A bright blue bus is making its way around the Columbus campus of The Ohio State University. The bus is more than a way for students to get around campus; it’s a research platform that could lead to a cleaner campus of the future.
Friday was the first trip around campus for a new hydrogen fuel cell bus. It’s part of the Campus Area Bus System fleet and is on loan from the Stark Area Regional Transit Authority for one year.
Hydrogen fuel cells essentially convert hydrogen into energy to power the bus. The exhaust of the bus is water – as opposed to greenhouse gases. hydrogen fuel cells can be recharged quickly and can run all day. The Center for Automotive Research has installed a hydrogen fueling station at its Kinnear Road location.
The bus serves a research purpose as well. CAR researchers are collecting data on the bus’s performance at Ohio State to share with interested scientists. That transportation research fits with the university’s role as the lead research partner on the Smart Cities initiative. Last summer, Columbus won the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge.
So more than just a strange blue bus on campus, it’s one piece of a long-term effort to help people get around in a cleaner and more efficient way.