In the past year, California has seen huge growth in fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) deployment as well as hydrogen fuelling station deployment.
The California Air Resources Board recently released its 2019 Evaluation of FCEV Deployment and Hydrogen Station Network Development report, highlighting the increased deployment of FCEV and hydrogen stations across the state.
The report highlights that between June 2018 and June 2019, the state of California saw the completion of six new hydrogen refuelling stations and the deployment of over 1,500 FCEVs.
The report also highlights visions from the California Fuel Cell Partnership, of 1,000 hydrogen refuelling stations and one million FCEV’s around the state by 2030.
In order to meet public-private goals surrounding hydrogen infrastructure, new programmes and policies have been put in place across the state.
In the past year, The Low Carbon Fuel Standard’s Hydrogen Refuelling Infrastructure credit provisions took effect and predicted on the goal of reaching 200 hydrogen stations by 2025.
As of 28th May (2019), California has a total of 41 open retail hydrogen fuelling stations. The newer stations are located in the east and south San Francisco Bay area, the city of San Francisco, Sacramento and in the Los Angeles area.
Compared to the previously estimated 62 hydrogen stations to be operational in California by the end of 2019, the report highlights an updated estimation of 52.
The updated estimation is reflective on station deployment times taking longer than expected however, other hydrogen stations which are set for operation in 2020 are ahead of schedule.
At present, California’s FCEV fleet currently consists of 5,932 vehicles on the road according to CARB’s analysis of the latest Department of Motor Vehicle registration records, highlighting a growth of 1,500 vehicles from the same time last year.
To work towards the goal of 200 hydrogen fuelling stations by 2025, CARB and other state agencies are working together.
By 2024, at least 100 stations will be built through the AB 8 programme. The 48,000 FCEVs project by 2025 only represents approximately one third of the fleet that 200 stations may be able to serve at that time.
CARB and the Energy Commission have been collaborating with researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory over the past year to develop the HySCapE tool.
The HySCapE tool was developed with the goal of providing an independent “standard ruler” for potential station fuelling capacity based on a limited set of known information about station design and equipment specification.
HySCapE was developed through industry-led studies of fuelling patterns at operational gasoline stations and provides an estimate of the fuelling demand that a station may experience throughout the day.
A large number of stations are expected to complete construction and open for retail operation in the coming years. The LCFS HRI credit programme has already begun to approve applications and provide a means to stabilise hydrogen station financial performance in the early market.
California’ FCEV market has successfully launched and grown with fewer hydrogen fuelling stations than previously thought necessary, an important accomplishment, but both infrastructure and vehicle deployments need to continue and significantly accelerate in order to secure State Zero Emission Vehicle implantation and emission reduction goals.
The full report can be found online here.