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California Energy Commission to award up to $28.59M for hydrogen refueling stations in 25 areas

One of the Station Location Area maps showing the use of “polygons” (see below) to rank desirability of location via scoring. Click to enlarge.

The California Energy Commission has issued a competitive grant solicitation (PON-12-606) to award up to a combined $28.59 million for new hydrogen refueling stations in 25 selected areas. The goal is to expand the network of publicly accessible hydrogen fueling stations to serve the current population of fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) and to accommodate the planned large-scale roll-out of FCVs commencing in 2015. Individual projects are eligible for up to 65% of the total project cost or $1.50 million, whichever is less.

The Energy Commission does not anticipate that all 25 Station Location Areas will be funded under this solicitation. Only one hydrogen fueling station will be funded per Station Location Area polygon, which were generated by a process designed and applied at the Advanced Power and Energy Program at the University of California at Irvine (UCI).

This refueling network is envisioned to support the alternative transportation fuel and vehicle technology goals of the state, such as the Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) Program, which requires 14% of certain auto manufacturers’ MY 2015 fleets to be zero‐emission vehicles, and the Low Carbon Fuel Standard, which is designed to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels by 10% by 2020.

California’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology (ARFVT) Program, created by Assembly Bill 118, has an annual budget of approximately $100 million. The ARFVT Program Investment Plans from Fiscal Years 2011/2012 and 2012/2013 dedicated $18.7 million and $11 million, respectively, for hydrogen fueling infrastructure.

The Energy Commission held three public workshops throughout California to discuss: 1) techniques for optimizing hydrogen station locations; 2) technical hydrogen fueling station performance; and 3) the future (now current) hydrogen fueling solicitation.

The solicitation promotes renewable hydrogen through the 33% renewable hydrogen content requirement eEach station must dispense, at minimum, 33% renewable hydrogen on a per kilogram basis); a set-aside for 100% renewable hydrogen projects; scoring preferences; and a renewable hydrogen content tiebreaker. Of the funding available, up to $3.0 million is designated for stations dispensing 100% renewable hydrogen fuel where hydrogen is generated from renewable sources, either on-site or off-site.

“Renewable hydrogen” is defined as hydrogen produced from:

  1. Eligible renewable feedstocks including biomethane or biogas such as biomass, digester gas, landfill gas, sewer gas, or municipal solid waste gas; or other feedstocks demonstrated to achieve the sustainability goals.

  2. Eligible renewable electricity sources, including facilities that use the following: fuel cells using renewable fuels; geothermal; small hydroelectric (30 megawatts or less); ocean wave; ocean thermal; tidal current; photovoltaic (PV); solar thermal; wind; biomass digester gas; municipal solid waste conversion (non-combustion thermal process); landfill gas; and Renewable Energy Certificates (REC).

The solicitation seeks to provide statewide fueling station coverage that matches near-term customer demand. To meet FCV customer demand, it uses the infrastructure deployment strategy outlined in A California Road Map: The Commercialization of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles (earlier post), which recommended 68 hydrogen fueling stations in five clusters in which most early adopters are expected.

Given the limited state funds allocated to hydrogen fueling infrastructure, the Commission sought to optimize its investment in the early network of hydrogen fueling stations. Using population density, vehicles per household, median household income, and gasoline station density to measure fueling demand, UC Irvine provided a rank list of the top 50 station locations.

The 25 station location areas. Click to enlarge.

From this list, Energy Commission staff selected the 25 station location areas used in the solicitation because they provide initial statewide geographic coverage, which will build the foundation of a functioning network for FCV consumers.

The 25 location areas expand the coverage provided by the existing and previously funded “cluster” stations to create regional networks without duplicating early investments, according to the CEC. Commission staff compared UC Irvine rankings to the station priorities identified by the California Fuel Cell Partnership OEM Working Group. Although the two lists are not identical, the selected Station Location Areas balance the interests in expanding the existing station network and locating the stations near FCV drivers, according to the Commission.

UC Irvine’s Spatially and Temporally Resolved Energy and Environment Tool (STREET) generated the final maps using drive time to major intersections to define boundaries of “polygons”. The model produced scoring parameters within each polygon that approximate hydrogen fueling demand by accounting for proximity to highways/freeways, gasoline stations, and existing or planned hydrogen fueling stations, as well as publicly available data on population density, vehicles per household, median income, and gasoline station density.

Requirements. Each station is to have a minimum average daily fueling capacity of no less than 100 kg. The average daily station capacity (kg/day) will be the total kg of hydrogen that can be delivered to 7 kg-capacity vehicles according to the SAE TIR J2601 Fueling Protocol, over a 12-hour period. Minimum peak fueling capacity is five 7-kg Type A for 70 MPa and/or Type B for 35 MPa (as defined in SAE J2601) fills per hour.

Each hydrogen fueling station must be able to dispense fuel at both 700 bar and 350 bar and provide Type A for 70 MPa and Type B for 35 MPa fueling according to SAE TIR J2601 Fueling Protocol.

Each station must constructed, operational, and open to the public by 30 October 2014.



Mass rolout of FCV in 2015? What do they mean?

Is it any existing FCV on the road to be fueled with hydrogen in California?


There are alot of fuel cell cars on the road right now and yes by 2015 a mass rollout is planned. In fact some are going to jump the gun and start the rollouts end of this year or early next.


I'd like to see the University of California at Irvine (UCI)do a study where they estimate the amount of hydrogen that leaks into the atmosphere from these systems and what the effect of increased hydrogen in the atmosphere will have on the environment, such a green house effects or ozone depletion. It would be nice to see a more than speculative study of the cost curve for commercialization and a total cost of infrastructure for a certain level of commercialization (let's say 10% vehicle adoption). Then this could be compared say to the same cost for electric vehicles.


Hydrogen is not an energy source, it is just a VERY INEFFICIENT energy storage medium.

Using hydrogen as fuel for cars does not make any sense, and is bad for mankind and the environment, because it wastes energy on manufacturing, compressing, transporting and storing hydrogen. The energy going into making hydrogen can be better used DIRECTLY in cars. For example, using hydrogen made from steam-reformed natural gas, or made from electricity and water (through electrolysis), eaxpends more energy for the same amount of usable resultant energy than does just using the natgas or electricity directly in vehicles.

For details read the paper

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