Here are three things ZEB industry leaders must know about the up-and-coming West Coast Center of Excellence at SunLine: 1. Knowledge transfer will be by teaching others The best way to learn how to improve is to learn from the best. A workforce training program focused on maintaining and operating zero-emission buses in public fleets in a classroom-style setting will be the way CoEZET will share their best practices to others. 2. Sunline won’t be running the show alone Public and private organizations, including transit agencies, colleges, private... read more

CTE Joins TCRP Day in Washington, D.C.

We’ll be joined by other industry leaders and kicking off TCRP Day at our nation’s capital on June 6th, 2018. Executive Director Dan Raudebaugh and Director of West Coast Operations Jaimie Levin will be representing CTE in D.C. that week. The Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) develops near-term, practical solutions to problems facing public transportation. TCRP is managed by the Transportation Research Board, a program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. TCRP is sponsored by the Federal Transit Administration and works in partnership with the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). TCRP provides you access to public transportation-related research reports, and products. To get more updates on what Dan and Jaimie will be up to during TCRP Day, follow us @go_CTE on... read more

CTE Representing at the Advanced Clean Transportation Expo

We had a great time at the Advance Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo observing the latest and greatest in clean transit innovation. Our projects with Kenworth and Goodwill showcased our progress with these two partnerships at the event. Both projects received a lot of attention from Expo attendees with positive feedback throughout. Goodwill in San Francisco is moving towards a zero emissions future through their delivery trucks. Engineering Consultant Joel Donham and others at CTE will be providing engineering and planning support to roll out Goodwill’s 10 delivery trucks and 1 Class 8 roll-off truck. Build Your Dreams (BYD) will be providing the electric trucks for the program and unveiled their first model debuted at the expo. Support for this project is provided by the California Climate Investments Program. To learn more about CTE’s involvement with Goodwill and BYD, feel free to explore our page for this project. For more information about BYD’s debut of their electric delivery truck for Goodwill, please read their formal press release. Our project with Kenworth was also showcased at ACT. The fuel cell drayage truck is one of the many projects that furthers the development of fuel cell technology for heavy-duty trucking nationwide. Senior Engineering Consultant and Director of Technology Development Jason Hanlin has been working closely with Kenworth, BAE Systems, and Ballard Power Systems to create this industry-leading technology. Once complete, the truck’s main responsibility will be in goods movement between the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and inland freight terminals. The ZECT project is funded in part by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and the South Coast Air Quality... read more

Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District to Deploy Fuel Cell Electric Buses

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... read more

Congressional Omnibus Appropriations Language Reflects Big Wins for the Zero Emission Bus Industry

From all of us at the Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE), we commend the House and Senate Appropriations Committee for recognizing the importance of programs supportive of the zero-emission transit industry. The funding levels included in the Omnibus Appropriations language for the Low or No Emission Vehicle Program and the Low or No Emission Component Assessment Program are vital to the transit industry’s efforts to transition to zero-emission vehicles. CTE, a non-profit engineering and planning firm, has been actively engaged in helping to move US manufactured, zero-emission transportation technologies into the marketplace for the past 25 years.  Part of our focus is advocating on behalf of the zero-emission industry to help establish programs at the federal and state levels to provide support to our country’s transition to cleaner, more sustainable, domestically produced transportation fuels.  CTE is proud to announce our collective voices are being heard in Congress. The new Omnibus Appropriations language reflects two big wins for the zero-emission transit bus industry. First, the Low or No Emission Vehicle Program at the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), funded at $55 million in FY16 and FY17 received an additional $29.45 million in FY18 to bring the total $84.45. This program has been vital to helping US transit agencies transition to clean, quiet zero-emission technologies. These technologies include both battery electric and fuel cell electric drive systems. This program is a highly competitive grant program that helps pay the difference between incumbent diesel and CNG technologies and zero-emission technologies.  This funding allows transit agencies to basically pay the same price for these cleaner technologies while simultaneously helping bus OEMs to... read more

CTE Provides Consulting Services for San Diego’s Zero Emission Bus (ZEB) Roadmap & Pilot Program

The Center for Transportation & the Environment (CTE) was selected by the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) to assist with the Zero Emission Bus (ZEB) Roadmap & Pilot Program. Steve Clermont, Senior Engineering Consultant and Director of Planning and Development, along with others at CTE will build a model using real-world route data and simulate bus performance in order to aid operational decisions for MTS. CTE will also work with the transit agency and local utility providers to determine utility rate schedules that would be the most appropriate for the type of charging that the transit agency will use in their deployment. This pilot program will pave the way for MTS’s transition towards 100% zero emissions. CTE is joined by AECOM and Fiedler Group, and shall be subcontracted to assist in the assessment of SDMTS facilities to accommodate electric charging and/or hydrogen refueling infrastructure and assess impact to depot operations and maintenance. For more CTE updates and industry information, follow @go_CTE on Twitter. Here is a commonly asked questions related to this news update: What do utilities companies have to do with electric buses? Utilities companies charge differently depending on a number of factors: amount of electricity consumed, demand of electricity at the time of consumption, and the rate at which the user is consuming the energy are only a few factors affecting the price that transit agencies pay. CTE works with transit agencies like MTS to understand when would be the best time to charge buses for the lowest rate according to the unique factors affecting an area or region.... read more