Honda Opens First Los Angeles-Area Hydrogen Fuel Station

Fuel Station Of The Future Uses Solar Power

7/10/2001 9:26:02 PM

TORRANCE, Calif., July 10 -- The first hydrogen production and fueling station in the Los Angeles area has started operation at Honda's research and development center in Torrance, American Honda Motor Co., Inc., announced today. The state-of-the-art station is part of Hondas ongoing research into renewable energy. It will support the Companys fuel cell vehicle development program and will be used for hydrogen production, storage and fueling. The station uses solar power to extract hydrogen from water, and also has back-up electrical power to increase the hydrogen production capacity. Available solar power can produce enough hydrogen to drive a single fuel cell vehicle for a year. Fuel cell vehicles and hydrogen fuel have tremendous potential to contribute to the goals of sustainable transportation systems and the use of renewable energy, said Ben Knight, Honda R&D Americas, Inc. vice president.

The development of a hydrogen fuel infrastructure is as important as the development of the vehicles themselves, Knight said. This is the first hydrogen station established by an auto maker to use solar energy to extract hydrogen from water and it will help verify more efficient hydrogen production methods as well as help us solve the challenges involved with hydrogen production and fueling stations for the future. Hondas hydrogen station is a unique design, with features designed to provide safe, efficient, and convenient refueling for fuel cell vehicles. Safety was a top priority in the development of the station. Honda engineers worked closely with the City of Torrance representatives during planning and construction. The station was built to standards for hydrogen systems developed by the National Fire Protection Agency. Additionally, an infrared camera monitors operations at all times and the system is designed to immediately shut down in the event of an earthquake. The stations operation starts with the solar cells using the suns energy to produce electricity. The electricity then is used to extract hydrogen from water. A compressor pressurizes the extracted hydrogen and it is stored in tanks at the station. The system that manages the solar-generated electricity with maximum efficiency was developed by Honda engineers, some with previous experience in Hondas Dream solar car development program.

Hydrogen-powered Honda fuel cell vehicles have been operational since 1999 and have been participating in the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP) program near Sacramento since November 2000. From the start-up of CaFCPs program through June of this year, Hondas fuel cell vehicles have logged more than 3,500 miles. The Honda FCX V3 running on hydrogen was used as the pace vehicle for this years Los Angeles Marathon.