Live in California and want to know where your nearest hydrogen (H2) station is? There’s an app for that.
Last month, Air Liquide launched H2 Station Finder to help H2 vehicle drivers find the nearest fuelling station to them.
The Tier One company launched an app with similar functionality in support of National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day in 2016. But this newly launched app provides a much more elevated consumer experience.
As of 1st July, there are 4,926 fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) and 35 publicly available H2 stations in California, according to the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP).
With just a few taps within the app, drivers can find the nearest station, get directions to it, and view station details such as amenities offered. It will also enable drivers to monitor how much CO2 they have reduced by fuelling their vehicle with H2 energy.
“The response to the app has been very positive,” Ole Hoefelmann (left), Air Liquide’s CEO of Advanced Technologies US, told gasworld in an exclusive interview. “There’s been a great need for a more comprehensive resource, and we are thrilled to be able to provide this for H2 drivers.”
“After launching our initial H2 station finder app back in 2016, we continued to stay in touch with our customers to figure out how we can continue to elevate their experience at the station.”
“We hosted a series of focus groups and market research on user experience at the stations, after which we were able to identify the improvements that needed to be put in place for our customers.”
“With these updates and additions now identified, we worked alongside our colleagues at Alizent and The Factory in Air Liquide to work on the design and development of the app. By leveraging our own database as well as station information from the CaFCP database, we are able to provide users with new features and station details.”
With 100 H2 stations displayed worldwide, Air Liquide is committed to accelerating interest and adoption of zero-emission driving not only in the US, but around the world.
In the US, Air Liquide is notably working with Toyota Motor Sales USA to develop and supply a fully-integrated H2 charging infrastructure in the Northeast of the US, supporting Toyota’s introduction of its H2 FCEV – the Mirai. 12 H2 stations in the Northeast are currently being worked on for public launch.
Hartford, Connecticut; Hempstead, New York; Mansfield, Massachusetts; and Providence, Rhode Island, are the first of the 12 stations and will be available to the public soon.
“The stations are a critical step forward to making emissions-free driving a convenient and available transportation option in the Northeast. Designed and installed by Air Liquide, the stations will be capable of fuelling a H2-powered vehicle in approximately three to five minutes, for a driving range of more than 500 kilometres,” explained Hoefelmann.
In Paris, on 12th December 2015, 195 countries signed a legally binding agreement to maintain global warming below 2°C. That ambitious target requires decarbonising a large part of the world’s energy system.
“The transition to a mix of clean, renewable energy will be necessary if we want to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality,” Hoefelmann said.
“H2 technology using carbon-free methods and fuel cells will be needed in certain sectors and certain geographic regions to enable energy transition.”
“That’s why Air Liquide and Toyota have actively worked to create the Hydrogen Council, a first-of-its-kind, global CEO initiative to foster the role of H2 technologies in the global energy transition.”
This council, initiated by Air Liquide, is steered by two Co-Presidents from two different regions and segments. Currently, they are Air Liquide and Hyundai (Hyundai took over from Toyota in November 2017).
“H2 is a central pillar in the energy transition and will be an unavoidable enabler for the energy transition in certain sectors and geographies. The sooner we make this happen, the sooner we will be able to enjoy the needed benefits of H2 at the service of our economies and our societies,” Hoefelmann continued.
“This global initiative is aimed at providing H2 with a united voice on the international scene given a long-term ambition for H2 to foster the energy transition.”
“We were thirteen at creation. We are now more than 40 global industrialists from different sectors to promote this energy source with the capability to be stored and released as a clean energy.”
“According to a McKinsey study, H2 could represent nearly 20% of the energy consumed in the world in 2050. Thus, the Hydrogen Council aims to both underpin and leverage the enabling role of H2.”
“This partnership with global organisations from various industry and energy sectors enables H2 fuel cell solutions around the world to be accelerated and expanded upon. Solutions are technologically mature and industry players are committed. We need concerted stakeholder efforts to make this happen; leading this effort is the role of the Hydrogen Council.”
When asked what he thought is the biggest challenge for H2 in the near future and how it could be tackled, Hoefelmann replied, “H2 solutions are technologically mature. The challenge now is their large-scale deployment. We would like to see initiatives going further in, for instance, the following directions: Quantify the needs in order to get a better idea of the investment challenge; invest in public/private partnerships, in pilot projects related to technologies and innovations; and establish a national set of standards.”
“In that respect, the coalition of the Hydrogen Council really helps to move forward worldwide.”
“The Hydrogen Economy is a $2.5 trillion market that is estimated to create over 30 million jobs. For now, we must work to advance the cause and develop the various markets identified.”
“This is already the case with forklift trucks used in their logistics by large groups such as Walmart, Coca-Cola, or Ikea. Hydrogen has a great future, especially in rail and automotive transport.”
Concluding, Hoefelmann said, “H2 is a real solution for the sustainable energy mix. There are places in the world, like California, Japan, Germany and France, where they have gone past the ‘can it work, does it work, how will it work’ mentality and are now building it to scale.”
“You see the technology being used in the transportation sector for fleet vehicles, buses, trains, ferries, etc. H2 energy already plays a key role in the energy transition.”
Air Liquide’s involvement in H2
The French company’s commitment to the development of H2 energy was made more than 40 years ago. Air Liquide is committed to producing at least 50% of H2 energy without releasing any CO2 into the atmosphere by 2020 for mobility applications, by combining biogas reforming, the use of renewable energies during water electrolysis, and the use of the technologies for the capture and upgrading of carbon emitted during the process of producing H2 from natural gas.
The Tier One company is involved in the entire H2 supply chain, from production and storage to distribution and the development of applications for end users, thus contributing to the widespread use of H2 as a clean energy source, for mobility in particular. Air Liquide has designed and installed 100 stations around the world to date.