California regulators plan 100 hydrogen refueling stations by 2023

California is leading the way for hydrogen refueling stations in the United States. ) report.

The first 100 of these stations could be operational by the end of 2023, according to the report. Currently, CARB data indicates that California has nearly 8,000 FCEVs on the road and 48 hydrogen stations open to the public.

“These announcements have created unprecedented prospects for the development of the network of hydrogen refueling stations in California,” the report said. “By 2026, the state’s total hydrogen refueling capacity would be sufficient for the cumulative deployment of approximately 250,000 FCEVs in California. ”

Although Clegern said that California currently has no public access hydrogen stations for medium and heavy duty vehicles, he noted that the CARB “sees a role for FCEVs in all sectors due to their rapid and long-range refueling capability “.

“The deployment of hydrogen fuel cells in these sectors (medium and heavy) can offer a substantial opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas and pollutant emissions, especially near communities that have historically been disproportionately affected. by emissions from freight transport and other business activities, ”the report said.

He also said that CARB and California Energy Commission investments in medium and heavy FCEVs offer “significant potential for improving air quality in underprivileged communities in California.”

Clegern said light hydrogen technology is much more advanced than medium and heavy hydrogen technology. But, he noted, “there has recently been a growing momentum and interest in the technology, not only in California but around the world.”

Developing hydrogen vehicle technology and producing hydrogen fuel is not cheap, but Hyzon, Toyota, Kenworth, Nikola, Hyundai, and Plug Power are companies rising to the challenge.

“Achieving economies of scale is potentially one of the most powerful methods of reducing the currently high purchase and supply prices of FCEVs,” Clegern said. Since medium and heavy vehicles consume more fuel per vehicle than passenger vehicles, Clegern noted that this could help the hydrogen market achieve economies of scale faster.

Renewable hydrogen

CARB recommended that public and private entities “ensure that the supply of hydrogen, especially renewable hydrogen, does not become a bottleneck for the successful development and operation of the hydrogen station network “.

The report does not mention green hydrogen. Instead, he focused on renewable hydrogen, which includes green hydrogen (produced by electrolysis powered by renewable electricity), hydrogen produced by reforming methane to steam biomethane, and converting biomass to hydrogen, Clegern said.

“During the transition [to renewable hydrogen], the efficiency advantage of an FCEV over a conventional gasoline vehicle still results in lower lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions, even with hydrogen derived from gas vapor reforming natural fossil, ”Clegern said.

Even when FCEVs are powered by hydrogen produced from natural gas, they are about 2.5 times more efficient than conventional vehicles, reducing GHG emissions by 40 to 50 percent, according to Clegern.

CARB estimated that FCEVs in California were fueled by hydrogen composed of 90% and 92% renewable content in 2020 and 2021, respectively. The report says California’s network of hydrogen stations is on track to provide vehicles with at least 40 percent renewable hydrogen by 2027.

Clean hydrogen currently costs around $ 5 per kilogram, according to the Department of Energy (DOE), creating major financial barriers. The International Energy Agency estimates that the cost of producing green hydrogen could fall by 30% by 2030 due to increased hydrogen production and lower costs for renewable energy.

The DOE recently launched a Hydrogen Earthshot program, with the goal of reducing the cost of clean hydrogen by 80% to $ 1 per kilogram by 2030.

“The ultimate goal of California’s zero-emission transportation programs is to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and harmful pollutants. On a lifecycle basis, zero-emission vehicle technologies will only be able to exploit their potential to reduce these emissions as long as their fuel source also achieves these emission reductions, ”said Clegern. “From this perspective, it is imperative that zero-emission fuels shift to production methods that generate less or even zero emissions of greenhouse gases and essential pollutants. “

Click here for more articles on FreightWaves by Alyssa Sporrer.

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About Aldrich Stanley

Aldrich Stanley

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