A new project funded by the California Energy Commission (CEC) will demonstrate the value of bidirectional electric vehicle charging to support a first-of-its-kind vehicle-to-building (V2B) resilience hub. This groundbreaking project will leverage stored energy from zero-emission electric buses, owned and operated by AC Transit, to provide filtered air conditioning at the West Oakland Branch of the Oakland Public Library for local residents in the event of unhealthy heat or smoke conditions.
CEC’s Electric Program Investment Charge program awarded the project $3.2 million in funding, with combined $400,000 in matching funds contributed by West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project (WOEIP) and AC Transit. This pilot study is known locally as “V2B Oakland” and will be executed by a powerhouse green energy project team: Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE), The Mobility House, AC Transit, New Flyer, Schneider Electric, City of Oakland and WOEIP.
Each battery electric bus (BEB) will contribute six hours of backup power to the critical loads at the library, and each hydrogen fuel cell-electric bus (FCEB) will provide up to 11 continuous hours of backup power, displacing nearly 100 pounds of carbon emissions per hour compared to traditional diesel backup generators. Working in close coordination with bus manufacturer New Flyer of America Inc. (New Flyer), a subsidiary of NFI Group Inc. (NFI), this project also marks the first time a U.S. transit agency will have the capability to use a hydrogen vehicle for V2B backup power.
“Initiating the first community resilience hub powered by a bidirectional V2B charging system has been an incredible journey. By bringing together leading-edge technological innovation and sustainability, we are able to offer much needed emergency response benefits for both transit agencies and communities,” said Jason Hanlin, Director of Technology Research at CTE. “For a project with so many key players, we are excited to apply CTE’s proven project management approach to usher this novel project from concept to fruition.”