Burlington, Vermont will open the first hydrogen fueling station in New England on July 3, 2006. The station will be located at the Department of Public Works and will electrolyze water in order to create the hydrogen. The hydrogen from the fueling station will be compressed and stored on site. Northern Power Systems and Proton Energy Systems are responsible for the fueling station, which will supply fuel to a Toyota Prius hybrid converted to run on hydrogen gas.
The fueling station will receive its electricity from Burlington Electric Department, which generates some of its electricity from renewable resources such as the wind turbine that stands next to the fueling station at the Public Works site.
Congressman Bernie Sanders spearheaded the project, which began in 2005 with a grant of $1 million from the U. S. Department of Energy.
I had the pleasure of chatting with Richard Watts, Project Director for EVermont, a non-profit devoted to Vermont’s renewable energy market, about the opening of the new station. I asked Mr. Watts who will be using the hydrogen hybrid Prius and he replied, “The Public Works Department will have it for the first couple of years and bring it to schools and other places for demonstration projects.”
I also asked Mr. Watts about Burlington Electric’s role in supplying the electricity for the project. He said, “Burlington Electric has a good record for creating energy from renewable energy sources. Besides wind power, they use hydropower in Vermont and they also have a biomass facility.”
Opening a hydrogen fueling station in Vermont is a good first step for the New England region. With hydrogen fueling stations popping up in other states such as California, Florida, Michigan, New York, Nevada and Arizona its good to see the more sparsely populated areas coming onboard and gaining a toehold in the upcoming hydrogen economy.