Project 5: Existing Hydrogen Production
Existing Growth Opportunities in California for Hydrogen Transportation
This project is looking into understanding the potential of existing hydrogen production infrastructure to fuel hydrogen vehicles. Although many challenges exist to a large-scale transition to a hydrogen fueled transportation system, we believe it is possible that the current industrial hydrogen production infrastructure may offer a launching point for large-scale implementation of hydrogen vehicle refueling infrastructure and that transition strategies could be based on existing hydrogen markets. Particularly, the high growth rates of the hydrogen industry and of refinery hydrogen demand offer a unique opportunity for hydrogen transportation in California since the state’s refineries are located amongst its largest transportation demand centers, the Los Angeles Basin (LA Basin) and the San Francisco Bay Area (SF Bay Area), and new hydrogen production facilities are likely to be built at or nearby these refineries.
Making assumptions about operating capacity, excess capacity, and methods of capacity expansion, we have made initial calculations of the number of hydrogen vehicles that can be fueled from excess refinery hydrogen production capacity.
- It would appear that almost 5% of total production capacity could be reliably available as excess capacity that could be used as fuel for hydrogen vehicles, and
- Using just 1% of each region’s total refinery hydrogen production capacity,
- 19,000 hydrogen light-duty fuel-cell vehicles could be fueled in the LA Basin and
- 17,000 could be fueled in the SF Bay Area.
An initial estimate of when vehicle demand might affect the rate of capacity expansion has been made by comparing the magnitudes of projected vehicle hydrogen demand growth and projected refinery hydrogen production capacity growth for both the LA Basin and the SF Bay Area.
- An emerging hydrogen vehicle market could begin affecting the rate of refinery hydrogen production capacity when the total number of vehicles is between 200,000 and 300,000.
- According to scenarios developed by the DOE Hydrogen Program, this could happen as soon as
- 2018 in the LA Basin and
- 2020 in the SF Bay Area.
In this project we will explore possible developments of California's hydrogen infrastructure that may result from the current and evolving trends in the petroleum refining industry that affect hydrogen demand, such as the quality of the processed crude oil and the product slate produced by refineries.
Listed below are past presentations of this work. For more information regarding the progress of this work, please visit the following website: http://hydrogen.its.ucdavis.edu/people/sbritchey/index_html
Publications from this project:
Ritchey, Stephenie, David L. McCollum, “Overview of the Interdependence of the Merchant Hydrogen and the Oil Refining Industries: A Potential Hydrogen Economy Springboard,” UC Davis Draft Paper, Spring 2006. (Available)
Presentations from this project:
Ritchey, Stephenie, "Existing Growth Opportunities for Hydrogen Transportation in California," Presentation Research Description, Institute of Transportation Studies, Davis, California, March 2007.
Ritchey, Stephenie B., "Existing Growth Opportunities in California for Hydrogen Transportation," Poster Presentation at the ITS-Davis What did we learn in the Hydrogen Pathways Workshop, Davis, California, September 26 - 27, 2006.
Ritchey, Stephenie B., "Overview of the Interdependence of the Merchant Hydrogen and the Oil Refining Industries," Poster presented at the Hydrogen Pathways Advisory Board Meeting, Davis, CA, July 25, 2006.