Humboldt County Introduces New Hydrogen Buses to its Fleet

Humboldt County Introduces New Hydrogen Buses to its Fleet

March 5, 2024 0 By Hydrogen Fuel News

Navigating the extensive distances between rural communities along California’s North Coast via mass transit poses a significant challenge. Typical battery-powered electric buses fall short, unable to complete round trips due to their limited range. However, hydrogen buses stand out as a viable solution, capable of enduring these lengthy journeys. The Humboldt Transit Authority is leveraging a grant of $38.7 million to procure 11 state-of-the-art hydrogen buses and construct a hydrogen fueling station, marking a significant leap towards sustainable transit in Humboldt County.

A Milestone for Public Transportation

In a noteworthy shift towards eco-friendly public transportation, Humboldt County’s Transit Authority (HTA) has embraced hydrogen technology. This move marks a significant advancement in the region’s green initiatives and a commitment to improving mass transit efficiency.

The Visionary Minds Behind the Wheels

hydrogen buses in humboldt California

Eureka’s Historic Old Town

Tom Wheeler, along with EPIC’s climate attorney, Matt Simmons and Colin Fiske from the Coalition for Responsible Transportation Priorities, held a discussion on the Econews Report. They invited Jerome Qiriazi and Peter Lehman, notable figures in the realm of hydrogen technology, to shed light on the new transit solutions.

HTA’s Green Gamble

Qiriazi, representing HTA, emphasized that hydrogen is not an energy source but an energy carrier. “Hydrogen allows us to transport the energy we produce through renewable sources efficiently,” he stated. Describing the hydrogen bus experience, he noted, “For riders and drivers, these buses offer the same experience as battery electric buses, with the bonus of an onboard fuel cell to keep the battery charged.”

Lehman, who has dedicated 35 years with the Schatz Center to hydrogen work, highlighted the significance of introducing this technology to Humboldt County, considering previous efforts were concentrated in urban areas.

Tackling Transit Challenges with Advanced Technology

The new hydrogen buses offer a solution to the challenges faced by battery electric buses, including the inability to fulfill longer routes due to energy constraints. “The hydrogen buses perform exceedingly well for extensive routes that would typically surpass the capacities of conventional battery-powered buses,” remarked Lehman.

Hydrogen Buses Deliver Distance with Durability

Elaborating on the efficiency of hydrogen fuel cells, Lehman shared that HTA’s decision to select hydrogen buses was based on their energy density and backup fuel cell, which allows the buses to complete long journeys without the need for frequent recharging.

The Redwood Coast Express Route

Jerome revealed plans for a new express route from Eureka to Ukiah. This necessitated negotiating with a manufacturer to customize a bus that could cover the 320-mile round trip on a single tank of hydrogen.

The Road Ahead for Hydrogen Fuelshydrogen news ebook

The implementation of hydrogen-fueled buses in Humboldt County is not merely a response to environmental urgency—it encapsulates the community’s progressive approach towards leveraging responsible technology for public benefit. With their smaller battery size compared to electric buses, these hydrogen buses help reduce the environmental impact of lithium mining. Plus, they only emit water, contributing to cleaner air quality.

As such, communities like Humboldt are pioneering the transformation of public transit systems, setting a precedent for others nationwide. With roots in extensive research and nurtured by the dedication of professionals, these hydrogen buses represent more than mere transportation—they serve as a symbol, illuminating the path towards a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future.


Spread the love