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California To Have Up To 70 Hydrogen Fueling Stations By 2016?

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Honda Solar Hydrogen Station prototype with 2010 Honda FCX Clarity hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle

Honda Solar Hydrogen Station prototype with 2010 Honda FCX Clarity hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle

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Our planet may have only gained 27 hydrogen filling stations in 2012, but California is hoping to have nearly 70 of its own in total by 2016.

So says the California Air Resources Board (CARB), which provides a list of government-funded hydrogen stations in California on its website.

Around third of that number are already either in operation or set for use shortly, while the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP) sets out two main statistics for future filling stations in the state.

By 2015, the state expects to have a solid 37 public stations up and running, from currently available funding.

The group also says around 68 stations, a little under double the planned 37 by 2015, should provide enough coverage for around 10,000-30,000 early fuel cell vehicles in 2016.

The CaFCP recognizes the delicate balance that must be met by both providers and customers in order for suitable coverage--customers require as much coverage as possible, while providers must see suitable utilization for it to be commercially viable. These too must be balanced with manufacturers' willingness to provide vehicles (and this includes heavy and commercial vehicles, not just private cars), dependent on both other factors.

CaFCP has identified several "clusters" within the state where stations are currently operating, and has drawn up comparisons with gasoline stations as to how easy these stations are to access for consumers living within each cluster.

Santa Monica/West Los Angeles, Torrance and nearby coastal cities, Irvine and southern coastal Orange County, Berkeley and San Francisco South Bay Area have all been identified as cluster regions, and many future stations will be based around these areas--albeit more spread out from existing locations.

Given the extra range of hydrogen vehicles compared to say, battery electric vehicles, a truly diffuse coverage isn't as important and most H2 stations are likely to share space with regular gas stations.

Much of CaFCP and CARB's plans require suitable funding, and this is where the plans still hang--to reach 2016's target of 68 stations, CaFCP estimates extra funding of $67 million is required.

Hydrogen has a way to go yet, but if it's to take off anywhere in the next few years, California seems to at least have a proper plan in place. Whether the cars will be there for consumers to utilize it remains to be seen.

Full details of the CaFCP's plans can be found in this pdf document.

[Hat tip: Brian Henderson]

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Comments (14)
  1. Why not consider adding a market for home heating hydrogen?
     
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  2. Not practical. If the hydrogen comes from electrolysis, it would be more expensive and less efficient than using electricity directly and much more expensive than electric heat pumps. If the hydrogen comes from steam reformed natural gas, it will be more expensive and use more natural gas (and produce more CO2) than using natural gas directly. Also, how to deliver it? Can't use existing natural gas lines, as hydrogen leaks too readily and embrittles steel. Too bulky and expensive to deliver in compressed gas cylinders.
     
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  3. You summed it up better than I did...
     
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  4. "If the hydrogen comes from electrolysis, it would be more expensive..."

    Nope. You are citing 30+ year-old data. Things have changed since then. :)

    "If the hydrogen comes from steam reformed natural gas, it will be more expensive and use more natural gas (and produce more CO2)..."

    You must hate Tesla Roadsters. ;)

    "Also, how to deliver it? Can't use existing natural gas lines, as hydrogen leaks too readily and embrittles steel."

    Nope. Another misunderstood point. H2 does not embrittle.

    "Too bulky and expensive to deliver in compressed gas cylinders."

    Nope. Still citing old numbers.

    Peace
    marcus
     
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  5. That could be a market to back up the commercial viability for H2 as fuel, in the longer term, as can the use of the gas for use in cleaner internal combustion engines, even assuming a delay as fuel cell cars get around to it.

    This diversifies the market, to decrease the risk.
     
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  6. Combining the use of expensive and bulky hydrogen fuel with inefficient internal combustion engines, while technically possible, is a very bad idea. It would increase fuel costs and would have limited range, and would reduce power and performance.
     
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  7. You have no idea how the motor works. The so-called efficiency goes up with H2, and it cleans the air.

    Peace
    marcus
     
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  8. That could be a market to back up the commercial viability for H2 as fuel, in the longer term, as can the use of the gas in, adjusted, cleaner internal combustion engines (with pressurized fuel delivery systems), for those who enjoy tinkering, even assuming a delay as fuel cell powered electric cars get around to it.

    This diversifies the market.
     
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  9. With what methods are they producing hydrogen. is it made at the fuel station by electrolisis of water or by natural gas reformation. What is the cost of one kilo of hydrogen actually and in the future ?

    Anyway im interrested to buy, these cars will last a long long time because electric motors wear slow and the fuelcell stack wear slow also. They increase the performance of the fuelcell system each day and reduce the cost also. These cars works good in winter and are not affected by heat contrary to batteries. This refuel in 5 minutes. An hydrogen pump can serve 75 cars a day and a fast charger can serve 2-3 cars a day.

    The big hydrogen fuelcell suv from GM do 67 mpg.
     
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  10. At least until a few years, hydrogen cars worked very bad in cold weather and needed a huge bulky tank for a bit of range (so identical to pure EV's with batteries). Has that changed? Also, not considering the latest development of extracting hydrogen out of alge, it still takes a huge amount of energy to create hydrogen. I can also imagine the infrastructure (transport, safety etc) is very expensive (apparently 1 million per pump station looking at above article). I am wondering, if a hydrogen car would be affordable (the Honda costs billions), how the cost of hydrogen compares to gas and electricity?
     
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  11. Hydrogen extracted by electrolysis from water is a medium for storing energy, not "making" it. Is that really less "efficient" than extracting it from "natural" (fossil) gas (the potent greenhouse gas, methane, i.e. CH4), by "reformation"? That energy took several million years to "make".


    Since the energy was already there when we drilled for it, "less" energy’s needed to go one step further and remove that H2, than to store energy, using some, already renewable source, such as: wind’s growing grid-power or photovoltaics.


    What about the remaining carbon: burn it(?) leaving still more climate-changing CO2?


    How much energy drills dry-hole searches for gas wells?
     
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  12. OK; refueling is fast; but what is the range of these cars?
     
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  13. Why bother, cracking hydrogen is a big time net energy loser, even if you use renewable electricity. You're better off putting the original power you use to crack the hydrogen and put it directly into the battery or natural gas into the car, more miles per unit of energy....

    MrEnergyCzar
     
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  14. Here is a reason... H2 cleans the air, electricity doesn't.

    Peace
    marcus
     
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