First Pipeline-Fed Hydrogen Refueling Station Opens in the United States

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Earlier this week Toyota celebrated the opening of the first pipeline-fed refueling station in the US. Located in Torrance, California, it is the first hydrogen station to be directly connected to an active industrial hydrogen pipeline. It will provide fuel for Toyota’s as well as others fuel cell vehicle fleets in the Los Angeles area. The station is owned by Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), USA, Inc, and operated by Shell. The hydrogen pipeline is maintained by Air Products.

Toyota hailed this as a milestone event. “Building an extensive hydrogen re-fueling infrastructure is a critical step in the successful market launch of fuel cell vehicles,” said Chris Hostetter, group vice president, product and strategic planning, TMS. “We plan to bring a fuel cell vehicle to market in 2015, or sooner, and the infrastructure must be in place to support our customers’ needs.”

The new fueling station will also serve as an educational tool for local students and the general public. Shell and Toyota have worked together to create a learning center at the station to provide information on hydrogen fuel cells for vehicles.

The station will also make the City of Torrance a part of California’s Hydrogen Highway Initiative. Created in 2004, this initiative aims to ensure that every Californian has access to hydrogen fuel along the state’s major highways. The initiative was enacted by former Governor Schwarzenegger in Executive Order S-704.

Air Products, which is supplying the hydrogen has worked with Toyota and other auto makers to develop the Hydrogen Vehicle Authorization System. It allows the hydrogen station to wireless recognize vehicles in order to facilitate quick and convenient fueling for customers. The Torrance station is the first to have this new system implemented.

The station is located right next to Toyota’s sales and marketing headquarters campus. Having it in such close proximity has led the company to think of additional ways to use hydrogen. For example, Toyota is planning to install a one-megawatt hydrogen fuel cell generator to offset peak electricity demand at their Torrance campus. The system can also provide hot water and space heating for Toyota’s employee fitness area and the Lexus headquarter building.

Toyota plans on introducing fuel cell vehicles to the market by 2015. However, before these vehicles are widely adopted, people will need a way to refuel them. The Torrance Hydrogen Refueling Station lays down that groundwork and puts Toyota at the cutting edge of alternative fuels.

Click here for more on California’s Hydrogen Highway Initiative.

Article by David A Gabel, appearing courtesy Environmental News Network.

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Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.