Hydrogen Fuel Station Unveiled

May 20, 2016

Local officials celebrated the opening of the first hydrogen fueling station in Santa Barbara County on Friday in front of a number of supporters, including the county’s Air Pollution Control District, chaired by 4th District Supervisor Peter Adam.

“About a year ago, I had the opportunity to drive the Hyundai fuel cell vehicle along with Keith Malone of the Fuel Cell Partnership, and I have to tell you that I’m very impressed by the similarity of fuel cell vehicle performance when compared with a like model gasoline-powered car,” Adam said.

The hydrogen fueling station, located at 150 S. La Cumbre Road in Santa Barbara, is the first retail site of its kind in the county and on the Central Coast, according to the Air Pollution Control District.

“The opening of this station puts Santa Barbara County on the map, said Aeron Arlin Genet, director of the APCD. “We support fuel and vehicle technologies that provide clean-air solutions. It’s great for fleets and local residents who want to drive cars with zero tailpipe emissions, and it strengthens California’s clean-fuel corridor.”

The station also allows drivers of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles to travel between Los Angeles and the Bay Area on Highway 101.

More than a third of all greenhouse gas emissions in California are from transportation,” said Sigrid Wright, CEO and executive director of the Community Environmental Council. “Transitioning from petroleum to cleaner fluids, including hydrogen, is one of the most effective ways that regions like the Central Coast can reduce their contribution to climate change.”

Adam added that the vehicles are both fantastic to drive and that refueling takes about the same amount of time as at the pump with a regular gasoline-powered car.

“I believe the market’s acceptability to fuel cell vehicles will be great, and I’m looking forward to this fuel becoming the viable option for not only passenger cars but heavy-duty applications as well,” Adam said.

The biggest difference could be on efforts focusing on heavy-duty trucks, he said.

“These are the vehicles that consume a high volume of diesel and can make a significant difference if operating on hydrogen were economically viable,” Adam said.

The fueling station is owned and operated by FirstElement Fuel Inc., based out of Newport Beach, and is part of the True Zero network of stations.

“This station is an essential part of our hydrogen network, which shows that hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles can be driven throughout the state, just like gasoline cars but with zero tailpipe emissions,” said Joel Ewanick, founder and CEO of True Zero.

Adam was thankful for the efforts to expand the use of hydrogen into the county.

“I look forward to driving my own,” he said.

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