Octa's transportation blog

OCTA Debuts Nation’s Largest Hydrogen Fueling Station and 10 Zero-Emission Fuel Cell Electric Buses

On Jan. 31, OCTA joined local, state and federal officials in showcasing its continuing efforts to use zero-emission transportation technology for a balanced and sustainable transit future. At its Santa Ana Bus Base, OCTA unveiled the largest transit-operated hydrogen fueling station in the nation and 10 new hydrogen fuel cell electric buses.

OCTA is also purchasing 10 plug-in battery electric buses, which are expected to be in operation beginning in 2021.

“We are very happy to be leading the way toward a cleaner and greener future that keeps the residents of Orange County moving, while keeping the air they breathe healthy with zero emissions,” said OCTA Chairman Steve Jones, also the Mayor of Garden Grove.

OCTA officials were joined by representatives from the partners in the project, including the California Air Resources Board (CARB), South Coast Air Quality Management District and Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE).

“We are proud to be working with all of our partners to set a strong example as a large urban transit operator making a positive impact on the environment,” said OCTA CEO Darrell E. Johnson. “We will continue to explore the use of zero-emission technology to ensure we deliver a balanced and sustainable transportation system for Orange County’s future.” 

OCTA’s hydrogen fueling station is the largest in the nation for public transportation. Along with the 10 fuel-cell electric buses, it represents a $22.9 million investment in zero-emission transit.

More than half of that funding – $12.5 million – comes from California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment – particularly in disadvantaged communities.

The hydrogen-fueled buses will be strategically integrated into the OC Bus fleet to operate in communities that serve disadvantaged populations. The funding is the largest single grant to date from CARB to a transit agency.

OCTA’s project aligns with California’s Innovative Clean Transit Rule, a first-of-its kind regulation in the U.S. that sets a goal for public transit agencies to gradually transition to 100 percent zero-emission bus fleets by 2040. The Clean Transit Rule is part of the state’s comprehensive program helping to achieve California’s air quality and climate goals.

Other funding for the fuel cell buses comes from SB1 State of Good Repair funds, administered by Caltrans, and from the South Coast AQMD Clean Fuels Fund. Additional partners include Air Products, Trillium, New Flyer, and Fiedler Group.  

CTE, a nonprofit transportation consulting firm specializing in the development of zero-emission solutions for public transit, organized and led the team to successfully win a grant from the California Air Resources Board to launch this project.