This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

November 15, 2002

World's First Hydrogen Fuel and Power Station Now Operating

DOE announced on November 15th the opening of the world's first hydrogen energy station that can provide fuel for vehicles and also produce electricity. Producing both hydrogen fuel and electricity may be an attractive approach for future hydrogen merchants, who will be able to generate a steady revenue stream from electricity sales while their fuel sales to hydrogen vehicles ramp up. Located in Las Vegas, Nevada, the new $10.8-million station is the result of a private-public partnership among DOE, the City of Las Vegas, Plug Power Inc., and Air Products and Chemicals, Inc.

Housed in the city's vehicle maintenance and operation service center, the new station combines a hydrogen generator, compressor, liquid and gaseous hydrogen storage tanks, dispensing systems, and a stationary fuel cell. It is capable of dispensing hydrogen, hydrogen-enriched natural gas and compressed natural gas. DOE is also working with the city and NRG Technologies Inc. to convert municipal vehicles to operate on hydrogen. See the DOE press release and DOE's Hydrogen, Fuel Cells, and Infrastructure Technologies Program.

The California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP) is also building hydrogen infrastructure: The organization commissioned its first "satellite" hydrogen fueling system in late October. The new system, located in Richmond, California, is about 70 miles from the CaFCP headquarters and primary refueling facility in West Sacramento, so it extends the range over which the CaFCP's prototype fuel-cell vehicles can be driven. Stuart Energy manufactured and installed the fueling system, which uses electrolysis to generate hydrogen from water and includes a storage unit capable of holding 104 pounds of hydrogen. It is capable of fueling a small fleet of vehicles and requires only one or two minutes per refueling. The unit is the eighth hydrogen fueling station installed by Stuart Energy in North America, and the fourth in California. See the CaFCP and Stuart Energy press releases.

Plug Power Inc. and Honda R&D Company, Ltd. are aiming to let future fuel-cell vehicle owners supply their own hydrogen fueling infrastructure. The companies have agreed to jointly develop and test a home refueling system for fuel cell vehicles. Other recent hydrogen advances include a system to produce nearly pure hydrogen from methane or propane, a process to produce hydrogen from biomass while sequestering the carbon byproducts, and a hydride slurry system for hydrogen storage. See the announcements from Plug Power; MesoFuel, Inc.; Scientific Carbons, Inc.; and Safe Hydrogen LLC, respectively.