Butler County could soon have cleaner public transportation if local agencies can fund the rest of the price of a vehicle after the federal grants were given. As per Matt Dutkevicz, the executive director of Butler County Regional Transit Authority, battery electric or hydrogen fuel cell buses are the two options which could be the future of local transportation when it comes to increasing sustainability and reducing emissions. The commissioner is open to any kind of fuel technology which is clean, efficient, and affordable.
Fuel cell cars, unlike the standard gasoline or diesel-fueled vehicles, blend oxygen and hydrogen. This results in electricity generation. The electricity runs a motor. This fuel cell is able to utilize anywhere between 40 percent to 60 percent of the energy generated from fuel to power that specific vehicle. Hydrogen is the fuel in this case.
It means a significant reduction of the requirement of approximately 9,000 gallons of the fuel over the vehicle’s lifetime. The quantity of carbon released into the atmosphere is reduced by almost 100 tons for every vehicle. This is equal to carbon emissions of 10 school buses.
Canton’s Stark Area Regional Authority says fuel cell-powered vehicles are much safer compared to gasoline-powered vehicles. The latter is also thrice as efficient than the former. The authority exhibited the newest technology during the fourth week of April. The exhibition venue was West Chester Twp’s Think Regional Southwest Ohio Summit, 2018 edition.
Battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell buses have other attractions too. Both provide fewer moving parts when compared with their compressed natural gas, diesel-fueled or liquid natural counterparts. These are reliant on the internal combustion engine which needs substantial attention and maintenance. This is efficiency from an engineer’s point of view. According to Dutkevicz, efficiency is a must when it comes to public transportation. He pointed out that his organization is a public agency. He wants the price of hydrogen and electric vehicles to dip. This will lead to more purchase of these buses which, in turn, will mean more bus time on roads. Garage maintenance costs also get reduced.
The problem facing BCRTA is it has no exclusive local funding. There is a need to locate an agency-preferably local- which will partner in securing no-emission or low-emission grants. Dutkevicz said the buses running on hydrogen fuel cells could be a viable option for cities as increased demand is put on local infrastructure.