GE has formed a $13 million research partnership with the Federal Transit Administration, Ballard Power Systems and A123 Systems to develop a lightweight, battery dominant zero emissions hybrid fuel cell bus. The research will be led by GE’s Global Research Center in Niskayuna.
It is expected that the hybrid fuel cell bus being designed and built will be completely emissions free, have a range of 200 miles with accessories operating, and an improved fuel cell life and cost. The focus of the research partnership will be to reduce fuel cell power requirements and improve energy storage technologies, which would help to increase the commercial viability of the technology.
Beyond the transit bus, the technologies developed under this project could be leveraged to support other clean energy priorities. Technology and techniques developed for the bus can be applied to uninterruptible power supplies, renewable energy production and many other applications. The energy storage components can further enable new products for emerging markets such as plug-in hybrid vehicles and electric grid management.
The research partnership is part of $49 million in funding announced last week by U.S. Federal Transit Administrator James Simpson under its hydrogen fuel cell bus research and development program. GE Global Research, and its industrial partners, will contribute approximately half of the $13 million in funding for the project. The Federal Transit Administration, through the Northeast Advanced Vehicle Consortium, will fund the other half. “Advancements in hybrid propulsion systems and battery chemistry offer tremendous promise for enabling cleaner, more affordable transportation alternatives that will reduce reliance on fossil fuels and promote a cleaner, healthier environment,” said Mark Little, Senior Vice President and Director of GE Global Research. “At Global Research, we will be leveraging nearly three decades of experience in hybrid systems and battery chemistry research to help pave the way to commercialization.”