Lower total cost of ownership could make hydrogen the right energy source for city buses

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Hydrogen could power the next generation of public transportation in Indianapolis. In late February, IndyGo tested a hydrogen fuel cell electric bus borrowed from a California transit agency. It’s part of their quest to figure out how to power the buses that will eventually replace the current diesel buses.

John Sheffield (photo Purdue University/John O'Malley)In a hydrogen fuel cell, hydrogen and oxygen atoms react to produce electricity. It’s a much more efficient and energy-dense process than a typical engine, allowing vehicles to extend their range, said John Sheffield, professor of engineering technology at Purdue University’s Polytechnic Institute.

“It’s a definite competitive advantage,” Sheffield said, particularly for heavy goods vehicles and city buses that travel more than 100 miles a day.

Although IndyGo’s upfront costs are higher to outfit their fleet of hydrogen fuel cell electric buses and the ability to produce hydrogen locally or have it shipped from elsewhere, Sheffield said the state The mindset governing these analyzes is that of “total cost of ownership”.

“It’s just that shift in mentality,” he said. “We have done it in other areas. We just haven’t done it yet in transportation.

Read the full Indianapolis Star article by Kayla Dwyer.

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