Achieving hydrogen fuelling self-sufficiency in California

Achieving hydrogen fuelling self-sufficiency in California

Hydrogen fuelling network self-sufficiency can likely be achieved within the decade with additional State support beyond Assembly Bill 8, a central driving force in the development of a Californian hydrogen fuelling network for light duty fuel cell electric vehicles.

That’s according to a new report finalised by the Californian Air Resources Board (CARB) which evaluates the economics of hydrogen fuelling stations, assesses the amount of State support which could result in self-sufficiency, and estimates the timing to achieve self-sufficiency

“State action to support the development of a self-sufficient hydrogen fuelling network could provide significant benefits to hydrogen fuelling consumers,” the report reads. “At the same time, State investments can set the course for reducing total cost of ownership in the early fuel cell electric vehicle market.”

Released this month, the report is the culmination of a five-year research and evaluation effort that began in 2016 with an extensive industry survey and interview process, completed in collaboration with the California Energy Commission.

Completed in accordance with the text of Assembly Bill 8 (Perea, Chapter 401, Statutes of 2013), which asks CARB and the California Energy Commission to evaluate hydrogen fuelling station development and operation against a standard of financial self-sufficiency, the report six key points:

  1. Estimation of the State support and self-sufficiency date within a wide range of potential scenarios for future industry development
  2. Validation of results through comparison to industry-provided information and the latest awards in the Energy Commission’s Grant Funding Opportunity 19-602
  3. Exploration of the impact of several factors that drive hydrogen station economics, including FCEV deployment, pace of network development, pace of capital and operational cost reductions, and pace of price reductions at the pump
  4. Identification of the most effective opportunities for cost reductions
  5. Quantification of benefits to the consumer through reduced prices paid at the pump
  6. Exploration of regional variations in station economics

Conclusions of the report clearly identify multiple scenarios in which State financial support can be phased out and the station economics remain sufficiently favourable to encourage ongoing investment and development by the private sector.

The full report can be accessed here.

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