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SARTA Opens Hydrogen Fueling Station

As part of its effort to join the hydrogen fuel cell “revolution” with 10 fuel cell buses due to enter service in 2018, the Stark Area Regional Transit Authority (SARTA), Canton, OH, recently opened a state-of-the-art hydrogen fueling station at its headquarters.

SARTA Chief Executive Officer Kirt Conrad noted why the agency is investing in hydrogen fuel cells: “First, our involvement will enable us to cut our fuel costs by as much as 50 percent in the years ahead, and second, to maintain our position as trailblazers in the use of green technology to fuel public transit. Additionally, this project will drive investment, research, business development and job creation here in Stark County and across our state,” he said.

When SARTA begins operating all 10 of its fuel cell vehicles, only two U.S. public transit agencies—SunLine Transit Agency in Thousand Palms and AC Transit in Oakland, both in California—will have larger fuel cell fleets.

“Our success in obtaining funding from outside sources has enabled us to both become a national leader in transit research and technology and get the most mileage possible from the dollars we receive from our sales tax and other local sources,” Conrad said.

SARTA received $14 million from the federal Low or No-Emission Bus Program, $4 million from the National Fuel Cell Bus Program and $1 million each from Ohio DOT and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Diesel Emissions Reduction Program.

SARTA scheduled the opening one day before the Ohio Fuel Cell Coalition’s 2016 Ohio Fuel Cell Symposium at Stark State College in Canton, held in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiencies and Renewable Energy. Conrad moderated a session on supply chain opportunities for Ohio companies during the symposium.

“One goal SARTA has for being involved in commercialization of the fuel cell buses is to create economic opportunities and create jobs in Ohio,” he said. “We want to keep Ohio in a leadership position in the zero-emission market.”

The agency’s investment in alternative-fueled vehicles also includes 40 buses fueled by CNG, built by Gillig and other companies, and a CNG fueling station.
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