Hydrogen is a carbon-free, non-toxic chemical element that is part of many naturally occurring compounds on earth, like in water (H2O). It is the lightest molecule in the universe that consists of two hydrogen atoms (H2). A Hydrogen atom consists of one proton and one electron. The hydrogen used in vehicles is an odorless gas and is normally produced from water or natural gas.
Steam methane reforming (SMR) is the most common method in the United States. In this process, methane in natural gas reacts with steam, producing hydrogen and carbon monoxide. The carbon monoxide undergoes further reactions, generating more hydrogen. Hydrogen can also come from water through a process called electrolysis, where water is split into hydrogen and oxygen with electricity.
Fuel cell vehicles use hydrogen as a gas to power an electric motor. Unlike conventional vehicles, which run on gasoline or diesel, fuel cell cars and trucks combine hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity to run a motor. A fuel cell coupled with an electric motor is two to three times more efficient than an internal combustion engine running on gasoline. The energy in 2.2 lbs. (1 kg) of hydrogen gas is about the same as the energy in 11 gallons (6.2 lbs. .8 kg) of gasoline.
There are over 8,000 Fuel Cell Vehicles on the road in California today. This number is expected to exponentially increase over the next few years. Companies such as Toyota, Hyundai, Honda, and BMW are racing to the market with a commitment to Fuel Cell Vehicles.
Hydrogen-powered buses can drive beyond 300 miles on a full tank of hydrogen – a considerable jump from the 124 miles that electric buses typically achieve. These vehicles have a life expectancy of 5,000 to 10,000 hours, which equates to 225,000 to 450,000 miles over a vehicle's lifetime.
Hydrogen is the lightest of the elements, approximately 14 times lighter than air. Even though it is highly flammable, escaped hydrogen dissipates quickly, shooting straight into the atmosphere.
Its vapors do not pool on the ground, as do gasoline vapors. So, in most cases, hydrogen does not present as great a fire or explosive danger. To further minimize the potential for explosion, almost all hydrogen fuel stations store the fuel above ground in well-vented areas.
The current Hydrogen station is a storage or filling station for hydrogen. The hydrogen is dispensed by weight in kg. As of January 2021, there are currently 43 stations in California.
This varies greatly on whether Hydrogen is being delivered and stored on-site or produced on-site at the point of fueling. What differentiates PowerTap from other Hydrogen Fueling Technology - the unique ability to produce fuel on-site. This allows for the smallest footprint of under 1,000 sf.
Hydrogen fueling stations can support two dispensers that are capable of dispensing 1 kg of hydrogen per minute. A 4-kg hydrogen tank (8.8 lbs.) holds the energy equivalent of 4 gallons of gasoline. PowerTap’s hydrogen fuel stations can fill tanks in 3-5 minutes.
Most hydrogen fuel is made in large hydrogen processing plants, which are the same ones that serve the oil industry. The hydrogen is then trucked to the stations and stored in large above-ground tanks.
PowerTap produces hydrogen fuel on-site at the point of fueling; this means no delivery, no large storage tanks. It is currently the only equipment on the market today that allows for the ability to shut off/on the SMR, saving on the use of natural gas.
PowerTap can produce up to 1250 kg. of hydrogen fuel per day. That is 104 kg per hour.
When Hydrogen fuel is being delivered; the average cost is $6 per kg. When hydrogen fuel is produced on-site using PowerTap’s technology, the cost is much lower at $2-3 per kg. This means a much higher profit margin for the retailer.
Retail stations in California are charging between $12 to $16 for a kilogram of hydrogen fuel.
California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) is a program designed to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The LCFS applies to fuels used for transportation, including gasoline alternatives. The goal of the LCFS is to reduce the carbon intensity.
A Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) is a market-based incentive program intended to reduce the state's carbon intensity of transportation fuels. An LCFS market sets carbon-intensity goals for the transportation sector, which decrease with each respective year. To meet compliance requirements, importers, and refiners of carbon-intensive fuels, such as gasoline and diesel, accrue deficits, which they need to offset with credits. These entities are required to either blend cleaner fuels or purchase LCFS credits from generators of lower carbon-intensity fuels to offset their deficits. Each LCFS credit represents one metric ton (MT) of CO2 reduced.
The value of an LCFS credit is determined by supply and demand dynamics within the market. Typically, the market has an auction or credit clearance market to set an effective cap on the market and contain costs.