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Inside Fuel Cell Bus Technology

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Uploaded on Nov 14, 2010

Martin Rogers takes Daniel Sieberg on a tour of a maintenance facility for fuel cell buses.

Rogers says 20 buses in the fleet of 32 are currently in the shop. The regular maintenance schedule for the vehicles is based on mileage.

He displays the low-voltage battery and the switch that turns off the main power for the coach. The high-voltage systems are in the rear. Most of the water produced by the fuel cell reactions is vented with the air exhaust and some is emitted as steam. Some liquid water is collected in a pan. There is no pollution and no carbon dioxide emissions. The fuel cell module can produce up to 150 kilowatts. The bus is a hybrid, which can also use a battery pack that provides DC power. The fuel cells power the batteries, which power the drive train. Rogers says this is more efficient than having the bus powered by fuel cells alone. The vehicle also gets power from regenerative brakes. Touring the bus, Daniel shows us how the battery packs are stored underneath the seats and the gaseous hydrogen is in the roof and the fuel cells are in the back. Rogers starts the bus. The system performs a self check and a light indicates that the bus is running in battery mode. He switches it into fuel cell mode, and when the fuel cells kick in, he releases the brake and steps on the accelerator. He steers the bus around the course, and as he releases the fuel pedal, the bus slows itself down. Rogers says the bus performs well in cold weather, and the electric motor produces a surprising amount of power. It also has no need for a transmission. The brakes engage when the driver takes his foot off the accelerator. The bus has regenerative brakes that charge the batteries when they engage.

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