The Golden State is sinking some serious green into its hydrogen-refueling infrastructure. But California says it's rolling out the red carpet for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Maybe we'll get our colors straight eventually.

With a goal to have 1.5 million zero-emissions vehicles on California roads by 2025, the California Air Resources Board is outlining plans to sink $50 million into opening 28 publicly accessible hydrogen refueling stations by the end of 2015 and more than 50 ready for business by 2017. Today, California is home to all but one of the country's 11 public hydrogen stations (the other is in South Carolina). The most recent addition was at Cal State Los Angeles in May for the university's Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility.

Most of the first expansion of 28 stations will be represented by a partnership Toyota and FirstElement Fuel Inc. announced this spring. FirstElement is headed by ex-General Motors and Hyundai executive Joel Ewanick. The collaboration will help build out 19 hydrogen refueling stations, which are said to be located so that anyone in the state can reach them with their H2 car. HyGen Industries, Linde and the Institute of Gas Technology are among the other entities breaking out refueling stations. Check out CARB's press release below.

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California agencies roll out red carpet for hydrogen electric vehicles

State partnerships accelerate the transition to zero-emission vehicles

SACRAMENTO - California state agencies are collaborating on a range of initiatives to support the goal of 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025.

Last week, the California Energy Commission carried out one of these initiatives, voting to use nearly $50 million to put in place 28 new, public hydrogen refueling stations and one mobile refueler by the end of 2015. The move was one of several actions designed to help achieve a key goal of the state's zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) plan: to accelerate construction of hydrogen refueling infrastructure across the state.

"California is rolling out the red carpet for Californians who choose these ultra-clean hydrogen powered electric cars and for the companies that make them," said Air Resources Board Chairman Mary D. Nichols. "These private-public partnerships to build dozens of hydrogen fueling stations set the stage for hydrogen fuel cell electric cars to become commonplace on our streets and provide a new generation of long-range zero-emission vehicles for California consumers."

"Making the transition to cleaner, lower polluting near-zero and zero-emission vehicles is a critical component to addressing California's clean air and climate challenges. The transportation sector accounts for about 40 percent of the state's greenhouse gas emissions," said Commissioner Janea A. Scott, the Energy Commission's lead commissioner on transportation. "We are pleased to be part of this state collaboration and will continue to work diligently on standing up hydrogen fuel cells and other electric vehicle technologies."

Today in Silicon Valley, the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) and the California Fuel Cell Partnership are holding an in-depth workshop with local officials to discuss the deployment of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) and supporting hydrogen refueling infrastructure.

State has many partners
The state's effort to bring more FCEVs to the road and the infrastructure to fuel them features support from Toyota, station developers, the Fuel Cell Partnership, the Air Resources Board, the California Energy Commission and GO-Biz.

GO-Biz brings hands-on experience cutting through red tape, which will be used to get stations permitted and constructed in a timely manner. The Air Resources Board and Energy Commission provide the longest running state-level experience in the country when it comes to hydrogen vehicle and infrastructure development.

New money for refueling stations
Twenty hydrogen refueling stations have received funding from the Energy Commission and 28 more stations are scheduled:

First Element (19 stations in partnership with Toyota)
HyGen Industries (3 stations)
Linde, LLC (2 stations)
Air Liquide Industrial US LP (1 station)
ITM Power, Inc. (1 station)
Hydrogen Technology & Energy Corporation (1 station)
Ontario CNG Station, Inc. (1 station)
Institute of Gas Technology (1 mobile refueling station)
There are currently 10 operational hydrogen refueling stations in California-the most recent opened in May 2014 on the CSU Los Angeles campus. With the announcement of Energy Commission funding for additional stations, California is slated to have 51 public hydrogen refueling facilities on line by 2017.

Two-hundred-million dollars in cap-and-trade proceeds has been allocated for low-carbon transportation projects, $116 million of which is slated for the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project, providing up to $5,000 per vehicle.

To date the state has committed about $110 million to hydrogen infrastructure. This puts California on a glide path to 100 stations, the state's goal for launching a commercially self-sustaining network to support a growing number of FCEVs.

Across America
The second initiative involves California joining two national programs organized by the U.S. Department of Energy to develop hydrogen infrastructure across the country.

First, the Hydrogen Fueling Infrastructure Research and Station Technology (H2FIRST) project is led by the Sandia Laboratories and the Department of Energy's National Energy Renewable Laboratory. By focusing on the national laboratories' core capabilities, the effort will speed and support the widespread deployment of FCEVs.

The H2FIRST project will complement California's second national partnership, H2USA. This public-private partnership brings together automakers, government agencies, gas suppliers, and the hydrogen and fuel cell industries to coordinate research and identify cost-effective ways to deploy infrastructure that can deliver affordable, clean hydrogen fuel in the United States.

East Coast, West Coast collaboration
Another initiative has California working with other states to harmonize regulations and building codes to ease the location and construction of refueling stations for hydrogen and electric vehicles. An eight-state ZEV Action Plan released last month lays the foundation to coordinate efforts among California, New York, Maryland, Connecticut, Oregon, Massachusetts, Vermont
and Rhode Island.

The goal of this collaborative effort is to put 3.3 million ZEVs on the highways in those states by 2025 with the goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving air quality and public health, while enhancing energy diversity, saving consumers money and promoting economic growth.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 46 Comments
      ScepticMatt
      • 1 Year Ago
      I don't get why they want to waste more money into hydrogen. 2 steps forward one step back.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 1 Year Ago
        @ScepticMatt
        It's mostly just been steps forward.
        Ele Truk
        • 1 Year Ago
        @ScepticMatt
        A lot of money is being spent by car manufacturers, not so much by anybody else. Even the oil companies don't really want to be involved with Hydrogen (they don't see a future in it either). At least California is spending a token amount on Hydrogen, more than any state or even the Federal government. But it's pretty much too late. in 10 years BEVs will eliminate any advantage HFCV with larger storage and faster charging, without the disadvantages (cryo temperatures, constant replenishment, having to go to filling stations, etc.). Hydrogen may have been a good idea 20 years ago when the only batteries available were lead acid batteries, but now its being made less and less relevant over time.
          markrogo
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Ele Truk
          Exactly right, so why is this stupid initiative going on? You'd need 50 stations more or less between San Francisco and San Jose alone (just on one side of the SF Bay) to even begin to make a car >that can fill up nowhere else< acceptable. This is quixotic, ambiguously green at best, and pointless by the time there is even a decent-sized rollout (as BEVs will have addressed most of their issues). The great mystery is why this is even happening.
      Spec
      • 1 Year Ago
      Climate Progress' Joe Romm writes a piece on hydrogen cars. http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/08/05/3467115/tesla-toyota-hydrogen-cars-batteries/ To say he is not a fan is an understatement. But what does he know, he just helped oversee the hydrogen and fuel cell and alternative vehicle programs at the Energy Departments Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in the 1990s.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Spec
        The chart does show that Toyota's forthcoming FCV sedan is an improvement upon the Prius's numbers. Considering the popularity of the Prius, and the diminishing returns of improving its ICE, it is very easy to understand why Toyota is pursuing FCV technology as the Prius's eventual replacement.
          Cecil
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Letstakeawalk

          Now that the figures are released for the Mirai - No the Prius is better than the FCV. 

          Cecil
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Letstakeawalk

          Now that it seems like the Mirai only gets 59 miles on 1 Kg of H2 then the Prius is definitely better from an environmental standpoint. The $million Toyota FCV test rig was getting 68 miles which is why it did slightly better in the chart. Most likely the $million test rig did better because of a large capacity battery that arrived for range tests fully charged. The capacity of that pack was never disclosed.

      • 1 Year Ago
      Having done a little research on the subject (www.hydrogencarguide.com is a good starting point) I would definitely be interested in owning a hydrogen fuel cell car. Once local filling stations are available (for which there is significant global investment along the lines of that discussed here for California), I could drive an emission free vehicle with the refuelling time and driving range of a petrol engine. The hydrogen could be manufactured using clean electricity (such as from wind turbines), but even if made by reforming natural gas has much lower 'well to wheel' carbon emissions than petrol or diesel fuel. Sounds like a winner to me!
      Hal
      • 1 Year Ago
      CARB = Corrupted Air Resources Broad.
      jimmy_james44
      • 1 Year Ago
      The Volt, which all the world is copying, have made hydrogen a DEAD-END. This is Government incompetence to continue to pursue this technology. Extremely expensive shift to hydrogen, with no consumer benefit of any kind. Especially after the announcement of lithium cathode break thru and the ultra low cost of TESLA's charging stations.
        Ele Truk
        • 8 Months Ago
        @jimmy_james44
        All the world? So far the only car close to the Volt is the BMW i3, all the other PHEV are simply regular Hybrid vehicles with bigger batteries, and have very limited EV range - Prius 11 miles, Fords about 20 miles, this Outlander PHEV gets an OK 30+ miles. The technology is still in infant stage, and the best solution is not yet set.
          Marco Polo
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Ele Truk
          @ jeff There's no reason why HFCV's can't utilise regenerative braking.
          jeff
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Ele Truk
          However, the regererative braking cause these Hybrids cars to be far more fuel efficient in city driving where MOST of the fuel is Used most of the time...
          jeff
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Ele Truk
          @Marco, The problem is that the HFCV is so inefficient to start with the regeneration is not a big help. It is not much better than a fuel efficient ICE or a hybrid like the Volt...
          Marco Polo
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Ele Truk
          @ jeff I think you are letting the perfect, be the enemy of the merely good. Those who condemn HFCV's as not the most efficient engineering solution, do so on the erroneous premise that a widely successful alternative already exists. But it doesn't ! Electric vehicles, still have a great many limitations due to lack of a high capacity, ESD that can be charged quickly, and produced at a relatively low cost. EV enthusiasts (me included) tend to exaggerate the modest success of Leaf and Tesla (along with PHEVs and EREVs) and ignore the fact that these vehicles only sell in relatively small numbers, and then only as passenger cars in affluent nations, with heavy government subsidies. In contrast, HFCV technology may have the potential to build a wider range of vehicles, from cars to heavy transport and even heavy machinery. This gives HFCV technology the potential to compete as a volume replacement for traditional ICE vehicles. I know that EV fans will shout that EV's are the future, but without a significant breakthrough in ESD capacity, (which is very possible), EV penetration of the ICE market will remain insignificant. HFCV technology, has three very powerful stakeholders. Rightly or wrongly, these stakeholders are simply marking time to see how long the status quo can be maintained, before either an ESD breakthrough is announced, or they are forced to commit to a full scale roll out of HFCV technology. From a strictly engineering efficient assessment, HFCVs may not be as elegant as EVs, but from a practical assessment to replace gasoline /diesel as transport fuel, they have a powerful advantage.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Ele Truk
          Jeff clearly hasn't been paying attention. HFCVs are much more efficient than ICEs. The best direct comparison we currently have is the Hyundai: 25mpg combined for the ICE, 49mpgge combined. http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/noframes/34375.shtml http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/fcv_sbs.shtml
      purrpullberra
      • 1 Year Ago
      ...build out 19 locations so that anyone in the state can reach them... WTF? There is no way even the 19 + 50 that CARB promises would manage to be within reach by everyone in the state. What a bunch of lies. If people think Superchargers may get crowded what kind of lines might show up with just 50-70 stations? And there is no refueling at home like with a battery powered car. So if the stations aren't crowded due to low use than why are people spending so much money on so few cars? And why waste all the energy to convert X into hydrogen? Making hydrogen will always be a waste compared to just putting that energy into a battery. We need to focus on more realistic and affordable ways to change over from a fossil fuel dependent culture. Hydrogen fuel cells are neat tech and they deserve a place in our world but they are not a smart way to get vehicles powered. The theoretical max efficiency is already beat by current batteries. They can never go above the limit while batteries will continue to get much better incrementally over time. This is all so unnecessary and wasteful.
      Tweaker
      • 1 Year Ago
      We don't want them, leave them in Japan.
        Spec
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Tweaker
        Naw . . . go ahead and offer them here. Good luck with that.
      Doug
      • 1 Year Ago
      $50 million for just 28 stations??!
        Spec
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Doug
        I doubt that they'll be able to build anywhere near 28 stations with that amount of money. Land & construction are expensive.
        jeff
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Doug
        50 Million would give you at least 50-60 multi bay fast charging stations without the wasted energy to convert electricity to hydrogen and back to electricity....
        Letstakeawalk
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Doug
        I know, it's pocket change isn't it? We're spending $140 million on a new concert hall in my little town, and almost the same amount to repair a three-mile stretch along the crosstown expressway as well. The landscaping alone on that project was $10 million.
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Doug
        That will be able to fuel up cars in 3-5 minutes and service vehicles throughout the day. Since they are not mass-producing the stations, costs are still pretty high.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 8 Months Ago
      Generally, the government funding is only part of the cost of building a new station. Generally, the other party puts up about half the cost. Some locations will benefit because there's already a station there, so they won't have to buy the land.
      Dave
      • 1 Year Ago
      Old news.
      Randy C
      • 1 Year Ago
      The picture sure doesn't look like a very pleasant place to fuel up. Where's the rain shelter? Where's the over priced convenience mart? How much did they spend on it? "...which are said to be located so that anyone in the state can reach them with their H2 car." Yah right, how far do I have to drive out of my way to get to one? 20 miles in the opposite direction? Where's the convenience in that when I pass 3 gas stations on my 6.5 mile commute? Just not worth it when I can charge my zero emission EV in my nice warm dry garage. Plus I can make a nice, tastier, semi healthy BLT sandwich and watch the Seahawks whoop the Broncos butt in the comfort of my living room.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Randy C
        The station in the photo is a decade old. The ancient Nissan FCV is a good clue. "A Nissan XTrails fuel cell vehicle leads a group of cars making demonstration runs before the start of the third annual road rally staged by the California Fuel Cell Partnership, at the South Coast Air Quality Management District's hydrogen fuel station in Diamond Bar, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 16, 2004. Eight manufacturers have built vehicles that combine hydrogen and oxygen to create electricity that drives the cars. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)"
          Letstakeawalk
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          @Jeff "EV's now have a battery suitable for the task." Yes, they do. Similarly, fuel cell stacks that are suitable for everyday automotive use are just now becoming available.
          jeff
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          Just around the corner for 20 year now...
          Marco Polo
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          @ Jeff, I have slowly been acquiring a collection of classic and vintage Electric vehicles, from nearly every decade, starting with the late nineteenth century, to the twenty-first. All these hopeful, manufacturers and inventors, from the madcap eccentrics, to serious manufacturers, (including large public utilities) believed the advent of mass produced electric cars was " just around the corner " . But it was more than 80 years before EV again began to be manufactured in mass production. So maybe you should cut HFCV's, a little slack !
          Letstakeawalk
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          "Apparently they haven't come far enough to sell them." Oh, they're *so* close! Don't give up...
          Spec
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          Apparently they haven't come far enough to sell them.
          Spec
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          That certainly says something about fuel cell cars, doesn't it?
          DarylMc
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          Marco Polo Redefining the task works for me and I think it is a necessary part of EV adoption and a worthwhile goal in itself. Though I wonder if some time in the future there will an abundant source of clean cheap energy. It would turn a lot of the current thinking on it's head. Still the problem would remain with consumption of resources. I'm not advocating anything drastic but a reduction in the world's population and consumption seems a worthy goal to me.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          They've certainly come a long way since those early prototypes... Now, Nissan has one of the best fuel cell stack designs, and they're working with Ford and Mercedes to develop affordable consumer FCVs. ""Fuel cell electric vehicles are the obvious next step to complement today's battery electric vehicles as our industry embraces more sustainable transportation," said Mitsuhiko Yamashita, Member of the Board of Directors and Executive Vice President of Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., supervising Research and Development. "We look forward to a future where we can answer many customer needs by adding FCEVs on top of battery EVs within the zero-emission lineup." http://www.nissan-global.com/EN/NEWS/2013/_STORY/130128-02-e.html
          jeff
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          @Marco, HOWEVER!!!!!! EV's now have a battery suitable for the task. It is here NOW and it is far more efficient use of energy. The energy cycle of fuel cells is just pointless and always will be...
          Marco Polo
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          @ Jeff " EV's now have a battery suitable for the task." No, they don't ! Your statement only works, if you narrowly define the "task' to suit your own argument ! (If you insist that everyone's transport need are identical to your own). You are making the mistake of all enthusiasts, in believing that by re-defining the problem to suit the solution, you have a resolved the problem. As has been demonstrated, there is a very small market, for a very narrow group of vehicles, in affluent nations with heavy government subsidies. In 2013, the US bought a record number of EV's, that's true. But that year was a record year for all vehicle sales, the number of EV's sold as a percentage of the total fleet didn't increase, in fact it declined !
      jeff
      • 1 Year Ago
      So basicaly they want to: Build the most energy inefficient Electric cars possible so that we can use natural gas to supply the fuel... Why not just push NG vehicles and skip the horribly energy inefficient conversion process????
        Letstakeawalk
        • 8 Months Ago
        @jeff
        The Natural Gas Vehicle Association sees NG as a stepping stone towards hydrogen. "Fortunately, tremendous synergy and continuity exists between deployment of today’s NGVs and tomorrow’s hydrogen-fueled FCVs. As further described, NGVs and related technologies are moving America towards commercially sustainable FCV markets – faster and more affordably than would otherwise be possible." http://www.ngvc.org/about_ngv/ngv_hydrogenfuture.html NGVs are indeed a viable solution for many transportation needs. Our local waste management company is converting its fleet to NGVs.
          Spec
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          NG sellers want to sell more natural gas. How surprising!
        PeterScott
        • 8 Months Ago
        @jeff
        NG vehicles are taking off on their own, without need for massive subsidy. Exactly because it is much more economical to just use natural gas. Long haul trucking fleets are switching, refuse trucks are going NG.
        Ele Truk
        • 8 Months Ago
        @jeff
        Because with Hydrogen you can quick fill 300 miles in about 5 minutes. Although basically you can only go between L.A. and Sacramento, at least you can fill in 5 minutes!
          Grendal
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Ele Truk
          The Superchargers have done a pretty good job of refuting the need for fill time. People seem willing to wait as long as it isn't too crazy. It does go hand in hand with the advantage of a "full tank" every morning.
          jeff
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Ele Truk
          You can with LNG as well.. Why waste energy in the conversion to make the car far less efficient???? Fill time vs charge time is just NOT the issue people are desperately trying to make it out to be...
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