GM Backs Hydrogen Refueling Station Near LA

Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell Vehicle

Despite claims to the contrary, it seems like General Motors is getting more and more involved in the refueling business. GM has already invested heavily in two different cellulosic ethanol companies (Coskata and Mascoma), and has now partnered with Clean Energy Fuels Corp. to open a hydrogen fueling station near the Los Angeles Int’l Airport (LAX). The station will be located at Clean Energy’s compressed natural gas (CNG) facility and should be operational by the fall.

Mary Beth Stanek, GM’s director of energy and environmental policy & commercialization made it clear that this is just a continuation of the company’s general policy to advance the development of refueling infrastructure for their future vehicle fleet. No one wants a car they can’t buy fuel for, and GM isn’t go to wait around for the government to step in and mandate or subsidize one of the options.

“Developing and growing hydrogen infrastructure is vital to GM’s efforts to bring larger volumes of fuel cell vehicles to the market.”

Reforming hydrogen from natural gas is controversial, especially since California already has a reasonably well-developed CNG refueling system powering some of the cleanest cars on the road (14,000 daily according to GCC). But proponents argue that natural gas is an ideal transition feedstock until a more sustainable alternative for hydrogen production can be developed.

Hydrogen from the new station will be used primarily for Chevrolet’s Project Driveway, which is the largest market test of fuel-cell vehicles to date. If you want to test drive a Chevy Equinox Fuel-Cell Vehicle, check the link to see if you’re eligible (I tried to get through Project Driveway’s survey, but gave up after answering 50 questions that still wouldn’t tell me if my area is included—I’m pretty sure it’s not).

Final words from Andrew J. Littlefair, Clean Energy president and CEO:

Developing a cost-effective hydrogen infrastructure is a challenge. By leveraging the growing network of natural gas stations, a variety of hydrogen station designs can be introduced to the public. Ultimately, reforming pipeline natural gas to produce hydrogen at our stations may be done inexpensively, thereby taking advantage of the ready infrastructure. This approach can help accelerate a larger-scale deployment of hydrogen vehicles.

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More: GM partners with Clean Energy for new hydrogen statiion in Los Angeles


Photo Credit: Clayton B. Cornell (Detroit Auto Show)


In a past life, Clayton was a professional blogger and editor of Gas 2.0, Important Media’s blog covering the future of sustainable transportation. He was also the Managing Editor for GO Media, the predecessor to Important Media.