For the (one or two) LA drivers of hydrogen-powered vehicles, there will be a filling station on Santa Monica Boulevard to accommodate you starting later in June, and several more LA-based stations in the next few months.
Creating the hydrogen with an electolyzer from electricity on site, the station will be part of a research program run by US Department of Energy in conjunction with Shell and GM. Shell will build a few more stations on its own in the next few months, and they will be part of “mini networks” of hydrogen filling stations that will hopefully help spark mass production of fuel cell vehicles. These are needed in big cities since the only emission would be water, but paradoxically, the source for the hydrogen is fossil fuels. For now, anyway.
Shell is making a big step forward in this process because it is working with electrolyzers running off wind power (in the Netherlands) and geothermal power (in Iceland), but these types of sources don’t create enough hydrogen to support the huge number of LA drivers who would be buying these some-day-mass-produced fuel cell vehicles. So, yet again, no silver bullet is in sight. Rather, a compromise is made. At least they recognize this is a short term solution. Other solutions in the works include carbon capture and storage, bio-feedstocks and municipal solid waste.
Hydrogen fuling stations are being tested in other parts of the world, and we'll be able watch these and Shell to see how to progress.