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Transportation United States

California's Hydrogen Highway Adds Another Station 87

plover writes Scientific American notes that a new hydrogen refueling station has been added in Sacramento, bringing the state's total to ten. This was timed to coincide with Toyota's Japan release of their first commercially available fuel cell vehicle, the Mirai. Toyota is scheduled to start selling cars in Northern California next year.
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California's Hydrogen Highway Adds Another Station

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  • by CrimsonAvenger ( 580665 ) on Saturday December 13, 2014 @05:23PM (#48590921)
    Well, I know I'm ready to buy a hydrogen burner, knowing that there are ten refueling stations in the entire State....
    • Well, if it really were "Ten!" stations that'd be 3 628 800 stations, which oughtta be about one for every household.

  • Oh boy! So, at this rate, someone would be able to drive coast to coast by...oh...3025?

    Just in time for the 4th Succession War!

  • Toyota's mirai (Score:5, Informative)

    by kruach aum ( 1934852 ) on Saturday December 13, 2014 @05:44PM (#48591013)

    Mirai means (far) future in japanese, as opposed to shourai, which means near future.

  • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Saturday December 13, 2014 @06:20PM (#48591153) Journal
    I wasn't aware that hydrogen fuel cell cars were already approaching production. Here are the stats for the Toyota Mirai:

    Cost: $57,000 (before taxes and rebates)
    0-60: 9 seconds
    Range: 300 miles
    It's a hybird, so it also has a battery pack (like the Prius)
    You have to dump the resulting water

    At the moment, most hydrogen is generated using fossil fuels (much like electricity), so it is only one of a two-part process if we wish to stop releasing CO2.
    • You have to dump the resulting water

      I assumed you meant that it was contaminated or something, and wasn't safe just to vent from the car, but it seems that...

      The Mirai has a button labeled H2O that opens a gate at the rear, dumping the water vapor that forms from the hydrogen-oxygen reaction in the fuel cell.

      Is this really not something they could automate?

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      I wasn't aware that hydrogen fuel cell cars were already approaching production. Here are the stats for the Toyota Mirai:

      [snip]
      You have to dump the resulting water

      At the moment, most hydrogen is generated using fossil fuels (much like electricity), so it is only one of a two-part process if we wish to stop releasing CO2.

      Hyundai is also piloting a project as well - though you lease the vehicle because they're only doing it in a few places where there are stations. I think the lease (which is fairly price at

      • Though - why is there a water dump valve? I mean, since it comes out as steam, why not just have a tailpipe that emits steam? Or just let it drip on the ground like a car A/C.

        I really wonder that too.

  • by jamesl ( 106902 ) on Saturday December 13, 2014 @06:32PM (#48591193)

    ... to go.

    The USA had 118,756 filling stations (gas stations) in 2007 according to the Census
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F... [wikipedia.org]

    Not quite ready for prime time.
    Drivers will likely have to take a slight detour to reach the station, which is in an industrial section of West Sacramento, next to a cement factory that is currently being demolished.

    The station was originally planned at a Shell station 2.5 miles away in a much busier section of town, but building codes required setbacks too wide to fit the hydrogen infrastructure within the station.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Unless they are making EVs with hydrogen range extenders to be able to drive between cities, it makes no sense.

    They are spending way too much money on Hydrogen, and the fuel is expensive compared to electricity. They could have built a lot more DC fast chargers and level 2 chargers around the state and nation for the price they are spending to roll out hydrogen to a very few number of drivers.

    Now, if gasoline was running out in 50 years like we thought it was going to be before tar sands and fracking, alon

  • by Whatsmynickname ( 557867 ) on Saturday December 13, 2014 @08:43PM (#48591711)

    Hydrogen stations in California have had a choppy rollout. Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) first created the "hydrogen highway" concept in 2004 by executive order and budgeted $15 million for hydrogen demonstration projects, stations and buses through 2008. Schwarzenegger increased spending in 2007, signing A.B. 118, which provided roughly $90 million for hydrogen through this year. A bill that Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed last year, A.B. 8, reformed the funding process, allocating $20 million per year through 2023 or until 100 stations are built.

    So CA has spent $100 million so far, and all we have are 10 stations? Where did all the money go?

    • by Trepidity ( 597 )

      Most of the first $15m went towards R&D and custom manufacturing costs for some tech demos, like a hydrogen-powered bus. That's about what I'd expect that to cost, given fully-loaded engineering salaries (~$200-300k/yr after overhead) and how expensive it is to build one-off things. Might not have been worth building in the first place, though.

  • by DaHat ( 247651 ) on Saturday December 13, 2014 @09:42PM (#48591865) Homepage

    On the one side we have the entrenched and largely ubiquitous gasoline infrastructure trying to keep electricity from becoming the dominant (good luck)... the recent upstart of hydrogen which requires you to rather carefully plan your commute... and LNG sitting there in the corner saying "Don't forget about me guys!"

    It's like Verizon vs ATT on pay-per-view side and Sprint in it's own ring waiting for T-Mobile to arrive on PBS.

    It's pretty easy to guess which is going to get the bigger numbers in terms of revenue.

    • and LNG sitting there in the corner saying "Don't forget about me guys!"

      There are already a hundred thousand LNG vehicles in the US alone.

      • There are already a hundred thousand LNG vehicles in the US alone.

        Yes, over many years... and there are over 250,000 plug in electric cars in the US already, just since 2008...

        LNG is simply not going to happen, for many reasons... it probably should have, 20 years ago, but it just didn't...

        • by Trepidity ( 597 )

          I agree for private cars. The situation with buses is less clear. If you have overhead wires, of course you can run an electric bus on the grid, but most cities don't want to put that in (possible exceptions for BRT lines, but even those seem to usually not be electrified). And with current battery tech, a battery-powered electric bus is challenging. So I think the current trend of LNG buses being slowly rolled out has at least some life in it.

  • Perhaps laws should be put into effect that require gasoline and diesel engines in cars to have the same level of emissions as electric or hydrogen powered cars.
    • Perhaps laws should be put into effect that require gasoline and diesel engines in cars to have the same level of emissions as electric or hydrogen powered cars.

      First, EVs and hydrogen cars would have to be viable. Modern gas-powered cars have pretty great emissions, anyway. The primary problem remains the sequestered-carbon fuels and feedstocks. EVs run on these, too, indirectly. If we upgraded the national grid substantially (it would cost a minuscule fraction of our military budget, and pay military dividends itself) then using renewables to charge up these EVs would be a viable solution.

  • What if all vehicles were hydrogen fuel cell electric? Yes, carbon emissions would drop to nothing (for vehicles), but what about global oxygen levels? Fuel cells bind up the hydrogen with oxygen from the atmosphere to make water vapor. Has anyone run the numbers on how this would affect oxygen levels?
    • In order for H2 cars to be truly green, you have to take water and split it and vent the oxygen. So you get the water back when you run your fuel cell car, and all is right again with the world.

      Now all we need is a way of turning sunbeams into electricity, and we're all set. Of course, you could just charge up batteries instead, much more efficiently.
      You can't burn coal to make the electricity without blowing your green cred. Using oil, natural gas, etc. to make hydrogen, is even worse because they're fossi

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