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The first U.S. pipeline-fed Shell Hydrogen fueling station opens

Shell Hydrogen joined with Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. in the grand opening of the very first hydrogen fueling station fed directly by an industrial pipeline. A product of collaboration between Toyota, Air Products, Shell, South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) and the Department of Energy (DOE), the facility will provide hydrogen fuel for vehicles in the fuel cell demonstration program for Toyota and other manufacturers.
Posted: May 10, 2011 - 5:33PM
Author: Don Bain

“Building an extensive hydrogen re-fueling infrastructure is a critical step in the successful market launch of fuel cell vehicles,” said Chris Hostetter, group vice president, product and strategic planning, TMS. “We plan to bring a fuel cell vehicle to market in 2015, or sooner, and the infrastructure must be in place to support our customers’ needs.”

The station is located adjacent to the TMS sales and marketing headquarters campus in Torrance, CA. Toyota leases the site to Shell for a nominal fee. As both owner and operator, Shell works directly with Air Products for onsite equipment and station maintenance. The gas itself is also provided by Air Products from plants in Wilmington and Carson, CA. SCAQMD and DOE provided additional project funding.

“This is the first time Shell has worked closely with a vehicle manufacturer to develop a demonstration station,” said Julian Evison, general manager of operations for Shell alternative energies. “The industry has made good technical progress, but cooperation is a necessity for hydrogen to achieve its commercial potential as a road transport fuel.”

Air Products also worked with Toyota and other fuel cell vehicle manufacturers to develop the Hydrogen Vehicle Authorization System (HVAS), which allows station-to-vehicle recognition to facilitate quick and convenient fueling.

A learning center will be featured onsite to provide hydrogen and station information to local students and the general public. Shell and Toyota will work together to operate the learning center.

“Toyota’s hydrogen fuel cell technology has been continually evolving since our first generation fuel cell vehicle hit the road in 2002,” Hostetter said in his address to those assembled. “The last nine years have seen continual improvements in range, durability and efficiency while achieving significant cost reductions in materials and manufacturing.

“In fact, the vehicle on display today achieved an estimated range of four hundred and thirty-one miles on a single fill of hydrogen. Fuel cell technology is viable and ready for the mass market.”

The City of Torrance becomes part of the California Hydrogen Highway initiative with this station, aimed at creating clean air solutions and developing new jobs across the state. Mayor Frank Scotto was on hand for the event.

For more information on the Hydrogen Highway initiative, click here.

“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,” said David J. Taylor, vice president, energy business at Air Products. “This site will be a model to learn and expand pipeline fed stations as opportunities arise.”

Additionally, the proximity of the Shell Hydrogen station to the Toyota Motor Sales campus has lead to some non-vehicle applications of the clean-burning fuel.

“Toyota has partnered with Ballard Power Systems to place a fuel cell generator on our Torrance campus. The fuel cell will provide electrical power during peak usage months and draw hydrogen from the same pipeline that supplies this station,” Hostetter concluded. “The system is scheduled to come online in 2012 and will reduce an estimated 10,000 tons of annual CO2 emissions.”