The first hydrogen fuel cell electric bus in Central America went into operation on Monday, November 27, on the Ad Astra Rocket Company campus, located in Liberia, Guanacaste.
This means of transport is part of the project of Hydrogen Ecosystems promoted by the company of former NASA astronaut Franklin Chang Díaz.
The bus is in the experimental stage. As explained in Ad Astra Rocket, the vehicle can travel 340 kilometers (210 miles) on 38 kg (83 lbs) of compressed hydrogen, has a capacity of about 35 passengers and can reach a speed limit of up to 110 km/h (68 mph).
Though it was announced that the bus was already operating in the streets of Guanacaste, the defined routes are not yet available. For the time being, the bus will circulate in the area of Liberia and is free for users.
“The hydrogen vehicle produces electricity by consuming hydrogen that it carries in the tank in a ‘fuel cell’. This cell mixes hydrogen with oxygen from the air and produces electricity that feeds the electric motor, which moves the vehicle,” said Chang in previous occasions.
The Costa Rican scientist added that this is only an example of what can be done in the country with this means of transport, because this technology is applicable in vans, buses, cars and even with airplanes.
According to Costa Rica president, Luis Guillermo Solis, who took part in the inaugural ceremony on Monday, this is an important step taken by the country to be consistent with the country’s goal of carbon neutrality. “In Latin America, there are only three countries where this type of technology is used: Brazil, Argentina and now in Costa Rica with this first bus,” he said.
Nicknamed the “Nyuti“, the bus arrived in July from the US Hybrid Corporation’s test facility in the U.S.
“Today is a historic day in Costa Rica with the first bus to use hydrogen in its engine, 100 percent renewable and with technology that has been developed in Guanacaste (region) by Franklin Chang’s team, in collaboration with the private sector and the government. This is an occasion when Costa Rica affirms its will to move towards zero carbon emissions,” Ad Astra Rocket Engineer, Juan Ignacio Del Valle said.
The project began in 2012 in a joint venture between Ad Astra and State refinery, Refinadora Costarricense de Petroleo (RECOPE), with the aim for the country to reduce its dependence on imported oil.
The project is a private-public collaborative effort by Ad Astra Rocket Company Costa Rica, Air Liquide, Cummins Inc, Sistema de Banca para el Desarollo, Relaxury S.A., and US Hybrid Corporation.