The reality of hydrogen as an energy carrier for transportation remains a painfully slow development, particularly the distribution of H2. The total number of publicly-accessible hydrogen stations in the United States remains in the few dozen range. In spite of that, there are small signs of progress, including a new station that opened up this week in the Bronx in New York City.
The station, the third in the area, is operated by Shell Hydrogen and joins facilities at John F. Kennedy airport and in White Plains outside the city. New York is one of the three areas that has been part of GM’s Project Driveway field test that has allowed ordinary drivers to accumulate over a million miles in fuel cell powered Chevy Equinoxes over the past two years.
With today’s opening of a Shell Hydrogen station in the Bronx, drivers of the Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles now have a third New York City area location to fill their pollution-free crossovers.
General Motors, Shell Hydrogen and the Department of Sanitation in New York City (DSNY) completed the long-awaited cluster of stations that will make it easier for participants in Project Driveway to travel longer distances without fear of running out of hydrogen fuel that powers the demonstration vehicles.
Shell Hydrogen and GM have worked together to open stations in White Plains and earlier this year at JFK International Airport on Long Island.
“In many ways, this cluster of stations represents what is needed on a wider scale to make hydrogen-powered vehicles viable as alternative transportation in this country,” said Charles Freese, GM executive director of Fuel Cell Activities.
Creating a fueling infrastructure is a critical step in bringing hydrogen fuel technology to fruition. Public-private partnerships between companies such as Shell and GM and public entities such as DSNY help to build that infrastructure.
“The development of hydrogen fueling stations and fuel cell vehicles will bring our nation one step closer towards a sustainable and energy independent future,” said Sanitation Commissioner John J. Doherty. “This very important project complements our Department’s initiatives and Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC.”
For the next six months, DSNY officials will be driving one of the more than 100 Equinox Project Driveway FCEVs that have accumulated more than 1 million miles of real-world driving by citizens, celebrities and corporations during the last two years.
GM is working on a second-generation fuel cell system that is 220 pounds lighter and about half the size of the system used in the Equinox FCEV. Such a system could be ready for use in a vehicle in the 2015 time frame, but no production program has been announced.