2018 January Hydrogen Fueling Stations Status in U.S.: 39 Available

MAR 16 2018 BY MARK KANE 43

If you ever wondered whether hydrogen cars are a threat to plug-in electric ones, we can put you at ease by stating that FCVs have barely taken off so far.

As of January 25, 2018 there was only 39 publicly available hydrogen stations in the U.S. and only 31 of them were retail (the other 8 non-retail stations involve special permissions from the original equipment manufacturers to fuel along with pre-authorization from the station provider).

Related – There Are 6,500 Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars Worldwide (Half In California)

Hydrogen fuel station – FirstElement Fuel’s True Zero Hydrogen Network

Most of the stations are located in one state – 35 are in California (two in South Carolina and two in the Northeast).

34 new hydrogen stations are planned – 29 in California and 5 in the Northeast).

So far, those retail stations dispensed (through 2nd quarter of 2017) 276,535 kg of hydrogen. That’s enough to drive 27.6 million km (17 million miles) using the Toyota Mirai as an example (5 kg hydrogen tank and 312 miles/502 km range).

As you can see on the graph, some of those stations are pretty busy, while other not. The usage is also quickly rising – first half of 2017 was 70% higher than all of 2016.

“For the retail stations that are open to all FCEV customers with a point-of-sale system, the National Fuel Cell Technology Evaluation Center (NFCTEC) at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory reports a total of 276,535 kg hydrogen dispensed through the 2nd quarter of 2017. The graph shows increasing amounts of hydrogen dispensed each quarter as more FCEVs hit the market and that most existing retail stations opened in 2016.”

Note: Colors represent individual stations, but those stations are not identified. NFCTEC aggregates individual site analysis results into publicly available composite data products that show the status and progress of the technology but don’t identify individual companies.

Sources:

U.S. Department of Energy, Alternative Fuels Data Center, Alternative Fueling Station Locator, accessed January 25, 2018.”

For its part, hydrogen fuel cell vehicle proponent and manufacturer Toyota just released video of an FCEV refueling. Though the experience is somewhat different from the US retail operation, we’ve added it below for added context.

 

Source: energy.gov

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43 Comments on "2018 January Hydrogen Fueling Stations Status in U.S.: 39 Available"

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There’s nothing innately wrong with FCV’s, they just aren’t competitive. I have no fear that they’re a threat to electric cars, because if they really are, everything I think I know about them is wrong anyway.

If the hydrogen comes from methane then they’re no solution to global warming.

It’s time CARB cut this program, and put the money into charging stations along their highway system.

“If the hydrogen comes from methane then they’re no solution to global warming.”

Could you explain this? Methane is a potent GHG. If some of it could be hydrogen, wouldn’t it be a good thing?

The process of producing hydrogen from methane releases greenhouse gases in amounts similar to what’s released by conventional petrol engines. So there’s no real environmental benefit.

You can create hydrogen from water using electrolysis. But this process is so inherently energy-intensive that you end up wasting over half the electricity being used, compared with simply putting that electricity into a battery.

So take your pick: produce your hydrogen by discharging greenhouse gases, or produce it in a way that wastes over half the energy input.

And this doesn’t discuss the challenges of dealing with highly compressed hydrogen, which are an inherent part of a hydrogen fueling cycle.

“The process of producing hydrogen from methane releases greenhouse gases in amounts similar to what’s released by conventional petrol engines. So there’s no real environmental benefit.”

I’m not trying to pick a fight here, but I don’t understand this. Does this process remove X amount of methane and generate similar amounts of CO2 in the process? If that’s the case, I’d still see it as a net benefit since methane is magnitudes worse than CO2 for generating greenhouse effect.

As for electrolysis, I agree with you. We should just put it into a battery unless electrolysis can be made more efficient. There are rumors that that more efficient electrolysis may be possible in the future but I don’t claim to understand this branch of science.

But the methane isn’t in the atmosphere were it would do harm, it’s getting extracted from the soil for the sole purpose of being used as an energy source.

If hydrogen cars would become popular we would just extract more natural gas to make hydrogen, releasing tons of additional CO2 into the atmosphere.

The efficiency of electrolysis is not going to improve. Splitting water molecules is inherently energy intensive. Only if some excess energy is utilized, that would otherwise be wasted, is electrolysis a good idea for producing hydrogen.

The DOE shows electrolytic hydrogen competitive with gasoline:
https://energy.gov/eere/fuelcells/doe-technical-targets-hydrogen-production-electrolysis

Hydrogen has far greater energy density than lithium-ion batteries and is an excellent mass-storage choice for renewables (a use-it or lose-it energy source)

The decarbonization of transport is a complicated issue. All leading ZEV countries are building hydrogen and BEV infrastructure. We need both.

First of all, let me commend you on your user name. Everyone should have the opportunity to have their say, but it’s useful to know where you’re coming from.

When you take into account the weight of the tanks, hydrogen and lithium batteries both can give you 300-400 miles of range. There is no significant difference there.

Hydrogen does, at least for the foreseeable future, give you faster fill-ups. I don’t see that as really important, but others disagree.

Assuming the DOE is correct by their site: https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=75&t=11

Then, the 1,485 million metric tons of CO2 produced from the burning of natural gas must be addressed as part of the formula for fixing climate change.

It is my opinion that (1) all gas networks should be converted to hydrogen networks, (2) all appliances/fixtures now using natural gas be converted to hydrogen based, and (3) home hydrogen compression stations be developed for cars.

In order to make this work for climate changes purposes, 100% of the carbon must be captured when the conversion to hydrogen takes place and used for something else. Like electric car or storage batteries?

Hydrogen conversion make sense when you look at the total CO2 produced from natural gas, something that looks sort of like this: http://www.itm-power.com/news-item/injection-of-hydrogen-into-the-german-gas-distribution-grid

Tim,

They are not a threat to rechargeable cars because they are designed as refuelable transport (not just cars) drivetrain replacement. That is 98% of the market, who cares about 2% niche “threats” and conspiracy theorist paranoia.

If only EVs had such a nice, exponential growth curve. 5x year over year!

Comedian.

Meanwhile, BEV sales in California are up only 17% YoY, and maintain paltry market share. In terms of absolute numbers, all ZEV types in California have almost no market share, and FCEVs are growing the fastest. It won’t be long before we see FCEV/BEV parity in CA.

..yeah about the time you change your name to 25 electrics.j

If transportation as a service supplants individual vehicle ownership then you don’t need a lot of hydrogen fueling stations.

Transportation as a service business (if it will ever happen at mass scale) would need to operate their cars 24/7 and drive hundreds of miles each day just like any other taxi company. A car “charging at base” is a car loosing money.

Meanwhile refueling takes just few minutes every 300-700 miles, no matter what is your state of charge and temperature.

I though that Toyota was going to have 50+ station up and running by 2015?

FCs are not a threat to EVs they are an Ally. By themselves FCEVs have almost no future but as range extenders for BEVs they have a path forward. Batteries are improving faster than FCs. Both have improved to the point that their gravimetric and volumetric densities are adequate. The all important metrics now are $/kW and $/kWh but batteries are improving faster than FCs. A major factor in the $$s is the volume produced and The current volume of FCEVs being produced is so small that their initial costs are not really relevant. In such low volumes they would be expected to be prohibitively expensive and they are. The DOE has annual reports covering the state of FCs in which they estimate the stack cost per kW at given quantities of production. They pegged the 2016 cost at $53 /kW or about half of what they projected for 2006. 50% over 10 years or a CADR of about 7%. BNEF’s battery survey had industry average prices declining from 1000 $/ kWh in 2010 to $540 in 2015 and $209 in 2017. That is more than double the rate of FC improvement. BEVs are ahead (3++ million vs <5000). And… Read more »

Range extender that cost 3X price of gasoline to fuel? No one will do that. And if no one does that, they won’t be able to scale to bring the price down. H simply doesn’t make any sense.

Gasbag, “They pegged the 2016 cost at $53 /kW or about half of what they projected for 2006. 50% over 10 years or a CADR of about 7%. BNEF’s battery survey had industry average prices declining from 1000 $/ kWh in 2010 to $540 in 2015 and $209 in 2017. ” It is a bit like apple and orange comparison. DOE projected FC system cost is for the same mass production number, it is not industry average. While the industry average battery prices are dropping in part just because of scaling of production. If you look the same DOE papers for dependence of FC system price on production volume, it also starts high at thousands or hundreds per kW for low volume production and plateaus at 50 as negative exponent graph. $50/kW for FC system is already quite low, comparing to ~ $30/kW for ICE, regardless of future technology improvements that are coming too. What is lacking is deployment scale. $200 or $100 per kWh of battery is approaching raw material costs, it is closer to the right side of negative exponent graph. $15-$20/kWh for automotive hydrogen tank that isn’t as sensitive to finicky temperature, charging rate & SOC requirements… Read more »

ScottF,
These metals went higher since last year when Bloomberg article was published. It is natural for a price go to the roof when demand raises and mine production can’t raise until many years later. Also, there are a lot of intermediate steps to go from ore to cathode powder that would be kind of raw material for battery maker. When you add everything, it is much higher than $20/kWh.

Anyway if you want to calculate battery price, better check GREET model, not popular electrek hearsay advocacy.

Sorry I mean BatPaC model not GREET

And since the FCVs, the H2, and….the fueling stations are ALL COMPLETELY SUBSIDIZED and have to be completely subsidized because of how expensive, inefficient and non-competitive they are we can see why H2 is really a hoax for at least light-medium duty transportation.

It also represents a economically unfeasible diversion from practical ZEV technology that is economically feasible which is of course PEV based vehicles.

“If you ever wondered whether hydrogen cars are a threat to plug-in electric ones, we can put you at ease by stating that FCVs have barely taken off so far.”

I wish people would stop with the electric vs hydrogen narrative. I want to see a world where there are lots of charging stations and hydrogen fueling stations.

The ‘push’ behind Hydrogen vehicles is far greater than any enthusiasm for electrics… Electrics only have people who have purchased them to be in favor of them.

Hydrogen has Huge conglomorates behind it. But I don’t see it reaching critical mass anytime soon.

Electrics have done well, even if most companies are apathetic toward them.

And that is the problem.

With electrics I can get power from all sorts of sources. From the big utilities to solar or wind mills. And if I use my solar panels (already bought them) I pay no-one for the power except the one time cost of buying and installing the panels. The costs after that would be zero dollars!

Hydrogen however always means I have to pay money to the big boys, and they can raise the price and I have no control just like the price of gas today.

Also I always need to find a Hydrogen station to fuel up, electrics charge at home overnight.

That’s it in a nutshell.

I wish hydrogen is a threat to electric car, we need more technology that provide cleaner and cheaper transportation.
Unfortunately hydrogen are neither.

Well duh! If it’s free, they will use the hell out of it. But let’s see what happens when free H period runs out. Chances are, they will crush FCEV when free fuel period expires since no one will pay 3X price of gasoline to drive a Corolla. Emissions from crushing cars after 3 years of use will be many times that of gasoline cars even if H supposedly emit less pollution.

Public service announcement: if you have FCEV, get rid of it as fast as you can, because it will be less than worthless after free fuel period expires.

Big Oil will not let the F00L SELL boondoggle die when the free hydrogen lease giveaway gimmick expires.
There will be an extended period of subsidy that will be used as a loss leader to increase adoption of this market segment.

What has InsideEVs done to their site? The comments section used to fit nicely on my phone, now it is wider than the screen. Hope they can fix that.

It’s already being addressed, along with other initial issues related to the update. Are you using Apple?

I phone is probably what he is using, as my ifone is behaving choppy around the outside (edges)!

I think FCEV will win just because I think the automotive and fossil fuel industry want it to win. For the average person,I think once they try an EV they will most likely stay with that, but for the average person to take that chance and change it is very difficult for them. They are already used to going to the service station and think filling up once per week is convenient, so swapping petrol/diesel for H2 will be easy for them.
Regardless that the H2 station is highly subsidised and costs $mil to build, they don’t really see that side, all they will see is what they have now is the same. BEV has a harder time because the average person doesn’t equate the fact they only drive long distances infrequently, they just equate the recharge time is really long.

I give the public more credit for intelligence.

Also, you would think that Someday, Hydrogen vehicles would have to stand or fall on their own merits.

An unsubsidized H2 vehicle won’t fly for the next 50 years.

The big problem is all the ancillary issues with H2. If the powers that be run out of money, it will atrophe and die.

Electrics mainly do not have this problem, since they will at least do SOMETHING without any (extra) infrastructure at all.

You are right!

Film cameras will never die with all the leading camera companies behind them.

Sony’s mini-disc will take over the music industry with all that money pushing it.

Data General, Digital, RAND and Honeywell control the microcomputer world since they were making computers decades before Apple came along.

AT&T, Bell, Blackberry did phones for years before Apple, the IPhone did not stand a chance once you looked at the size of the phone companies they were going against.

Just because the older companies are so big is no guaranty that they still control what the market will buy.

Excellent analysis, Jason!

Fool cell vehicles LOL

Hydrogen power as a “THREAT” to EV’s. Good grief what small minded approach to the global warming, oil resource war issue that ALL sustainable non-polluting transportation solutions offer.