Schneider Electric and Carlyle Group’s microgrid joint venture AlphaStruxure will lead an integrated energy-as-a-service project to deliver electric charging, on-site green hydrogen production and deeper microgrid capabilities for the public bus service of Montgomery County, Maryland.
AlphaStruxure will begin construction later this year at the Montgomery County Equipment Maintenance and Transit Operation Center (EMTOC). The plan is put the finished project into operation by 2025’s first quarter.
The hybrid EV charging-H2-solar-battery storage microgrid at EMTOC follows recently completed work on a microgrid serving the Brookville Smart Energy Bus Depot also in Montgomery County. AlphaStruxure, formed by Schneider Electric and financier Carlyle several years ago, led that project.
“Once built, the EMTOC microgrid will be the gold standard for resilient, sustainable public transit. This project also further establishes Montgomery County, MD as the nation’s leading municipality when it comes to embracing the transit infrastructure of tomorrow,” said Juan Macias, CEO of AlphaStruxure. “We are thrilled to be the County’s long-term partner on holistic infrastructure that delivers improved, cleaner services to constituents.”
The EMTOC microgrid in Montgomery County will be co-locate 5 MW of rooftop and canopy solar photovoltaic power, a 2-MW/7.35-MWh battery along with existing backup generators. The site also will include up to 4.5-MW of charging capacity, which can fueled by the microgrid.
In addition to the EV and fuel-cell electric bus charging, the EMTOC microgrid can supply power for the facility’s five buildings and be connected to the Pepco main grid. It has islanding capabilities to run independently in the event of a sustained power outage.
The microgrid’s solar generation will also provide power for the on-site production of green hydrogen. Fuel cell buses have a greater range over battery electric buses, necessary for longer bus routes. A hydrogen FCEB also is a zero-emissions vehicle, powered by hydrogen and oxygen, and emits only water.
Electrolyzers split the hydrogen atom from water. The H2, which does contain carbon in its chain, is considered green only when the electrolyzers are powered directly by carbon-free resources such as solar, wind, hydro or nuclear.
The county will run at least 13 fuel-cell electric buses with green hydrogen produced by the microgrid solar. Fuel cells activate an electrochemical process to convert fuel to electricity and emit only water when hydrogen is employed.
AlphaStruxure will finance the EMTOC microgrid through its energy-as-a-service business model, handling construction costs, owning, operating and maintaining the site. Montgomery County avoids huge upfront costs and pays for the service over an extended contract time.