Text: H2 Zero Emission Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric

We are thrilled to welcome Champaign-Urbana’s first zero emission buses this service year. Two 20-year-old diesel buses will be replaced with zero emission hydrogen fuel cell electric buses, scheduled to hit our streets in 2021. The new buses will run on hydrogen and emit only water vapor. MTD will produce the hydrogen to fuel the buses on site using an electrolyzer, with the long-term goal of 100% renewable production.

Why Fuel Cell

With their exceptional performance and environmental benefits, electric-drive vehicles are the premiere zero-emission drive technology in the transportation sector.

MTD chose to venture into fuel cell electric vehicles because of the greater range, lower weight, greater durability, easier deployment and route flexibility, and cradle-to-grave recycling attributes. In addition, they can be refueled rapidly and do not require down time to recharge.

There are two types of electric-drive vehicles leading the way: battery-electric buses and fuel cell electric buses. A fuel cell electric bus operates on gaseous hydrogen. The components on the bus are nearly the same as a battery electric bus, except the fuel cell and onboard hydrogen storage vessels.

The only output from the tailpipe is water vapor that is clean enough to drink.

Fuel cells are more compact, and lighter in weight at approximately one third of the weight of batteries.

During low winter temperatures, fuel cell vehicles use waste heat from the fuel cell to keep the inside of the vehicle warm, saving significant energy.

Fuel cell electric buses can drive up to 300 miles on a single refueling

Fuel cell electric buses can be refueled in six to 10 minutes. Recharging large battery packs take as long as six hours.

We want to plan our service to serve our community. We don’t want to plan our service to serve our equipment. The beauty of the fuel cell bus is that, operationally, there are no alterations to our system that we need to make. The battery-electric buses do not have the range that allow you to just put a bus out and have it run for 18 hours. A hydrogen bus has a range that is equivalent to a diesel bus, so it’s a one-for-one replacement.

— Karl Gnadt, Managing Director