Linde is drawing close to completing the first retail hydrogen fueling station the company will operate in the US.

The station, which is expected to be online before the end of the year, is being installed at the Ramos Oil Company multi-fuel station in West Sacramento, California, where Ramos currently retails gasoline, diesel, bio-diesel, ethanol-85, methanol, and racing fuels.

“We are very excited to be working with Ramos Oil on this project,” said Nitin Natesan, business development manager for Linde Hydrogen Fueling. “This high throughput retail station is a very significant step forward in the commercialisation of hydrogen-fueled cars,” said Natesan.

“We are delighted to be working with Linde on this exciting project,” said Kent Ramos, president of Ramos Oil Company. “We have been serving the Sacramento market with a variety of fuels for over 60 years and we are anxious to support the infrastructure necessary to prove that hydrogen has a place in the transportation fuel mix.”

Natesan said, “While the acceptance of Linde technology for hydrogen fuelled vehicles is advancing at a fast pace in Europe, we’re now getting a real foothold in the US, with California leading the way.” Recently, the California Energy Commission, which supports this project, announced that it is providing funding for a significant number of additional retail stations throughout the state. Linde received funding for two of the stations – in Oakland and San Ramon, California – to go along with the five previous station awards Linde has received. Linde has also built and is operating two hydrogen fuelling stations for California’s AC Transit to fuel 12 hydrogen fuel cell buses in Emeryville and Oakland.

At the heart of the hydrogen fuelling system is the Linde IC 90 ionic compressor — the next generation of hydrogen compression technology which enables higher throughput and enhanced back to back fuelling. Unlike conventional piston-operated compressors, the IC 90 works with ionic liquid. Because these ionic liquids essentially have no vapour pressure, they do not evaporate or mix with the hydrogen gas. They also eliminate mechanical wear-and-tear and sealing problems inside the cylinders.

“With this compressor, Linde has made a valuable contribution to the ongoing enhancement of today’s hydrogen fuelling infrastructure,” said Mike Beckman, head of H2 Fuelling – Linde North America.

Linde is handling the design and fabrication of the Linde 900–bar Ionic Compressor. In addition, several companies will also be involved in the hydrogen station installation: Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide for the dispensing system; FIBA Technologies will supply some of the hydrogen gas storage tubes; and Chart Industries will supply the hydrogen storage tank.

As the world’s largest manufacturer of hydrogen plants, Linde covers the entire technology spectrum required to successfully use hydrogen as an energy source – from hydrogen generation to refuelling. Linde has equipped over 90 fuelling stations in 15 countries with innovative hydrogen refuelling technology, supporting fuel cell cars, buses, forklifts and other uses.

“Hydrogen fuelling has been making great strides in the US, particularly in California where Linde has been involved from the start with AC Transit and is now in the final stages of its first retail station,” said Beckman. “Add to this the H2 Mobility Initiative in Germany where Linde is one of six member-companies planning to build a nationwide network of hydrogen stations to support the broad deployment of fuel-cell powered vehicles, and it is evident that hydrogen fueling has moved well beyond the experimental stage and is now becoming a commercial reality.”