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All levels of U.S. government are committed to hydrogen fuel cell

Fuel Cell vehicle
Fuel Cell vehicle
Creative Commons

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are an appealing alternative to traditional combustion engine cars and support a shift toward a consumer market for zero-emission vehicles. In the U.S., hydrogen fuel cell vehicles continue to sell in increasing numbers and hydrogen production continues to attract attention; However the infrastructure for fueling these vehicles almost non-existent. As the interest of automakers to commercialize fuel cell vehicles is growing, hydrogen fueling infrastructure has become an issue. Recently, the Energy Department, Sandia National Laboratories, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) launched a new project in support of H2USA, the public private partnership introduced in 2013 by the Energy Department and industry stakeholders to address the challenge of hydrogen infrastructure.

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is in the process of developing a new hydrogen production system, which will generate hydrogen fuel through the consumption of biomass. PNNL’S project has received a grant of $2.2 million from the Department of Energy, in an effort to improve hydrogen production systems and help establish a public hydrogen infrastructure throughout the U.S.

According to California Energy Commissioner, Janea A. Scott, "Transitioning to low- and zero-emission vehicles is critical to meeting air quality goals and to reducing the emissions that lead to climate change.” The California Energy Commission (CEC ) announced last May that it will invest $46.6 million in public access hydrogen fueling stations. The CEC awarded $46.6 million to eight companies to expand the hydrogen Infrastructure in the state. The funding is for the construction of 28 new stations and one mobile fueler, as follows: six 100 percent renewable hydrogen refueling stations; 13 new stations in Northern California, and 15 in Southern California. The locations were strategically selected to create a hydrogen fueling network along major transportation gateways and in regional centers.

The goal is to develop the infrastructure necessary to provide hydrogen fuel for vehicles and to provide needed Operation and Maintenance (O&M) funding to support adequate hydrogen fueling operations, upon scaling and the expansion of this emerging market. The funding will help to construct new hydrogen fueling stations in order to expand the network of public access to them. By building the necessary infrastructure, the funding will also support the future deployment of Fuel-Cell Vehicles (FCVs).

Toyota put $7.2 Million into the initiative and announced a collaboration with Newport Beach, CA FirstElement Fuel, with a CEC grant of close to $27.6 million for 19 hydrogen fueling stations, where two of them would be based renewable energy source.

Award recipients include:

• Air Liquide Industrial US LP for a 100% renewable hydrogen fueling station in Palo Alto.

• FirstElement Fuel, Inc. for construction of two 100 percent renewable fueling stations in Los Angeles. And for 17 stations in several cities all over the state including the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley: Campbell, Hayward, Mill Valley, San Jose, Saratoga, South San Francisco, and Redwood City.

• HyGen Industries, LLC for three 100 percent renewable hydrogen fueling stations.

• Institute of Gas Technology for a mobile refueling unit.

• ITM Power, Inc. for one station.

• Linde LLC to construct stations in Oakland and San Ramon.

• Hydrogen Technology & Energy Corporation (HTEC) for one station in Woodside.

• Ontario CNG Station Inc. for station in Ontario.

The above CEC awards will add 28 new stations to 9 existing and the 17 stations currently under development, bringing the total of hydrogen fueling stations in California to 54.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

1. Click on the link for the California Energy Commission announcement: http://www.energy.ca.gov/releases/2014_releases/2014-05-01_hydrogen_refueling_stations_funding_awards_nr.html

2. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) website - Energy Research: http://energyenvironment.pnnl.gov

3. U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Sandia National Laboratories, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) project H2USA: