Schwarzenegger Launches Cal. H2 Network; Air Products-Led Team to Build Stations
DAVIS, CA - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger stepped up to the plate here last month and by Executive Order set the course for establishing the countrys first statewide hydrogen fueling system.
And timed in sync with the governors announcement, a nine-member team led by Air Products said it would build as many as 24 stations in a five-year period as part of the national Controlled Hydrogen Fleet and Infrastructure Demonstration Program announced a few days earlier by President Bush and Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham.
As widely expected (H&FCL March 04), Schwarzenegger announced the creation of a California Hydrogen Highway in a ceremony at the University of California Davis campus. He was joined by Terry Tamminen, secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency (H&FCL Jan. 04), other members of his cabinet and UC Davis chancellor Larry Vanderhoef.
Schwarzenegger posed for pictures refueling a hydrogen-powered fuel cell Toyota SUV, made available earlier by the carmaker to the university (H&FCL Dec. 02), and he declared the fueling station, operated by the Universitys Center for Transportation Studies, Station #1 in the upcoming system.
Californians invent the future, and we are about to do it again, said Schwarzenegger. We have the opportunity to prove to the world that a thriving environment and economy can co-exist. This vision for California is real and attainable. However, it will take time, so we must plant the seeds now.
The basic plan is to build a network of 150 to 200 hydrogen fueling stations by 2010 along the states major highways, making hydrogen fuel available to most Californians. The cost of this initial effort has been estimated variously at between $90 and $100 million, in part based on the experience of the California Fuel Cell Partnership.
The Schwarzenegger vision has the support of his fellow Republican, President Bush, in Washington: A week after the Davis ceremonies, Schwarzenegger announced that at least $35 million and possibly as much as $50 million over five years has been awarded to California laboratories by the Energy Department for hydrogen and fuel cell r&d. Recipients include three University of California campuses at Berkeley, Santa Barbara and Davis, Sandia National Laboratory in Livermore, and PolyFuel, Inc., Mountain View.
Said Schwarzenegger: These grants demonstrate the federal governments confidence in Californias ability to pave the way towards an environmentally sound future and will help us realize our vision of a hydrogen highway system.
That same day, meanwhile, Air Products said it was teaming with eight partners to build as many as 24 stations in California over five years, with DoE contributing about $35 million to the $91 million program. The partners are carmakers Toyota, Honda, Nissan and BMW; the ConocoPhilips energy company; the national Fuel Cell Research Center at the University of California at Irvine; the University of California at Davis; and the South Coast Air Quality Management District.
Toyota, Nissan and Honda plan to assign a total of 65 fuel cell vehicles to this project, and BMW plans to add 15 of its i.c.-engined hydrogen cars, according to the announcement. This is the first significant funding at the national level since President Bushs stated goal of supporting establishment of a hydrogen economy, said Chris Sutton, vice president and general manager of Energy Industries at Air Products. This is a step toward the goal of having key entities work together to solve important and critical issues....to gain real-world experience on fueling stations and feedback on vehicle infrastructure and hydrogen delivery technologies.
California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP) chairman Firoz Rasul, applauding Schwarzeneggers order, said the California Hydrogen Highway Network will capture the imagination of Californians. CaFCP said there are already eleven hydrogen fueling stations operating in California. Contacts/Sources: Governors website, www.governor.ca.gov; Air Products, www.airproducts.com, (media), Art George, 610/481-1340; CaFCP (media), Joe Irvin, 916/371-2870.