Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Toyota opens first pipeline-fed hydrogen fueling station in U.S.

TORRANCE, Calif. - Toyota opened the first hydrogen fueling station in the U.S. fed directly from an active industrial hydrogen pipeline on May 10.

Located adjacent to the Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. sales and marketing headquarters campus in Torrance, the station is a joint effort between Toyota, Air Products and Shell Hydrogen, and received funding from South Coast Air Quality Management District and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Shell owns and operates the facility, and Air Products provides onsite equipment, and station maintenance, and provides the station with hydrogen gas through a pipeline from its plants in Wilmington and Carson, Calif.

The hydrogen will be used to power fuel-cell vehicles that are in the early stages of development. The hydrogen-powered vehicles are more energy efficient and won't produce harmful emissions.

While Toyota doesn't currently offer a line of fuel-cell automobiles, it will use the facility to fuel vehicles in its fuel-cell hybrid demonstration program, and will open the station to other manufactures' fuel-cell vehicle fleets.

"Building an extensive hydrogen refueling infrastructure is a critical step in the successful market launch of fuel-cell vehicles," said Chris Hostetter, TMS group vice president, product and strategic planning, in a news release. "We plan to bring a fuel-cell vehicle to market in 2015, or sooner, and the infrastructure must be in place to support our customers' needs."

To spur the development of that infrastructure prior to fuel-cell cars actually being for sale, Toyota's nationwide demonstration program plans to place 100 of the latest generation of fuel-cell hybrid vehicles, which can achieved an estimated 431 miles on a single fill of hydrogen, with partners by 2013.

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