California Investing Nearly $50 Million in Hydrogen Refueling Stations

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Posted: Sunday, May 4, 2014 8:12 pm

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The California Energy Commission announced it will invest $46.6 million to accelerate the development of publicly accessible hydrogen refueling stations in California in order to promote a consumer market for zero-emission fuel cell vehicles.

The recommended funding awards to eight different applicants were made through the Energy Commission's Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program. The recommended awards include six 100 percent renewable hydrogen refueling stations and will add 13 new locations in Northern California and 15 in Southern California, strategically located to create a refueling network along major corridors and in regional centers. The mobile refueler will provide added reliability to the early hydrogen refueling network to provide refueling capability when stations are off-line.

"Transitioning to low- and zero-emission vehicles is critical to meeting air quality goals and to reducing the emissions that lead to climate change," said Energy Commissioner Janea A. Scott. "With this funding, California will accelerate the construction of a reliable and affordable refueling infrastructure to support the commercial market launch of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles."

The recommended awards will advance Governor Jerry Brown's executive order directing state government to support and facilitate the rapid commercialization of zero-emission vehicles in California, with a benchmark that by 2020 "the state's zero-emission vehicle infrastructure will be able to support up to one million vehicles."

The recommended awards will add 28 new stations to 9 existing and the 17 stations currently under development. These 54 hydrogen refueling stations represent significant progress towards meeting California's goal of establishing a 100-station network to support the full commercialization of fuel cell vehicles in California.

Demonstrating California's commitment to the successful establishment of a viable hydrogen fueling infrastructure supporting the rollout of fuel cell vehicles, the Energy Commission announced the funding opportunity, Hydrogen Refueling Infrastructure, on November 22, 2013. Numerous public workshops were conducted along with a survey of interested stakeholders to develop the most successful hydrogen solicitation to date, which generated 140 applications requesting more than $130 million for station construction and operating and maintenance support. Applicants were scored on set criteria, including team qualifications, market viability, project readiness, project implementation, project budget, economic benefits, hydrogen refueling station performance, mobile refueler performance, innovation, and sustainability.

To date, the ARFVTP has invested more than $400 million in at least 260 alternative fuel, infrastructure, and vehicle technology projects. The Legislature's reauthorization of the ARFVTP in 2013 continues the state's annual program investments of up to $100 million, and dedicates up to $20 million of this amount to the installation of hydrogen refueling infrastructure. Funding is derived from surcharges on vehicle and boat registrations, and smog check and license plate fees.

Fuel cell vehicles are zero-emission, using hydrogen to fuel a car and producing only water vapor and heat in the process. Hydrogen sold through refueling stations funded by the Energy Commission must be 33 percent renewable. Renewable hydrogen can be produced using biomethane from biomass or landfills, or from water electrolysis using renewable energy sources such as wind or solar power. The Energy Commission has concluded that a fuel cell vehicle using 33 percent renewable hydrogen can be as clean for the environment as an electric vehicle, resulting in greenhouse gas reductions of about 68 percent compared to gasoline powered vehicles. Greater environmental benefits can be achieved as the amount of renewable hydrogen content increases. Comparable to gasoline-powered vehicles, fuel cell vehicles can be refueled within 5-7 minutes and have a range of 300+ miles on a single tank.

SOURCE: California Energy Commission

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