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May 29, 2018

Global Environmental Partners with U.S. Hybrid to Provide Fuel Cell Sweepers to Caltrans

Global Environmental Products will be providing Caltrans with sweepers that will be powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

Global Environmental Products (Global) has long been a supplier of sweepers for the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). Global management has announced it will be utilizing the fuel cell technology of U.S. Hybrid Corp. to produce hydrogen fuel cell-powered street sweepers, the first of which will go to Caltrans. U.S. Hybrid Corp., maker of the electric and hybrid traction drive system, also produces them for medium- and heavy-duty commercial trucks, municipality vehicles and fuel cell transit buses.

Global is manufacturing the fuel cell street sweepers at its facility in San Bernardino, CA. The electric powertrain is manufactured in Torrance, and the fuel cell is manufactured in South Windsor, both also located in California.

A fuel cell system produces electricity from compressed hydrogen gas in a thermo-chemical process, then uses the electricity to power an electric motor or motors that drive the vehicle. The fuel cell and hydrogen tank take the place of a battery-electric vehicle's bulky and heavy battery pack.

According to U.S. Hybrid and Global company spokespersons, the fuel cell street sweeper will reduce fuel consumption to less than half of diesel machines with fast fueling and 24/7 operation. The design is also said to be more operator-friendly and reliable, with significant reductions in operating noise and reduced fuel and maintenance costs.

Making hydrogen gas produces a substantial amount of the major greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, but electric motors are so efficient that studies by scientists at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois have found it to be cleaner than gasoline or diesel when used as a vehicle fuel. The fuel cells will also provide power for the sweepers brushes, blowers and vacuum.

A kilogram of hydrogen contains the energy equivalent of a gallon of gasoline. The sweeper's 20-kilogram hydrogen supply enables it to operate nonstop for 10 hours and can be refilled at any of the nearly two dozen hydrogen stations in the Los Angeles Basin, typically in under 10 minutes.

The powertrain was designed to propel the 11-ton sweeper through three duty cycles, according to Abas Goodarzi, U.S. Hybrid president and CEO, each consisting of 25 miles of 55 mph highway driving to get to and from the work site and an additional 25 miles of sweeping at 10 mph. U.S. Hybrid and Global already build a diesel-electric hybrid sweeper used by the New York City sanitation department, but this is the first fuel cell sweeper.

The hybrid sweeper being used in NYC delivers a 55 percent fuel savings and a 58 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The fuel cell model is expected to nearly double that fuel efficiency with zero tailpipe emissions, "to support California's mission to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emission," Goodarzi said.

"US Hybrid's proven power electric powertrain and fuel cell engine technology will provide Caltrans with clean, quiet sweepers that will dramatically reduce street-level emissions. US Hybrid focuses on niche applications that will be most benefited by zero-emission technology, and the street sweeper's low speeds, curbside presence and power demand make it an optimal application to showcase the fuel savings and zero emission that our products provide."

*This article is reprinted with express permission from "World" "Sweeping Industry News Bulletin" May 2018 Edition.