Hydrogen Re-fueling Network Expands in SoCal


The world’s first hydrogen station supplied by an existing, industrial hydrogen pipeline opened earlier this week in Torrance, CA, bringing the total number of hydrogen re-fueling stations to seven in the state. The station is located close to the Los Angeles International Airport and major freeways. More notably, the hydrogen is being pulled from Air Products’ hydrogen production plants in nearby cities, rendering the hydrogen refueling infrastructure that much more convenient, practical, and reliable.

Other hydrogen fueling stations have their hydrogen trucked in and stored on site, which has created shortages and wait lists even for the handful of fuel-cell ev owners in the past. The Torrance fueling station features multiple fuel dispensers and can fuel up to four cars in less than five minutes, dispensing up to 100 kg of hydrogen over twelve hours.

The station is a joint project between Shell, Toyota, Air Projects, and received funding from South Coast Air Quality Management District and the Department of Energy. Shell is operating the refueling station on land leased from Toyota, and both will serve a large role in running the on-site learning center for school children and the general public.

Despite these partnerships, the station will be open to fuel-cell electric vehicles manufactured by other automakers, as well. In fact, the first retail fuel-cell electric vehicle to fill up at the station was Honda’s FCX Clarity, the world’s first production zero-emissions fuel-cell vehicle.

There are very few of these vehicles on the road, many of which have been used as demonstrations to introduce the public to the concept of hydrogen as a viable alternative to gasoline. Even production and leasing of Mercedes-Benz’s F-Cell is happening on a small scale, and is not cheap. Toyota plans to introduce their fuel-cell vehicles to market in 2015, with the hopes that the Torrance filling station and education garnered from it will pave the way for sales- which may or may not be the “right” way to go about deciding which alt-fuel to use. It’s not a stretch to say that all eyes will be on this fueling station as a model for how easy and practical- or how impractical, using hydrogen as an alternative fuel can be.

Source: Toyota

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  • Hydrogen is a sham, it is not energy-dense enough to be a viable transportation fuel. It’s what the car companies trotted out after the killed the electric car back on ’06, to appease lawmakers.

  • I think cost of production hydrogen is more expensive compared to driveing electric car and after all internal combustion can run on hydrogen. If expesnive to fill internal combustion car then hygendro economy will not take off untill it production of it get cheaper.

  • Virtually all commercially available hydrogen comes from natural gas. CO2 is released to the atmosphere during the production of hydrogen from natural gas. Furthermore, natural gas itself is turning out to be much less green than previously thought. That’s because roughly 8% of the natural gas leaks from natural gas wells. (google methane leakage NPR for more info) Natural gas, or methane is 21 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas as CO2. It is possible to produce hydrogen from electricity in a process known as electrolysis. (we did this in 8th grade science class). The problem with this process is it’s wastes energy during all the conversions that must take place. Energy is lost during electrolysis. Energy is lost during the compression of hydrogen. The fuel cell is also not 100% efficient. If the electrical energy was otherwise used to charge the lithium ion batteries of an EV there would be much less energy lost. There is a great graphic that explains this on the following web page http://www.physorg.com/news85074285.html I hope people who read this do not take this criticism the wrong way. I believe the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is of paramount importance. I don’t want us to waste money on something that looks good on paper but is counterproductive.

  • What’d I’d like to know is, 1) Is there a fueler standard for hydrogen like J1227 is becoming for electric, and 2) Have they solved the embrittlement factor for the tanks in the vehicles?
    After all, you don’t want hydrogen leaking into the garage if you don’t drive your car for a few days.

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