Toyota Motor Sales, USA (TMS) has marked the opening of the first hydrogen fueling station in the US fed directly from an active industrial hydrogen pipeline. The station is a collaborative effort between Toyota, Air Products, Shell, South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) and the Department of Energy (DOE). The facility will provide hydrogen for the automaker's fuel cell hybrid demonstration program vehicles as well as other manufacturers' fuel cell vehicle fleets in the Los Angeles area.

"Building an extensive hydrogen re-fueling infrastructure is a critical step in the successful market launch of fuel cell vehicles," said Chris Hostetter, TMS head of product and strategic planning. "We plan to bring a fuel cell vehicle to market in 2015, or sooner, and the infrastructure must be in place to support our customers' needs."

The station is located adjacent to the TMS sales and marketing headquarters in Torrance, south of Los Angeles. As landowner, Toyota leases the land to Shell for a nominal fee. As station owner/operator, Shell works directly with Air Products who provides onsite equipment and station maintenance. The pipeline gas also is provided by Air Products from its plants in Wilmington and Carson, Calif. SCAQMD and DOE provided project funding assistance.

"This is the first time Shell has worked closely with a vehicle manufacturer to develop a demonstration station," said Julian Evison, general manager of operations for Shell alternative energies. "The industry has made good technical progress, but cooperation is a necessity for hydrogen to achieve its commercial potential as a road transport fuel."

Air Products also worked with Toyota and other fuel cell vehicle manufacturers to develop the Hydrogen Vehicle Authorisation System (HVAS), another claimed first for the industry and unique to the Torrance station. The HVAS wireless vehicle recognition system allows station-to-vehicle recognition to facilitate quick and convenient fueling.

The station also will feature a learning centre to provide hydrogen and station information to local students and the general public. Shell and Toyota will staff the centre.

With this new station, Torrance will become part of the California Hydrogen Highway initiative, which aims to create clean air solutions and develop new technology jobs across the state.