California’s first retail-designed hydrogen demonstration refuelling station, at a BP-branded site at Los Angeles International Airport, has been officially opened.

The station has been developed in partnership with Praxair, South Coast Air Quality Management District and Los Angeles World Airport and will provide hydrogen for five DaimlerChrysler fuel cell cars.

BP, which markets its traditional fuels in California under the Arco brand, is also working in partnership with the US Department of Energy, DaimlerChrysler and Ford to develop further hydrogen refuelling stations in several US states. Elsewhere in the world, the company is a participant in a pan-European nine-city fuel cell bus project and has signed an agreement with the Chinese government to develop hydrogen demonstration fuelling facilities to support fuel cell buses in Beijing, in time for the 2008 Olympic Games.

The Los Angeles Airport project brings BP’s worldwide involvement in hydrogen sites to 12. Earlier last week, the company unveiled the first hydrogen refuelling facility to be built under the DOE’s fuel cell and infrastructure validation program, at the DTE Energy Hydrogen Technology Park in Detroit.