SARTA buys two fuel cell buses

October 7, 2017 by  

The Stark Area Regional Transit Authority (SARTA), headquartered in Canton, Ohio, currently operates 11 electric buses, and now plans to buy two more.

The buses use hydrogen, contained in fuel cells, for their power source. SARTA is the only transit district in the state that uses this type of equipment, though they are common in both Europe and China.

The Federal Transit Administration gave the authority a $1.75 million grant to use to pay for the buses. They are environmentally friendly, and do not use any power from the grid, nor do they emit anything but water. The grant could encourage the development of cars powered by fuel cells, which will then trigger the development of hydrogen stations to fill them.

SARTA would like to see this type of transportation come into widespread use, and has been working with a company in California developing clean transportation, and the Ohio State University Center for Automotive Research on strategies to implement this idea.

Although they are expensive at present, the buses are dropping in price as more are built. They are more efficient than other vehicles, getting approximately nine miles to the gallon, as opposed to the 4.5 averaged by diesel buses, and 3.8 mpg for buses powered by natural gas. The fuel cell bus has about a 260-mile range in city driving.

Projects like this have a wide impact, so officials might work with a newsletter printing company on an update letter for area residents.