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Toyota and Shell open pipeline-fed hydrogen station in Torrance for fuel-cell cars

May 10, 2011 | 11:42 am

Hydrogen_Station_Ceremony_7 Drivers of fuel-cell vehicles in Southern California -- the few dozen of them who exist -- might soon be flocking to a new hydrogen fueling station in Torrance to power up their cars.

But its just not its proximity to major freeways and the airport that sets this facility apart from the several other hydrogen refueling stops in the area. The public Torrance station, operated by Shell on land leased from Toyota, is the first in the country to pull hydrogen from an existing and active pipeline.

Other stations, including ones in Irvine and Santa Monica, rely on hydrogen that is trucked in and stored on site and often have wait times for fueling.

Toyota doesn’t plan to have fuel-cell vehicles on the mass market until 2015, but the company plans to use the station for a demonstration program, which it says will include more than 100 vehicles within two years.

The facility, which sits next to the headquarters of Toyota Motor Sales, will also be open to fuel-cell vehicles from other automakers, such as Honda’s FCX Clarity.

Up to four vehicles can refuel simultaneously in less than five minutes. The facility can dispense up to 100 kilograms of hydrogen over 12 hours.

The gas for the station will come from Air Products’ hydrogen production plants in Wilmington and Carson, which already serves sites including Exxon Mobil's refinery in Torrance. The project received funding help from the South Coast Air Quality Management District and the Department of Energy.


Rising gasoline prices fuel the growing appeal of compressed natural gas vehicles

Fill 'er up: An at-home system for refueling a car that doesn't pollute? It's not just a pipe dream.

-- Tiffany Hsu

Photo: Torrance hydrogen fueling station. Credit: Toyota