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California awarding $46.6M for 28 new hydrogen refueling stations and 1 mobile refueler

1 May 2014

The California Energy Commission will award $46.6 million to 8 different applicants to accelerate the development of publicly accessible hydrogen refueling stations in California in order to promote a consumer market for zero-emission fuel cell vehicles.

The recommended funding awards were made through the Energy Commission’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (ARFVTP). The recommended awards include six 100% renewable hydrogen refueling stations and will add 13 new locations in Northern California and 15 in Southern California, strategically located to create a refueling network along major corridors and in regional centers. The mobile refueler will provide added reliability to the early hydrogen refueling network to provide refueling capability when stations are off-line.

The new awards will add 28 new stations to 9 existing and the 17 stations currently under development. These 54 hydrogen refueling stations represent significant progress towards meeting California's goal of establishing a 100-station network to support the full commercialization of fuel cell vehicles in California.

Award recipients:

  • Air Liquide Industrial US LP will receive $2,125,000 to construct a 100% renewable hydrogen refueling station in Palo Alto.

  • FirstElement Fuel, Inc. will receive $2,902,000 to construct two 100 percent renewable refueling stations in Los Angeles, and $24,667,000 for 17 stations in Campbell, Coalinga, Costa Mesa, Hayward, Laguna Niguel, Lake Forest, La Canada Flintridge, Long Beach, Mill Valley, San Diego, San Jose, Santa Barbara, Saratoga, South Pasadena, South San Francisco, Redwood City and Truckee.

  • HyGen Industries, LLC will receive $5,306,814 to construct three 100% renewable hydrogen refueling stations in Orange, Pacific Palisades and Rohnert Park.

  • Institute of Gas Technology will receive $999,677 for a mobile refueling unit.

  • ITM Power, Inc. will receive $2,125,000 to construct a station in Riverside.

  • Linde LLC will receive $4,250,000 to construct stations in Oakland and San Ramon.

  • Hydrogen Technology & Energy Corporation (HTEC) will receive $2,125,000 to construct a station in Woodside.

  • Ontario CNG Station Inc. will receive $2,125,000 to construct a station in Ontario.

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Since 6 of the 10 most polluted cities in USA are located in California and affordable FCEVs or coming to the market place, this H2 stations (and quick e-charger stations) program is fully justified.

Other polluted cities should do the same without further delays.

Interstates Highways Administration should find ways for quick (public or private) installation of 500 to 1000 stations for FCEVs and BEVs.

After all the scares about the supposedly totally unaffordable costs of hydrogen refuelling stations, that is a pretty moderate figure.

No doubt the early ones will only dispense relatively limited quantities, but as more supply is needed costs are going to be dropping for infrastructure.

The infrastructure does not appear to be any sort of show stopper.

I wonder how big of a Tesla Supercharger could be built with $2M and how many cars could charge a day compared to one of these $2M H2 stations...

I fully agree with HarveyD and I hope that they begin the same infrastructure here in montreal Canada.

Dave RR:
I am a bit surprised that you seem to have become a one solution only guy.
I had thought that you were more open minded to a variety of technologies being applied to transport.

If one of the many methods of directly converting sunlight to hydrogen works out, and progress has been staggering over the last few years, then it will seem in retrospect to have been a bit silly to be entirely dismissive of hydrogen and fuel cells, as that would solve the big, big problem of solar which is storage.

You could run a society in any climate using hydrogen produced by hydrogen from solar power.
That is not true of societies reliant on solar pv alone.

Until there are home-fueling H2 stations, FCEVs will be minor-minor (likely unprofitable) players.

28 locations for $46.6 million is $1.66 million a pop, with no indication of how many vehicles each can serve per day.  A quick search turns up a site which counts nearly 97,000 service stations in the USA.  So, just equipping that many stations with the minimal gear to dispense hydrogen would cost in excess of $160 billion.  Creating and shipping the hydrogen is extra.

Seekingalpha claims a Tesla supercharger costs as little as $150,000.  Most EV charging can be done at home, at a relative trickle (if you drain a Leaf battery less than 60% you can recharge it from a 120 VAC NEMA outlet in 10 hours).

$46.6 million spent on Superchargers (without solar) would buy 310 of them.  That is enough to put one about every 150 miles along the entire Interstate highway system, and would probably cover all federal and state highways from San Diego to Seattle.

Michigan has some 82 highway rest areas.  Equipping each one of them with an octet of GE Wattstation chargers ($799 retail, probably $600 wholesale) would cost about $4 million plus installation.  For $46.6 million you could do another 10 states.

Lets not forget the unique advantages of FCEVs:

1. Extended range.
2. Ultra quick 5 minutes charge.
3. Free cabin heat for cold weather places.
4. More suited than BEVs for cold weather areas.
5. Can use intermittent e-energy and store H2 for 24/7 service.

To engineer-poet, a supercharger network is an impossibility because it take more than half and hour to recharge and it take only 5 minute to refill with hydrogen. A hydrogen fueling station can serve many cars at the same time so it's sure that you won't wait. You have to look at the long-term to make a long lasting broad change to the way we drive. A guy coming to a supercharger network if there is another car that is charging will have to wait half an hour before even getting started, it won't happen with hydrogen and with hydrogen you get a range of 350 miles for 50 000$ dollar per car and with batteries you get a 220 miles range but for 100 000$ per tesla car. This is unsustainable. On the long run hydrogen prices will always get cheaper but gasoline and electricity prices are always increasing. We need efficient renewable plentiful clean hydrogen. Hydrogen can now be a sustainable solution for eternity. Also a big argument for batteries is that they are near a breakthrough in capacity and price, this is untrue and it won't happen because all over the world they tried that and nobody succeeded after record subsidies and hopes. Hydrogen on the other hand will get better as we are just beginning to explore this technology. Im sure hydrogen can be made by water electrolysis efficiently for no pollution and for cheap. It's the only method that do not pollute at all, think about your future with climate change. If the hydrogen find it's use with ice cars also, it will clean the air from pollutants.

EP:
You know very well that costs for large stations can't be directly arrived at by looking at the cost of early examples.

If one applied the same reasoning, very few public electric charge points are currently economic.

They may be cheaper, but even in early days can support far fewer cars than a pump.

In my view you are allowing your dislike of fuel cells and hydrogen to lead you to use biased and unequal standards in your evaluation.

Davemart,

Some people think they are always right, even when they are wrong.

@SJC:
The contrary proposition would be difficult to sustain.
If one thought that they were always wrong, then that would necessarily be a mistake.

So everyone assumes that they are right, or productive thought is impossible.

What counts is the degree to which a position can be sustained by reference to the most objective criteria we can manage in our necessarily imperfect judgements.

Which is pretty much why my answer to most questions, for instance how will we power transport in future, is conditional, and I am waiting to see how the different technologies pan out, and why I am suspicious of those who think that they can rule out alternatives on a priori grounds, usually coming from the assumption that hydrogen and fuel cells are part of a fossil fuel conspiracy, with particular objections such as that the cost of the infrastructure will be unaffordable presented more or less by way of ornamentation on the grounding unstated objection.

So yup, I'm especially suspicious of my own conclusions, which is why they are usually heavily qualified and conditional, unlike some of the stuff I seek to counter.

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