December 21, 2010 17:23 ET

CALSTART Wins $10 Million to Develop, Deploy, and Test Next Generation Fuel Cell Transit Buses

Two Grants Will Help Reduce Cost and Improve Durability of Two Leading Fuel Cell Manufacturers -- and Improve the Commercial Outlook for Fuel Cell Buses

PASADENA, CA--(Marketwire - December 21, 2010) - CALSTART, an organization working nationally to grow the clean transportation technology industry, today announced that it has been selected for more than $10 million from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), for two projects that will lead to the development of lower cost and more durable zero emission fuel cell buses.

In its own press release on the announcement, the FTA noted, "The Obama Administration is proud to partner with researchers who are exploring greener, more efficient ways to power buses," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "Adapting fuel-cell technology to buses will result in a cleaner environment and quieter streets for everyone." Fuel cell buses improve urban air quality because they produce zero tailpipe emissions while also producing far fewer greenhouse gas pollutants.

The funding will primarily be used to help leading fuel cell manufacturers, UTC Power and Ballard, improve the performance of and lower the costs of their fuel cells. One bus will be tested in the harsh operating environment of one of the nation's largest cities.

"As a result of these awards, and other recent investments, we believe these two leading manufacturers will be able to reduce the cost and improve the durability of their fuel cell buses significantly compared to just three to four years ago," said CALSTART's President and CEO, John Boesel. "The FTA's investment will significantly help move fuel cell buses closer to commercial viability," said Boesel.

The larger of the two projects provides funding of $7,200,000 with CALSTART partner, UTC Power, to complete the first phase of a project to develop a next generation fuel cell power system that is lower in cost and has a significantly longer life.

The FTA will also be providing $2,970,000 in funding to CALSTART and its lead partner, the Chicago Regional Transit Authority (RTA), to develop and conduct in-service testing for a next generation Buy America compliant fuel cell bus in its fleet. The project will enable the RTA, Ballard, and its partners to test the latest technology and see how it performs in a cold weather environment. Other project partners include bus maker El Dorado Inc., hybrid drive train manufacturer, BAE Systems Inc., and hydrogen refueling station builder and operator, Air Products Inc.

In addition to these two very worthy projects, CALSTART submitted several others that, while having tremendous potential, were not selected by the FTA. "The fact that so many other high impact projects were not chosen calls out the need for continued federal funding in this sector," said Boesel.

CALSTART is the only organization working nationally to foster the rapid growth of the entire clean transportation technology industry. Building on its strong base of knowledge and operations in California, CALSTART serves as a catalyst for the comprehensive clean transportation industry as a way to create more jobs, clean the air, make the country more secure, and reduce the threat of global warming. CALSTART manages leading edge technology programs while providing value-added services to its 130 member companies and consulting clients. For more information visit:

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    John Boesel