UC Irvine celebrated the grand opening of its automobile hydrogen fueling station on Tuesday, Feb. 27, at the corner of Jamboree and Campus. As the 18th hydrogen fuel station created by Air Products, this is the first of its kind in Orange County as well as the first station in California capable of dispensing hydrogen at 700 bar, or 10,000 pounds per square inch.
Toyota, Honda, BMW and Nissan showcased vehicles not yet commercially available and participated in a fuel demonstration.
The station, which holds up to 25 kilograms of hydrogen, has stand-alone dispensers that deliver pure gaseous hydrogen. There is also an electronic screen that provides simple step-by-step fueling instructions. Fueling only takes three to seven minutes per car and the station is capable of filling approximately five to ten cars a day, depending on the vehicles.
Since January 2003, UCI has been able to dispense hydrogen at 350 bar, or 5,000 pounds per square inch. In August 2006, Air Products installed the 700 bar system, allowing the station to feature a dual-pressure technology that allows drivers to select a pressure.
The station was designed, engineered and installed by the National Fuel Cell Research Center and Air Products of Allentown, Penn. The U.S. Department of Energy and California South Coast Air Quality Management District provided funding.
‘The hydrogen fuel cell has a longer range, so [the vehicle] can go farther in one refill,’ said Jack Brouwer, associate director of the NFCRC. ‘The reason why battery-electric vehicles failed was because they had too short a range and took too long to charge.