Friday, April 29, 2016
Fuel cell demo buses are almost twice more fuel efficient than conventional buses
Recent NREL's report provides a summary of results from evaluations of the fuel cell electric bus (FCEB) demonstration projects in California. The results for these buses account for more than 1,045,000 miles traveled and 83,000 hours of fuel cell power system operation.
Of the 16 fuel cell power plants included in the data set, 75% have surpassed 10,000 hours of operation. A performance target for FCEB fuel economy is 8 miles per diesel gallon equivalent (DGE), which is approximately 2 times higher than that of typical conventional diesel buses. Actual data from the FCEBs demonstration showed fuel economy ranging from 1.6 to 1.73 times higher than that of diesel baseline buses and 1.95 times higher than that of compressed natural gas baseline buses. The average fuel economy for the FCEBs over the last year was 5.8 miles per DGE.
The current costs for FCEB technology – both capital costs and operating costs – are still higher than those of conventional diesel and compressed natural gas. This cost should continue to decrease with larger orders of buses. The industry projects an order for 40 buses could result in costs closer to $1 million each. No doubt, FCEB possesses incredible potential to meet the future needs for clean mass transportation.