Shell has opened the United States’ first-ever pipeline-fed hydrogen fueling station. The Torrance, California station, a collaborative effort between Air Products (a gas and equipment supplier), Shell, Toyota, South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) and United States Department of Energy (DOE), will supply hydrogen for several automobile manufacturers’ fuel cell vehicles in the Los Angeles area.
“Pipeline distribution of hydrogen offers the lowest delivered and dispensed price for hydrogen supply on a mass scale, and this site will be a model to be able to learn and expand these types of stations as opportunities arise,” said David J. Taylor, vice president – Energy Businesses at Air Products Air Products believes this station will show the cost-competitiveness of hydrogen delivered in this manner to the gasoline costs of today.
The station includes several technology advancements, and among them is the ability to simultaneously fuel four hydrogen fuel cell vehicles from the four dispensers at the site. Shell expects 10 to 12 drivers to fill their tanks each day at the site’s two pumps, which provide hydrogen at both 350 bar (5,000 psi) and 700 bar (10,000 psi) pressure. Current fueling capacity is 48 kg. of hydrogen per day, equivalent to dispensing 48 gallons of gasoline, and is expandable.
“Building an extensive hydrogen re-fueling infrastructure is a critical step in the successful market launch of fuel cell vehicles,” said Chris Hostetter, Toyota GVP of Product and Strategic Planning. “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.”
As station owner-operator, Shell works directly with Air Products who provides onsite equipment and station maintenance. The pipeline gas also is provided by Air Products from its plants in Wilmington and Carson, Calif.
Air Products also worked with Toyota and other fuel cell vehicle manufacturers to develop the Hydrogen Vehicle Authorization System (HVAS), another first for the industry and unique to the Torrance station. The HVAS wireless vehicle recognition system allows station-to-vehicle recognition to facilitate quick and convenient fueling for customers.
The station also will feature a learning center onsite to provide hydrogen and station information to local students and the general public. Shell and Toyota will work together to populate the learning center.
This is the third Shell demonstration hydrogen facility in the region. Julian Evison, General Manager of Operations for Shell Alternative Energies said, “Demonstration hydrogen filling stations allow us to evaluate a range of different technologies and learn valuable lessons about costs, consumer behavior, how to safely store hydrogen at different pressures and how to dispense it efficiently to different vehicles.’’
SCAQMD and DOE provided project funding assistance.