There Are Just 12 Public Hydrogen Stations in the United States

AUG 17 2014 BY MARK KANE 45

Alternative Fuels

Alternative Fuels

Charging Points - August 2014

Charging Points – August 2014

Some manufacturers believe that hydrogen fuel cells are one of the solution to power cars. Without going into details, we just checked the situation for today.

According to the Alternative Fuels Data Center, there are just 12 public hydrogen stations in the United States, with 41 more private units in use in various other applications.

As for electric vehicles, we know that the charging infrastructure isn’t fully developed yet and there are still many fast charging gaps.  However, with more than 20,000 public points and hundreds of DC fast chargers, EVs are far ahead in case of the infrastructure.

8,526 electric stations 20,748 charging outlets in the United States “

As for the vehicles themselves, there are already several EV models available nationwide (19 this month including the first sales of the BMW i8 this weekend), while FCEV is still stuck in the pilot phase with limited offers from a couple of manufacturers.

This is the situation in the middle of 2014.

Will hydrogen fuel cell vehicles be real competition for plug-in electric vehicles?  Will this lack fo hydrogen infrastructure and limited vehicle availability change over time?

We’ll continue to check this and report on it over the next several years, but our guess is that hydrogen is probably not here to stay in this face of the strong competition presented by the EV industry and its strong governmental support on a worldwide level.

Hydrogen Stations - August 2014

Hydrogen Stations – August 2014

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45 Comments on "There Are Just 12 Public Hydrogen Stations in the United States"

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That’s weird.
According to many who don’t fancy fuel cell cars they are the result of the evil manipulations of the oil companies, which car companies such as Toyota notorious for its production of hugely inefficient pick up trucks favoured by red necks are conspiring with.

So what’s the latest?

Is this a doomed to fail enterprise which can’t win as it has no infrastructure and it will never be built, or an imposition by the oil industry which obviously has ample money to roll out the infrastructure as needed and is determined to overwhelm battery electric cars?

I would say neither. It is a technology that hasn’t been commercialized for transport yet. If hydrogen is set to compete directly against electricity and gas/diesel, it is behind in infrastructure right now. EVs were in the same spot 5 years ago.

Until companies start selling (not lease only) FCVs with worldwide availability, we won’t really know what the market is for them.

It was a hope a while ago but reality is turning out worse than anyone’s vision. It’s also convenient for the oil&gas companies to push because the hydrogen comes from CH4.

No one thinks it should have seat at the table except the oilcos and a few of the OEMs that have put several billion $ into it. But it doesn’t deserve a seat at the table because there’s no foreseeable upside economically or environmentally.

What are there, like a billion electrical outlets?

***MOD EDIT (August 17th, 2014 – 7:04pm)***

You were warned to not repeatedly derail topics of no relation to Tesla and specific to your repeated ‘fast swap’ criticism. If the post is about Tesla/swap stations, fine.

As such, this post as been removed, and you have now been warned again. If you randomly post once more about Tesla battery swap stations or random criticism where it has not been mentioned by another poster first – you will be banned.
*** MOD EDIT ***

Oh C’mon Cheryl, that’s a bit of ‘overstating the case’. Gasoline is already a relatively clean fuel. Certainly cleaner than the at-one-time-brainwashed Londoners’ Diesel vehicles which they now realize Dirty Particulates are now threatening their childrens’ health. People concerned about the environment in ,the States will probably not ‘bother’ with hydrogen, with its dubious benefits, seeing as any additional natural gas production required to come up with any significant amount of hydrogen will just fan the flames of public discontent over Horizontal Hydrofracking which is ruining counties all over the country, contaminating formerly potable water wells , and making formerly desireable homes worthless, since no bank will make a loan to such a property, even if you could find someone who consciously wanted to live there. The clear choice for Americans at least is Electric Vehicles. These may be powered in two ways: 1). The conventional way overnight in your garage, using more often than not the ubiquitous 110 volt recepticle almost all garages have. Any additional power required is more than compensated for the recent conversion in most homes from incandescent to either fluorescent or LED’s. 2). As I happen to, and an increasing number of homeowners are considering,… Read more »

I use public EV infrastructure on average, once every 6 months, as charging at home suits my needs 99.9% of the time.

I highly doubt installing a competing self sustaining fuel cell charging station in my garage for under $1500 is doable 🙂

Here is the map of the FCV stations under development in California.

The FCV stations cover the state a lot better than Tesla does with their superchargers. Especially when you consider the better range and much faster filling capability of FCVs.

Once 18 wheelers migrate to FC technology a true nationwide hydrogen highway will emerge.

It’s good to see California, Japan and Germany going all-in with FCVs.


Your arguments wouldn’t survive many courtrooms since you never subject yourself to the “Crucible of Cross-Examination”.

Since you never respond to comments made with your posts, the valid points you occassionally make get lost.

Again, you’d help your argument if you would stop talking in generalizations, and tell us for instance what is the non-subsidized cost of a gasoline equivalent gallon of Hydrogen?

Its around $8/gallon, no? People complain only doctors and lawyers have solar panels or electric cars. At such pricey fuel, what makes you surmise wide spread adoption of this other than by eccentrics?

Tesla owners can charge overnight at home.

FCV owners can only use these state sponsored stations.

Teslas are better covered.

Thats a Very good point.

If you look at the development map of the hydrogen stations, you can see how they are clustering near residential areas. This is due to the lack of home charging.

The purpose of the SuperChargers is the exact opposite (travel to other cities) and only enabled by the ability to charge at home every night.

This is a start. But just like plans for DCQCs, I will believe them once they are installed an operational. There is still no vehicle for sale to use them. We are in the waiting game now.

Fuel cell proponents keep mentioning that fuel cell vehicles have range and fueling speed advantages over EVs. The range claim doesn’t seem to have much merit since the longest range fuel cell vehicle tested by the EPA (Hyundai Tucson fuel cell) has exactly the same 265 mile rated range as the longest range BEV tested by the EPA (85 kWh model S). The faster refueling is true, but that is only useful on road trips if you can otherwise charge at home overnight. And based on that map of California, the only real road trip you will be able to take by the end of 2014 is between the San Francisco Bay area and Reno. By the end of 2015, your options will expand a bit. Then you will also be able to go between the SF Bay area and LA. And that’s it (at least if you want to make it back home again after the trip). My main point is this- faster refueling on a road trip is a theoretical advantage for fuel cell cars. But it’s only an actual advantage if there happens to be a hydrogen fueling station along the route you want to take. And… Read more »

More range? Huh? Which production FCEV has significantly higher range than a Tesla?

I just glanced at the map in the link but whoop dedo a bunch of stations in two places in Ca. How many billions will just these few stations cost? Who is paying for them? Just curious….

“Is this a doomed to fail enterprise which can’t win as it has no infrastructure and it will never be built, or an imposition by the oil industry which obviously has ample money to roll out the infrastructure as needed and is determined to overwhelm battery electric cars?”

The economics for hydrogen don’t work !!!!!

If the hydrogen economy succeeds, it will be because of top-down mandates by sold out greedy,fascist politicians that will literally ram hydrogen down everyone’s throat, whether they want it or not.

A perfect example is the Japanese Prime Minister who is just chopped liver for the Oil Companies.

Yes, I know about Honda’s little hydrogen tanks in your basement that store daytime solar power by hydrolysis in H2 tanks.

I always love the Japanese and their forward looking statements, like the one where the world should worship their Emperor, (otherwise known as WWII).

I don’t care what the Japanese have to say about Hydrogen !!!

The economics for hydrogen don’t work !!!!! Answer: No break through technology ever is as cheap as the current technology. The current economics don’t work for electric cars in most (not not all) situations either. If the hydrogen economy succeeds, it will be because of top-down mandates by sold out greedy,fascist politicians that will literally ram hydrogen down everyone’s throat, whether they want it or not. Answer: You elected them, if people were really that unhappy then they would lose the next election. If they thought they we’re going to lose the next election they would change their policy. A perfect example is the Japanese Prime Minister who is just chopped liver for the Oil Companies. Answer: Thank god the US, UK, German, French, Russian, Australian, etc. political class are totally above board and not influenced by any commercial entity. Please remove your blindfold. Yes, I know about Honda’s little hydrogen tanks in your basement that store daytime solar power by hydrolysis in H2 tanks. Answer: I don’t believe in electrolysis or batteries are superior, in fact I really can’t stand technology fan boys but Honda’s demonstration is a really good example of one of the advantages to electrolysis because… Read more »

Yeah, their plan for Fukushima is freeze the ground around the reactor that is burning out of control down into the ground too.

Technological advances do not trump basic thermodynamic laws. It doesn’t take a PhD to understand and compare the basic energetics of hydrogen FCV’s vs battery EV’s. There are too many energy conversion steps with too many second-law energy losses in producing/delivering/storing hydrogen to make hydrogen a viable mainstream transportation energy model in an energy efficient future. It doesn’t work even using natural gas as a base stock, much less using renewable solar/wind/etc to drive an electrolysis-based hydrogen model. GeorgeS has a great comparative chart the summarizes the two.

The Model S requires 38 kWh / 100miles, the i3 requires 27 kWh / 100miles. The model S is over 25% less efficient than an i3 and it is very much more expensive. Do I think we should abandon the less efficient car, no of course not. The model S offers a wide range of benefits including extra range, faster charging, more space, etc. The same argument could be used for super capacitors vs batteries as these are much more efficient than batteries, can be charge much faster and offer far more power per kg or dollar, they just have a slight problem with range. Fuel cells will never beat batteries on straight efficiency calculations but the ability to make the fuel separately, store it cheaply and transport it over long distances are I believe massive advantages. The thermodynamics can also be turned on their head to help out because you can also use heat to help out with the fuel manufacture. You can do cleaver stuff like concentrate the solar, split out the infra red for heat to make steam and then use the rest of the wave lengths to make electrical power with PV for steam electrolysis. Doing… Read more »

Please explain, since we already have gasoline as a backup to electric power, why we need an entirely new infrastructure, as most proponents are planning, using my tax dollars.

This is not a bad point, gasoline can be made synthetically from CO2 and H2 or from CO and H2, which in theory could both be made from renewable sources but IMO are more likely to come from unconventional fossil sources or coal. I have to admit not one of my personal favoured options. The only reason we went to gasoline was because it was easy to fractionate from crude oil which is becoming increasingly difficult to extract. My fear / gut feel is that if we stay with gasoline we will find cheaper and more efficient ways of turning coal and heavy oil into gasoline where as with hydrogen the step to renewables and electrolysis is much simpler transition and I think even if we started with steam reforming gas for hydrogen we would change to electrolysis as renewables took a bigger share of the global energy market. With gasoline there are of course still issues with the pollution the comes out of the tail pipe of a conventional ICE engine, the low overall efficiency of the drive train and the difficulty in making really efficient but small heat engines. Perhaps methanol made from hydrogen and CO2 is a… Read more »

Precisely the point, in that I have no choice. The Big Experts have already decided for me.

That is a tough one, not something that I can really say anything sensible on. As an example, if you assume a price of $130 a barrel of oil and exclude coal and/or nuclear from new power generation a whole heap of technologies become economically viable. If you assume only modest rises in the price a lot of those technologies would get to the demonstration level and then fail. In the automotive industry unfortunately demonstration level is a few thousand vehicles and a couple hundred fueling stations which isn’t cheap. Needless to say the amount of money the oil/fuel industry and the automakers are looking to invest is a lot more than the tax payer so one would hope that they have had a very detailed look at their options and picked the one they hope stands the best chance of success. So how do you decide which technology to back? Their is always a massive element of risk in developing any new technology. I am not sure what the best system is or even how the current system works, I believe if we support nothing we will end up in a lot of hot water or rather those living… Read more »

The basic point is, EV’s have been around for a long time, but have been hidden or banished by the ‘powers that be’.

Read the story of how GM , through front companies, totally uprooted the USA’s entire ELECTRIC public transportation infrastructure, by buying up steet car, tram and subway companies and making they go out of business, hiding the fact that GM was behind it all the way, obviously to force sales of more gas-powered vehicles. This of course while saying “Electric cars are just around the corner”, since the 1940’s…

Toyota, to their credit, got the industry ‘Off the dime’ by MISTAKENLY thinking that GM was seriously thinking of producing first a hybrid, then a full EV. GM board rooms must have laughed, until years later the Prius was profitable and GM had to play catch up. They’ve now leapfrogged the Prius with the VOLT, and others have come in with their EV’s (notably Nissan and Tesla), so now hopefully, within my lifetime, daily transportation will be as electrified as it was 100 years ago prior to GM doing all the interim damage.

Your plan to use windmills from hydrolysis is such an inefficient way to make hydrogen that, barring military use where cost (at least until now – but that may change) is no object, that I don’t see anyone doing it.

Far more likely is increased compressed and liquified natural gas usage, seeing the minimum processing and minimum efficiency losses.

OF course, LNG plants supposedly are being fast tracked since Washington wants to put the monkey wrench to Putin’s/Gazprom’s sales to the EU, but in view of all the horrible hydrofracking involved, Public Opinion and Outrage won’t allow that.

This is an interesting and potentially conclusive statement on hydrogen vs. batteries. Is there a study or paper in a refereed journal you know of which I can read?

I got slammed earlier by stating that we should promote anything that gets us to reduce CO2 production (not my exact words, but that is what I intended). The person said that H2 was far dirtier than electric. I asked at that time, too if there was a paper/report I could read. I didn’t get a response.

I am hoping you can help me here. Thanks.

Just 15 month ago, there were only 8 Tesla Superchargers.

For anyone who’s actually interested in current state of things, the rollout plans for California, costs of the cars/infrastructure and location rationales, levels of Govt. support in various countries and regions, issues and problems, here’s two good, very recent sources:

“Annual Evaluation of
Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle
Deployment and Hydrogen
Fuel Station Network



Interesting reading, however the one constant seems to be, in California at least, this H2 station program seems to be very heavily taxpayer subsidized. Seeing what the current California and Federal finances currently are, and what they’ll be in the future, makes me highly skeptical that much of this will come to pass. Think of the great promotion made by the head of the Old AEC (atomic energy commission) who said electricity from Nuclear Power would be “too cheap to meter”. After that we got sketches of atom powered elevators and atom powered automobiles, neither of which has actually come to fruition. And then of course there’s the Fukushima Disaster, the cleanup of this one industrial accident will cost the Japanese more money, $500 billion; incidentally, they would have been money ahead if they had built 52 oil-fired power plants and never had had Nuclear at all. As I’ve harped on several times, one of the H2 generation methods they’re relying on is the 4th generation Nuclear Power Plant, something which exists only in theory as none have been built yet. One more ‘accident’ (those 1 in a billion accidents seem to occur about every ten years now) and no… Read more »

I don’t know about that. Oil power plants can be pretty dangerous too.

Ha! I don’t know of any oil-fired power plant that has killed 1,000,000 people so far (think Chernobyl).

I know, my wristwatch puts out more radiation than a Nuclear Plant (but only if you ignore ‘Routine Releases’.

The latest ‘once in a billion years’ plant explosion (Fukushima One) is making its effects known close by you. There doesn’t seem to be many sea creatures on the west coast any more, along with the abnormal die offs washing up on the shore. Biologists are at least pointing arrows in the right direction saying “Something strange is happening in the Pacific”.

That said, I think BP should be hanged, for their ongoing abuse of the Gulf of Mexico.

Ha! 4,067 deaths from Chernobyl huh? When Belarus doctors estimated in 1986 the final death count, they thought they couldn’t fool anyone with such a low-ball number of 90,000, but they put it out (this was still the Soviet Union after all) and see what the reaction was. To their great surprise, this was regarded not as much too low, but much too high! When the UN IAEA (whose job is not to regulate safety, but is to promote Nuclear), said, “we can’t say that many people! IF people realized that many casualties are going to result from only one accident, then that will be the Death Knell for Nuclear”. SO they said 9,000. What a joke.

4,067 granted, is better than 2, which is what they used to say, so they’re getting warmer.

to Just-Chris The math for hydrogen just doesn’t work. You didn’t address this in your comment. There have been rumors that the japanese have discovered a way to mine methane hydrates from the Pacific Ocean floor. Methane is basically natural gas. Successful, economical mining of these deposits would make Japan a hydrocarbon “player” for the first time in their history. Since hydrogen is relatively easy to strip out of methane, the Japanese would then have a home grown source for their H2. For fossil fuel starved Japan this might have some real appeal. The lack of fossil fuels in japan also impacts their ability to manufacture electricity. The japanese have known about Tsunamis for centuries, if not millennia. In spite of that, they built a nuclear power station within yards of the ocean. The fall-out from that decision will last for decades. I don’t care what the Japanese do. They are certainly not infallible. I don’t care what the Germans do either. They are the same folks that rammed the diesel down everybody’s throat in Europe. And now the French are offering “cash for clunker” bounty money to turn in diesels. Amazing. I could care less what modern day fascists… Read more »
The math for hydrogen just doesn’t work. You didn’t address this in your comment. Answer: If by math you mean that hydrogen + fuel cell combination is less efficient than a battery then you are correct, batteries are more efficient by a long margin. There is more to energy than straight efficiency calculations. There have been rumours that the Japanese have discovered a way to mine methane hydrates from the Pacific Ocean floor. Methane is basically natural gas. Successful, economical mining of these deposits would make Japan a hydrocarbon “player” for the first time in their history. Since hydrogen is relatively easy to strip out of methane, the Japanese would then have a home grown source for their H2. For fossil fuel starved Japan this might have some real appeal. The lack of fossil fuels in Japan also impacts their ability to manufacture electricity. Answer: If the Japanese had successfully found a way to economically extract methane from the Pacific Ocean floor it wouldn’t be a rumour it would be a massive gold rush with huge investment from the Japanese government. It is unlikely to happen in my life time and the Japanese know it which is why they are… Read more »

“. . . what I am against is narrowing our options at this point or using the same flawed arguments to sink hydrogen fuel cell cars as were used unsuccessfully against BEV’s 5 years ago.”

Well said Just_Chris.

Of course there is a big plan for the hydrogen economy. The government and the oil companies have been paying academics to “research” the hydrogen transition. Oil companies and their paid lobbyists and bought off Congressmen have had this on the back burner for decades.

Battery electric cars are hugely disruptive to the oil companies because EVs eliminate the use of oil as a transportation fuel.

Hydrogen keeps the oil companies in the game.

The only reason that Fool Cell cars are planned for sale is the 7X carbon credit given to them by california politicians. And they are not selling Fool Cell cars only leasing them so the get the credits. Because they cannot afford to sell them for less than $150,000 they will remanufacture them after two years and be able to lease them again and qualify for carbon credits again.

Interesting Dennis, I had wondered why they would throw so much money at an obviously less robust solution, now it makes sense. I thought FCs might end up as range extenders in Chevy Volt like PHEVs but Tesla is showing even that limited application is unnecessary. Looks like it’s just not needed, though we often learn from failure more than success. I think FCs are easy to sell because they are so similar to the current “gas station” model everyone is used to, but overnight charging in your garage is so convenient and cheap I think EVs are a sure bet! Its kind of like 1900 when people still liked steam cars even though they were obviously inferior, it was familiar technology.

@ Just_Chris.
If the Japanese are so forward thinking why did back-up systems at Fukishima fail so rapidly? Developing an energy plan for next hundred years pales in comparison to the stupidity of the Fukishima design, a catastrophe that they will be dealing with for a hundred years. Saying that many nuclear power plants are built near oceans is not a counter argument.
You use France as an example, but then France does not have a problem with Tsunami’s, major earthquakes, like Japan does. The need for massive amounts of cooling water make building near oceans, or other large water sources a must for nuclear power plants.

Again. Talk to me a bout fuel cells in 5 years.

In the comparison electricity and H2, the score card (according to this article) is 20K to 12 “fueling” outlets. This needs to be restated because almost every EV owner has an outlet at home that should count so the numbers are more like 200K to 12. And, the numbers will always be strongly biased towards EVs because of the distribution grid of electricity.

The greenie in me also wants to point that EV “fuel” can be made at home while H2 can’t (OK, maybe Mr Science or Bill Nye could do it but for all practical purposes, it’s a big fat NO).

I agree. Electric can be made in a variety of ways too, hydrogen and gas etc, not as much and not as clean (ie; solar/wind/hydro)

We live near the renewable hydrogen station in Emeryville and it’s great to see all of the quiet, emission free city buses in our community because of it.

Fuel cells and electric cars can work together as long as the fuel is renewable, like the new state mandate requires, and not from dirty fracked gas. Just check out the Gasland films to see why.

Check out Fracknation on Netflix to see NOT why. Not to say either of them are true or false, but do your own research. Do you believe the “Terminator” happens too?

What a silly perspective. Nobody in their right mind would pit hydrogen fuel cell (HFC) technology against battery technology. They coexist in every HFC vehicle previously, currently, and projected to be manufactured. The real comparison is between hydrogen fuel and gasoline.

Right now, the most efficient way to power a practical vehicle is a battery pack of reasonable range, transitioning to a range extender to power miles beyond those frequently travelled. Today the answer to the range extender question is a small gasoline gen-set. Tomorrow, the answer should be HFC or a similar solution with high energy density.

The comparison should be between the number of hydrogen fueling stations and gasoline fueling stations, with the point being that we need more hydrogen stations.

I would wager that there were probably fewer gas stations 150 years ago than there are hydrogen fuel stations today, so perhaps this can be better viewed as a good start.