Fueling Station of the Future Operating in California


Now onstream for over a month, the Air Products hydrogen fueling station at the Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD) facility in Fountain Valley, CA continues to make news. Most recently it was the United States Department of Energy (www. energy.gov) that hailed it as the “Fuel Station of the Future” and lauded its “Innovative Approach to Fuel Cell Technology.” 

The raw material used to generate hydrogen to fuel hydrogen fuel cell vehicles as well as electrical energy to power the host facility, is what makes this project innovative. The Orange County municipal wastewater treatment facility, like those located in cities and towns across the United States, produces methane in its treatment process. That methane is converted to hydrogen and electricity.

Methane gas is created while the wastewater at the OCSD facility sits in holding tanks. This methane then begins a process where the gas stream enters a purification system and then feeds into a fuel cell, built by FuelCell Energy, Inc., (www.fuelcellenergy. com). Here it is reformed to hydrogen. In the fuel cell, clean electricity is produced for use at the OCSD facility, and the heat created could also be directed to several site uses. Excess hydrogen not converted to electricity leaves the unit and is further purified to make it vehicle grade for fuel cell automobile fueling via Air Products’ technology. The facility will produce enough hydrogen for 25 to 50 fuel cell vehicle fuelings per day and generate 250 kilowatts of electricity daily.

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