NorCal Zero Project

It is a milestone day for hydrogen refueling.  The Center for Transportation and the Environment announces the inauguration of the NorCAL ZERO project.  This new station can serve up to  200 Class 8 heavy duty trucks per day.  It has a capacity of 4,000 kilograms of LH2.   The station also can refuel class 1 vehicles and comes equipped with 4 light duty hoses for cars & SUVs.  The $53 million collaborative effort will help deploy 30 Hyundai Xcient Class 8 hydrogen fuel cell trucks.  These big rigs are the world’s first mass produced Class 8 fuel cell trucks.

Hyundai Xcient Class 8 hydrogen fuel cell truck
Hyundai Xcient Class 8 hydrogen fuel cell truck at the brand new True Zero Port of Oakland HD/LD refueling station (Photo credit Ben Xiong H2FCP.org)

West Oakland, a historically Black and Latino community, faces outsized environmental burdens from heavy industry, freeways, and diesel trucks coming to and from the Port of Oakland. CTE projects that the NorCAL ZERO project has the potential to avoid the equivalent to 2,393,124 gallons of diesel burned.  Burning diesel releases NOx pollution which impacts the air people breathe and is especially burdensome near a large port like the Port of Oakland where many class 8 diesel trucks gather.  Each diesel truck replaced with a zero emission hydrogen fuel cell truck will Continue reading “NorCal Zero Project”

RMP’s Real Time Hydrogen Station Status Pages

RMP has upgraded our California hydrogen maps by including a new map for real time station status and a new map for stations coming soon. All stations reporting SOSS status in California are summarized on our landing page at this link and shown below (Figure 1 ). All of the pages covered in this post and associated maps are optimized for mobile devices so drivers in California can use them to find the nearest station and its current status easily on their phones. But, the pages are also designed to work well on a desktop computer where it’s a little more fun to analyze the maps on your big screen at home if you want to dig deeper into data analytics.

Figure 1 – Screenshot of RMP’s Real Time Hydrogen Station Status page showing a summary of all retail H2 refueling stations in California.  Click here to go to the live page and bookmark it.

California Summary Page:

At the time of this writing there are 56 stations open to the public for retail sale of H2 in California and they all report their status via H2FCP.org’s SOSS server. There are several more stations in various stations of development that will eventually come online and be open for retail business.  When the commissioning of a new station is complete and it comes online, it will report its first SOSS status and be added to the table by county/region.  RMP summarizes all stations by county and region. RMP has divided California’s 58 counties into 14 regions (Figure 2). Each region has at least one county (Orange county and San Diego county are both single county regions).

Scrolling down past the summary data table on the live page, you’ll see a graphic of California broken up into these 14 regions (Figure 2 ). Only regions with open stations or stations coming soon are shown in the data table, but all regions are shown in the graphic. Within each region, you can see this boundary lines of each county within that region.

RMP’s landing page shows a table of the real time status tallies of all stations in California by region. You can see how many stations are online now,  how many have limited availability now, how many are offline now, or have some other status. The SOSS server reports one of six statuses for any given station:

1 = Online (Green Circle)
2 = Limited Availability (Yellow Triangle)
3 = Offline (Red Square)
4 = Unknown (Gray Triangle – “Other” on main page)
5 = Closed (Gray Square – “Other on main page”)
6 = Refresh (Blue Square – “Other” on main page)

Figure 2 – RMP’s map of California’s 58 counties broken down into 14 color coded regions.

From the main landing page, you can see the overview of the whole state and each region and you can drill down on more detail for each region. You can click on the SOSS MAP to see all the retail stations on a Google Map, you can click on the COMING SOON MAP to see all stations in development, or you can click on any region to see a detailed listing of all stations, their current status, and their current inventory in kilograms. If you click on California, you will see a detailed listing of all stations in California and their associated status & inventory in kgs. The last updated time is always stamped at the top of the page in Pacific Standard Time (PST). RMP pings the SOSS server once every 15 minutes on the quarter hour and takes a snapshot of all station statuses. Therefore, the statuses you see are always no more than 15 minutes old when you load the page.

Regional Listing Page:

When you click on any region from the main page, you’ll launch a regional page and see a detailed listing of all stations in that region as well as their associated status & inventory level (Figure 3).  At the very top of the regional page you will again see the SOSS MAP link and the COMING SOON MAP along with the additional SHOW GRAPHS link. When you first load the regional page, the graphs are hidden. If you click the SHOW GRAPHS link, you will see a graph of the last 24 hours of station status & inventory. Each graph shows the station’s status & inventory in 96 different bars representing 15 minute increments over the past 24 hours. The height of the bar represents the inventory level in kg and the color of the bar represents the status at the time the status was read from the SOSS server; same color coding as described above for each of the six different statuses. If you’re using a desktop computer, you can hold your mouse over the graph to see the time stamp and inventory level in more detail, if you’re on your phone or an iPad, lightly drag your fingertip across the graph to see the same.

Figure 3 – San Francisco Bay Regional Page shown . The regional pages show a listing of all stations in the region and their current status & inventory. Click on any station to go to its homepage. Click here to see the live San Francisco Bay regional page.

Again, the timestamp of the data you’re seeing on the regional page is always shown at the top of the page to let you know the time the status snapshot was taken. All stations in the region are listed corresponding to the count tallies you saw on the summary page. If you see an “i”  icon next to the station’s name, it indicates the station has a special information message being broadcast from the SOSS server. You can click on any station to go to that station’s homepage where you can find additional details about the station including the information message. Below the table of stations listed on the regional page is an infographic showing the counties included in that region (Figure 4).

FIgure 4 – The regional page shows the counties that make up the region. The San Francisco Bay region, for example, is made up of 9 counties.

Station Homepage:

The station homepage has additional station details for each specific location. If the station was marked with an “i” icon on the regional page, you will be able to see the information message on the station homepage in a yellow info box just below the station title (Figure 5). Along with the status and inventory message, you will also find additional station information like address and phone number. The graph on the home page is similar to the graph on the regional page but shows activity over the past 3 days in 45 minute increments to show a longer horizon. You can also see the 5 closest stations and their status. You can also see the 5 closest stations coming soon (not pictured).

Figure 5 – The location homepage shows additional information about the station like any informational message, the address, five closest stations, etc.

In Conclusion:

RMP is now hosting three basic real time pages: a California summary page, a regional page for each region, and a location homepage for each refueling station. Please check them out and make a bookmark if you like it. As always, check with H2FCP.org for official information.

The official URL for RMP’s Real Time Hydrogen Status landing page is:

https://www.respectmyplanet.org/public_html/california

The Truth About Blue Hydrogen

Blue hydrogen has been making headlines this summer.  It’s made from natural gas in a two-part process called autothermal reformation (ATR).  The ATR process is different than the steam reformation (SMR) process used to make most hydrogen over the past century. There has never been a market for hydrogen for energy so we learn more & more each year about how to Continue reading “The Truth About Blue Hydrogen”

USA’s Public Retail Hydrogen History: A View from Late 2020

Three new hydrogen refueling stations have come online recently that mark a paradigm change in retail hydrogen refueling infrastructure in the USA:

  • Shell Oakland with 800kg capacity Oakland, California 9/20/2019
  • TrueZero Fountain Valley with 1,200kg capacity Fountain Valley, California 7/3/2020
  • TrueZero Mission Hills with 1,200kg capacity Mission Hills, California 10/26/2020

Sometimes when you want to understand where you are or what just happened, you have to look back to appreciate how you got here.  To understand something generationally new, you have to understand its predecessor technology to appreciate the contrast between the way it was and the way it will be going forward.  RMP has been writing about some BIG new hydrogen refueling stations that would be coming online soon, and now… they’re here.  They’re open now.  Now that they’re open & with more BIG stations on the way, it’s starting to set in that we have reached a milestone in retail hydrogen refueling infrastructure.  That said, it seems like a good reflection point to look back at retail hydrogen infrastructure development thus far and understand the USA’s history in hydrogen clean energy technology.

People following hydrogen infrastructure development will have many different takes on where we started and how far we’ve come.  How far to go back in history is an ambiguous question.  RMP will focus on Continue reading “USA’s Public Retail Hydrogen History: A View from Late 2020”

USA’s First Hydrogen Passenger Rail – San Bernadino California

America’s first hydrogen fuel cell train is expected to be operational in San Bernadino California in 2024 and there’s a cool connection back to Michigan State University. Hydrogen fuel cell powered trains are already in public service in both Germany & China. Hydrogen fuel cell trains create their own electricity onboard by running hydrogen from a tank & oxygen from the ambient air through a fuel cell. That electricity powers a motor that runs the wheels & on-board “right-sized” battery pack that buffers electricity flow and the only emission is potable water. Hydrogen fuel cell trains are being hash tagged on Twitter as #Hydrail.

The San Bernadino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA) has begun mainline construction on the Redlands Passenger Rail Project, which is bringing the next generation of passenger rail service to the East Valley. To celebrate this momentous occasion, SBCTA had a Groundbreaking Event on July 19,2019 near the corner of Third Street and Stuart Avenue in Redlands.

california hydrogen train
The Redlands Rail project in San Bernadino California is already under construction & will be operational by 2021. A hydrogen fuel cell powered train is on order from Stadler that should be operational on the new route by 2024. If you want to see a real world Google map of the rail route, click here. (click image to enlarge)

The Redlands Passenger Rail Project will add a nine-mile rail connection between the University of Redlands and the San Bernadino Transit Center, a multi-modal transit hub that can provide access to all points west. When completed, the project will house the Arrow commuter line, featuring specially designed zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell powered trains. The zero-emission units will be the first of their kind in North America. The Arrow system is expected to be operational in 2021 & up to date information about construction on the project & road crossing closures as the construction plays out can be Continue reading “USA’s First Hydrogen Passenger Rail – San Bernadino California”

USA & CANADA QUARTERLY H2 INFRASTRUCTURE UPDATE 2018-Q4

hydrogen fuel cells

Welcome new readers of RMP’s quarterly H2 infrastructure report.  Each quarter RMP looks back on the major stories related to hydrogen infrastructure advancements in the USA & Canada.  RMP compares the current Alternative Fuels DataCenter database to the AFDC database in the prior quarter to see what has changed.  The AFDC database is updated by the US Department of Energy & can be found by clicking here.   RMP also follows the #hydrogen hashtag on Twitter to stay plugged into the latest develops around the world.  Clickthrough to read all the updates & news from the past three months. Continue reading “USA & CANADA QUARTERLY H2 INFRASTRUCTURE UPDATE 2018-Q4”

USA & Canada Quarterly H2 Infrastructure Update 2018-Q3

This quarterly report looks back at all the H2 infrastructure activity from the previous three months in the USA & Canada. This issue of our report is focused on activity that occurred between 6/30/2018 and 9/30/2018.  RMP is tracking Hydrogen Refueling Station (HRS) development as refueling is the key growth bottleneck to wide scale FCEV adoption.  Awesome hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are already available and in production, we just need refueling stations.  A lot of hydrogen infrastructure activity has occurred in the USA & Canada in the past quarter.   The two biggest highlights in the last quarter have got to be Hawaii’s first public HRS opening in July and Canada’s first HRS opening at the tail end of June that just missed our Q2 publication cutoff when RMP was only covering USA activity.

USA Hydrogen Stations
HRS count of planned & active locations in USA from 9-23-2018 download from AFDC database. Hawaii ranks #2 in number of stations on the database.  (CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE)

Honolulu-based Toyota dealer and distributor SERVCO Pacific unveiled the island’s first HRS in Oahu after traditional Japanese Taiko drummers kicked off the ceremony.  SERVCO, a local 100-year-old company, hopes that the availability of hydrogen to power passenger cars will spur sales of fuel cell vehicles (FCEVs) on Oahu and eventually other Hawaiian Islands.  Hawaii already ranks 2nd in the USA for number of  planned & active stations in a state with nine.   In fact the SERVCO station has been on RMP’s Map of all HRS in the USA since we started making our map (view our map here).  Now, the SERVCO station is open to the general public.

If you’re reading this article, you might have already Continue reading “USA & Canada Quarterly H2 Infrastructure Update 2018-Q3”

Quarterly USA H2 Report Becomes Quarterly USA & Canada H2 Report

RMP is based near Detroit, Michigan.   The Detroit River separates the City of Detroit & the City of Windsor.  The Ambassador Bridge connects the two cities and soon the Gordy Howe International Bridge, a once in a generation undertaking, will be a second major bridge connecting the two cities.  Windsor is my personal connection to Canada and has been woven into the fabric of my life since I was a child.  I can remember seeing Ronald Reagan at Cobo Hall in the morning & crossing the bridge to Windsor and seeing Queen Elizabeth in Windsor on the very same day.   The USA & Canada border is vast and the friendship & commerce all along the USA & Canada border provides many folks from Washington to New York their own personal connections to our neighbor to the north.

Canada is also a leader in Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology.  Ballard Power is Continue reading “Quarterly USA H2 Report Becomes Quarterly USA & Canada H2 Report”

USA Quarterly H2 Infrastructure Update 2018-Q2

This quarterly report looks back at all the H2 infrastructure activity from the previous three months. This issue of our report is focused on activity that occurred between 3/31/2018 and 6/30/2018. With things happening faster now than they have in the past, we may need to make this a monthly report in the near future. If you like keeping up to date on RMP’s H2 data observations, please subscribe to our blog by entering your email address in the WordPress subscribe widget. RMP uses the AFDC database as our main source to generate the information in this report. Several data updates on the Alternative Fuels Data Center database occurred this quarter, which is the 2nd straight quarter RMP has monitored higher frequency in data updates since we started following the AFDC database over six years ago. The AFDC database is also the main source of RMP’s Hydrogen Station Map. Areas of the database that have been stagnate for years, now show an increased frequency in updates. RMP notices every small change from quarter to quarter using special data analytics techniques developed over years of tracking environmental data & creating our environmental Google maps. You can help RMP improve our research & publications by making a tax-deductible donation (USA only) by clicking here.

Seven data records for H2 stations disappeared from the database this quarter. Two of the stations no longer showing on the AFDC database are the Continue reading “USA Quarterly H2 Infrastructure Update 2018-Q2”

Coal Use Forecasted To Rise – How We Can Mitigate Coal Pollution

Do you consider yourself as a person that cares about the environment?  Are you concerned about climate change?  Are you concerned about oil pipelines traversing our lakes and rivers threatening our fresh water resources?  Then you understand energy production from High Efficiency Low Emissions (HELE) coal is an important part of the plan for a better environment, right?  No?

If we ignore the fact that new coal powered capacity will continue to come online over the next twenty years, we bury our heads in the sand when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other atmospheric pollution.  We need to change the way we use coal and start using thermolysis for gasification rather than combustion for burning.   By choosing thermolysis instead of combustion, we can produce energy without producing pollution that harms our air and water.  In order to foster renewable energy sources like solar and wind, we need to find a common denominator fuel to let renewables compete on a wide scale.  That common denominator fuel is hydrogen.  We can make hydrogen from coal with significantly reduced pollution while we wean ourselves off of fossil fuels.  We can also make hydrogen from water and create zero pollution.   We can increase our capacity to make hydrogen from water while we decrease our use of coal over the long term.  We can phase coal out of our energy mix, but it will take time and we must have a pragmatic approach.

RMP draws contrast between the common misunderstanding between what is combustion and what is a noncombustion chemical reaction.  Burning coal is not the same thing as thermolysis  or the thermal decomposition of matter without releasing particulate matter to atmosphere.   The byproducts of thermolysis are inert and saleable for road making material and other construction material.

Be it known to all within the sound of my voice, whosoever shall be found guilty of burning coal shall suffer the loss of his head.

-King Edward II of England, 1276

Coal has generally had three major knocks against it with regard to pollution and its negative effects on the environment:  1)  CO2 emissions,  2) Sulfur Dioxide emissions, & 3) Mercury emissions.   Other complaints about coal involve NOx’s and other particulate matter released to atmosphere.    So if we could produce cleaner energy from our abundance of US coal without releasing those types of Continue reading “Coal Use Forecasted To Rise – How We Can Mitigate Coal Pollution”