ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — In the 2020 State of the State address, former Governer Andrew Cuomo set zero emissions goals for the largest transportation services in the state, including Rochester.

In order to meet the goal of running 25% of its fleet at zero emissions by 2025, the Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority received a grant of five million dollars to purchase hydrogen fuel cell buses from Governor Hochul.

According to Tom Brede, this grant will provide hydrogen fuel cell buses across RTS’s transportation portfolio.

“Two forty-foot full-size buses, which are the buses that you see out on the road every day, five vans so smaller vehicles similar to what we use for our on-demand service now, as well as a mobile fueling station which will allow us to fuel the buses with hydrogen,” said Brede.

The fuel cell buses purchased with the grant will be used to evaluate the feasibility of their use in Rochester. As of now, according to Brede, there is no set timeline for how long the evaluation period will last as they are still in the initial planning stages. Currently, the earliest the buses are anticipated to arrive is late in 2023 or early 2024.

Based on the initial success in other states like California which currently boasts the most comprehensive hydrogen infrastructure in North America, according to the California Fuel Cell Partnership, Brede thinks the technology is sound. There are also other advantages over electric buses such as the time it takes to “refuel”.

“Between three-to-five hours to charge an electric bus by plugging it in with electricity, or having a hydrogen tank and filling a hydrogen fuel cell bus in a matter of minutes,” said Brede.

With a goal of turning the RTS fleet fully zero emissions by 2035, big strides have been taken, but a lot of work remains to build the infrastructure to support the expected changes in the fleet.