Hydrogen Buses Arrive In Ohio, Naturally Media And Politicians “Drink Exhaust” – Video

2 years ago by Jay Cole 36

While we can debate the relative value of the hydrogen fuel call passenger car versus the endless onslaught of better and better plug-in vehicles, but in the public and commercial transportation game – fuel cell technology makes a lot of sense, saving a lot of emissions from needlessly entering the environment.

It Is Water, But Trust Us, It Still Doesn't Taste That Good

It Is Water, But Trust Us, It Still Doesn’t Taste That Good

This week Ohio’s first hydrogen bus hit the roads, serving riders on Ohio State’s campus for the next ~12 months, as the university will collect data on the program.  A second bus is also to be delivered shortly to Penn State University’s Altoona Bus Testing and Research Center.

Over the course of the next 24 months, 10 buses in total will be deployed by SARTA (Stark Area Regional Transit Authority).  Once delivered, it will be the 3rd largest operation fleet of fuel cell buses in the country, and largest outside California.

The cost of using a new technology, and being emission free, isn’t cheap.  The first two buses cost about ~$2 million dollars a piece (about $1.6 million/each more than a comparable traditional bus) and is funded by a bevvy of government programs.

Besides the environmental benefits, the buses are about twice as efficient (~9 MPG) than their internal combustion brothers…meaning the monetary breakeven point would arrive just after travelling a scant ~3 million miles. But pricing is sure to come down with future adoption.

“When large-screen TVs first came out, they were very expensive. Now you can go to Walmart and get one out of a vending machine for a quarter (you should see how large the vending machines are though),” SARTA Executive Director and CEO Kirt Conrad said. “We’re seeing the same thing with this technology.”

And as is required by law, all media and politicians must consume the “exhaust” water from the buses during the launch ceremony – see above video evidence.

Check out this decent PDF spec sheet on SARTA hydrogen bus for more information.

Cleveland.com, Hat tip to sven!

 

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36 responses to "Hydrogen Buses Arrive In Ohio, Naturally Media And Politicians “Drink Exhaust” – Video"

  1. Ford Prefect says:

    Looks like a similar spec bus to the El Dorado Fuel Cell buses that SunLine Transit got in 29 Palms, CA.

  2. John says:

    For larger commercial vehicles, I think Fuel Cell is the way to go.

    1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

      For freight. But I think that municipal bus services will work fine with BEV (as sales of electric buses are showing).

      Although more challenging in colder climates, I think that ethanol heaters could be used to provide sustainable* heating with minimal overhead. Ethanol burns cleanly and doesn’t need any compression.

      * Yes, although ethanol production is not currently sustainable, it certainly could be.

      1. ClarksonCote says:

        Personally, I agree. I think that fuel cells probably makes sense for freight, but local bus transit should be able to use BEVs without much difficulty. This seems backed up by all the BEV bus sales getting racked as well.

  3. Nick says:

    Neat!

    Still a bit worried about the high pressure tanks.

    I wonder why hydride storage hasn’t come of age.

    1. evcarnut says:

      Hi – Pressure tanks..yea… , If one of them Blows Up they will be eating their “HUMBLE PIE” Instead of drinking the Water…..I would Never ride that Bus!

      1. deborah oo7.5 says:

        LOL !!!!!!! true dat 🙂

  4. Jacked Beanstalk says:

    How is the hydrogen generated? If they are using fossil fuel to make electricity to generate H2 to convert back to electricty then that’s just freakin’ stupid. It makes for a good PR photo op stunt, though.

    1. evcarnut says:

      That’s Government & politics For Ya!..If Governments made sense , we’d never be in the mess we are in!..All politicians have their own Hidden Agendas ..For Personal Gains …

      1. Jacked Beanstalk says:

        Well that’s who the people elected. At some point we need to stop blaming government and take a look at the voters.

        1. RexxSee says:

          Or the media owned by the same mega-corporations who own politicians and P.R. groups preparing the next election by mass unconscious manipulations 4 years in advance…
          Only well informed voters can make a better choice. We are actively quite well misinformed around here.

          http://www.businessinsider.com/these-6-corporations-control-90-of-the-media-in-america-2012-6

          1. The same mega-corporations who sell the natural gas used to make 98% of H2! They must think we are all incredibly stupid! Oh, but wait….

  5. Anon says:

    Ohio Politicians are soooo retarded. 🙁

  6. Chris O says:

    Hydrogen is very clean, the only thing coming from the exhaust is Kool-Aid!

    ..and obviously politicians just gobble it up…

    Meanwhile any bus operator will wonder why he would want an expensive hydrogen bus if he can get an electric bus for far less that only has a fraction of the fuel cost.

    1. philip d says:

      And a fraction of the infrastructure cost.

  7. Foo says:

    Why is it blue?

    1. Kdawg says:

      Wow, there literally is hydrogen Kool-Aid. And all this time I thought it was just a figure of speech.

      1. floydboy says:

        I thought it was lemonade? Oh well.

  8. Speculawyer says:

    I want to see them breathe the gases vented when steam-reforming methane into H2.

  9. SparkEV says:

    Wouldn’t battery swap busses be cheaper? I mean, they have to stick around 10 minutes or so to load/unload passengers, and robotic battery swap could change the battery in less time.

    At $200/kWh, 1000 kWh battery would only cost $200K each, and “10 MPGe”=0.7 mi/kWh, and 80% of 1000kWh would get 240 miles (about 4 hours at 60 MPH), enough for station to station.

    1. martinwinlow says:

      BYD are selling a 180 mile range ‘K10’ double-decker EV (*not* a hybrid) to Transport for London (UK) for about 1/3 the cost of one of these H2FC buses. Takes 4 hours to charge (at night). It saves about UK£8k/year in diesel.

  10. mustang_sallad says:

    Their “spec sheet” PDF shows each bus will save 9000 gallons over the life of the vehicle. I sure hope that’s a typo! That’s like $20k in savings!

  11. Fabian says:

    I heard the he “exhaust” water from a hydrogen car/bus is very acidic and actually bad for you to consume.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Hmmm. I thought I remembered a news report about a Toyota exec claiming that you could drink the water coming out of one of their “fool cell” cars, but when a reporter challenged him to do so on the spot, he refused, saying “I’m not stupid”. However, I can’t find any such story by Googling.

      More Googling suggests the exhaust is only slightly acidic — perhaps like Coca-Cola? — and therefore not likely to hurt you.

      I dunno. But common sense says you shouldn’t drink anything that you’re not sure is safe. I can understand the city officials doing so for “photo op” purposes, but IMHO the reporters who did so were being foolish.

      1. mr. M says:

        Genrall speaking the water itself should be ok.
        But it’s not wise to drink it a lot, the same reason why you don’t dring the water of your dryer. It contains too little salts/minerals to be drunken in huge masses regularly.

        Another reason not to drink it is because the particles of the air are included. If you drive through smogy air you will get water with smog included.

    2. Someone out there says:

      I doubt that but on the other hand the exhaust system is not made with food-grade materials so it probably contains residue chemicals from the manufacturing, at least while the vehicle is new, as well as road dirt.

  12. Bill Howland says:

    Jay Cole may be convinced Hydrogen vehicles are a ‘Clean Future’ but I’m not so sure…

    We need more articles on the particulars of this generation of hydrogen, and what is given up by extracting the hydrogen versus using it in the otherwise unfettered industrial process.

    Of course if a process is going on just to produce hydrogen, the wells to wheels comparison versus, such as LNG or CNG, should be made to see if the complication and expense is worth it.

    From what I’ve seen to date, I doubt it.

  13. floydboy says:

    Aren’t electric buses cheaper to buy, maintain and fuel than these?
    Where’s the fuel sourced? Seems an awful waste of money and electricity to go this route.

  14. Michael says:

    3 million miles to break even?

    Well it’s a good thing that in large, busy city use, a passenger bus typically goes between 300,000 and 500,000 miles during their service life before Federally mandated retirement after 12 years. Often even less. It’s quite rare to find a bus with over a million miles on the clock.

    Oh. Wait… Um… Oops!

    Nothing to see here, not a boondoggle! Move along, move along, press conference over!

    There might be a use for these in the Greyhound style motor transit market, but for in city use, they’re a complete waste.

  15. przemo_li says:

    Break even?

    MPG?

    Can someone do the proper math here? Like actually calculating MPGe for hydrogen, and providing reliable gas/hydro prices (with inevitable price rise, too!)?

    1. martinwinlow says:

      See my comment (above) – not the full story but it does show how utterly ridiculous all these moronic (but I’m sure, well-meaning) politicians are being. Steam-reforming NG into H2 is not an easy or cheap process – and it certainly isn’t ‘clean’. Then you have all the energy expended in just compressing H2 into a practical volume for putting in a vehicle (at a pressure of 700BAR or 10,000psi !)… You’ve got me started!!!

      Just suffice it to say that the whole notion is completely bonkers.

      Speculawyer’s comment sums things up, nicely!

      1. przemo_li says:

        I agree 🙂 Well to wheels for hydro is bad.

        However here is the question of TCO, completely different beast 😉

        But after a moment of thought, I realized that for TCO comparing gallon of gas to gallon of hydro is all about the price of gallon.

        So just MPgG vs MPhG would be enough.

        (Miles Per gas Gallon vs Miles per hydro Gallon)

  16. Someone out there says:

    Politicians drinking their kool-aid.

    These buses cost twice as much as the Proterra electric buses, uses a more expensive fuel and have far less mpg. Congratulations, tax payers!

    1. Brave Lil' Toaster says:

      Hey! That was *my* comment!

  17. Lou says:

    Let’s take a break for a minute with the criticisms. Hydrogen buses may or may not be a valuable technology, but we’ll never know for sure if they don’t test these buses. In this case, and in Penn State’s, that’s really what it is all about. FCV may be the way to go in large buses, trucks, etc. Let’s see the research, then decide. If the data doesn’t support the case for FCV buses, then so be it.