DOT awards $15M grant to Montgomery County in Maryland for purchase of 13 hydrogen fuel cell buses
05/29/2023 // Laura Harris // Views

The Department of Transportation (DOT) recently awarded a $15 million grant to a county in Maryland for the purchase of hydrogen-powered buses.

CleanTechnica reported that the grant was awarded to the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT). The money will be used to purchase 13 hydrogen fuel cell buses to replace 13 diesel-powered counterparts in the county's Ride On fleet, the report added. The MCDOT had to compete with other transit agencies to secure this grant last summer, given that the Federal Transit Administration only had a limited budget of $1 billion for transit modernization.

The 13 hydrogen-powered buses aim to hit the roads of Montgomery County by 2025. According to MCDOT, the fuel cell buses are expected to offer longer mileage and faster refueling times compared to other battery-electric buses.

When the day ends, they will be based at the MCDOT's Equipment Maintenance And Transit Operations Center in Rockville. The structure is also undergoing a green transformation in a bid to become the largest self-sustaining bus depot in the country.

But this is not the first time the MCDOT has dabbled in green energy endeavors. It previously partnered with AlphaStruxure to build the nation's largest solar-plus-storage bus fleet charging station, the Brookville Smart Energy Bus Depot. AlphaStruxure is a joint venture between Schneider Electric and the global investment firm Carlyle Group.

According to CleanTechnica, this facility aims to accommodate up to 70 electric buses by 2026. The depot operates through an energy-as-a-service contract, which according to the outlet "allows energy consumers to access clean power without upfront capital costs, benefiting from a stable and predictable energy supply and reduced costs."


The hydrogen that will power the buses purchased via the grant currently comes from natural gas.

Another way to produce hydrogen is through an electrochemical process that splits water into its two components – hydrogen and oxygen. However, this process requires huge amounts of energy that renewable sources may not be able to provide sufficiently enough. It also yields a small amount of hydrogen – only around five percent of total production.

Hydrogen projects open up potentials for hydrogen fraud

Writing for Watts Up With That, Eric Worrall noted how hydrogen projects could open up opportunities for hydrogen fraud. He cited Australia's Hydrogen Headstart initiative as one example that could turn into a criminal money-making endeavor.

"When you think about it, hydrogen fraud makes a lot of financial sense as a criminal money maker. There is no way green industries can produce affordable hydrogen which can challenge the cost of producing hydrogen from fossil fuel, so you need a certificate to prove your absurdly expensive hydrogen has the correct green pedigree," he wrote.

"But hydrogen is fungible – nobody can tell post production whether the hydrogen came from steam reforming fossil fuel, renewable electrolysis or even nuclear powered thermochemical processes. Maybe regulators could cast some doubt using isotopic analysis, but there would likely be enough natural variation for plausible deniability."

Worrall predicted that "nations with high levels of corruption and lax enforcement will become the global leaders in certified green hydrogen production. But they will get mad and start slinging accusations of racism when anyone demands to inspect their renewable-powered hydrogen production plants." (Related: Aussie gov't to spend $1.32B on hydrogen power project, but fears of "hydrogen fraud" loom.)

He continued that taxpayer's money spent on hydrogen production "is a complete waste of effort, because if a hydrogen market actually does develop, it will be dominated by hydrogen fraud." has more stories about hydrogen energy.

Watch this video to learn more about a technology that turns liquid waste to green hydrogen.

This video is from the Family of Israel Foundation channel on

More related stories:

NextEra will use solar power to produce green hydrogen.

Saudi Arabia starts shift to green fuel production, builds $5B hydrogen plant.

Aussie researchers develop new way to turn seawater into hydrogen fuel – no desalination necessary.

Green and clean: Energy-efficient water purification system developed by scientists.

UK to build first hydrogen fueled homes by April.

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