Calif. Rolling Out $200M for Hydrogen Vehicle Infrastructure

The California Energy Commission is seeking proposals to spend $200 million starting in 2015 to build out fueling stations and other infrastructure to support hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles.

The commission released a Program Opportunity Notice on Nov. 22 authorizing spending of up to $20 million annually to implement requirements signed into law in 2007.

Assembly Bill 118 created the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program that was renewed earlier this year. Assembly Bill 8 allocated funding.

The program provides funding for projects that expand hydrogen fueling infrastructure, including building fueling stations; improve alternative vehicle technologies; retrofit medium- and heavy-duty vehicle technologies; and expand the alternative fueling infrastructure available to existing fleets, public transit, and transportation corridors, according to the notice.

While hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle technology is still in its infancy, automakers are continuing to develop concept vehicles. At the Los Angeles Auto Show, Hyundai announced plans to deliver Tucson Fuel Cell SUVs to Enterprise Rent-A-Car with rental availability planned for the spring.

Honda has announced plans to produce its Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle for the 2016 model year with availability set for 2015.

To ensure the hydrogen fueling network is spread out, the commission is requiring a six-minute drive time between stations. A typical hydrogen fueling station costs about $2.5 million, according to the notice.

Applicants for the funding must meet several requirements regarding hydrogen fuel quality and fueling protocols.

Hydrogen dispensed from the station must meet the requirements of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) International's J2719: 2011 standard. Station dispensers must also meet SAE International's Technical Information Report J2601: 2010 standard. Stations must have a minimum average daily fueling capacity of no less than 100kg, while minimum peak fueling capacity must meet at least three 7kg type A for 70MPA fills an hour.

The deadline for applications is Feb. 14, and the commission expects to announce the grantees by March 28. For detailed information about the submission, visit the commission's website here.

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