Dec. 10, 2007: Source – Environmental News Service
As infrastructure continues to be the greatest challenge for hydrogen as a long-term green transportation strategy, making small and steady advances will be the key. To that end, the State of Florida opened its second hydrogen fueling station, as part of a collaborative effort between Ford Motor Company, BP America, Progress Energy Florida, and the U.S. Department of Energy. The initiative was initially unveiled in 2004, naming Florida as one of the sites to demonstrate the viability of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
Ford’s part in the project was to supply Florida with six hydrogen-powered Ford Focus fuel cell cars to be utilized in different ways. One of the vehicles is being used by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to shuttle park rangers at Wekiwa Springs State Park. DEP uses two more cars in its Central Regulatory District to conduct field inspections. The remaining three Ford Focuses are be driven by energy efficiency specialists at Progress Energy’s operations center.
"With this station, we will continue our work to gain real-world experience in hydrogen fueling infrastructure and help build public awareness of this developing technology," said Maria Curry-Nkansah, BP’s hydrogen business development manager. "This program is an example of how government, energy companies and the auto industry are working collaboratively to assess the potential of hydrogen as an alternative fuel."
While Ford’s project in Florida uses government fleets as a testing ground, other carmakers—most notably Honda and General Motors—are putting private drivers behind the wheel of hydrogen-powered vehicles. The Honda FCX Clarity is a production vehicle—not a concept or test—and is establishing a three-year $600-a-month lease program in Southern California. Approximately 1,000 households will be chosen—based on their proximity to hydrogen fueling stations—to lease the FCX Clarity. Mass-production of hydrogen cars is at least two decades away, but the opening of each new hydrogen station paves the way for further evaluation and testing.