Cleaner transportation is coming to rural Missouri, thanks to a joint effort among the University of Missouri-Rolla, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration, National University Transportation Center, U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory and the Defense Logistics Agency.
The state’s first two hydrogen-powered shuttle buses, built by Ford Motor Company, took their first passengers on Tuesday, July 31, from the UMR Havener Student Center to the HyPoint Industrial Park in Rolla. The hydrogen-powered buses are an integral part of the first rural test site for the federal government’s hydrogen technology program.
“After nine years of operation, the UMR University Transportation Center has developed into a Center of Excellence on the theme of advanced materials and non-destructive testing technologies,” says Dr. K. Krishnamurthy, vice provost for research at UMR. “The proposed work will build on these strengths and expand the center’s theme to include research, development, demonstration and deployment activities of alternative fuel including hydrogen vehicles and supporting infrastructure to address the growing need for a successful transition to a hydrogen economy.”
Initially, the hydrogen will be supplied from a mobile hydrogen fueler built by Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. and installed at the HyPoint Industrial Park in Rolla. Plans for the state’s first permanent hydrogen fueling station are being finalized for the installation in St. Robert by 2008. The station will provide both the fuel for a commuter service for Fort Leonard Wood employees along Interstate 44 corridor and a test bed for demonstrating the safe generation, storage and dispensing of hydrogen.