California’s First Rural Hydrogen Station Debuts

Hydrogen fueling station dedication.

SERC Director Peter Lehman cuts the ribbon as Congr. Mike Thompson, HSU President Rollin Richmond, and Project Manager Greg Chapman look on (left to right). (Photo credit Kellie Jo Brown).

Three years of effort at SERC culminated on a sunny September 4 with the opening ceremony for our newly completed hydrogen fueling station on the Humboldt State University campus. On hand for the ceremony were Congress member Mike Thompson, representatives of local government, a wide cross section of the campus community, and many camera- and notebook-toting reporters.

The project originated with a design for a hydrogen power park by HSU engineering students that garnered grand prize in an international competition in 2005. Since then, SERC has worked with numerous partners to make the station happen. Many members of the original student team were on hand at the ceremony to see their dream come to fruition.

Hydrogen fueling station dedication, prius.

Greg Chapman pulls the hydrogen-powered Prius into the station for a demonstration refueling. (Photo credit Kellie Jo Brown).

The new station is the northernmost link in California’s emerging Hydrogen Highway, a network of hydrogen stations that will eventually allow motorists to travel throughout the state on clean hydrogen power. The station uses a Hogen electrolyzer made by Proton Energy Systems to generate hydrogen gas at 200 psi. A PDC compressor pressurizes the gas to 6000 psi for storage, and it is transferred to vehicles at up to 5000 psi using an FTI dispenser. The detailed station design and assembly were the work of SERC engineers and project manager Greg Chapman, P.E. “We’re very proud of our work and are excited to demonstrate the use of hydrogen gas as a transportation fuel right here on campus,” said Chapman.

The station is initially providing fuel for a Toyota Prius hybrid, converted by Quantum Technologies to run on hydrogen. The car was provided by the California Air Resources Board and will be shared by administrators from Humboldt State University, SERC, and other project sponsors (see box on first page). SERC is working to secure additional vehicles for use with the station.

SERC would like to thank our sponsors and partners in building the HSU Hydrogen Fueling Station:

  • Chevron Technology Ventures
  • California Air Resources Board California Department of Transportation
  • North Coast Unified Air Quality Management District
  • O&M Industries
  • HSU Plant Operations personnel
  • Urfer Engineering
  • Winzler & Kelly
  • Deputy State Fire Marshall Ed Madden