The 2009 Hydrogen Road Tour begins today, and Air Products' (NYSE: APD) hydrogen fueling technology will be key to making possible the 1,700-mile start-to-finish hydrogen powered vehicle trek from California to Vancouver, British Columbia. Along the way, the touring vehicles from seven major automakers will make 28 stops over the next nine days in three states and Canada, with Air Products' hydrogen, hydrogen fueling stations and mobile fueling technology helping to power the caravan of clean, efficient hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles.
"We are pleased to be providing the hydrogen technology and infrastructure for this tour again this year. Last year's event on the East Coast was a great success, and we believe the West Coast public will enjoy seeing and driving these hydrogen powered vehicles over the coming days. Continued exposure of these vehicles and hydrogen fueling gives people and the media a greater understanding that the technology is really here today," said Ed Kiczek, global director-Hydrogen Energy Systems at Air Products.
Today's first day of the tour includes fueling at Air Products' hydrogen fueling station at the
University of California, Irvine. The station, managed by the National Fuel Cell Research Center, has been operating since 2007, and at the time of its unveiling was the first 700 bar (10,000 psi) pressure capable fueling station to be sited in the United States at a location with wider public accessibility for vehicle fueling demonstrations. More information of what stops the 2009 Hydrogen Road Tour will be making can be found at www.hydrogenroadtour.com.
The California Air Resources Board, California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP), Powertech Labs (on behalf of British Columbia), National Hydrogen Association (NHA) and the U.S. Fuel Cell Council are organizing the 2009 Hydrogen Road Tour. The Tour is making a special focus for stops in the communities where hydrogen technologies, such as passenger vehicles, transit buses and hydrogen stations, will likely enter the market first. "The Tour will show how capable today's hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles are by providing performance, environmental responsibility, a reduction of fuel imports and a pleasant driving experience for anyone who gets behind the wheel," said Jeff Serfass, President of the National Hydrogen Association.
On the Hydrogen Road Tour, the public will be able to see the latest hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles from Daimler, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai-Kia, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen, including several new models, as well as fuel cell transit buses at several stops.
According to the NHA, there are over 300 zero-emission fuel cell vehicles placed on U.S. roads today along with 62 operational hydrogen fueling stations in anticipation of plans released by automakers, energy companies and government agencies to collectively roll out 4,300 passenger vehicles to customers in California by 2014. In addition, transit agencies operate fuel cell buses, including BC Transit in Vancouver, which will operate a fleet of 20 fuel cell buses for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Cities, businesses and military bases in California, Oregon, Washington and many other American states are implementing other projects that use fuel cells, including forklifts and stationary power for buildings and cell phone towers.
"Fuel cell technology is on the verge of becoming a practical alternative to burning gasoline," said Air Resources Board Chairman Mary D. Nichols. "This year's road tour demonstrates how far the industry has come and how near we are to putting these cars in the public's hands. I'd like to congratulate the partnership, the individual auto manufacturers working to develop these cars and the companies installing needed refueling stations. Their great progress secures our energy independence and defends the environment."
Air Products, the leading hydrogen supplier to refineries to assist in making cleaner burning transportation fuels, has placed over 90 hydrogen fueling stations in the United States and 16 countries worldwide. Cars, trucks, vans, buses, scooters, forklifts and other materials handling equipment, and even submarines, have been fueled with this trend-setting technology that involves Air Products' know-how, equipment, hydrogen, and use of the technology, which is increasing rapidly at approximately 2,000 hydrogen fills per week. Air Products provides liquid and gaseous hydrogen, and HCNG (hydrogen/compressed natural gas) fueling, and has developed a variety of enabling devices and protocols for fuel dispensing at varied pressures. Hydrogen for these stations is delivered to a site via truck, by on-site natural gas reformation, and by electrolysis, including electrolysis that is solar and wind driven.