November 5, 2010


Dr. Joan Ogden, Professor, Environmental Science and Policy, Energy Policy Analyst, ITS-Davis, Co-Director, Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways Program, UC Davis


The cost and logistics of building early hydrogen refueling infrastructure are key barriers to the commercialization of fuel cell vehicles. In this paper, we explore a “ cluster strategy” for introducing hydrogen vehicles and refueling infrastructure in Southern California over the next decade, to satisfy California’ s Zero Emission Vehicle regulation. Clustering refers to coordinated introduction of hydrogen vehicles and refueling infrastructure in a few focused geographic areas such as smaller cities (e.g. Santa Monica, Irvine) within a larger region (e.g. Los Angeles Basin). We analyze several transition scenarios for introducing hundreds to tens of thousands of vehicles and 8 to 40 stations, considering:

• Station placement
• Convenience of the refueling network
• Type of hydrogen supply
• Economics (capital and operating costs of stations, hydrogen cost).

A cluster strategy provides good convenience and reliability with a small number of strategically placed stations, reducing infrastructure costs. A cash flow analysis estimates infrastructure investments of $120-170 million might be needed to build a network of 42 stations serving the first 25,000 vehicles. As more vehicles are introduced, the network expands, larger stations are built and the cost of hydrogen becomes competitive on a cents per mile basis with gasoline.

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Joan Ogden is Professor of Environmental Science and Policy at the University of California, Davis and Director of the Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways Program at the campus’ s Institute of Transportation Studies. Her primary research interest is technical and economic assessment of new energy technologies, especially in the areas of alternative fuels, fuel cells, renewable energy and energy conservation. Her recent work centers on the use of hydrogen as an energy carrier, hydrogen infrastructure strategies, and applications of fuel cell technology in transportation and stationary power production. She has served on California state committees on hydrogen and on AB32, the USDOE Hydrogen Technical Advisory Committee, the IPCC panel on Renewable Energy, and on National Academies committees assessing hydrogen fuel cell and plug-in hybrid vehicles. She holds a BS in mathematics from the University of Illinois, and a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the University of Maryland.