Air Liquide Industrial U.S. LP has reached agreement with the Centre for Transportation and the Environment (CTE) to supply the hydrogen-fuelling infrastructure for a hydrogen fuel cell bus demonstration in Birmingham, Alabama.

CTE, a non-profit organisation that specialises in bringing clean transportation technologies to the market, will manage the hydrogen fuel cell bus demonstration over a two-year period, scheduled to begin in summer 2012.

During this period, a hydrogen-powered bus will operate in regular service alongside the fleet of public buses currently operated by the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Agency (BJCTA).

Air Liquide will provide gaseous hydrogen and the compression and dispensing bus refuelling system. The system will dispense, on average, around 20kg of hydrogen per day, totaling about 12,500kg of hydrogen during the 24-month demonstration period.

The hydrogen fuelling station will feature automated 350 bar hydrogen dispensing at one kg per minute, allowing operators to regularly fuel the hydrogen-powered bus quickly.

“Air Liquide has a proven track record of developing hydrogen fuelling stations around the world. We are excited to work with them to bring the first hydrogen infrastructure to Birmingham, Alabama”

Erik Bigelow, Project Manager at CTE

Mark Lostak, President of Air Liquide Industrial U.S. LP, commented, “Air Liquide is excited to participate in the Birmingham Fuel Cell Bus Demonstration. This initiative illustrates the logical progression toward the use of hydrogen fuel cells in public transportation vehicles.”

“Hydrogen fuel cell technology is a solution that is both economic and sustainable for mass transit systems due to the size of public bus fleets, fuel volume requirements, and the inherent ability to use a centralised fuelling system. As we move towards fuelling larger bus fleets, we look forward to this technology further demonstrating itself as a cost competitive and environmentally beneficial solution for public transit.”

Track record

Air Liquide has provided more than 200,000 hydrogen fills worldwide and supplied a number of filling installations in North America, including those for buses, materials handling, and light vehicles.

In Whistler, Canada, Air Liquide signed a 10-year contract for 20 hydrogen-powered buses that started in February 2010 in conjunction with the Vancouver Winter Olympics and Paralympics Games. This hydrogen bus fleet is the largest in the world.

“Air Liquide has a proven track record of developing hydrogen fuelling stations around the world,” said Erik Bigelow, the technology development Project Manager at CTE who is managing the project.

“We are excited to work with them to bring the first hydrogen infrastructure to Birmingham, Alabama.”