Vasilios Manousiouthakis, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at UCLA has been awarded $2.1m (£1.4m) in funding to build a hydrogen fuelling station on the UCLA campus.
A $1.7m grant from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and a $400,000 grant from the state’s Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee (MSRC) will go towards the construction of one of the largest hydrogen fuelling stations in California, with a capacity to produce 140kg of hydrogen a day for use in hydrogen-powered vehicles.
The station, which will be available for use by the public, will be run by UCLA Engineering’s Hydrogen Engineering Research Consortium (HERC), which Manousiouthakis directs. The consortium was established in 2005 after UCLA partnered with DaimlerChrysler and BP to help demonstrate elements of the hydrogen economy infrastructure.
‘With this station, we aim to show that methane reforming-based stations essentially provide an answer to the question of hydrogen infrastructure,’ Manousiouthakis said. ‘The proposed fuelling station will demonstrate that we can effectively use the existing natural gas infrastructure to deliver hydrogen on site. We won’t have to build new pipelines for hydrogen.’
There are currently 27 operational hydrogen fuelling stations throughout California, with 17 additional stations in the planning stage. Manousiouthakis hopes the new station, to be located near UCLA’s transit facility at the corner of Veteran and Kinross avenues, will be up and running by the end of this year.
In related environmental news from southern California, the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) has added 68 new CNG-fuelled transit buses to its fleet, thanks in part to $1.36m of funding, which also came from the MSRC.
As Orange County’s primary transit agency, OCTA operates about 915 transit vehicles in total, including more than 590 large buses. To date, the OCTA has purchased 299 CNG buses, including these new 68 buses, to replace some of the older diesel buses in its fleet.
At a cost of more than $400,000 for each bus, the MSRC’s funding of $1.36m offset a portion of the cost of the new buses and helped OCTA further its commitment to reducing emissions from diesel buses and improving air quality in the region.