UTC Power Attains 5,000-Hour Durability Milestone With Transit Bus Fuel Cell System

Jan 13, 2010, 10:30 ET from UTC Power

SOUTH WINDSOR, Conn., Jan. 13 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- UTC Power, a United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) company, today announced one of its latest generation PureMotion® Model 120 fuel cell powerplants for hybrid-electric transit buses has surpassed 5,000 operating hours in real-world service with its original cell stacks and no cell replacements.  This powerplant is aboard an Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit) bus operating in the Greater Oakland, California area.

According to UTC Power Vice President-Transportation Ken Stewart, "Stack durability matters.  It is recognized by the industry as a key challenge in commercializing fuel cell vehicles worldwide. The last time we serviced the stacks in that bus, all of the candidates for President still had nine months of campaigning to do. UTC Power has significantly improved fuel cell stack durability and we're confident that our progress will continue."

AC Transit Interim General Manager Mary King commented, "This is an important milestone for our program that shows the steady progress of fuel cell technology and its potential value to urban transit fleets."

Three of AC Transit's buses are equipped with UTC Power fuel cell systems and have now traveled more than 213,000 miles, with an average fuel economy that is 65 percent better than the control fleet of diesel buses running the same routes and duty cycles.

Fuel cell buses have a significant effect on reducing greenhouse gases, ranging from a 43 percent reduction over diesel buses if hydrogen is supplied from the reformation of natural gas, up to a 100 percent reduction when hydrogen is generated from on-site renewable sources like solar and wind power.

A recent report on worldwide hydrogen bus demonstration programs completed on behalf of the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration noted that zero-emission buses performed well across a wide range of operating conditions, including hilly and flat terrain, hot and cold temperatures and high and low-speed duty cycles.  There were no major safety issues over millions of miles of vehicle service, and most participants found that drivers preferred fuel cell buses to compressed natural gas or diesel, noting their smooth ride, ease of operation, strong acceleration and ability to maneuver well in traffic.  

"Demonstrations of fuel cell buses in real-world service significantly lower greenhouse gases today and are essential to commercial fuel cell product introductions in the future," Stewart said. "We are extremely pleased to have a visionary company like AC Transit as a partner and look forward to many more years of a successful collaboration in advancing fuel cell bus technology."

UTC Power has provided fuel cell power plants for fleet transportation since 1998 and its fuel cells have powered buses in the United States, Spain, Italy and Belgium.  The company's latest-generation proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell system has delivered more than 350,000 miles of commercial service for city transit bus fleets.

UTC Power is part of United Technologies Corp., which provides energy-efficient products and services to the aerospace and building industries.  Based in South Windsor, Conn., UTC Power is a world leader in developing and producing fuel cells for on-site power at buildings and for transportation applications.

AC Transit serves more than 1.5 million people in 13 cities (including Oakland and Berkeley) and two counties in the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area. With a fleet of 634 buses, it carries more than 67 million passengers annually.

Contact:  Peg Hashem

(860) 727 2093