Equipment arrives for hydrogen-fueling station in Sparks
Gary Lord’s plan to bring a hydrogen vehicle fueling station online in northern Nevada took a step forward last week with delivery of infrastructure needed to build the station at the Interstate Oil station on Lillard Drive in Sparks.
Lord’s Sparks-based company, H2 Technologies, took possession of a large industrial compressor and seven storage tanks that will deliver hydrogen fuel to cars made by Honda and Hyundai. Currently, the closest hydrogen fueling station is at the California Fuel Cell Partnership headquarters in West Sacramento.
The compressor takes fuel delivered by large suppliers such as Air Liquide or Airgas, increases its pressure and moves it to buffer tanks that dispense fuel to a pump used by consumers.
Lord says bringing the station online, even though hydrogen-powered cars aren’t sold at northern Nevada dealerships, is a critical first step in bringing the zero-emissions alternative-fuel technology to the area.
“We hope it will represent the benchmark,” he says. “California has 25 stations that are operational, with the goal to build another 25 this coming year. Both Hyundai and Honda are introducing hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in California on a fairly large scale as of this year.”
Not only will northern California residents be able to fill their hydrogen-powered cars in neighboring Nevada, Lord says, but it also opens up the regional market to sale of hydrogen-powered vehicles. Until then, he hopes residents of the Truckee Meadows who are interested in reducing their carbon footprint might consider purchase of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles from northern California dealerships.
“You have got the chicken and the egg,” Lord says. “Dealers can’t sell hydrogen fuel vehicles unless there is a hydrogen fueling station. We are taking this step really as a loss leader to start.”
The Nevada State Energy Office awarded H2 Technologies several million dollars to finance manufacture and placement of the hydrogen compressor and storage equipment. The industrial compressor, which was made in Germany, and the tanks were delivered to Reno Windustrial at Timber Way for storage until H2 Technologies receives permits to begin construction. Lord expects the station to come online in first quarter 2014.
Operating the station requires a trained engineer, he says, and construction requires specially trained workers and special use permits. H2Technologies originally planned to develop a hydrogen fueling station at Carson Valley Oil on Goni Road in Carson City but instead moved forward with the Sparks location because it’s a larger market with increased opportunities.
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