Stamford, CT Deploys Pair of Diesel-electric Hybrid Transit Buses
class=text>HARTFORD -- CTTransit's Stamford bus fleet soon will be greener.
Two hybrid-electric diesel buses will be added to the fleet after completing a six-month tour of duty in Hartford.
"I believe in the technology," said Stephen Warren, assistant general manager for maintenance services at CTTransit. "They have the potential for dramatically increasing fuel economy and reducing emissions."
The specially equipped buses are among 10 being tested nationwide to assess the economic and environmental benefits. Other metropolitan areas testing hybrid-electric diesel buses include Seattle, Philadelphia and Salt Lake City, Warren said. Connecticut was the last site to receive the buses.
Each hybrid bus has two electric motors designed into its transmission, an internal combustion clean diesel engine, an electric storage system and a generator.
The buses cost about $500,000 each; a standard diesel bus costs $275,000.
"It took a long time and lot of gray hair," Warren said. "We are one of the first in the country to get them."
Ordering the buses took 2 years, he said.
The Federal Transit Administration paid for 80 percent of the cost and provided funding for testing and evaluating them in Connecticut.
The operating cost of the buses over the 12 years they are required to run will balance the price tag, Warren said.
Both buses are set to hit Stamford streets in May. Since they arrived in Hartford in June, the buses have been tracked for fuel consumption, maintenance and repair costs, and whatever problems arose. At the end of the month, CTTransit will begin onboard mobile emissions testing in Hartford to collect pollution data, including carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and particulates.
Particulate matter, or black carbon, is a sooty diesel emission linked to health problems that include asthma attacks, respiratory problems and heart disease.
Fairfield County is rated as "severe" for failure to comply with federal standards under the 1990 Clean Air Act. The rest of the state is rated "serious" for failure to comply.
The hybrid buses will catch a lot of the small particulate matter and reburn it so it doesn't enter the atmosphere, Warren said. New CTTransit buses are 90 percent cleaner than they used to be, he said.
In May, hybrid bus emission testing will move from Hartford to Stamford to compare fuels. CTTransit runs its standard buses on ultra-low fuel in Stamford and No.1 diesel in Hartford.
Connecticut Fund for the Environment said hybrid-electric diesel buses are a positive step, staff lawyer Roger Reynolds said.
"Diesel, unlike a lot of air problems, is very much a local problem," he said. "It's something the localities can really do something about . . . We can achieve a lot of these reductions today."
Preliminary testing by CTTransit shows hybrid buses have 10 percent to 15 percent better fuel economy than standard diesel ones, Warren said. Though CTTransit hoped for a 15 percent to 20 percent increase, it is too early to tell, Warren said. Fuel economy is better in winter because buses do not run air conditioners.
CTTransit expects a 20 percent to 25 percent reduction in emissions.
"We'll know more in about six months," Warren said.