Royal Dutch Shell Plc will build seven fueling stations for hydrogen cars in California as part of a new partnership with car company, Toyota Motor Corp.
California’s goal is to have 100 retail sites where hydrogen fuel cell vehicles can fill up by 2024, and these stations will only help put the state closer to its goal. California currently has just 25 stations.
The California Energy Commission is even considering a grant towards the stations. The grant would be in the amount of $16.4 million, with Shell and Toyota contributing $11.4 million.
The partnership between Shell and Toyota “shows there’s a lot of interest and that the hydrogen market is poised to move forward rapidly,” said Janea Scott, a member of the California commission.
By 2050, Toyota plans to rely on hydrogen to all but get rid of its lineup of traditional-engine models. The refueling infrastructure right now is a major hurdle for automakers in getting zero-emission cars to catch on with consumers.
Shell is also working to craft a strategy to wean itself off oil. The company currently operates six hydrogen stations – four stations in Germany and two in the Los Angeles area. Later this month, Shell will operate a seventh near London’s Heathrow Airport.
“Shell wants to be in the forefront of this technology,” said Oliver Bishop, general manager for hydrogen. The complexities of producing, storing and delivering the fuel necessitates “the support of governments and of car companies like Toyota to make it work.’’
California is the natural choice for Shell and Toyota to team up – with the state’s mandate for zero-emission vehicles, it has the toughest clean-air rules in the country. Meanwhile, the Trump administration has mentioned that it might weaken environmental rules. However, California is aligned with countries in Europe and Asia.
Shell belongs to a German government-backed consortium. They are targeting 400 stations by 2023.
Tokyo plans to spend 42.5 billion yen ($400 million) on fuel cell vehicle subsidiaries and hydrogen stations. They plan to have this completed by the time of the 202 Olympics.
Toyota said there’s no question fossil-fuel burning cars will soon be shunned or even possibly outlawed in the upcoming decades. The company is hoping that when that day comes, the alternative they have been working on for 25 years will be ready to take over.
“When no more combustion of fuel is allowed, hydrogen will become one of the major sources of fuel, of that we’re confident,” said Kiyotaka Ise, Toyota’s president of advanced research and development and engineering.