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California Energy Commission approves $46.6M for hydrogen refueling and $2.8M for EV charging projects

The California Energy Commission gave final approval for nearly $50 million in grant awards for hydrogen refueling and electric charging construction projects recommended for funding in notices of proposed awards published in April and May.

California’s zero-emission vehicle goal is to get 1.5 million hydrogen, battery electric, and plug-in electric vehicles on the roadway by 2025. In response to this directive, the Energy Commission’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (ARFVTP) has already allocated nearly $400 million to help bolster statewide infrastructure and create a viable market for zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), and to promote alternative fuels.

These new projects will accelerate a statewide hydrogen refueling station network that will support the commercial launch of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles in 2015 and boost the installation of electric vehicle chargers along highway corridors and in workplaces.

The infrastructure network is designed to support consumer choices by locating refueling stations and electric chargers in strategic locations throughout California.

$46.6 million in grant agreements for 28 hydrogen refueling stations and one mobile refueler were awarded:

  • FirstElement Fuel, Inc. was awarded $2,902,000 to construct two 100% renewable refueling stations in Los Angeles, and $24,667,000 for 17 stations located 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 was awarded $5,306,814 to construct three 100% renewable hydrogen refueling stations located in Orange, Pacific Palisades and Rohnert Park.

  • Linde LLC was awarded $4,250,000 to install two hydrogen refueling stations located in San Ramon and Oakland.

  • ITM Power Inc. was awarded $2,125,000 to install a hydrogen refueling station in Riverside.

  • Air Liquide Industrial US LP was awarded $2,125,000 to install a hydrogen refueling station in Palo Alto.

  • HTEC Hydrogen Technology & Energy Corporation was awarded $2,125,000 to install a hydrogen refueling station in Woodside.

  • Ontario CNG Station Inc. was awarded $2,125,000 to install a 100% renewable hydrogen refueling station in Ontario.

  • Gas Technology Institute was awarded $999,677 to design, fabricate, test and deploy a fully operational, commercial mobile hydrogen refueler with the capability to fill either 350 bar or 700 bar vehicle tanks through onboard metered dispensing hoses.

$2.8 million in final grants for 175 electric vehicle chargers stations were awarded:

  • Adopt A Charger will receive $492,342 to install up to 61 electric vehicle chargers at 12 California State Parks.

  • International Association of Nanotechnology will receive $500,000 to install 10 electric vehicle fast chargers along the I-5 and Highway 99 corridor at 10 locations between Stockton and San Diego.

  • The City of Corona will receive $325,632 to install six Level 2 and three fast electric vehicle chargers throughout the city for plug in electric vehicle (PEV) destination and public access workplace charging.

  • The County of San Diego will receive $500,000 to install 35 Level 2 publicly accessible electric vehicle chargers at 10 County facilities.

  • The Fremont Chamber will receive $305,352 to install 10 Level 2 and two fast chargers at the Bayside Business Park.

  • The Electric Power Research Institute will receive $469,012 to install 24 Level 2 dual port chargers at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara.

  • The US Hybrid Corporation in Torrance will receive $200,000 to install electric vehicle chargers for its employees. It will consist of two Level 2 and 1 fast charger (CHAdeMO & SAE Combo connectors). The chargers will be powered by a 10kW solar PV system that will be connected to a 30 kWh lithium-ion storage battery with bi-directional DC-AC charger that will provide a V2G interface.

The CEC also approved:

  • $5 million in ARFVTP funding for the California Air Resources Board’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Project for qualified electric drive vehicles. The Clean Vehicle Rebate Project is designed to promote the purchase of battery electric, plug-in hybrid electric, and fuel cell vehicles.

  • $3.1 million in ARFVTP funding for two medium-duty electric repower demonstration grants for a school bus project and a delivery vehicle project.



$46.6 million in grant agreements for 28 hydrogen refueling stations

$2.8 million in final grants for 175 electric vehicle chargers stations

Spend all the money on EV chargers and you'd have over 3000 new charging stations.

That definitely would have been the brighter thing to do.


The hydrogen stations are $1.66 million a pop; the chargers, $16000.  Two orders of magnitude... and I'm sure the figure for chargers is inflated.  Standard chargers can be obtained for under $1000.

The cost of the chargers includes installation, not just purchasing the chargers. Installation in a commercial public setting is far more expensive than in your garage. There is usually trenching required, and long runs of conduit and cable. The chargers have to be mounted on rugged pedestals, and these are not light duty chargers. Just putting a concrete footing in for the pedestal is expensive. This is commercial construction, not cheap.

But a heck of a lot cheaper than H2 station installation, +1 to BK.


I think readers here have exhausted this subject and understand FSVs are an invention of the oil companies to offset federal funding for improving traction batteries.

The oil companies manufacture hydrogen by reforming fossil fuels and they can continue their control of the fuels industry and pricing if FSVs take over the transportation market.

"Mining oil and gas is a nasty business and the companies must buy legal and political protection for the right to pollute and damage health, water, air and land."


Hydrogen fueling is asking for a major disaster. Fueling stations and FCV's would store an explosive gas at 900 bar. The station would likely fuel the vehicle using personnel with third grade education and 1 hour training. Nat gas is also questionable as to safety both on the vehicle and refueling. Using LPG in both instances makes a lot more sense. Should be able to reforumulate LPG on board the vehicle into H2.
There is already large scale manufacture of LPG using plentiful nat gas.

Dave R

I'm no hydrogen FC fan, but to be fair, a single $1.66M hydrogen station can probably service a lot more cars than the charging stations being installed.

A single hydrogen station is probably equivalent (in terms of cars per day) to a dozen DC quick chargers. A single DC QC station costs about $60k to install ( see RMI article: )

That said, $1.66M would buy at least 30 QC stations - probably significantly more if you leverage economies of scale by installing multiple QC stations per location. $1.66M would buy you at least 300 L2 stations.

$50M would let you install at least 1,000 QC or 10,000 L2 stations. Installed at the right locations, you could cover the entire state in one fell swoop.

Pretty easy to see that charging stations make a lot more sense at this point to install given the number of plug-ins on the road today and the number of plug-ins available to purchase.

Really the only big hurdle now for plug-ins is the lack of an affordable 125mi+ EV with quick charging (about 50% more range than today's EVs. Once that becomes available (and all signs point to that happening within the next two years), it's game-over.


pissing away money for GreenWashing


You can't compare apples with oranges. You can charge a 500+ KM FCEV in 3 minutes. An equivalent 500+KM BEV will take up to 2 hours to fully charge for another 500+km.

The ratio is a about 40 to 1 in favor of H2 stations.

H2 charge point relative cost is $1,600,000/40 = $40,000 versus $60,000 for Tesla style charge stations for those who like numbers.


Even Tesla's Supercharger is only $150,000 a pop.  $46.6 million would buy 310 of them.  Further, an HFCV must go to a hydrogen station to fill, but a PEV can charge anywhere there is a plug and most will do the bulk of charging at home.  The PEV fleet only needs fast charging for longer trips, so the fast chargers are needed for only a small fraction of travel.

Roger Pham

Thank you, Harvey, for your unbiased insight in this situation. Indeed, H2 filling station is just as cost effective as a fast charging station per kW of energy transfer capability.

And, as E-P pointed out, most BEV's are charged at home, so not too much fast charging capacity would be needed, hence the lower funding given. Does it make BEV cheaper? Not really, because Battery costs a lot more per kWh of capacity than H2-FC.


If Tesla style quick charge station cost $150,000 each instead of $60,000 each, H2 stations at $1,600,000 are a give away.

Chaging a BEV at home with a $4,000 charger is not much cheaper than charging with a $160,000 public quick charger. It is a larger investment per BEV because the public unit can charge many more BEVs, but nowhere as many as an H2 station.


Home chargers don't cost $4000.  Price tags are now starting around $400.  For the price of one H2 station, you can buy on the order of 4000 PEV chargers (the technical term is EVSE).

If an H2 pump operates at 30% duty cycle and vehicles occupy a pump for 5 minutes (including time to cash out, C-store visits, etc.) one H2 pump can serve 86 vehicles per day.  Figuring one fill per week average, one pump serves ~600 vehicles.  $1.66 million for a station with, say, 3 pumps is $920 per vehicle.  Then you have the higher cost per mile of hydrogen, the burden of time required to actually go to the station (eliminated with charging at home or work), the increasing risk of becoming a victim of crime at a filling station of any kind...

Electric keeps looking better and better.


E-Ps assumptions may not be totally correct:

1. The four proposals we got to install Level II Charge Stations in our large Condo garages were between $4,480 and $5,850 each. I should have used $5K instead of $4K?

2. With appropriate high pressure H2 storage tanks, a commercial German style H2 station could fill 12 x 6 x 24 = 1728 FCEVs per day.

3. With an average of 500 Km per H2 fill up and a yearly average of 18,000 Km per FCEVs the above H2 station could supply H2 for (1728 x 365) / 36 = 17,520 FCEVs

Of course, one cannot except an even 24/7 customer flow. To reduce waiting time during peak hours, the number of H2 stations and/or H2 charge points would have to 2X or 3X. Producing the H2 in sufficient quantity is a matter of matching the infrastructure with market growth, much the same as was done with current gas stations.

Since the time required to fully charge an extended range BEV with a super charger is over 60 minutes, instead of 5 minutes for an FCEV; and the effective drive distance is only half as much; you would need over (60/5 x 2) = 24 times as many super charge points.

If every super charge station cost $160,000; 24 times as many would cost 160,000 x 24 for a total of $3,840,000 versus about $1,600,000 per large equivalent capacity H2 station.

So, the installation cost for super charge e-stations and H2 stations of equivalent service capabilities may be close to been the same.


Harvey, the vast majority of EV charging will be done at work or at home overnight.  "Supercharging" is only required for long-distance travel, which is a small fraction of the total.  That's why $500 per vehicle for Superchargers goes a lot further than $900 per vehicle for hydrogen stations.

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