Sustainability Banner


Hydrogen Fuel Cell Buses

The MBTA is working with Nuvera Fuel Cells of Billerica to develop a fuel cell bus that will run on hydrogen that has zero harmful emissions. Presently there are smaller devices such as forklifts that run efficiently on hydrogen. Hydrogen engines are able to be two to three times as efficient as gas engines and they emit only water and heat.Vehicles 7.2014 A

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is sponsoring a National Fuel Cell Bus Program (NFCBP) that enabled the MBTA and Nuvera to work together on this program. The focus is in advancing the commercialization of 40 foot, heavy duty, fuel cell transit buses. In addition, the major goals are: 

  • Facilitate the development of commercially viable fuel cell bus technologies
  • Significantly improve transit bus fuel efficiency and reduce petroleum consumption
  • Reduce transit bus emissions
  • Establish a globally competitive U.S. industry for fuel cell bus technologies
  • Increase public acceptance of the fuel cell vehicles

The MBTA will install a hydrogen fuel station at its Charlestown bus garage. The first hydrogen bus is planned to go into service in first quarter of 2015.

Vehicles 7.2014 B Vehicles 7.2014 C

Diesel-Electric Passenger Locomotive

The MBTA is currently procuring a new fleet of 40 HSP46 diesel-electric passenger locomotives from Motive-Power Incorporated. The HSP46 locomotive is a new passenger locomotive designed for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority for commuter rail service.

The MBTA is the launch customer and therefore, there will be a qualification and testing period before the locomotive will be put into service. The firts locomotive was delivered in October, 2014 and the testing has been completed. In addition there are two other locomotives being tested, one in Erie, PA to validate the propulsion control and one in Pueblo, CO used for dynamic validation. The MBTA hopes to fully accept the locomotive by the fourth quarter 2014 and begin delivery of one per week after that acceptance.

The engine meets EPA Tier 3 exhaust emissions requirements. The locomotive uses industry-leading AC individual-axle traction-control technology that enables greater hauling power, less wasted energy and reduced maintenance costs compared to older DC (direct current) technology. Vehicles 7.2014 DThe 45-degree, 12-cylinder, 4-stroke, turbocharged engine provides greater efficiency, lower emissions, extended overhaul intervals and better fuel economy that translates into approximately 6% less fuel used compared to the latest two-stroke competitive engine.