Solar Driven Hydrogen Refueling Station in Sacramento

Demonstration Refueling Station for Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars

Demonstration Refueling Station for Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars

I’ve been dreaming of having my own solar panels provide the electricity to run the electrolysis process to create hydrogen from water to power a fuel cell car. If I can pull this off, I can achieve energy independence in the transportation realm for my around town driving. I could do the same thing with a plan ‘ole electric engine as well. Is this a feasible dream for an individual or is it just in the domain of the big boys? There are folks already doing just that so it is technically feasible. But is it a viable consideration for an individual?

Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) is participating in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Controlled Hydrogen Fleet and Infrastructure Demonstration and Validation Project. Ford and Daimler-Chrysler — provided the prototype cars — and BP, installed and operate the hydrogen station refueling equipment. The Future Energy Solutions of Air Products and Chemicals performs maintenance on the station.

Ford Focus Fuel Cell Car for the SMUD Demonstration Project

Ford Focus Fuel Cell Car for the SMUD Demonstration Project

The solar panels make electricity, which is then used to convert water into hydrogen and oxygen. Hydrogen is produced by electrolysis - an electric current is used to split water into its components — hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen is then used to power the fuel cells that run the car. The attached picture shows the Ford Focus Fuel Cell car being used for the demonstration. Right now this is just for SMUD vehicles to test out.

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