Largest fast-fill hydrogen bus fuelling station in USA opens in California

January 31, 2020

Largest fast-fill hydrogen bus fueling station in USA opens in California
OCTA’s hydrogen fuelling station is equipped with Air Products’ SmartFuel® hydrogen fuelling technology (Courtesy OCTA/Air Products)

A new fast-fill hydrogen fuelling station has been officially opened in Orange County, California, to serve the local transport authority’s newly launched fleet of ten hydrogen fuel-cell-powered buses. Believed to be the largest capacity in the United States, the hydrogen fuelling station, along with the ten new fuel-cell electric buses, represents a $22.9 million investment in zero-emission transit.

The new hydrogen fuelling station, located at Orange County Transportation Authority’s (OCTA’s) bus depot, is equipped with Air Products’ SmartFuel® hydrogen fueling technology, design, and equipment.  reportedly has capacity for up to fifty buses, which corresponds to 1,500 kg of hydrogen in an eight-hour period. The station can fuel buses, with an average of 28 kg of hydrogen,   in around six to ten minutes, while also providing back-to-back bus fuelling for up to thirty buses and simultaneous fuelling capability with multiple fuelling lanes.

“This station sets a new milestone for bus fuelling capacity and demonstrates other continuing innovations in hydrogen fuelling,” stated Eric Guter, General Manager, Americas Growth Platforms at Air Products. “While we have designed and built hydrogen fuelling stations around the world for transit agencies, this station brings our advanced fast-fill technology to transit buses by taking advantage of our unique cryogenic compressors and specifically designed cooling system as well as our liquid hydrogen supply position.”

The hydrogen fuelling project is the result of several organisations collaborating to accelerate the next phase of zero-emissions transit vehicles in the USA. Guter added, “We would like to congratulate our project collaborators for joining together for such a notable accomplishment and CARB for providing critical funding for this project.”

Jack Kitowski, Chief of CARB’s Mobile Source Control Division, commented, “Funds from the state’s landmark cap-and-trade programme help forward-looking transit agencies like OCTA — and their partners such as Air Products — secure clean energy to modernise and transform their fleets.”

Kitowski continued, “A zero-emission public bus fleet dramatically reduces tailpipe emissions from buses in low-income communities and provides multiple benefits, especially for transit-dependent riders. Fleets that transition to clean energy sources like hydrogen reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions and help achieve cleaner air for all of us.”

CTE, a nonprofit that advocates for clean, sustainable, innovative transportation and energy technologies managed the project and along with OCTA secured $12.47 million, more than half of the funding for the project, from CARB through California Climate Investments. Additional funding also reportedly came from California’s Senate Bill 1, overseen by the California Department of Transportation, and from the SCAQMD’s Clean Fuels Fund.

“CTE has been working with Air Products for over a decade building hydrogen stations around the US,” explained Dan Raudebaugh, CTE’s Executive Director. “This station in Orange County, built in partnership with Trillium, is real game-changer for the zero-emission bus industry.”

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