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State Commits Funding for First 100 Hydrogen Stations

California Announces $29.9 Million Available for Latest Round of Hydrogen Fueling Station Development

On November 22nd the California Energy Commission (CEC) released its latest Program Opportunity Notice (PON-13-607) providing $29.9 million for the next round of hydrogen refueling infrastructure development in the state. 

There are currently nine hydrogen refueling stations available to the general public in California. Supported by previous CEC grant funding, there are 19 hydrogen stations in development both in the Bay Area and in southern California. A number of these are expected to become operational in 2014.

This latest funding round would continue the state’s effort to build the initial hydrogen fueling network to support the commercial introduction of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) by the major auto manufacturers starting in 2015. The application deadline for the CEC PON 13-607 hydrogen infrastructure solicitation is February 14, 2014.

In September 2013, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 8 into law, extending until January 1, 2024, funding for the programs that invest in the development and deployment of advanced technologies necessary to achieve California’s air quality, climate, and energy goals. The bill includes a provision to fund at least 100 hydrogen stations with a commitment of up to $20 million a year through 2024 from the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program.

The California Fuel Cell Partnership, an industry-government collaborative consisting of automakers, energy companies, fuel cell technology companies and government agencies, in its July 2012 California Roadmap, identified the need for an initial network of 68 strategically-placed hydrogen stations to successfully support the introduction of FCEVs throughout the state.

In response to the California Air Resources Board (ARB) Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Regulation, major automakers have been required to produce and sell increasing numbers of ZEVs in California and other states that have adopted the ARB ZEV program. Only battery electric vehicles (BEV) and fuel cell electric vehicles qualify as ZEVs. In model year 2015, this requirement is 14% of total California vehicle sales by certain car manufacturers. Automakers will deploy both BEVs and FCEVs to meet this mandate. Collectively, automakers have spent billions of dollars on the development of FCEVs that run on hydrogen. The short refueling time (about the same as for gasoline vehicles) and vehicle range (over 300 miles per tank) make these vehicles attractive to automakers as a long-term viable replacement for conventional gasoline-powered passenger cars and light-duty vehicles.

Currently, Mercedes-Benz and Honda are leasing hydrogen FCEVs to consumers in select areas of California. In addition, Toyota, GM, and Hyundai loan FCEVs to a number of organizations for road testing. New hydrogen fuel cell vehicles by Hyundai, Honda and Toyota were prominently featured at last week’s Tokyo and Los Angeles auto shows. Hyundai is the first major automaker to mass-produce a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle and its fuel cell SUV will be available in showrooms in Spring 2014. Honda introduced its concept hydrogen fuel cell car at the LA Auto Show. In Tokyo, Toyota unveiled its hydrogen-powered concept, the FCV.  Both cars are expected to be commercially available in 2015.

For additional information, contact Joe Gagliano at the California Fuel Cell Partnership at 714-393-2520 or jgagliano@cafcp.org. You can access the CEC Program Opportunity Notice here.