## Three new hydrogen fueling stations open in California in one week

##### 25 December 2018

Three new hydrogen filling stations opened in California within the span of one week, bringing the total to 39. The new stations are in Palo Alto, at LAX (Los Angeles International Airport), and in the Sacramento area.

• The Citrus Heights hydrogen station, the 37th retail hydrogen station in California, is located in the greater Sacramento area. Developed by Shell, the station will will be open 24 hours a day and is located at 6141 Greenback Lane, Citrus Heights, CA 95621.

The station is one of a few that has two fueling positions at H70. Many stations built before #37 have two nozzles, one dispensing at H70 and the other at H35. With two nozzles at H70, two cars will be able to fuel simultaneously and increase the number of vehicles served in a shorter time.

• The Palo Alto hydrogen station, the 38th retail hydrogen station in California, is located in Silicon Valley. Developed by Air Liquide, the station is located at 3601 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94036

• The LAX hydrogen station, the 39th retail hydrogen station in California, was also developed by Air Liquide, and is located at 10400 Aviation Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045.

The new hydrogen station is one block south of the LAX’s primary entrance, Century Boulevard, two blocks from the 405 Freeway, and can be easily accessed from La Cienega Boulevard, several blocks north of the 105 Freeway.

39, in all of CA.  By way of contrast:

8353 gasoline filling stations as of 2017.

15,193 charging stations in California as of 11 months ago.

It may take a few decades but H2 will catch up with downward going polluting gasoline/diesel. Two out of five gas stations and 3 out of 5 refineries have already closed in our area due to the arrival of HEVs, PHEVs, BEVs, FCEVs and smaller more efficient ICEVs. H2 and charging stations may be co-located to better serve future extended range BEVs/FCEVs?

Ultra quick charge 350 to 700 KW charging facilities will multiply.

The question that matters is how much of the H2 is derived from non fossil fuel sources?

Almost all H2 used today is from steam reforming of natural gas.  There are some electrolytic systems which claim to be run on "renewable energy", but given the minimum operating levels they must use to achieve a good lifespan their use of "100% renewable energy" is one more of those accounting fictions which make realists roll their eyes in frustration.

The progressive increase in the use of clean REs instead of Natural Gas to produce H2 could easily be regulated via extra taxes or with ceilings to force determined level.

E.P.
you make the point regarding the need to maximise the productivity of infrastructure as a high priority.
Although this is a good starting point, there are circumstances where full utilisation is not either the only consideration or even important.
Obviously some process such as Aluminium production steel making trains etc are not yet suited for intermittent. But even these are exploring ways to operate stably when faced with lower spinning reserve grid.

In this instance - I certainly don't claim expert understanding of H2 electrolysis - there are a number of indications that (theoretically) suggest that it should be a good fit.
Obviously there are the traditional methods , the 'improved methods and we know there are disruptive technologies demonstrated . There wouldn't be many people with a developed understanding of the big picture but I imagine possibilities will include......
To the best of my understanding electrolysis H2 is often described as e+ H2O =H2+O but that doesn't describe the process.
There are anodes and cathodes involved and these can be described as catalysts. There is also environment such as temperature, P.H.? frequency?
These elements can be tuned for higher efficiency. They also have a lifespan or maintenance requirement.
Given the maintenance interval will vary for the different aspects and I expect some will have regular down times , I can imagine a system designed for intermittent and variable operating current as per variable load may be a good fit.
Instead of massive single element station. a battery of smaller discreet units sharing common pre and post gas generation ancillaries such as power inputs and the various post production as pumps storage transport etc.
If the splitting component is seen as separate to the processing and can easily be configured for variable production with power usage from negligible to extreme and some buffering from the processing such a plant would be versatile.

Although this is a good starting point, there are circumstances where full utilisation is not either the only consideration or even important.

Anything that increases wear and tear on the equipment drives costs up, and electrolytic H2 requires very large cost DECREASES to become even remotely competitive with "expensive" zero-emission technologies like nuclear.

To the best of my understanding electrolysis H2 is often described as e+ H2O =H2+O but that doesn't describe the process.

There are two half-reactions, one at the cathode, one at the anode.  Water normally dissociates into ions so you get these reactions in alkaline FCs where the major ions are hydroxyls:

Cathode:  2H2O + 2e-  ->  H2 + 2 OH-
Anode:  4 OH-  ->  O2 + 2H2O + 4e-

In acid FCs you generate H+ ions at the anode and they travel to the cathode.  For an oxygen-ion membrane like most SOECs, it's slightly different:

Cathode:  H2O + 2e-  ->  H2 + O--
Anode:  2 O--  ->  O2 + 4e-

there are a number of indications that (theoretically) suggest that it should be a good fit.

The problem is that they don't translate to practice.  Voltage variations cause catalysts to degrade, and H2B2 was awarded a patent on a method of controlling such degradation by controlling electrolyzer current within limits.  In other words, the system requires a minimum power level for lifespan (because it needs a steady pH and oxidation state to avoid chemical changes to the catalyst) while the use as demand-side management to soak up "excess" RE requires that it be at zero much of the time (which degrades the catalyst a bit with each cycle).  Square THAT circle.

I suspect that steam electrolysis might be a better fit, as heat does most of the work of dissociating water into ions so the catalyst is inherently less critical.  The problem there is thermal cycling with power changes, but maybe with more sophisticated thermal management that can be overcome.

The days of INTERMITTENT Solar and Wind REs may be coming to an effective end with the arrival of much lower cost storage units/methods.

Secondly, electrolysers to produce clean H2 will use a very small portion of all the e-energy produced by future REs.

Using NG to produce H2 is currently cheap (er) in USA because the price of NG is 3 to 5 times lower than in Asia and EU. As NG becomes less prevalent, price will rise and so will H2 produced with it. Simultaneously, the price of clean e-energy produced by REs will keep going down and become competitive with NG.

Future improved electrolysers, combined with improved Solar and Wind farms will produce H2 at a competitive price.

The days of INTERMITTENT Solar and Wind REs may be coming to an effective end with the arrival of much lower cost storage units/methods.

Just what would those units/methods be, Harvey?  Give us specifics.

electrolysers to produce clean H2 will use a very small portion of all the e-energy produced by future REs.

Hypedrogen used to be your go-to storage medium for everything from days to seasons, and the vehicle fuel of choice.  Now you're telling us it's only a bit player?  Do fill us in.

the price of clean e-energy produced by REs will keep going down and become competitive with NG.

I couldn't help but notice that the price of "clean e-energy" in Germany is still way more than Russian gas.  Just HOW much are the prices of each supposed to change before ruinables are cheaper?

Future improved electrolysers, combined with improved Solar and Wind farms will produce H2 at a competitive price.

First you say that other methods will take most of the storage task away from hypedrogen.  Now you say that hypedrogen will be competitive with NG... which would make it the preferred method.  Well, WHICH IS IT?

E-P will be a hard customer to convince that REs and H2 economy could work hand in hand and progressively supply the world with enough clean energy, to cover a high percentage of total requirements, at a much lower cost than Nuclear and Fossil-Bio fuel power plants.

The planet is not short of (widely distributed) sunshine and wind for REs and water to feed high efficiency electrolysers to eventually produce and store enough clean H2 for fixed and mobile high efficiency FCs, to produce clean low cost e-energy for vehicles, homes, offices and factories.

The switch over will take a few decades and updated NPPs may be used to handle part of the base loads, if the price is right?

FC, H2 and RE Power innovative compagnies are being set up and many others will board the train in the next 10 years or so.

E-P will be a hard customer to convince that REs and H2 economy could work hand in hand

I'll believe it when I see it.  NOBODY is actually doing it.  By contrast, 60-80% nuclear electricity was a fait accompli several places around the world some decades ago.

and progressively supply the world with enough clean energy, to cover a high percentage of total requirements

So why is "renewable" Germany never planning to get rid of its lignite-fired power plants, Harvey?  It had to abandon its 2020 CO2 emission targets because it can literally not do without them.

at a much lower cost than Nuclear and Fossil-Bio fuel power plants.

The "Green" countries:

German retail power price:  €0.2942/kWh.
Danish retail power price:  €0.3126/kWh.

The nuclear countries:

Finnish retail power price:  €0.1612/kWh.
Swedish retail power price:  €0.1917/kWh.
French retail power price:  €0.1754/kWh.

Your lies just aren't credible, Harvey.

Most of the REs built in Denmark and Germany were built early with mostly inefficient smaller wind turbines and lower efficiency-costly solar panels at a cost of about $0.25US/kWh. The latest REs from larger wind turbines are contracted close to$0.025USD/kWh instead of $0.25USD/Wh ten years ago. The retail cost of nuclear generated e-energy is/was low or lower for opposite reasons. Early NPPs cost about 10 times less than current NPPs and were heavily subsidized. Our REs from Hydro and Wind retail for$0.03CAN/kWh to $0.07CAN/kWh (including 15% sale taxes and 50% Dividend) for local Canadian customers and for$0.04US/kWh (delivered including 50% Dividend) ) for American customers . The above facts are not included in E-P's list? Ontario' electricity, with a high percentage of nuclear energy is selling at 2X to 2.5X that price but are also left out.

No matter what E-P is saying, todays nuclear e-energy cost up to 10+ times more than wind e-energy produced with up-to-date larger (12 MW) turbines installed on higher towers in the right places. New large solar farms in very sunny places can match that price.

Why would somebody as bright as E-P try to mislead us and refuse to accept that NPPs are (now) too costly and can no longer produce safe/clean electricity at a comparable price to REs?

Fuel Cell Energy (and many similar industries in Norway, Germany, China, Japan, So-Korea, EU etc) will soon mass produce modular megawatt-scale fuel cell transportable systems.

Those units will use energy from REs, to produce and store clean H2, for the local industries and FCEVs and high efficiency fuel cells to produce clean e-energy for peak demand periods and/or when REs do not produce enough.

With enough of those mass produced combined units, most REs would become 24/7. FCEVs and H2 economy would bloom? Pollution and GHGs would be greatly reduced. The world would survive, if we really want to?

Most of the REs built in Denmark and Germany were built early with mostly inefficient smaller wind turbines and lower efficiency-costly solar panels at a cost of about $0.25US/kWh. "Most" of them? The scale of deployment has been accelerating, so the bulk of capacity should be newer and thus cheaper. Yet still: 1. Denmark and Germany have the highest residential electric prices in the EU, and some of the highest in the world. 2. These high prices are accompanied by carbon emissions multiples of the rates of France and Sweden. By every standard EXCEPT ideology, these are abject failures. Early NPPs cost about 10 times less than current NPPs and were heavily subsidized. Prove that they were subsidized. That they were necessity for national security cannot be debated; nuclear power replaced oil-fired electricity in both France and the USA after the 70's oil embargo. Our REs from Hydro and Wind retail for$0.03CAN/kWh to $0.07CAN/kWh (including 15% sale taxes and 50% Dividend) for local Canadian customers and for$0.04US/kWh (delivered including 50% Dividend) ) for American customers .

Quebec has a population of about 8.3 million.  Ontario has about 14.4 million.  New York alone has a population of 19.5 million!  What you do cannot even be extended to your own neighbor province, let alone the USA; your (possibly temporary) ample supply of water can only go so far.

The above facts are not included in E-P's list?

Harvey, I KNOW you're dense, but it should occur to you that a list from the European energy agency is not going to include Canada.

Ontario' electricity, with a high percentage of nuclear energy is selling at 2X to 2.5X that price but are also left out.

Ontario off-peak electric price is now CDN0.065/kWh and has been going down.  A lot of Ontario's recent electric price hikes went to subsidies for "renewables", especially the ridiculous feed-in rates for PV installed by companies such as grocery chain Loblaw.

No matter what E-P is saying, todays nuclear e-energy cost up to 10+ times more than wind e-energy produced with up-to-date larger (12 MW) turbines

No matter what you say, Harvey, that nuclear energy is WORTH 10+ times as much as wind because it is produced on demand, not whenever the weather allows.  It avoids a lot more cost of energy than wind can.  I repeat that NOBODY is able to make wind + storage compete with nuclear power anywhere in the world.

Why would somebody as bright as E-P try to mislead us and refuse to accept that NPPs are (now) too costly

Harvey, why can't you admit that non-hydro REs cannot produce competitive 24/7 emissions-free energy ANYWHERE that compares to NPPs, even "expensive" new ones?  All you can do is spout bogus figures which you won't even link to give your sources.  Why can't you admit that "Green" Germany and Denmark have gone backwards compared to nuclear Sweden and France?

I'm smart enough to recognize results.  What's wrong with you?

Those units will use energy from REs, to produce and store clean H2, for the local industries and FCEVs and high efficiency fuel cells to produce clean e-energy for peak demand periods and/or when REs do not produce enough.

So tell us, Harvey... what's the per-kWh cost of hydrogen tanks?  Losses in conversion?  Who's planning to shift their entire economy to be run by these things?  (Nobody, that's who.)

With enough of those mass produced combined units, most REs would become 24/7.

Let's see it, Harvey.  Give us per-kWh cost for summer PV power stored as H2 and delivered in January.  You say it's coming, I say prove it.

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