Ramon Oil-Hosted, CEC-Backed, First Retail in California Capital,
Brings Latest Version of Ionic Compression Technology to the States
Linde has opened the first retail hydrogen fueling station in the Sacramento area. The Ramos Oil-hosted, California Energy Commission-backed facility has Quantum dispensers and can handle an initial 100 passenger car fills per day. It “moves California closer to its goal of having 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025,” CEC said.
“If you build it, they will come,” CEC commissioner Janea Scott said at last week’s opening ceremony. The West Sacramento station is one of 51 funded facilities and California’s tenth operating hydrogen station, she said. It “gets us closer to our longer goal of constructing 100 stations in convenient locations across the State.”
CEC co-funded the station through its Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, and notes that it’s invested “more than $500 million to bolster statewide infrastructure and create a viable market for ZEVs” under ARFVTP to date.
‘A Commercial Reality’
“We can now say that hydrogen fueling is a commercial reality,” said Cliff Caldwell, senior VP and general manager for bulk products with Linde North America. “Linde is a global leader in clean energy and sees this as an important growth platform,” he said.
The West Sacramento facility has a 3,000-gallon liquid hydrogen storage tank fed by truck from a natural gas reformer in Los Angeles. Its Gilbarco-frame dispenser by Quantum Technologies has two hoses, one for 5,000- and one for 10,000-bar hydrogen fueling. Initial capacity is 400 kilograms per day, equal to about 100 passenger vehicle fills, says Nitan Natesan, hydrogen fueling business development manager for Linde.
‘A Model for the Rest of the Nation’
The Ramos Oil facility – which Linde notes has been in business for more than 60 years – also handles E85 gasoline from Propel Fuels and both B5 and B20 biodiesel. It’s “a model for the rest of the nation,” said company president Kent Ramos. “The prospect of hydrogen’s zero emissions technology fits perfectly into our multi-fuel platform concept, and I believe will prove that hydrogen has a place in the transportation fuel mix,” he said.
The Linde hydrogen installation, which has its own island, is the first to employ the latest version of Linde’s IC 90 ionic compressor, described as the “next generation of hydrogen compression technology,” in that it enables higher throughput and “enhanced back-to-back fueling.”
Ionic Liquid Compression
“Unlike conventional piston-operated compressors,” Linde says, “the IC 90 works with ionic liquid. Because these ionic liquids essentially have no vapor pressure, they do not evaporate or mix with the hydrogen gas. They also eliminate mechanical wear-and-tear and sealing problems inside the cylinders.” Natesan described it as “liquid piston” technology.
“Now is the time to get the infrastructure right, because the fuel cell vehicles are coming,” Fred Joseck of the Fuel Cell Technologies Office at the U.S. Department of Energy in Washington said at the West Sacramento opening. The new station, he said, is “a milestone.”
$12.49 per Kilogram
Hydrogen at the Linde outlet is currently priced at $12.49 per kilogram. A kilogram of hydrogen, Natesan said, has about the same energy content as a gallon of gasoline. Fuel cell cars, however, are about two and a half times as efficient as gasoline cars, and the expectation is that the price of hydrogen will drop as volumes increase.
Linde notes that it’s received CEC funding for new hydrogen stations in Oakland and San Ramon to go along with the five previous station awards from the agency. Linde has also built and is operating two hydrogen fueling stations for California’s AC Transit to fuel a dozen hydrogen fuel cell buses in Emeryville and Oakland.
In addition to the Toyota with its new Mirai (Japanese for “future;” F&F, November 17), OEMs with hydrogen fuel cell vehicles at the Linde opening included Daimler-Mercedes, Honda, Hyundai and Nissan.
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Source: Fleets & Fuels in West Sacramento, with follow-up