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Cal State LA hydrogen station becomes first in state certified to sell to the public by the kilogram

The Cal State L.A. (CSULA) Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility has become the first hydrogen station in California to be certified to sell fuel to the public by the kilogram measure. Although the state currently has other other hydrogen stations “open to the public”, these stations have had to sell hydrogen by the tank, explained Michael Dray, the technical operations manager of the Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility at CSULA.

Selling by the tank required a flat price be paid, irrespective of the actual amount of hydrogen dispensed. The state Division of Measurement Standards barred even a mention of a sale price per unit, Dray said.

This is a milestone in the commercialization of hydrogen in preparation for the next generation of electric vehicles that will be powered by hydrogen. It’s equivalent to getting the first sticker from the state government to sell gasoline by the gallon.

—Michael Dray

Top: Cal State L.A. Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility. (Photo credit: Hasmik Simon)

Bottom: The other side of the wall showing the hydrogen production and storage equipment. Source: Dr. David Blekhman. Click to enlarge.

Governor Jerry Brown’s office informed the university this month that the fueling facility had received the certification, known as California Type Approval. The state is leading the effort to develop such facilities and has allocated $200 million during the next decade to further the construction of a hydrogen-fueling network across California.

The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) said the hydrogen station’s certification “demonstrates that close coordination between government and industry can enable a seamless and fair consumer experience for this critical technology.”

GO-Biz commends the entire team at Cal State L.A. for their work to advance the commercial success of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles.

—Tyson Eckerle, zero emission vehicle infrastructure project manager for GO-Biz

Opened last May, the fueling station at Cal State L.A. is the largest such facility on a university campus in the United States and produces hydrogen on site. The station is capable of using renewable sources such as solar and wind power for hydrogen production.

Half of the funding for the station was provided by the US Department of Energy (DOE). The CSULA hydrogen station has the capacity to produce 60 kg/day. The station utilizes a Hydrogenics electrolyzer, first- and second-stage compressors enabling 350- and 700-bar fueling, 60 kg of hydrogen storage, water purification and equipment cooling system. The station is grid-tied.

The CSULA team, led by Dr. David Blekhman, is in the middle of a follow-on DOE funded project that runs through September 2016, to test, collect data, and validate the hydrogen refueling architecture deployed at CSULA and its individual components in a real-world operating environment. The performance evaluations data will be provided to the Hydrogen Secure Data Center (HSDC) at NREL. Data is also being provided to state agencies such as the California Energy Commission and California Air Resources Board.

In the last six months, visitors from Korea, Japan, China, Russia, Germany and Scotland have come to Cal State L.A. to tour the facility.

Audi, Honda, Hyundai, General Motors, Mercedes Benz and Volkswagen have all fueled prototype hydrogen vehicles at the Cal State L.A. station. These vehicles hold approximately six kilograms of hydrogen and take about six minutes to fill. A kilogram typically allows a vehicle to travel about 50 miles.




Will common sense prevail in all 50 States?


I am rather disappointed with the 60kg per day... I hope they have the capability to expand on that, looks modular enough.

I can't wait till there are stations pushing 1000kg a day production(with storage for over 2500kg)and are tied to an onsite RE source like wind. (and yes, I would imagine there could be a spot or several for EVs to fast charge too). They could use it as an energy sink when wind production would be too much as in buffering an overload, or picking up the night surplus.


Also, I am rather sadden by the fact that there are so many actual petroleum stations, yes, I know that they are profitable and people like the convenience, but there are way too many per square mile, just way too much surplus. H2 stations could get by with <1 per 15sq miles if the stations were big enough. I think I have maybe 15 within a mile or so of my house.

Sadly, people are going to use the convenience of petroleum to forever drag their feet on EVs and FCVs.

Imagine if Wal-Mart / Sam's / Costco / Other large retailers moved to a system where 10% of its parking was EV quick chargers(could be 20-30 spaces)... They could earn money, 'save' the environment, displace fossil fuels.

Also if they also installed an H2 station out back, they could utilize the heat and the increased traffic that it may bring.

If the next FCV doesn't have plugin capability, I will be scratching my head. If they already onboard 10+Kwh of battery what's another 10 more? especially when we are moving to $30K 200mile EVs

The CSULA hydrogen station has the capacity to produce 60 kg/day.

At perhaps 60 miles/kg, that's enough to supply vehicles driving ~360 miles per day.


And if the 64.5 kWh/kg H2 figure I looked up is at all pertinent to this station, the associated CO2 emissions from the electricity supply are well in excess of the fuel supply of an equivalent ICEV.

This is a research project, so I'm not to disappointed with 60kg per day. But if you look at the cost figures for building this station, along with the published cost figures for commercial H2 refuel stations, it's pretty clear that H2 costs have a long way to come down to be competitive options.

Glad that they now have a way to meter H2 by the kg to commerce standards. Disappointed that the article does not say how much the station would charge to a public customer visiting the refueling station. Anyone purchasing a Hyundai or Toyota FCV might want to know how much the fuel will cost for the vehicle after the free ride is over.



60*60 is 3600 miles, not 360. However, your point stands: it's a very small number. A gasoline station serving so few customers would go bankrupt quickly.


H2 stations are scallable and the max size has no real limit. Future H2 stations will be sized to meet H2 sales.

H2 price will go down to match average gas price or less in many places depending on local pollution taxes.

Polution taxes on H2 should be relative to polution created to produce and use H2 and could match polution taxes applied to other energy sources?


The government estimates that a $5million dollar station will generate up to 1,500kg per day...(after 2016)

so yeah, its not too much money for 250 cars 'filling up' daily.

Its not too bad, that's like 10 per hour filling up, or more like 20 per hour... or if you broke it down to high use times much more... This is fairly large facility


CE88...the sky is the limit?

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