CaFCP report concludes California needs 68 hydrogen fueling stations by end of 2015 to support first commercial wave of fuel cell vehicles
8 August 2012
|Map of 68 hydrogen fueling stations: existing, in development and needed. Source: CaFCP. Click to enlarge.|
To support the planned commercial launch of fuel cell electric vehicles by automakers in 2015 (FCEVs), California needs 68 hydrogen fueling stations in five clusters in which most early adopters are expected, according to a new report issued by the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP). These 68 stations should be in place by the end of 2015 in order to serve adequately the first approximately 20,000 FCEVs, the report finds.
The total cost to expand to 68 stations, and provide operations and maintenance support until the stations become profitable is estimated at $65 million. The initial cluster areas—requiring 45 stations—are Berkeley, San Francisco South Bay, Santa Monica/West Los Angeles, coastal Southern Orange County, and Torrance. An additional 23 stations in areas such as Pasadena and Sacramento will connect these clusters into a regional network and include major destinations such as Napa, Santa Barbara and San Diego.
With an estimated 53,000 vehicles on the road in the 2017 timeframe, more than 100 stations would be necessary to ensure the network has enough capacity for these additional vehicles. Building additional stations or completing station upgrades to meet market demands will likely be necessary by the end 2017 to serve this expected FCEV population, the report finds.
The report, A California Road Map: The Commercialization of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles, represents a collaborative and collective effort by stakeholders from industry, academia, non-governmental organizations and government to design a pragmatic road map for hydrogen station placement. It outlines the necessary steps for the vehicle and infrastructure market as it progresses through pre-commercial (2012-2014) and early commercialization (2015-2017).
The infrastructure deployment strategy described in this road map relies on ten years of lessons learned by industry and government during the initial deployment of FCEVs. This real-world experience was complemented by significant contributions from the University of California at Davis for stakeholder and cluster model research, and the STREET [Spatially and Temporally Resolved Energy and Environment Tool] computer modeling developed by the University of California at Irvine. This multi-pronged approach established the minimum number stations needed to provide convenient and reliable fueling for early FCEV customers. Initial station deployments will focus on key markets, linking these geographic clusters into regional networks, and further expanding into new vehicle markets and targeted destinations.—“A California Road Map”
Determining the number and location of the the stations during the early commercialization phase was based on two guiding principles: station coverage and capacity utilization.
Station coverage establishes a local network by placing adequate fueling outlets in key markets.
Capacity utilization supports technology development, minimizes risk to station operators and builds business models to lower overall station costs. Sufficient utilization ensures station operators have a chance to make their business profitable.
Technical and non-technical factors influencing the specific placement of a hydrogen station include footprint, station performance characteristics and complementary uses.
The CaFCP team defined a robust network of hydrogen stations within each cluster as the number and location of strategically located hydrogen stations that a driver can access in six minutes or less of driving. This equates to having hydrogen outlets at 5-7% of the existing gasoline stations in the cluster. (The current gasoline infrastructure provides access in four minutes of driving time or less in all five cluster regions.)
The six-minute maximum travel time is based on previous optimization research, driver behavior surveys and a need to balance network coverage with network cost.
Analyses of alternative fuel stations have concluded that roughly 5% of the existing network of gasoline stations would need to offer hydrogen to allay drivers’ concerns, a metric which can be applied to each cluster or region.
Careful optimization of hydrogen stations is equally as important as the total number of stations offering hydrogen, where optimized locations are determined using driving time with the existing road infrastructure, the report notes. Using these criteria, this assessment determined a cumulative total of 45 stations would be required in the five clusters in California. To ensure infrastructure is available to customers in these markets, additional hydrogen stations are required to merge the clusters into a regional network.
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