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NCTD Receives $4 Million Grant To Build Hydrogen Fueling Station In Oceanside

A North County Transit District LIFT shuttle, April 2017.

Credit: NCTD

Above: A North County Transit District LIFT shuttle, April 2017.

The North County Transit District announced Monday the California Energy Commission has awarded it a $4 million grant to construct a hydrogen fueling station at the agency's West Division Breeze Facility in Oceanside.

Once constructed, the station is intended to have the capacity to support up to 50 hydrogen fuel-cell electric buses. NCTD has set a goal of transitioning its entire fleet to zero-emission buses by 2042.

"NCTD remains committed to being on the forefront of zero-emissions technology, providing clean transportation choices for our customers, and improving the air quality in our communities," said Tony Kranz, NCTD board chair and Encinitas deputy mayor.

"This grant will enable us to do just that and accelerate our transition to a zero-emission fleet," Kranz continued. "What's more, this new technology and infrastructure will improve overall Breeze operations by decreasing the time needed to refuel, expanding the service range, and increasing the fuel economy of our fleet."

The California Energy Commission grant advances the district's transition from compressed natural gas to zero-emissions bus operations by approximately four years, NCTD staff estimate, allowing the agency to "rapidly scale up and leverage" an initial purchase of 25 hydrogen-powered buses, scheduled to be put into service by Spring 2025.

"We're thrilled for NCTD to receive this grant and take significant steps toward improving air quality, public health, and the safety of their community," said Patty Monahan, commissioner of the California Energy Commission. "The accelerated deployment of zero-emission transit solutions demonstrates NCTD's commitment to providing the community equitable, clean transportation and supports social mobility through increased access to education, jobs, and community resources."

Zero-emission fuel cell buses run on oxygen and hydrogen, emitting water vapor while in operation. The new fueling station and buses are estimated to reduce bus service carbon dioxide output by 78,825 metric tons annually — roughly the same amount of emissions from 200 million miles driven by an average passenger car.

The project is funded by the CEC's Clean Transportation Program, which invests more than $100 million annually to support innovation and accelerate the deployment of advanced transportation and fuel technologies.

NCTD intends to design, construct and commission the hydrogen fueling station infrastructure at its Oceanside facility by mid-2022.

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