Fuel-Cell Cars Receive Hydrogen-Station Boost From U.S.

The U.S. Energy Department is seeking to accelerate the design and construction of fueling stations for cars that run on hydrogen.

Under the H2FIRST project announced today, the agency will collaborate with Sandia National Laboratories and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory on designs and materials for hydrogen fueling stations. Researchers will also share data with state agencies, automakers and hydrogen suppliers to reduce the cost and time needed to develop the infrastructure.

The program, officially Hydrogen Fueling Infrastructure Research and Station Technology, is part of a nascent effort to promote wider use of vehicles that run on hydrogen-powered fuel cells. The technology offers the promise of a fossil-fuel replacement, though it’s years from being seen as mainstream. One hurdle is the lack of fueling stations.

“The success of hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles largely depends on more stations being available,” Daniel Dedrick, hydrogen program manager at Sandia, said in the statement. “We’re definitely on the road to making that happen more quickly.”

Hyundai Motor Co. already offers fuel-cell vehicles in the U.S. and Toyota Motor Corp. expects to follow suit next year. They meet mandates from states including California requiring car companies to sell an increasing number of zero-emission vehicles. The fuel-cell cars produce electricity from hydrogen through a chemical reaction that emits no greenhouse gases.

Governors from eight states including California, New York and Massachusetts committed in October to putting 3.3 million fuel-cell cars on the road by 2025. California is also providing $20 million a year to help fund 100 hydrogen filling stations in the state by 2024.

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