Los Angeles’ first hydrogen and gasoline station opens

Shell Hydrogen LLC announced the opening of California’s first hydrogen refueling station on a conventional Shell gasoline forecourt in West Los Angeles (LA).

Located on Santa Monica Boulevard and Federal Avenue, the station joins California’s ‘hydrogen highway’, and gives consumers a taste of the future, with refueling services for hydrogen powered fuel cell vehicles becoming just as convenient as conventional gasoline motors.

California already has more fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) and hydrogen refueling stations than any other part of the world, and last year recorded 1.5 million zero emission miles from hydrogen FCV trials. Twenty-five hydrogen stations currently operate in California, most in the San Francisco-Sacramento corridor and the Greater Los Angeles and San Diego regions, serving more than 100 fuel cell passenger vehicles and transit buses, with a further ten stations already in the planning stages.

Hydrogen produced at the Shell station will be done on-site by the electrolysis of water using green electricity purchased from the Los Angeles City Department of Water & Power. It will then be compressed and stored to provide daily fueling.

The station will also support a U.S. Department of Energy hydrogen infrastructure program, to supply hydrogen to future and existing General Motors FCVs in the LA metro area. GM plans to provide more than thirty Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell-Electric compact SUVs to private and commercial customers in Southern California, as part of a three-year trial, called “Project Driveaway” to test the vehicles in real world driving conditions.

The United States, with over 247 million vehicles on its roads, is one of the largest auto markets – and car ownership is predicted to increase by 45% between 2005 and 2020. United States energy consumption is set to rise to 139.9 quadrillion Btu by 2015, and hydrogen FCVs are positioned to play an important part in the country’s growing energy and mobility needs.

In addition to zero tailpipe emissions, finding ways to produce hydrogen from renewable sources will be critically important to making the fuel infrastructure sustainable. And with ground breaking approaches to produce ‘green hydrogen’, manufactured from renewable energy sources, such as bioethanol (derived from biomass) and solar energy being researched for the future, ‘well to wheel’ emissions will be able to near zero.