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Shell opens renewable hydrogen fueling station

ShellA little over a week ago Greenbang spoke to Honda about the launch of its new hydrogen powered car, the FCX Clarity.  During the discussion Honda let her know that in addition to the likes of actress Jaime Lee Curtis and Producer Ron Yerxa the car would be making use of five refueling stations strategically positioned around California.

Greenbang was informed that the enough hydrogen to fill one car every 24 hours would be generated from electrophoresis* and that was the end of the story.

A news release from Shell, however, has just resparked her interest.  According to the release Shell has just ‘announced the opening of California’s first hydrogen refueling station on a conventional Shell gasoline forecourt.’  Which is impressive, but one further item in the release has caught Greenbang’s eye – no carbon will be emitted in the hydrogen production process:

Hydrogen produced at the Shell station will be done on-site by the electrolysis of water using ‘green electricity’ purchased from the Los Angeles City Department of Water & Power. It will then be compressed and stored to provide daily fueling.

In addition to zero tailpipe emissions, finding ways to produce hydrogen from renewable sources will be critically important to making the fuel infrastructure sustainable. And with ground breaking approaches to produce ‘green hydrogen’, manufactured from renewable energy sources, such as bioethanol (derived from biomass) and solar energy being researched for the future, ‘well to wheel’ emissions will be able to near zero.

The station will also support a U.S. Department of Energy hydrogen infrastructure program, to supply hydrogen to future and existing General Motors FCVs in the LA metro area. GM plans to provide more than thirty Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell-Electric compact SUVs to private and commercial customers in Southern California, as part of a three-year trial, called “Project Driveaway” to test the vehicles in real world driving conditions.

The capacity is still low but matches current demand, speaking to Robin Lebovitz from Shell’s press office Greenbang learned the station can “fuel three cars back to back and five to seven cars over 24 hours.”

* Using electricity to split the water into hydrogen and oxygen.

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