Foothill Transit and CTE Achieve Groundbreaking Refueling Efficiency at Hydrogen Station

October 10, 2023

October 10, 2023

Kate Mason
(615) 419-5185
[email protected]

Foothill Transit and CTE Achieve Groundbreaking Refueling Efficiency at Hydrogen Station

Pomona, CA - Foothill Transit, in collaboration with the Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE), announces a groundbreaking achievement in refueling efficiency at their state-of-the-art hydrogen refueling station located at Foothill Transit's Pomona Operation and Maintenance Facility.

During a recent performance test conducted by station developer Clean Energy (with technology support and design services from Messer), Foothill Transit successfully refueled 18 fuel cell buses back-to-back in a 90-minute timeframe. This was accomplished by utilizing two dispensers simultaneously, showcasing the station's efficiency and its commitment to seamless refueling operations. Using data from the performance test, CTE's models predict that Foothill will be able to achieve its standard fill of 19.1 kg of hydrogen in approximately 6.5 minutes.

This finding carries significance as it demonstrates that hydrogen refueling can match the speed and efficiency of CNG refueling, providing a significant advantage for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Foothill Transit's CNG station fills buses performing similar duties in approximately 5.5 minutes. Currently, CNG is the prevailing alternative fuel for buses; however, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles can offer numerous benefits, such as extended range and reduced emissions. If hydrogen refueling can continue to be streamlined to match the quick and convenient nature of CNG refueling, it has the potential to accelerate the widespread adoption of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

The scalability of Foothill Transit's refueling station is equally impressive. Based on this achievement, the station has the capacity to support approximately 109 fuel cell buses within its existing refueling window of 10.5 hours, averaging 11.5 minutes per standard refueling event including dwell time. This noteworthy adaptability underscores the station's forward-thinking design and its ability to meet the increasing demands of a growing fleet of fuel cell vehicles. The station capital costs amounted to approximately $6.45 million, comparable with CNG stations of a similar size.

As the project manager and technical consultant for the design and build of the station, CTE is supporting Foothill Transit in project planning phases, completing a refueling facility layout analysis, a review of existing transit-orientated refueling stations in the U.S., a fully-fledged hydrogen consumption analysis based on Foothill's route energy intensity and existing market-ready fuel cell electric buses (FCEBs), and a hydrogen supplier and equipment evaluation. CTE then completed an assessment on the feasibility and market value of a joint-use public hydrogen fueling station at Foothill Transit's Pomona facility. The analyses informed the specifications for the hydrogen fueling station and maintenance facility Request for Proposals (RFPs). Throughout the course of the project, CTE stayed engaged on various funding opportunities that may be of interest to Foothill Transit and also provided ongoing project management support and technical guidance.

"Foothill Transit values the partnership with CTE on this project," said Roland Cordero, Foothill Transit Director of Maintenance and vehicle Technology. "They provided invaluable technical expertise in the field of Hydrogen technology and enabled Foothill Transit to pilot 33 fuel cell electric buses as well as fueling infrastructure. CTE's support and guidance throughout the project was the result of the successful commissioning of the entire project."

"CTE is proud to have partnered with Foothill Transit on this important project," said CTE Director of West Coast Operations, Jaimie Levin. "This achievement is a testament to the innovative approach that Foothill Transit has taken to zero-emission technologies. We look forward to continuing to work with Foothill Transit to advance the adoption of fuel cell technology and help them achieve their zero-emission goals."

About Foothill Transit: Committed to providing sustainable transportation solutions, Foothill Transit is a leading public transit agency operating an extensive bus network serving the San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys. With a strong focus on innovation and environmental stewardship, Foothill Transit aims to create a cleaner and greener future for its communities.

About the Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE): The Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE) is a non-profit organization that specializes in advancing clean, efficient, and sustainable transportation technologies. With a mission to reduce the impact of transportation on the environment, CTE provides project management and technical consulting services to support the deployment of innovative transportation solutions.

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