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California Energy Commission selects 16 hydrogen station projects for up to $33.4M in funding

The California Energy Commission (CEC) has selected 15 new main hydrogen retail station projects for up to $31.7 million in combined funding, as well as one connector station project for up to $1.5 million in fund. Among the program requirements are that each station dispense a minimum of at least 33% renewable hydrogen (per kilogram).

Eight of the main stations projects identified in the Notice of Proposed Awards (NOPA) are to be completed by First Element Fuel; the remaining seven are to be completed by a partnership of Shell and Toyota Motor.

The CEC released a Grant Solicitation and Application Package entitled “Light Duty Vehicle Hydrogen Refueling Infrastructure” (GFO-15-605) under the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (ARFVTP) in 2016. (Earlier post.) The grant solicitation was an offer to fund projects that will expand the network of publicly accessible hydrogen refueling stations that serve California’s light duty fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs).

The solicitation offered funding for both capital expense grants and operation and maintenance (O&M) grants.

Toyota is supporting hydrogen infrastructure development through a number of collaborations. In California, Toyota also has entered into a financial agreement with First Element Fuels to support construction and operation of 19 fueling stations across the state. In 2016, Toyota announced a collaboration with Air Liquide to develop and supply a phased network of 12 state-of-the-art hydrogen stations targeted for New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.

Shell is taking part in various initiatives to encourage the adoption of hydrogen as a transport fuel. In Germany, Shell is working with the government and industry partners in a cross-sector joint venture, H2 Mobility Germany, to support the development of a nationwide expansion of hydrogen refueling stations.

Shell currently operates two hydrogen refueling stations in California, both located in Los Angeles.



I don't know if it will be ready in time for these stations, but I have reconsidered the CHAMP process which uses a mechanical engine to reform NG to hydrogen.

This article gives a bit more detail than the GCC one:


Critically this is a lower temperature and so presumably more energy efficient process than steam reformation, and lends itself to being done at the filling station rather than centrally avoiding transport of hydrogen.

Renewables enthusiasts will be wrinkling their noses at using fossil fuels at all, but it is worth bearing in mind not only that fossil fuel use will be around for a very long time, and with the 33% renewables mandate in California for hydrogen and the greatly increased efficiency of fuel cells compared to ICE their use will be greatly reduced, but that the point of cutting fossil fuels is to reduce carbon emissions and pollutants.

The very pure carbon dioxide stream from these greatly cuts the costs of capture, and means that the CO2 can be used for all sorts of things, from producing fuel to injection into wells to enhance NG recovery, or much more easily stored.


If you look at public charging the EV makers are not banding together with charger companies to hit critical mass in deploying millions of quick chargers.

The same follows with hydrogen dispensers for cars. There could be fleet usage of LH2 which provides compressed H2 for Honda and Toyota FCVs as well, but that has not happened.



Its a bit early in the roll out.

Some hydrogen dispensers are being built for buses, hydrogen cars just like petrol ones don't really need a specialist base, just a pump at a station is fine.

One fleet use we could see, although not yet, is for trucking, as the energy weight ratio for hydrogen trucks is a lot more favourable than batteries, and Toyota and others are developing them.

I predict that China will be where the action really happens for this, as the vast majority of their vehicle pollution is apparently from trucks, so it is a good early target for hydrogen.


UPS uses LH2 on some larger trucks, the postal service, FedEx and others could as well. They could eventually go to fuel cell range extenders and allow public access.

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