CANs Solar Hydrogen Vehicle Facility is Up
by James J. Provenzano, Executive Director,
Clean Air Now!
Clean Air Now, a California nonprofit public advocacy
corporation, has recently completed its ground-breaking Solar-Powered
Hydrogen Generating Facility and Hydrogen-Powered Vehicle Fleet technology
deployment demonstration project. The project is located on two-thirds of
an acre, at Xerox Corporations El Segundo facilities, just south of
the Los Angeles [California, U.S.A.] International Airport (LAX). The project
is the largest and only fully permitted solar-powered hydrogen-generating
facility in the country. It comprises a major portion of the developing
hydrogen energy infrastructure in Southern California, which now supplies
fuel for some of the few private sector hydrogen-powered vehicles in operation.
Air Nows demonstration project in El Segundo, California, U.S.A, uses
solar electricity to generate hydrogen; the hydrogen produced powers a fleet
The system demonstrates
a private, practical application of hydrogen fuel. The fuel is generated
on-site from just sunlight and water. The generation and compression systems
are 100 percent stand-alone, off-grid systems. Only the feedwater, hydrogen
sensing, and data acquisition requirements are supported by conventional
The facility is running at 100 percent of its
designed performance standards. The photovoltaic (PV) electrolysis output,
at this time of year, is peaking at an average of 2,500 Amps at 15 Volts,
producing an average of 300 SCF of hydrogen per hour. (The electrolysis
system is capable of producing 400 SCF of hydrogen per hour.) Included in
the project is high-pressure gaseous storage of 15,000 psi, which supports
three retrofitted, hydrogen-powered, internal combustion engine, Ford utility
pickup trucks with 3,600 psi gaseous on-board storage. The vehicles have
a range of up 140 highway miles.
Clean Air Now was a recipient of a White House
Technology Reinvestment Project award and a State of California pollution
abatement award that helped fulfill its project objectives. Clean Air Now
was within budget for the project and performed beyond its original scope.
We are proud to say that all the project subcontractors more than fulfilled
their obligations, especially The Electrolyser Corporation (TEC) and Praxair,
Inc., for which Clean Air Now owes debts of gratitude. TEC, through its
solid commitment and beyond contract performance, made the facility
a reality. Praxair supplied invaluable technical assistance early in the
project, providing a level of technical comfort to Clean Air Now and Xerox
Corporation which allowed us to move forward with the additional phases
Thanks go to the other partners
as well, including the U.S. Department of Energy, Xerox Corporation, the
South Coast Air Quality Management District, Photovoltaic International,
Advanced Machining Dynamics, Energy Technology Engineering Center/Boeing
North America, University of California at Riverside, W. Hoagland &
Associates, Inc., Touchstone Technologies, and the City of West Hollywood
CAN has entertained thousands of students, dignitaries,
and other people at the facility, fostering a greater awareness and understanding
of the benefits of renewable hydrogen energy and cultivating additional
inquires and development efforts. We have produced documents that are educating
and assisting others in their efforts to implement hydrogen energy systems.
These safety assessments, performance analyses, and permitting documents
have been distributed and are available to those who ask.
We have participated in forums, conferences,
and outreach activities that have spawned greater discourse, awareness,
and activity in renewable hydrogen energy technologies and their implementation.
Programs such as CANs project lead to greater public acceptance of
hydrogen technologies, improving their support in public policy debates
and advancing their use in mainstream energy scenarios.
Clean Air Now is currently in the process of
site determination for relocation of its hydrogen generation facility. Xerox
Corporation, because of new requirements, is in need of the parking lot
currently occupied by the PV-electrolysis systems. (This project has been
more than five years in the making.) Xerox will retain the fueling station
and commercial hydrogen storage capacity to allow continued hydrogen vehicle
service in the western region of the Southern California Hydrogen Corridor.
This affords us the unique opportunity to maintain a hydrogen presence near
LAX, while making available 40 kilowatts of renewable hydrogen generation
capability for the nucleus of a new and improved hydrogen infrastructure
site and testing ground.
Clean Air Now is inviting industry and government
agencies to dialogue. It is our intent to capitalize on our development
by making it available to opportunities within industry and government.
We wish to apply our lessons learned and capital investment to facilitate
bringing hydrogen energy closer to commercialization, for commercialization
holds an important (some might say the only) aspect to hydrogens rapid
acceptance and integration into our energy economy. There exist many possibilities
for Clean Air Nows cooperation with a new site host and potential
partners or owners.
Clean Air Now envisions the development of an
infrastructure supernode in southern California or Nevada [U.S.A.],
where our facility will be the hub of a larger and more varied application
of hydrogen energy and related technologies. In an exciting initiative,
the California Hydrogen Business Council is currently in discussions with
CALSTART to plan the possible relocation of CAN to the Burbank, California,
airport. This supernode will allow the hydrogen energy industry to: (1)
further facilitate codes and standards development and evaluation; (2) affect
public policy debate; (3) continue public education programming; (4) pursue
collaborative efforts in risk reduction assessments in large-scale infrastructure
development; and (5) move closer to some economies of scale to aid in more
favorable financials. Clean Air Now can think of no greater value for the
industry and taxpayers dollars already spent than to use the facility,
based on an industry/U.S. Department of Energy consensus, to bring society
closer to the renewable-hydrogen economy we all seek.
We hope that hydrogen energy will receive the
attention it deserves and the funding commensurate to its problem-solving
potential. Clean Air Now finds the lack of exhortation for hydrogen by the
hydrogen energy industry and the (collective) government disappointing,
given the U.S. Department of Energys budgets for fusion and coal,
and the worldwide subsidies presently given to the fossil fuel industry.
We also find it perplexing why greater cooperation and collaboration are
not developed with the renewable energy industries, for hydrogen is an enabling
technology for renewables widespread implementation and application.
We at Clean Air Now feel the taxpayers have
received substantial value for their investment in this part of the renewable
hydrogen energy economy. We continue to work so that, someday soon, our
facility will no longer be the largest, and the only permitted, one of its
kind in the country.
©1997. All Rights Reserved. A Publication of
the National Hydrogen Association.
This material may not be reproduced in any form without permission.
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