Connecticut Transit (CTTransit), a state-owned bus transit system, has deployed four fuel cell-powered hybrid-electric transit buses equipped with UTC Power fuel cell systems in Hartford, joining an earlier generation bus that began service in 2007.

The new model 40ft Van Hool transit buses, which will operate on various routes in Greater Hartford, including the free downtown Star Shuttle route, will be powered by advanced lithium-ion battery systems and will run on hydrogen, producing no tailpipe emissions.

The buses, which are part of the Federal Transit Administration’s national Fuel Cell Bus Program, will also be instrumental in capturing real-time information, which will be used in developing more commercially viable fuel cells in the future.

CTTransit plans to build a new garage to store up to six fuel cell buses and install a hydrogen fueling station on-site, while some of the buses will continue to refuel at a hydrogen station at UTC Power’s headquarters in South Windsor, Connecticut.

CTTransit assistant general manager of maintenance services Steve Warren said that the fuel cell bus we’ve been operating since 2007 has demonstrated that the technology works and its fuel efficiency is about two times better than a standard diesel-powered bus.

“With the reduced weight of the new model bus, our fuel economy should get even better. And drivers and the riding public tell us they love the quiet, smooth ride and appreciate the environmental benefits,” Warren said.