Southern California is usually where we get news of celebs driving around in their hybrids or fuel-cell cars and being all green and mighty. Now, they can add another star to their clean energy scorecard. Thanks to Shell and some land leased from Toyota, there is now a brand new hydrogen-fueling station that’s the first of its kind.
Although hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles are still quite rare, this new fueling station is already the number seventh station in Southern California. But what makes this one different is that it is the first ever pipeline-fed station in the U.S. It is situated in the city of Torrance, just a few blocks away from the headquarters of Toyota and Honda, and taps into an Air Products pipeline carrying hydrogen fuel to a nearby oil refinery.
This is a significant difference because current fueling stations still require their hydrogen fuel delivered to them via supply trucks that generally run on diesel. Tapping into a hydrogen pipeline thus further cuts down on dirty fuels. The project is partly funded by the South Coast Air Quality Management District and the Department of Energy.
“Building an extensive hydrogen refueling infrastructure is a critical step in the successful market launch of fuel-cell vehicles,” said Chris Hostetter, a Toyota group vice president. “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.”
Honda, Toyota, and Mercedez-Benz all intend to have mass-market hydrogen fuel cell vehicles by 2015.