Combined Hydrogen-Gasoline Station Opens in Los Angeles

California already has more fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) and hydrogen refueling stations than any other part of the world, and last year recorded 1.5 million zero emission miles from hydrogen FCV trials.

Shell Hydrogen announced the opening of a hydrogen refueling station on a conventional Shell gasoline forecourt in West Los Angeles.

Located on the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Federal Avenue the station joins California's "hydrogen highway" and gives consumers a taste of the future, with refueling services for hydrogen powered fuel cell vehicles becoming just as convenient as conventional gasoline motors.

In hydrogen vehicles, an electric motor powers the wheels. A chemical reaction -- usually between hydrogen and oxygen -- inside a unit called a fuel cell creates electricity for the motor. The only tail pipe emission is water vapor, which produces zero carbon emissions and has the potential to significantly reduce air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality, and protect against climate change.

California already has more fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) and hydrogen refueling stations than any other part of the world, and last year recorded 1.5 million zero emission miles from hydrogen FCV trials. Twenty-five hydrogen stations currently operate in California, most in the San Francisco-Sacramento corridor and the Greater Los Angeles and San Diego regions, serving more than 100 fuel cell passenger vehicles and transit buses, with a further ten stations already in the planning stages.

Hydrogen production 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.

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 lease 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.

Officiating at the launch, City of Los Angeles Councilman Bill Rosendahl said, "California has made significant progress demonstrating fuel cell vehicle technology and fuel alternatives, but this still requires much more progress by vehicle and infrastructure providers and the state. However, I am delighted that with support from Shell, we are able to continue to grow a safe and secure hydrogen infrastructure, that enables fuel cell vehicles to refuel more conveniently, as we move towards the future commercialization of clean transportation technology."

With the US one of the largest automotive markets in the world, with over 247 million vehicles on its roads, car ownership predicted to increase by 45 percent between 2005 and 2020, and US energy consumption set to rise to 139.9 quadrillion Btu by 2015, hydrogen FCVs are set to play an important part in the United States' growing energy and mobility needs.

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.

Hydrogen can also be produced from a number of different feed-stocks including oil, coal, and biomass. This allows different countries to manufacture hydrogen with their own domestic supplies, and at the same time reduce costs and increase security of supply.