February 2010

Fuel Cell Maker Bloom Energy Opens the Kimono
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South Carolina Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Alliance Grows in 2009 and Looks for Continued Growth in 2010
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Hydrogen Powered Taxies Gear Up for London Olympics
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Honda Begins Operations of New Solar Hydrogen Station
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Proterra Announces Move to ICAR
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Proterra Offers 'Glimmer of Hope' Economy Turning Around
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February 25, 2010
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Fuel Cell Maker Bloom Energy Opens the Kimono

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Bloom Energy, a fuel cell company that aims to help homes and businesses generate their own electricity from hydrogen and oxygen, publicly unveiled its technology and an impressive list of major customers at a Feb. 24 press conference attended by California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and former U.S. Secretary of State General Colin Powell.

The Sunnyvale (Calif.) company, which was named a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer in December, was in the headlines again this week after being featured on CBS News’ 60 Minutes on Feb. 21. It turns out that Bloom Energy has already signed up customers including Google, Coca-Cola, eBay, Wal-Mart, Staples, Bank of America, Cox Enterprises, and Fedex Express, a unit FedEx—further fueling excitement about the startup.

It’s no accident Schwarzenegger was invited to the Feb. 24 press conference. K.R. Sridhar, Bloom Energy’s Indian-born co-founder and chief executive, hopes government agencies and cities in California will start using the company’s portable power plants, called Bloom boxes or energy servers. “We will be in touch with them to make that happen,” Sridhar says.

Privately-held Bloom Energy has already gained significant momentum: The company says it has raised “hundreds of millions of dollars” in venture capital from the likes of venerable Silicon Valley firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caulfield & Byers. Board members include Powell; Eddy Zervigon, a managing director at Morgan Stanley; and T.J. Rodgers, the chairman of solar cell maker SunPower. And some of America’s biggest companies are installing Bloom’s modular power-plant-in-a-box system, attracted by the promise of being able to efficiently generate their own electricity on site while reducing their carbon footprint, lowering energy costs, and mitigating the risk of power outages.

Some industry analysts remain skeptical, pointing to a long list of fuel cell startups that have never managed to turn a profit. "I am pretty sure that when we learn more about Bloom Energy we will see that it works technically, but the costs are unapproachably high for the next 10 years," says Michael Liebreich, chief executive of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, an energy research consultancy. "We already have a lot of those solutions."

Consider the case of two companies that make the same type of fuel cells as Bloom Energy. Ceramic Fuel Cells Ltd, an Australian solid-oxide fuel cell company created in 1992, is still not profitable, says Jacob Grose, a senior analyst specializing in alternative power and energy storage in the New York office of Lux Research. Neither is Ceres Power Holdings,a publicly-traded British fuel cell company founded in 2001. It reported losses of £8 million ($12.24 million) last year on revenues of £1 million ($1.53 million).

Fuel Cell Energy, an established Danbury (Conn.) company that uses a different flavor of fuel cell, also has struggled. The company's power plants have generated more than 340 million kilowatts of electricity for big business customers like Pepperidge Farm (a unit of Campbell Soup) using a variety of fuels, including wastewater gas, biogas from beer and food processing, and natural gas and other hydrocarbon fuels. Yet the company reported just $80 million in revenues in 2009, with losses of $72.5 million.

The key to Bloom Energy's success will thus be whether it can break this pattern and sell its energy servers profitably. Bloom Energy says it will prevail where others have failed because its technology is distinct in key ways. The company claims to use lower-cost materials, allowing its boxes to be more easily mass produced and affording them a wider potential market. Bloom also says its solution is more efficient at converting fuel to electricity; is more easily deployed and maintained than alternatives; and has the ability to work with a wide range of renewable or traditional energy sources.

Bloom executives concede that fuel cells have so far under-delivered on their promise. That's why the eight-year-old company has been so secretive until this point: It wanted to demonstrate solid experience with real customers to prove it's really different. Bloom has now revealed that it made its first commercial installation in July 2008, and that since then, its boxes have collectively produced more than 11 million kilowatt hours of electricity and saved 14 million pounds of carbon dioxide—the equivalent of powering 1,000 American homes for a year and planting one million trees.

The company's ambitions go beyond fueling corporations to powering individual homes. Bloom boxes also could reduce dependence on gasoline-powered vehicles by generating electricity for hybrid or electric cars. And when the cells are run in reverse, they output hydrogen, which could power hydrogen vehicles, if they ever take off. Sridhar is especially excited about the potential for Bloom boxes in emerging economies, where he says they could bring power and light to remote villages now cut off from the power grid—potentially boosting education, health care, and access to clean water and refrigeration.

That said, he acknowledges it will take at least three to five years before Bloom boxes reach "grid parity" for home use, or price competitiveness with traditional residential-scale electric supplies. And no timetable has been announced yet for an international rollout of the technology.

For now, the focus is on big business customers in the U.S., who use Bloom's energy servers as a complement to traditional power supplies. The company says that in commercial applications, it can already generate power more cheaply than via traditional fossil fuels—for about 9 to 10 cents a kilowatt hour, vs. typical rates of 13 to 14 cents for power from the grid. Bloom's corporate boxes cost about $700,000 to $800,000 and have a three- to five-year payback period, the company estimates. "We are twice as efficient as the U.S. national grid, which means we can produce the same amount of electricity for half the fuel and half the carbon footprint," Sridhar says.

Analysts say that Bloom could do especially well in U.S. states that subsidize alternative energy technologies, such as California, New York, and Connecticut. California's Self-Generation Incentive Program, for instance, provides approximately $83 million for clean power technologies annually, including fuel cells, and has been extended to 2015. Fuel cell projects up to 3 megawatts are eligible for subsidies of up to $4,500 per kilowatt of capacity if they run on biogas and up to $2,500 per kilowatt if they use natural gas.

What's more, in October, 2009 California's governor approved a new feed-in tariff for renewable power generation installations, a mechanism for utilities to buy energy that customers produce on site. "In California the economics might work out very well for Bloom and the same might be true in New York and Connecticut," says Lux Research's Grose. "But you won't see it have nearly so much success in other states."

Like other alternative energy companies, Bloom still has to prove that it can scale and be competitive without subsidies if it really wants to bloom wherever its boxes are planted.

February 25, 2010
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South Carolina Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Alliance Grows in 2009 and Looks for Continued Growth in 2010

The recent growth is closely linked to the collaborative spirit in South Carolina.

COLUMBIA, SC - February 24, 2010 - When the South Carolina Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Alliance (SCHFCA) was created in 2006, it had six founding members. In 2009, the SCHFCA added the following partner organizations that all share the same devotion to promoting hydrogen and fuel cell technology in SC as an economic engine, job creator, and catalyst for independence from foreign oil. Those organizations are:

Full Partner
South Carolina Research Authority

Associate Partners
Dantherm Power
Greenway Energy

Affiliate Partners
SC State Fire Marshal's Office
Palmetto State Clean Fuels Coalition
National Science Foundation Industry/University Center for Fuel Cells at USC
South Carolina Technical College System

Each organization contributes specific expertise to the research, development, and deployment of hydrogen and fuel cell technology. Organizations like the South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA), lead the way in alternative investments and applications. "The partnerships assembled under the banner of the SCHFCA are turning innovative ideas in hydrogen and fuel cell technology from researchers and companies across the nation into significant economic opportunities throughout South Carolina," said Bill Mahoney, CEO and President of SCRA. "With SCHFCA partners, SCRA is pleased to lead investment in projects, including the Columbia Hydrogen Fueling Station, which positions South Carolina as a national leader in alternative and sustainable energy applications, and Knowledge Economy development."

Our newest affiliate partner, the South Carolina Technical College System, will create new opportunities for the development of a world-class workforce for the hydrogen and fuel cell industry.  "As the workforce education and training infrastructure for the state, the sixteen colleges of the South Carolina Technical College System are poised to provide the training and education needed in the hydrogen and fuel cell industries.  The System is honored to join SCHFCA and looks forward to partnering with the Alliance's members", said Barry W. Russell, President of the South Carolina Technical College System.

Palmetto State Clean Fuels Coalition (PSCFC), another affiliate member, is a locally based, voluntary public/private partnership coordinated by the U.S. Department of Energy that expands the use of alternatives to gasoline and diesel fuel.  Erika Myers, the coordinator at PSCFC, has stated, "As an official stakeholder, the SCHFCA has played an important role in the Palmetto State Clean Fuels Coalition, a designated US Department of Energy Clean Cities Coalition. SCHFCA has provided our coalition with valuable information on hydrogen-based transportation and networking opportunities within the community."

Through the collaboration of SCHFCA and its members, South Carolina's hydrogen economy is advancing and catapulting the state into the national spotlight. Companies like Trulite in particular are relocating to South Carolina and could alone potentially create over 1,000 private, high tech jobs.  Shannon Baxter-Clemmons, Executive Director of SCHFCA, states, "We are making great progress with our SCHFCA partners. We look forward to growth in 2010 as we continue to pursue a clean and energy secure economy utilizing hydrogen and fuel cells."

About the South Carolina Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Alliance:
The SCHFCA is a public-private collaboration for the cooperative and coordinated use of resources in the state used to advance the commercialization of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.  The SCHFCA has been dedicated to growing the hydrogen and fuel cell industry in South Carolina through our members and partners.  Our state's multi-level governmental support, manufacturing expertise and existing research and development are uniquely positioned to bring hydrogen and fuel cell technologies out of the lab and into the lives of our citizens.  Partners include: SC State University, Clemson University, University of South Carolina, Savannah River National Laboratory, Center for Hydrogen Research, SCRA, South Carolina Energy Office, Dantherm Power LLC, Greenway Energy LLC, EngenuitySC, Palmetto State Clean Fuels Coalition, South Carolina Technical College System, SC State Fire Marshal's Office, and the NSF I/U CRC for Fuel Cells.  For more information on the SCHFCA and its members, please visit www.schydrogen.org.

About South Carolina Research Authority:
SCRA is a non-stock, tax-exempt applied research and commercialization services company with 25 years of experience building multi-organizational teams. Currently SCRA manages over 100 national and international programs worth over $1B in applied R&D contract value. SCRA's results-based management approach assures delivery of technology solutions to complex client challenges.  For more information on SCRA, please visit http://www.scra.org.

About Dantherm Power:
Dantherm Power is a young, dynamic and pioneering company. Since 2003 the company has focused on the development and production of commercially viable solutions using fuel cell and hydrogen technologies. Dantherm Power's primary customers are international IT and telecom network suppliers, who rely on backup power units to provide uninterruptible power supply (UPS). Other customers include relief organizations and military units who need a reliable mobile power supply when operating in the field. For more information on Dantherm, please visit www.dantherm.com
About Greenway Energy LLC:
Greenway Energy provides innovative and timely solutions to in-depth characterization of fuel cell systems, system development and education of future employees in the fuel cell industry. As dynamic consultants, Greenway Energy has extensive expertise in hydrogen and methanol fuel cell technology. The company provides consultation and participates in fuel cell research, development and education projects. Greenway Energy's unique business structure allows clients flexibility in the amount of manpower brought to bear on specific problems  For more information on Greenway Energy LLC please visit www.greenway-energy.com.
About the NSF I/U CRC for Fuel Cells:
The NSF selected the University of South Carolina's College of Engineering and Computing ( CEC ) to help lead the nation's fuel cell initiatives by performing research with industry aimed at developing and commercializing the use of fuel cells. Former USC President Andrew Sorensen said the NSF's confidence in the ability of USC researchers to lead the nation's fuel cell initiative underscores the quality of research underway at the University.  For more information on NSF I/U CRC for Fuel Cells please visit www.che.sc.edu/centers/PEMFC/index.html.
About the Palmetto State Clean Fuels Coalition:
The Palmetto State Clean Fuels Coalition (PSCFC) is part of the Clean Cities program and is one of 88 designated coalitions in the United States. Clean Cities is a locally based, voluntary public/private partnership coordinated by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) that expands the use of alternatives to gasoline and diesel fuel. The U.S. Department of Energy developed this program in order to promote energy use in the transportation sector that is clean, safe, less dependent upon foreign sources, and sustainable. Clean Cities builds on local initiative and partnerships and nationwide networks to achieve its goals.  For more information on PSCFC please visit www.palmettocleanfuels.org.
About the State Fire Marshal's Office
The Office of State Fire Marshal has regulatory responsibility to ensure compliance with state fire safety regulations. This is accomplished through inspection activities by deputy state fire marshal's in the field and code consultation and plans review services provided by the Engineering Services Section. For more information on PSCFC please visit http://www.llr.state.sc.us/firemarshal.asp

February 23, 2010
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Hydrogen Powered Taxis Gear up for London Olympics

The traditional London black cab may look the same by the time the 2012 Olympics come around, but under the bonnet many of these tourist-pleasing vehicles aim to have high-tech hydrogen fuel cells that can travel for 250 miles at up to 81mph.

Developed by Lotus and Intelligent Energy, this fleet of zero-emission cabs is part of a UK Government drive towards the commercialisation of hydrogen and fuel-cell technologies in the next few years.

The key difference between these cabs and the electric car is that although they produce no carbon emissions they do not take hours to refuel. In fact, they can be refuelled in minutes.

Alongside these new cabs, London's Deputy Mayor Kit Malthouse said the aim was to have in place six hydrogen filling stations while getting the number of hydrogen-fuelled cabs up to between 20 and 50 by the 2012 Olympics.

At the time the venture with Lotus and Intelligent Energy was announced, the UK energy minister said: "It's essential that we bring forward these innovative low-carbon technologies to tackle the challenge of climate change.

"DECC's (Department of Energy and Climate Change) new competition launched in September for up to £7.2 million of funding for hydrogen and fuel-cell technology demonstration will fill a current gap in the innovation chain relating to scale-up and deployment of this low-carbon technology. The competition is a clear measure of Government support for this innovation."

February 11, 2010
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Honda Begins Operations of New Solar Hydrogen Station

Los Angeles-based Station to Re-fuel Honda Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle

Honda today began operation of a next generation solar hydrogen station prototype at the Los Angeles Center of Honda R&D Americas, Inc., intended for ultimate use as a home refueling appliance capable of an overnight refill of fuel cell electric vehicles.

Designed as a single, integrated unit to fit in the user's garage, Honda's next generation Solar Hydrogen Station reduces the size of the system, while producing enough hydrogen (0.5kg) via an 8-hour overnight fill for daily commuting (10,000 miles per year) for a fuel cell electric vehicle.

The previous solar hydrogen station system required both an electrolyzer and a separate compressor unit to create high pressure hydrogen. The compressor was the largest and most expensive component and reduced system efficiency. By creating a new high differential pressure electrolyzer, Honda engineers were able to eliminate the compressor entirely - a world's first for a home use system. This innovation also reduces the size of other key components to make the new station the world's most compact system, while improving system efficiency by more than 25% (value calculated based on simulations) compared to the solar hydrogen station system it replaces.

Compatible with a "Smart Grid" energy system, the Honda Solar Hydrogen Station would enable users to refill their vehicle overnight without the requirement of hydrogen storage, which would lower CO2 emissions by using less expensive off-peak electrical power. During daytime peak power times, the Solar Hydrogen Station can export renewable electricity to the grid, providing a cost benefit to the customer, while remaining energy neutral. Designed for simple, user-friendly operation, the intuitive system layout enables the user to easily lift and remove the fuel hose, with no hose coiling when the hose is returned to the dispenser unit.

Engineered for an 8-hour, slow fill for overnight refilling of a fuel cell electric vehicle, the home-use Solar Hydrogen Station would replenish the hydrogen for a typical daily driving, meeting the commuting requirements of many drivers. As with the previous generation system, the hydrogen purity from the new station meets the highest SAE (J2719) and ISO (14687) specifications.

Installed at the Los Angeles Center of Honda R&D Americas, the new Solar Hydrogen Station will employ the same 48-panel, 6.0kW solar array that powered the previous system. The array utilizes thin film solar cells composed of copper, indium, gallium and selenium (CIGS) produced by Honda Soltec Co., Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Honda that was established for the mass production and sales of solar cells capable of efficient renewable electricity generation. Honda's unique solar cells reduce the amount of CO2 generated during production as compared to conventional solar cells.

Designed to support the needs of the future owners of fuel cell electric vehicles, the Honda Solar Hydrogen Station was also designed to complement a public network of fast fill hydrogen stations. The Honda FCX Clarity electric vehicle is fast fill capable and offers an EPA-estimated driving range of 240 miles. With fast fill public stations providing 5-minute fueling time for longer trips, and the opportunity of convenient nighttime slow filling at home using a solar station with a Smart Grid connection, the Honda FCX Clarity can cover a wide range of driving demands from the daily commute to weekend trips.

A key strategy in creating a solar hydrogen station for home-use was to create a new lifestyle with convenient, clean, energy-efficient and sustainable home refueling, by addressing the need for refueling infrastructure that can advance the wider use of fuel cell electric vehicles by consumers.

The combination of a fuel cell electric vehicle and the solar hydrogen station could help lead to the establishment of a hydrogen society based on renewable energy, resulting in a major reduction of CO2 emissions and greater energy sustainability.

Honda began operation of its first Solar Hydrogen Station at the Los Angeles Center of Honda R&D Americas in 2001:
July 2001: 3-unit system with hydrogen storage begins operation.

  • October 2003: new 2-unit system with an original Honda electrolyzer and a new solar array utilizing prototype Honda CIGS solar cells offers improved system efficiency.
  • August 2008: solar array fitted with mass production CIGS cells from Honda Soltec Co., reducing the size of the array by 20% and further improving photo voltaic (PV) energy efficiency.
  • January 2010: new single-unit station begins operation, improving to world's best system efficiency - increasing the efficiency by more than 25% (value calculated based on simulations) compared to the previous solar hydrogen station system, for a world's highest system efficiency.

About Honda R&D Americas, Inc.
Honda R&D Americas, Inc. (HRA) is responsible for creating advanced technologies and products in the U.S. that provide new value to Honda and Acura customers. HRA began R&D operations in the U.S. in 1975 with market research activities in California, and has steadily grown its capabilities over the past 35 years to include all aspects of new vehicle design and development, as well as taking a leading role in the advancement of leading-edge safety and environmental technologies.

Today, Honda operates 15 major R&D facilities in the U.S. with more than 1,300 designers, engineers and support personnel engaged in the development of automobiles, motorcycles and power equipment products for North America and global markets.
HRA's major centers include the Los Angeles Center (Torrance, CA), responsible for market research, concept development and styling design; the Ohio Center (Raymond, OH) responsible for complete product development, testing and support of North American supplier development; and a dynamic test facility in Ohio; and the North Carolina Center (Swepsonville, NC) responsible for power equipment R&D.

February 4, 2010
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Proterra Announces Move to ICAR

Proterra Inc. made it official this afternoon when the Colorado company said it would hire up to 1,300 employees over the next seven years at research and manufacturing facilities at Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research in Greenville.

The company, which develops and assembles drive and energy storage systems for heavy-duty vehicles, including its BE-35 fast-charge battery-electric transit bus, made its announcement at ICAR with Gov. Mark Sanford, Sen. Lindsey Graham, Sen. Jim DeMint, Rep. Bob Inglis, Mayor Knox White, Greenville County Council Chairman H. G. “Butch” Kirven Jr., Clemson University President James Barker, the South Carolina Department of Commerce and the South Carolina Research Authority on hand.

“After a nation-wide search involving some 30 states, we selected Greenville, South Carolina as a result of the state’s numerous benefits in terms of workforce capabilities and research and development support. Additionally, we were impressed by the efforts of the Governor, the federal delegation, the local officials and economic development entities which far exceeded our expectations. We look forward to continuing a long and fruitful level of collaboration with the state of South Carolina and City of Greenville,” said Jeff Granato, CEO of Proterra Inc.

February 3, 2010
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Proterra Offers 'Glimmer of Hope' Economy Turning Around

When a leading-edge technology company locates in Greenville and begins making a revolutionary new bus, the region could find itself at the fore of transportation’s future.

Proterra LLC’s official announcement, expected Thursday, that it plans to build an assembly plant in Greenville is a reason for employment optimism in the region. Officials have said the plant, likely to be built at Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research, eventually could have as many as 1,300 workers.

“It offers another glimmer of hope” that the economic downturn is lifting, said Donald Schunk, research economist with Coastal Carolina University.

Economic experts said the assembly of electric buses here also is important because it will generate more development in alternative energy and advanced manufacturing — innovation that is crucial for U.S. manufacturers.

“It’s something positive. It builds on our strengths — ICAR, the automotive cluster and a history of being good at manufacturing,” Schunk said.

“It shows that we are still able to attract industries, that we still can create jobs.”

Proterra previously has said the company was considering Greenville for a $68 million plant and research facility. That alone would be a welcome development in a state with an unemployment rate of 12.6 percent, and in Greenville County, which has a jobless rate of 10.5 percent.

But economists said the addition of critical, transportation-related technologies reflects the belief that the region’s reputation for investing in innovation will last.

Bruce Yandle, dean emeritus of Clemson University’s College of Business and Behavioral Science, said the announcement demonstrates “the viability of the linkages to the automotive cluster, to Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research. CU-ICAR is in the center of it and is a viable mechanism for economic development.”

Although South Carolina has long had the advantage of high-quality nuclear power generation, this new development begins to build the state’s expertise in other types of energy, Yandle said. It could lead to a growth in battery technology development, alternative energy development and a linkage with the Savannah River Site, which is working with hydrogen.

Jobs at the new plant would pay an average wage of $60,000 a year, according to an application for about $100 million in federal money from the Greenville Transit Authority.

The plant would be “very supportive of the automotive cluster” that has grown up in South Carolina and particularly the Upstate, said David Bodde, a Clemson University professor with expertise in energy issues.

“It gives us the kind of technical jobs we need,” he said, adding workers will be needed to build the buses and eventually to service them. “I think it’s a boost, a whole set of opportunities for good quality jobs.”

“I think electric power is where a lot of the future of vehicles is going,” Bodde said.

And it makes sense that the first type of vehicle to take major steps in that direction is a business used for mass transit, Bodde said. Proterra has said its battery range is about 30 miles and the recharge time is six to 10 minutes.

“It’s the ideal cycle for that kind of vehicle,” Bodde said. “It’s all starts and stops and not long distances.”

“The all-electric vehicles are not there yet” for passenger cars, which are expected to operate both for short trips to the grocery store and longer trips across country, he said.
Still, moving in the direction of electric vehicles “is hugely important” to the United States, Bodde said.

Transportation in this country — primarily over-the-road vehicles — consumes about 13 million barrels of oil a day, Bodde said. At $70 a barrel — several dollars less than the current price — U.S. consumers are spending about $910 million a day on transportation fuels.

“That’s a bundle every day that goes from consumers to producers,” Bodde said. Some of the money flows to U.S. producers and those in Canada and the United Kingdom. But much of it goes to countries that could be considered unfriendly to the United States, he said.

Connecticut experimented with small, all-electric buses in New Haven but no longer uses them, said David Lee, general manager of CT Transit, the bus system serving much of that state and owned by its Department of Transportation.

“The issue with electric buses is the same issue you have with electric-anything,” Lee said. “The technological breakthrough that hasn’t happened yet is a battery that can hold enough power to operate a big vehicle all day long.

“We don’t really have the technology to build an all-electric bus or an all-electric heavy truck that could go all day without having to be recharged,” he said. “And that’s why everybody likes the idea of hybrid vehicles.”

Today, the transit system operates one hydrogen fuel cell-powered bus in Hartford, he said. The system also has several hybrid-diesel buses, which have electric motors. But the motors get their power from a battery that is recharged constantly.
The fuel-cell bus, purchased by the state DOT using a special earmark of federal funding, is essentially the same, Lee said. The fuel cell generates electricity, which recharges batteries to provide power.

“We call it a science experiment on six wheels,” he said. “It really does operate in regular transit service, but everybody knew going in this was a new technology, it was an experiment, we were going to learn a lot from it.”

The fuel cell is a United Technologies product, and the bus platform is from Belgium, Lee said. Four more of the buses are scheduled to arrive this year, he said.

Virginia Miller, a spokesperson for the American Public Transportation Association, said that after $8.4 billion in initial federal stimulus funding was made available to transit systems last year, “a good number” of systems indicated they would use the money to order hybrid-electric buses.

“More and more public transit systems are ordering hybrid-electric vehicles, both for fuel economy reasons as well as being a clean, green technology that helps reduce carbon emissions,” she said.

In June 2008, advanced technology vehicle manufacturer Mobile Energy Solutions LLC announced that the company's name was changing to Proterra, which means “for the earth” in Latin. The company said it addresses customers' needs for clean energy transportation and reduced reliance on fossil fuels.

Based in Golden, Colo., Proterra manufactures hybrid- and all-electric, all-composite body transit vehicles built from the ground up to improve fuel efficiency while generating very low or no emissions.

Proterra offers all-battery and battery-dominant vehicles using an array of auxiliary power units, including bio-diesel, gasoline, compressed natural gas and hydrogen fuel cells.

The company was founded in 2004 by the principals who designed, engineered and manufactured the 36 EcoMark 1, 45-foot hybrid-electric shuttle buses fueled by compressed natural gas and built for Denver's 16th Street Mall.

Dale Hill, Proterra’s chairman, founder and chief technology officer, has said the new plant would make hybrid-electric and all-electric buses and would need assemblers, electricians, mechanics, welders and composite workers.

The company wants to put the plant in the East because that is where most of its business and vendors are located, Hill said.
Hill wouldn't say exactly how much Proterra plans to spend on the plant.

According to the GTA application for federal funding, if Proterra picks the Greenville area for the plant, it intends to work with ICAR officials to apply its fast-charge battery technology to private delivery vehicles.

Proterra would also work with ICAR on hardware and software improvements for public transportation, including in-vehicle Internet and satellite television services, according to the application.

State and local officials have offered incentives worth millions of dollars in an attempt to recruit the plant, according to the application.

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