In Torrance, California Air Products has partnered with Shell, Toyota, South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) and the U. S. DOE to tap into an existing hydrogen pipeline to supply H2 gas for cars at an existing Shell service station. Air Products is tapping into its own hydrogen pipeline which it uses to supply local oil refineries for the creation of gasoline.
The station is located next to the Toyota headquarters in Torrance. Toyota leases the land to Shell. Air Products has plants in Carson and Wilmington, California where it produces the hydrogen gas.
According to David J. Taylor of Air Products, “This fueling station will be a tremendous model to show how effortless a pipeline supply of hydrogen can be to an automobile fueling station and other hydrogen fuel cell applications. It will add another mode of supply, on potentially a very large scale, to Air Products’ portfolio of distribution technologies in meeting the emerging fueling applications of today. 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.”
To me, this is one of those, “Hey why didn’t they do this before” ideas. In June 2010 I had asked where all the hydrogen fueling stations are along the Gulf Coast because this area of the U. S. has the largest hydrogen pipeline system in the country.
I think Texas in particular (even though it’s known as an oil state) would be particularly amenable to creating several hydrogen fueling stations and trialing hydrogen cars as is the case in California. In October 2010, Air Products announced “…plans to construct a new 180-mile long pipeline connecting its existing Louisiana and Texas hydrogen pipeline systems, creating the world’s largest hydrogen plant and pipeline supply network. This integrated pipeline system will unite over 20 hydrogen plants and over 600 miles of pipelines to supply the Louisiana and Texas refinery and petrochemical industries with over one billion cubic feet of hydrogen per day. The new Gulf Coast hydrogen pipeline network is expected to be operational in mid-2012.”
Perhaps once this construction has been completed we will see hydrogen fueling stations popping up in Texas and perhaps even Louisiana. Right now, the Southern U. S. region is under-represented in regard to hydrogen fueling stations. If the lessons learned from the Shell station in Torrance, California are any indicator this may all change within the next couple of years.