As of August 31, 2016, 21 retail hydrogen stations are open in California, and another six are in the commissioning process. By the end of the year, about 27 retail hydrogen stations for passenger vehicles should be open and about 50 open in 2017. We also expect the Energy Commission to release its Notice of Planned Award (NOPA) in late fall this year, which will fill the pipeline with new construction.
CaFCP’s quarterly station update webinar also included a look at new features on the CaFCP Station Map and the mobile interface for SOSS (m.cafcp.org).
You can view the presentation and webinar recording here.
Resources mentioned during the webinar:
The GO-Biz Hydrogen Station Permitting Guidebook (gobiz.app.box.com/v/hydrogenpermittingguidebook)
The California Hydrogen Infrastructure Tool (CHIT) https://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/zevprog/hydrogen/h2fueling.htm
Division of Measurement Standards Hydrogen Metrology https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/dms/hydrogenfuel/hydrogenfuel.html
U.S. Department of Energy Loan Guarantee Program http://energy.gov/savings/us-department-energy-loan-guarantee-program
Summary of questions and answers
Station Permitting, Construction and Operation
What are the most common objections from city planning departments? Have those changed over time? plans? What are the training needs for permitting and contractors?
The Hydrogen Station Permitting Guidebook is a great source of information for station developers and city AHJs. The first retail hydrogen stations were the first ever, and most hydrogen stations are the first in that city. AHJs need training about codes and standards. Planning departments are largely concerned with impact to the street, an increase of traffic, and the appearance of the station. Contractors need to know about hydrogen equipment and set-back distances.
Does the CaFCP set any standards for the network of providers to follow, when building and integrating the next gas stations going forward?
CaFCP does not set standards, but we do participate with standards development organizations, such as the National Fire Protection Association and the Society of Automotive Engineers.
Is there a business plan or a profitability assessment done for the gas station owner?
The stations open and under construction today are all owned by the hydrogen station developer who leases property from the gas station owner. That might change in the future.
Is there a national road sign for hydrogen stations?
Yes. Hydrogen signs are available from TAPCO (www.tapconet.com/store/product-detail/7pbb/g66-22g-ca-hydrogen-symbol-sign).
Is there a list of developers that are specifying all the required equipment for a station to come online? Could you provide a list of the manufacturers installing these stations?
CaFCP members that are involved with the development and installation of hydrogen stations are:
• Air Liquide
• FirstElement Fuel
• ITM Power
HyGen (station developer), FASTECH (design and construction), and COMDATA (POS software) are in the process of joining CaFCP.
How has the HySTEP device been working out? Is there more that needs to be done in that area?
The Hydrogen Station Equipment Performance device is a DOE-funded project that was developed to help reduce the time to commission a hydrogen station. It’s still in a testing period; the automakers compare the data they collect from their vehicles to HySTEP’s data to see if they are getting the same results. The current device has been invaluable in providing data about how testing should work. In the near future, HySTEP needs to simulate back-to-back filling of five vehicles and needs an ongoing operational plan for long-term commercial use.
When will the award for the application for GFO-15-605 be released (NOPA)? Any date? If and when will the next CEC GFO round will be announced for light-duty Vehicles? Also will the heavy duty vehicles be funded in a similar fashion from the CEC?
The California Energy Commission provides funding for hydrogen stations through a competitive grant process. The most recent opportunity, GFO-15-605, closed on August 19. Notice of Proposed Awards will likely be in late fall, but could be earlier or later. No one, including the Energy Commission, knows when the next GFO will be offered. So far, all the CEC money has been for light-duty stations. Heavy-duty and transit stations have been funded by federal grants and through California Air Resources Board’s AQIP program.
Can you elaborate on the government commitment to reach 100 stations?
Assembly Bill 8 extended the State’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program and “require the commission to allocate $20 million annually, as specified, until there are at least 100 publicly available hydrogen-fueling stations in California.” In addition to funding, California supports hydrogen as an important part of the State’s commitment for placing 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles on State roads by 2025.
How much does hydrogen cost and how will that change in the future?
Hydrogen fuel prices range from $12.85 to more than $16 per kilogram (kg), but the most common price is $13.99 per kg (equivalent on a price per energy basis to $5.60 per gallon of gasoline), which translates to an operating cost of $0.21 per mile. Automakers are including three years of hydrogen fuel with their initial sales and lease offerings, which will shield early market adopters from this initially high fuel price.
While future price is uncertain, NREL estimates that hydrogen fuel prices may fall to the $10 to $8 per kg range in the 2020 to 2025 period. A kilogram of hydrogen has about the same energy content as a gallon of gasoline. FCEVs are about twice as efficient as gasoline-powered vehicles: an FCEV travels about twice as far as a conventional vehicle given the same amount of fuel energy. At $3.50 per gallon gasoline, a conventional vehicle costs about $0.13 per mile to operate, while an FCEV using $8 per kg hydrogen fuel would cost about $0.12 per mile. (See reference)
Also, what is the annual quantity of hydrogen sold at these stations, and how is that expected to increase in the near future?
The California Air Resources Board released the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Deployment and Hydrogen Fuel Station Network Development in June that assesses deployment and forecasts the next few years. At this early stage of deployment, the ARB report is the best source of information.
Where does the hydrogen come from?
Most of the stations have compressed, gaseous hydrogen delivered by truck, a few have liquid hydrogen delivered, and a few make hydrogen onsite from solar electrolysis of water. We’re working to add information about each station’s hydrogen to the CaFCP station map. Most hydrogen is made from natural gas, but increasingly hydrogen comes from renewable sources. Toyota’s Fueled by Everything videos are a fun way to learn about renewably produced hydrogen.
Is onsite production a wanted solution for hydrogen stations?
Onsite production is an option for stations that have enough space for the equipment and have easy access to a feedstock (natural gas, biogas, or water and renewable electricity). CaFCP members ITM Power, Hydrogenics, and H2Logic develop stations that use onsite electrolysis. Fuel Cell Energy (in the process of joining CaFCP) produces hydrogen from biogas.
Do you see a time in the future when people will be able to produce their own hydrogen at home with some kind of device and fuel their cars?
Home refueling is possible, but the size and cost of the equipment make is impractical for now. Honda is one of several companies already working on a small refueler that would serve a small number of cars. The Smart Hydrogen Station is being deployed in Japan.
What is max storage/dispensing H2 pressure currently and envisaged in future?
Hydrogen for light-duty vehicles is dispensed at 70mPa and for heavy-duty vehicles at 35mPa. We don’t see that changing in the near future. The storage pressure depends on the configuration at the station, but ultimately the dispensing pressure has to be slightly greater than the pressure in the tank. SAE standards for dispensing are already in place.
Did all of the current open and in development stations receive government funding?
Yes. All the retail stations were funded by the Energy Commission through the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (ARFVTP)
Station Planning and Locations
Are there any plans or talks to have a station at XXX?
The answer is yes. Interest in hydrogen stations has increased now that the cars are arriving (Hyundai and Toyota now, Honda and Mercedes coming soon). The goal right now is to strategically place stations so that most people are within 10 minutes of fuel from where they live or work (we call these “cluster stations”), people can drive to popular get-away locations (“destinations”), and “connectors” that make it possible to drive east to west, and north to south.
What is the status of other states?
CaFCP member Air Liquide is building 12 stations in the Northeast U.S. A station in Washington D.C. opened in July. H2USA works with other U.S. states to plan their vehicle and station deployments. CaFCP also keeps an open line of communication with Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.
Is there a forecast that shows demand for H2 exceeds supply in the 2019 timeframe? Is there the possibility that there will be more HFCEV's in the future than hydrogen stations to accommodate them?
The California Air Resources Board’s Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Deployment and Hydrogen Fuel Station Network Development (see page 12) shows that at the current rate of vehicle roll-out and station deployment, hydrogen demand could surpass supply in about 2020. CaFCP members are working together to ensure that hydrogen supply keeps up with demand and are working now to identify the next steps in station deployment.
To what degree are the various sites being coordinated to produce an effective system or network, and how is that coordination achieved? With respect to destination and connector stations, how much attention to redundancy?
A coordinated network has been CaFCP’s goal since publishing our 2012 A California Roadmap and the 2014 roadmap update. We will continue to meet and evaluate how the station network is growing and being used, and make recommendations for continued growth. Among the considerations are redundancy versus new destination/connector cities, station capacity versus coverage, access to renewably produced hydrogen, and the role that heavy-duty stations play.
Will the CHIT tool take into account the stations proposed in the GFO-15-605 applications?
Yes, when the new stations are awarded, ARB will add them to CHIT. CHIT will also take into account some of the decisions from the question and answer above.
Station Data and Information
When will the XXX station open/finish construction/start construction?
The CaFCP station map is updated on Mondays with information that the station developers report. All dates are an approximation only. As with any construction project, delays caused by weather, equipment arrival, inspections and final permits are outside the developers’ control.
What are the capacity, number of dispensers, and h2 dispensing rate (kg/min.) of the new stations? Is there any way to see how hydrogen is provided to each station?
We are working on adding those details to the station map, as well as a few others. All the stations have one dispenser and all use a standardized dispensing protocol SAE J-2601 and fill the vehicle’s tank in 3-to-5 minutes. On August 27, we back-to-back filled 13 Toyota, Hyundai and Mercedes at the TrueZero station in Truckee and all filled in minutes.
How "real time" are the station indicators on SOSS?
The Station Operational Status System (SOSS) receives information from each station every 15 minutes. The SOSS database immediately pushes out the notifications to subscribing applications, which include the CaFCP station map, the mobile website m.cafcp.org, and Entune. We’re also working with other organizations to push updates to their front-end systems. Our plans are to reduce the 15 minutes to five minutes, and then to real-time updates.
Why is the list still alphabetical instead of distance from vehicle? Do drivers know the zip codes in areas they are unfamiliar?
The station map needs a zip code or city/state to center the map. We found that most people were interested in a station near their home or office, and that using the IP address of the computer to automatically locate wasn’t always completely reliable. The list of stations on the right changes as you navigate the map.
On the mobile website m.cafcp.org the stations are listed alphabetically, which was fine when we had six stations, but is becoming overwhelming. We are redesigning the interface, but in the meantime you can create an account and customize the list based on your preference using the steps below.
1. Go to m.cafcp.org
2. Scroll to the bottom and find the Sign Up link in the footer.
3. Create an account
4. Open your email confirmation and find the login instructions
5. Once logged in, go to your account at m.cafcp.org/user
6. Select “Sort Station List”
7. Drag and drop the list based on your preference
8. Hit save
Can we submit info or guidance to include in the info box above the station icon?
Any comments you have about the station map, the mobile website, or SOSS functionality are welcome. Please email Ben at firstname.lastname@example.org