Back in the day when a man would ride through the desert on a horse with no name, few would have envisioned at that time a land with whipping wind turbines and hydrogen fueling stations. But, if Palm Springs, California Mayor Steve Pougnet gets his way that is exactly what will happen with this upscale desert hot spot.
Wintec Energy has already signed on to donate the land and renewable energy to build a public hydrogen station in Palm Springs. Wintec Energy is one of the largest operators of wind turbines in the Coachella Valley.
And Wintec Energy is no stranger to hydrogen either as they were producing the gas with an electrolyzer from 1999 to 2004 before the U. S. DOE decided to take back their device and go home. Right now, the Palm Springs mayor and Wintec are looking for another company to supply the electrolyzer and station.
The other hydrogen fueling station in the area owned by Sunline is not operated by wind power and thus not quite as green as the Wintec station will be. The Sunline Station at Thousand Oaks, California, open since 2000 operates by reforming natural gas and is mainly used to refuel hydrogen fuel cell buses that operate in the area.
Palm Springs will have some competition for being the Hydrogen Capital of the West with other areas like Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Sacramento and the San Francisco / Oakland region. But, one advantage Palm Springs does have is plenty of wind power and solar energy to create the hydrogen cleanly, without the use of fossil fuels.
The cowboys of old may not recognize the Palm Springs of today, but they still might get a kick out of the horsepower of those hydrogen BMWs, Chevys and Hondas cruising off into the sunset.