Santa Clarita Installs Hydrogen Fuel Cells To Power Traffic Lights, Prevent Power Shutoffs

The city of Santa Clarita, CA partnered with Western Systems to install hydrogen fuel cells as the power source for traffic lights at a major intersection. The intersection – which sees an average of 80,000 vehicles per day and is along a fire evacuation route – has experienced several Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) events due to rolling brownouts, wildfires, and high winds. The system is certified by the California Air Resources Board.

The innovative, carbon emission-free backup power system from Altergy will be capable of keeping traffic lights at the intersection running normally for over 50 hours of grid power outages. Conventional, battery-based systems typically keep an intersection powered for about 8 hours. Prior to the installation at this major intersection, the city had the cost of sending out crews to install diesel generators and emergency signs, along with the deployment of Parking Enforcement Officers to aid in directing traffic.

“Keeping the intersection running safely and efficiently is a top priority for the City. With power outages becoming longer and more frequent, we needed a power source that could accommodate long-term power interruptions. The hydrogen fuel system is an eco-friendly backup power unit that can keep the intersection running for days on backup power,” said Cesar Romo, Traffic Signal System Administrator for the City.

The city is currently seeking additional grant funding to install more hydrogen fuel cell units at other intersections.