GE heading up hybrid fuel-cell bus project

The General Electric Co. (GE) will lead a $13-million research partnership with the Federal Transit Administration, Ballard Power Systems and A123 Systems to develop a zero-emissions hybrid fuel cell bus

The General Electric Co. (GE) will lead a $13-million research partnership with the Federal Transit Administration, Ballard Power Systems and A123 Systems to develop a zero-emissions hybrid fuel cell bus.

The research will be conducted by GE’s Global Research Center in Niskayuna, NY, said Mark Little, senior vp and director of GE’s research arm.

“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,” Little explained.

The GE’s hybrid fuel-cell bus is expected to be completely emissions-free with a range of 200 miles and 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, Little noted.

Hydrogen fuel cells and electric vehicles offer a viable solution for zero-emission transit bus operations. Although both are in use today, they come with high expenses, complex infrastructures and range limitations. GE’s research effort will be aimed at reducing these costs to affordable levels, Little said.

He also said this hybrid bus effort is a part of GE’s company-wide “Ecomagination” initiative. Launched in May 2005, the program develops and brings to market new technologies to help businesses meet environmental challenges. Through this initiative, GE is pledging to more than double its level of investment in the development of cleaner energy technologies, from $700 million to $1.5 billion during the next five years, Little noted.

For more information, go to www.ge.com/research

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