First Hydrogen Stations Require ‘Epic Effort’
In January of this year, the Cal State LA Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility became the first in the nation to be certified to charge for hydrogen by the kilogram. It has spent most of the year exclusively serving automakers testing fuel cell vehicles, but recently it opened up the gates to civilian FCEV drivers. Technical operations manager Michael Dray, who has worked at the station since May 2014, says getting everything running just right has been “challenging.”
The issues are many, from “labor intensive” software and hardware problems that require people on-site to fix, to the lack of common standards, to a shortage of engineers, workers, and contractors. And these problems have made the station’s running an “epic effort” while it is operating at just 15 percent capacity; Dray said in the past year they’ve had “probably 600 fuelings … without fail.” The station has the capacity to refuel between 15 and 20 hydrogen-powered vehicles a day, but isn’t filling up nearly that many cars. He admitted that having inoperable stations doesn’t make for happy drivers. “Sometimes folks get frustrated,” he said, according to Hybrid Cars. “They go to one station and find it’s closed, they go to another one and it’s broke, too. You can spend a lot of time in LA traffic going from one station to the other.”
Click through to Hybrid Cars to read Dray’s take on the issues and his assessment of what the coming hydrogen world is going to need, just from a refilling standpoint.