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California ARB proposing amendments to Clean Fuels Outlet regulation to ensure adequate hydrogen fueling infrastructure

19 February 2013

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) will conduct a public hearing in June to consider adopting amendments to the Clean Fuels Outlet (CFO) Regulation with the intention of ensuring an adequate hydrogen refueling infrastructure to support the introduction and growth of hydrogen-fueled vehicles.

In January 2012, the Board adopted the Advanced Clean Cars (ACC) regulatory package adopted in January 2012 (earlier post)—a combination of the Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) regulations (for criteria pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions) and the technology-forcing Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) that pushes manufacturers to produce ZEVs and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in the 2018 through 2025 model years. In addition, the ACC program included amendments to Clean Fuels Outlet (CFO) requirements that will assure that ultra-clean fuels such as hydrogen are available to meet vehicle demands brought on by amendments to the ZEV regulation.

Although the LEV and ZEV regulations were approved by the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) on 7 August 2012, and filed with the Secretary of State, ARB did not submit the amended CFO regulation to OAL by the 7 December 2012 statutory deadline.

ARB notes that there are proposals unders consideration in the state legislature that would extend incentive funding programs that could provide for a non-regulatory avenue for alternative fuel stations in general and targeted funding for hydrogen stations specifically. Should the legislation pass, ARB would no longer need this rulemaking amending the CFO regulation as the provisions of the legislation would meet the objective of ensuring adequate hydrogen fueling infrastructure to support the introduction and growth of ZEVs.

The proposed rulemaking, however, is an attempt to preserve a regulatory backstop should the legislation fail to pass. Should the legislation pass, the proposal would be rescinded.

The amendments to the CFO regulation are being proposed to address the gap in hydrogen fueling infrastructure that may occur when government-funded and other hydrogen stations are not adequate to meet fuel demands of growing numbers FCVs that automakers are producing to comply with the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate. The proposed amendments to CFO would:

  • Apply only to ZEVs and ZEV fuels. Staff is proposing to change the types of AFVs subject to the regulation from all AFVs certified as low emission vehicles to only those certified as ZEVs when operating on the designated clean fuel.

  • Add a regulatory review for plug-in electric vehicles. Electricity is currently excluded from the definition of a designated clean fuel in the regulation. Staff is proposing to add regulatory language that requires ARB to evaluate the development and usage of workplace and public charging infrastructure, and make recommendations for further actions two years following adoption of the regulation.

  • Change the regulated party to be the major producer/importers of gasoline. In 2010, California’s 7 major petroleum companies supplied 93% of the gasoline consumed in California, while owning only 13% of the retail gasoline outlets. Changing the regulated party from owner/lessors of retail gasoline outlets to “major refiner/importers of gasoline,” evenly applies the requirement to build CFOs among the parties that continue to benefit financially from California’s use of gasoline.

  • Modify calculations for determining the number of new CFOs and allocating responsibility among the regulated parties. Staff is proposing to modify how the number of required CFOs is calculated to account for the fuel requirements of hydrogen and FCVs. When determining how many CFOs each regulated party is responsible for, the proposed changes include allocating stations among each regulated party based on their share of the gasoline market, rather than the number of gasoline outlets each owns.

  • Add a year to both fuel cell vehicle reporting requirements and the compliance timeframe. Staff is proposing to modify the AFV reporting requirements to make auto manufacturers report FCV production plans three model years into the future (the current requirement is two) and provide FCV placement numbers by air basin. This provides regulated parties with an additional year to locate, permit, and build CFOs.

  • Add language that would allow the Executive Officer to adjust the required number of new CFOs downward if warranted by more recent vehicle projections. Increasing the time available to locate, permit and build CFOs also provides the opportunity to review auto manufacturer projections submitted the following year. If those projections indicate a decrease in vehicle numbers for a specific compliance year such that fewer CFOs would be required, this proposed amendment allows for making such an adjustment 19 months before stations are required to be operational.

  • Add a lower regional activation trigger. Staff is proposing to add a 10,000 vehicle activation trigger that would apply to an air basin before the statewide trigger of 20,000 is reached. The lower trigger complements auto manufacturers’ early commercialization plans to market FCVs in regional clusters.

  • Streamline the compliance requirements. The proposed amendments include modifying the compliance requirements to be less prescriptive and more like performance standards, giving the regulated party the flexibility to determine how best to meet the minimum requirements. Hydrogen infrastructure can be placed at an existing gasoline station or at a freestanding site.

  • Lower the regulation sunset provision. Under the current regulation, the requirement to build CFOs ceases when the total number outlets offering a particular clean fuel equals ten percent of the total number of retail gasoline outlets. Staff is proposing to reduce this provision to five percent based on findings that hydrogen fueling infrastructure can achieve commercial viability at five percent saturation and, therefore, a mandate would no longer be necessary.

The proposal also no longer includes an auto manufacturer penalty for delivering fewer vehicles than projected because it was determined that the circumstances under which it could be proved that an automaker knowingly provided false information would be extremely difficult to substantiate.

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February 19, 2013 in Fuel Cells, Fuels, Hydrogen, Policy | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

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Why - oh why, is there no regulation/ promotion policy/ funding opportunities for home fuel cell fuelling in CA? This is the golden chain link that will secure a big sell for these vehicles. Of course you need stations in neighbourhoods, interstates, and malls, - and that is a deal-breaker - but people will buy mostly on the lifestyle that they imagine will improve over the BEV and ICE - that is self-directed fueling - on your own time, at your own home. Convenience and 'sticking it to the oil companies' over the noble goals of environment, pollution, and national energy security - always. always. And reduced chance of range anxiety, etc. People can nag and fuss over price and engineering issues that have not been resolved - but funny how those things get pushed magically when there is a recognized swelling of demand for something. Witness HDTVs - you couldn't get tv stations to embrace the bandwidth, technology, and programming challenges until you saw $5000 sets jumping off store shelves 5+ years ago before superbowl, series, etc. - and all willing to pay huge premums for the limited channels available at the time. 2 years later - 50%+ of all state or bigger stations are primarily or have at least one HDTV channel in their roster - that's hundreds and hundreds. Funny how that whining dissipated so quickly. Adversity (sales growth potential) is the mother of all invention (and implementation). Honda has been promoting home fuel cell systems for years - all with ISO standard recognition. Japan and scandinavia have had hydrogen heating/ home energy systems available for decades. There is hydrogen in and around millions of homes. Why not take it the last 10 feet into the garage? Further, hydrogen can be made in many and all ways depending on the circumstances - solar, grid, natural gas, bio, etc. Pick you cheapest/ most available source and go. See a few of the promotional pages...
http://www.gizmag.com/honda-solar-hydrogen-fuel-cell-refueller-electric-vehicle/14049/
http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13746_7-57406767-48/hondas-fcx-clarity-can-power-a-home-for-6-days/
Has there been any regulatory submissions, expert reports, association comments at all on this?

“There is hydrogen in and around millions of homes.”

I find that hard to believe. I would be surprised to find it in ten homes except for a few demonstration projects. My house is all electric and uses a heat pump. A few in our neighborhood use wood stoves or propane. Older homes around here still have oil heat. Natural gas if is on your street is an economical way to heat. That is how people do things, hydrogen is not better.

“Why not take it the last 10 feet into the garage?”

The reason is that hydrogen detonates. The velocity of the pressure wave from a hydrogen detonation is much higher than an explosion from natural gas. If you are ‘10 feet’ from a pipe that contains hydrogen that means you are in a large power plant, metal processing facility, a refinery, or chemical plant. The safety requirements make hydrogen too expensive to use as a fuel.

Read about the Honda FCX Clarity FCEV price of $600.00 USD per month for 3 years which includes collision coverage, all maintenance and roadside assistance.
As it is still available only for leasing, and only in Southern California, where public hydrogen refueling stations are available.
Honda has a vested interest in California and seeing this through.
I have followed the life of this car and Honda has spent $$$, they are working on a home filling station. The FAA might not license their Jet but California wants their car and they want their returns.
Don't think that Honda hasn't been bending Jerry Brown's ear: California Governor’s Office releases 2013 ZEV action plan; 1.5M ZEVs on CA roadways by 2025

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