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Air Liquide to supply hydrogen fueling infrastructure for Fuel Cell Bus Demonstration in Birmingham, Ala.

Air Liquide Industrial U.S. LP (“Air Liquide”) announced today an agreement with the Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE) to supply the hydrogen fueling infrastructure for a hydrogen fuel cell bus demonstration in Birmingham, Ala.

CTE, a non-profit organization that specializes in bringing clean transportation technologies to the market, will manage the hydrogen fuel cell bus demonstration over a two-year period, scheduled to begin in summer 2012. During this period, a hydrogen-powered bus will operate in regular service alongside the fleet of public buses currently operated by the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Agency (“BJCTA”).

Air Liquide will provide gaseous hydrogen and the compression and dispensing bus refueling system. The system will dispense on average about 20 kg of hydrogen per day, totaling about 12,500 kg of hydrogen during the 24-month demonstration period. The hydrogen fueling station will feature automated 350 bar hydrogen dispensing at one kg per minute, allowing operators to regularly fuel the hydrogen-powered bus quickly.

Mark Lostak, president of Air Liquide Industrial U.S. LP, commented: “Air Liquide is excited to participate in the Birmingham Fuel Cell Bus Demonstration. This initiative illustrates the logical progression toward the use of hydrogen fuel cells in public transportation vehicles. Hydrogen fuel cell technology is a solution that is both economic and sustainable for mass transit systems due to the size of public bus fleets, fuel volume requirements, and the inherent ability to use a centralized fueling system. As we move towards fueling larger bus fleets, we look forward to this technology further demonstrating itself as a cost competitive and environmentally beneficial solution for public transit.”

Air Liquide has provided more than 200,000 hydrogen fills worldwide and supplied a number of filling installations in North America, including those for buses, materials handling, and light vehicles. In Whistler, Canada, Air Liquide signed a ten-year contract for 20 hydrogen-powered buses that started in February, 2010 in conjunction with the Vancouver Winter Olympics and Paralympics Games. This hydrogen bus fleet is the largest in the world.

“Air Liquide has a proven track record of developing hydrogen fueling stations around the world,” said Erik Bigelow, the technology development project manager at CTE who is managing the project. “We are excited to work with them to bring the first hydrogen infrastructure to Birmingham, Ala.”

“The BJCTA is proud to be a part of this fuel cell demonstration,” said Lee Jackson, Director of Maintenance at BJCTA. “This project will give Birmingham and the surrounding communities a firsthand look at the new clean technologies that are being developed and introduced to mass transit. The project will also allow the BJCTA to step forward as a leader in the Southeast as a test facility for the new technology.”

The Birmingham Fuel Cell Bus Demonstration is a part of the National Fuel Cell Bus Program (“NFCBP”), an initiative funded by the Federal Transit Administration (“FTA”). EVAmerica, an organization specializing in the design, development, and manufacturing of electric and hybrid-electric medium to heavy-duty vehicles, will design and integrate the hydrogen-powered bus, and the hydrogen fuel cell is being provided by Ballard Power Systems.