Hydrogen Bus at Green Drives Conference

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The eighth annual Green Drives Conference and Expo was recently held at NIU Naperville’s campus, and attendees were revved up to see the alternative fuel solutions.

Cars and trucks powered by ethanol and electricity have been on display at the conference for years. Compressed Natural Gas even made an appearance in the form of a PACE bus.

“This is, I believe, the largest showing of vehicles we’ve had since we’ve been here,” said John Walton, Chair of the Chicago Area Clean Cities Coalition. “We normally get a little less than this and also this is the one that hydrogen is actually making its debut with us.”

Hydrogen-Powered Bus The Main Attraction

And the hydrogen-powered bus was a popular attraction at the expo.

“This is a fuel cell vehicle, a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. It can go up to 220 miles without recharging which is the largest range of any zero emission bus. So this actually has a longer range than you’ll see with a battery-electric vehicle,” said Kirt Conrad, CEO of Stark Area Regional Transit Authority, or SARTA.

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles use hydrogen stored in tanks on top of the bus and convert that into energy using a fuel cell. The result is clean energy and the only emission is water.

More Vehicles Coming

SARTA currently operates seven hydrogen-powered buses, with five more on the way.

Conrad also said SARTA plans to add hydrogen-powered paratransit vans to its fleet, giving people with disabilities the chance to ride via hydrogen.

Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.