Pilot hydrogen bus program discovers issues and ways to fix them

Pilot hydrogen bus program discovers issues and ways to fix them

December 21, 2023 0 By Tami Hood

A trial period using H2-powered buses has made it possible to spot and fix challenges with the technology.

A Canadian hydrogen bus pilot in Edmonton and Strathcona County in the province of Alberta has made it possible to identify and resolve future challenges with the zero-emission technology.

The test used sandbags in place of human passengers and consulted with experts for fixes.

The pilot was a collaboration between the Edmonton Transit Service (ETS) and Strathcona County Transit. The test involves working together for 42 months with the addition of one hydrogen bus to each of their fleets. The fuel cell vehicles started fare service on October 25 and the two transit services are comparing notes, expert consultations and solutions to the issues they have already observed and expect to observe through the length of the trial.

“We expected to find that this wasn’t going to go perfectly right from the get-go,” said ETS transit fleet maintenance director Derek Hanson. “Being in Edmonton and having that cold snap in October was actually quite beneficial to us because we did get some learnings from that.”

Among the issues discovered with the hydrogen bus pilot included refueling service outages.

In the earliest days of the hydrogen bus trial, the transit services already experienced an outage at the (pilot partner) Suncor refueling service facility and how it impacts the vehicle service to customers. On one occasion, “minor” leaks occurred in four of the 60 H2 valves at the refueling facility due to freezing.

Hydrogen bus and refueling station

Credit: Photo by depositphotos.com

Neither transit service has its own refueling station at the moment, but Edmonton has already submitted a proposal as of April, and it is now under review, according to Hanson.Memory test

“We’re agnostic in terms of how it gets to us,” said Hanson who pointed out that the city is looking for an H2 vendor that will provide the production, delivery, maintenance and ownership of the refueling needs. “We just want to use the fuel.”

Safety first

hydrogen news ebookAmong the other issues that have been discovered during the hydrogen bus pilot include those regarding safety. For instance, they discovered a nick in the high-voltage wire casing.

“There was no impact to the actual wiring on the bus, but we wanted to take extra precaution and care around that, and do a full investigation,” explained Hanson.

Ready to test your knowledge on the most abundant element in the universe? Take our fun and engaging Hydrogen Quiz now!

Spread the love