The California Hydrogen Business Council (CHBC) hosted a webinar on Thursday (Jan 6) aiming to showcase the feasibility and target of establishing 200 heavy-duty hydrogen refuelling stations by 2035 and the positive impact it could have in California, US.
Introducing the roadmap aiming to help achieve this ambitious target, Nico Bouwkamp, Technical Programme Manager at the California Fuel Cell Partnership, detailed the key steps in order to do so.
Bouwkamp said, “We drafted a vision for 2035. We concluded that a 70,000-truck capacity is a solid target. This allows for sustainability and for things to work out and not put a toll on the demand and the supply side with regards with trucks and freight movement, as well as fuelling infrastructure.
“This also includes a point where the government can bow out and not have to continue to support an industry to get going because that’s really what we’re looking at.
“This would require 200 stations by 2035 to fill these trucks. If we need coverage as well as capacity and, as I said by 2035 to facilitate this, we really need policies that unlock and accelerate private investment.”
Instrumental to the development of this vision is having the right government and policies onside to ensure the projected growth and current momentum is continued in California.
To express the views of the Californian government and to ensure that the right political movement is being created within the state, the CHBC welcomed Senator Bob Archuleta of the California State Senate to express his views on hydrogen and this vision.
Senator Archuleta expressed strong support for hydrogen in California and reiterated his desire to push funding and incentivise the introduction of hydrogen and expand its infrastructure to enable further decarbonisation.
“I’m telling you they feel as I do, that hydrogen fuel cell energy is the way to go,” Senator Archuleta said.
“With proper investments and funding, we can move closer to our clean air goals and advancing the technology to move diesel trucks into new fuel cell technology. Imagine if we can do that, when we talk about thousands upon thousands of trucks and miles that are used on just my district alone, imagine what this technology could do.”
Clearly the Californian Senate strongly supports hydrogen for the heavy-duty trucking industry in the US citing the heavy traffic that frequently passes through the key transportation corridor and the Senate wishes to back this development with $600m funding.
Senator Archuleta said, “I am supportive of reauthorising the clean transportation programme that is currently written, which will allocate $600m for heavy duty hydrogen transportation and infrastructure.
“In addition, I am seeking the support to secure $300m to complete the 1000 station light and medium duty hydrogen fuelling station network. If we can expand that network, establish that network thanks to what it will do to transportation in our state.
“If California builds out 1000 stations, we will be able to support one million hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Let me say that again in California, and if California builds 1000 stations, we will be able to support one million hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.”
In providing this funding for the Californian hydrogen industry, it could be a revelation and create a level playing field in comparison to battery electric. In addition to this, the funding will also help to turn California into a beacon for hydrogen technologies and accelerate the clean technology across the US.
This is a welcoming factor for Tim Sasseen, Market Development Manager for Ballard Power Systems, who emphasised that hydrogen refuelling infrastructure is the key stumbling block for wider adoption.
Sasseen said, “We see that customers by and large are seeing these vehicles as being very incredible to drive trains last as long as the incumbent technology they operate the same, they have the same capabilities.
“The questions do come down to fuelling infrastructure, and what we’ve seen is that this drive train, this fuel cell battery hybrid drive train is highly capable of a wide variety of operating characteristics of climate conditions, and we expect to see that in the class eight in space.
“We’ve done a demonstration for two years out at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, very successful on a Kenworth platform there, and we see a lot of OEMs really stepping up very quickly what we’re doing.”