Orange County Transportation Authority

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  • Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Bus

  • One giant leap forward in the future of transportation technology.
    Introducing a new hydrogen fuel cell electric bus.

    To provide Orange County residents with greener, less polluting transportation alternatives, OCTA is building a sustainable transportation future that includes testing next-generation technologies and fuels such as this Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Bus. We are proud to use the cleanest vehicle available in Orange County, protecting the air our residents breathe and lowering our carbon footprint. You can spot this bus on bus routes 43, 51, 72 and 145 over the next couple of months.

    The basics behind fuel cell technology

    Unlike buses that run on fossil fuels, a hydrogen fuel cell electric bus is powered by two of earth’s most common basic components —oxygen and hydrogen. A fuel cell combines hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, heat, and water. Fuel cells are similar to batteries. Both convert the energy produced by a chemical reaction into usable electric power. The fuel cell provides an advantage, however — it will continue to produce electricity as long as fuel (hydrogen) is supplied. Also, every time the coach operator steps on the brakes, it provides extra electrical power to help the bus accelerate and climb steep hills.

    Zero emissions and air quality

    Buses powered by fossil fuel buses emit air pollutants that harm our environment by combining to produce smog and greenhouse gases. Fuel cell electric vehicles are zero-emission vehicles. When a hydrogen fuel cell electric bus operates, it emits only water. This means cleaner air, less global warming, and healthier, quieter neighborhoods.

    Safety considerations

    All fuels are flammable and must be handled carefully. However, in many ways, 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.

    Bus funding

    Future regulations will require all bus fleets to be completely emission-free. Pilot programs to ensure these goals are met are being pursued by transportation agencies including OCTA. This Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Bus was funded through the Federal Transportation Association’s National Fuel Cell Bus Program. During a two-year demonstration period, the bus will operate in place of an existing OC Bus approximately 16 hours per day, 292 days per year on a variety of normal bus routes.

    Special thanks and acknowledgements to our zero-emission bus partners.

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