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AQMD Celebrates Grand Opening of the First Hydrogen Highway Network Fueling Station in Southern California

Aug. 13, 2004

State, Local Officials and Consul Dignitaries from Canada, Japan, China, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Belize, New Zealand, Latvia, South Africa, Switzerland, Philippines, and the Republic of Georgia joined in the Celebration

DIAMOND BAR, Calif. –With local and state officials and foreign dignitaries looking on, Terry Tamminen, Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency fueled up a hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicle at one of the first hydrogen fueling stations accessible to the public at the headquarters of the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD).

The grand opening ceremony was held at AQMD’s Diamond Bar headquarters.  Hydrogen fuel-powered vehicles from Honda, Toyota, and DaimlerChrysler were fueled at the grand opening ceremony.

AQMD’s facility is among the first of 13 hydrogen-fueling stations co-funded by AQMD and slated for construction throughout Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.  These stations will provide fuel for hydrogen-powered fuel cell and internal-combustion engine vehicles used in fleet demonstrations throughout the region.

The station will be the first of its kind in California to demonstrate hydrogen fueling and power production using an internal combustion engine generator.  The electricity produced will be used at AQMD during periods of peak demand.  This hydrogen power will supplement the AQMD’s solar array, which has long been used to help meet the power needs of the building.

The hydrogen fueling station grand opening drew international interest.  Among those in attendance at the ceremony were consul representatives from Southern California consular offices, including Canada, Japan, China, South Africa, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Belize, Switzerland, Philippines, New Zealand, Latvia, and the Republic of Georgia.  The hydrogen fueling station grand opening was a precursor to a premier conference sponsored by AQMD and titled “Hydrogen – Fueling the Clean Air Future,” on Aug. 16-17, in Palm Desert.

“This station is a major link in California’s Hydrogen Highway,” said Cynthia Verdugo-Peralta, AQMD Governing Board Member.  “And it’s an important step in ensuring that every Californian has access to hydrogen fuel produced from clean, stable, renewable sources along our major transportation corridors.  That’s our vision.  And this hydrogen fueling station brings us closer to that vision.”

The AQMD relies on the implementation of advanced technologies and clean-burning fuels in Southern California to achieve air quality standards.  More near-zero and zero-emission vehicles are needed and hydrogen vehicles offer high fuel efficiencies and do not emit any smog-forming pollutants.

The AQMD’s hydrogen fueling station took six months to complete and is part of a balanced variety of advanced clean air technology projects, including projects to increase the natural gas refueling infrastructure, research and demonstration of advanced engine development, electric hybrid vehicles, stationary power combustion processes and other clean fuel alternatives.

“We are honored to be chosen as the AQMD's supplier for hydrogen infrastructure,” commented Jon Slangerup, President and CEO of Stuart Energy.  “We believe that hydrogen infrastructure and demonstrations will pave the way for the early introduction of hydrogen-powered vehicles.  While there are several near-term alternative fuel pathways, there is a global consensus that hydrogen is the world's energy end-game, and this key AQMD project represents one of the first steps in realizing a future of clean and secure hydrogen energy.”

AQMD is taking a leadership role to ensure that hydrogen vehicle and fueling technologies mature together.  The program in place at AQMD involves multiple auto manufacturers and a world leader in hydrogen fueling.  AQMD’s program will provide real world experience and data to further refine the technologies for public use.

“As a leader in fuel cell propulsion, DaimlerChrysler is ideally suited to deliver a fuel cell powered vehicle for AQMD's use at this refueling site,” said Mark Chernoby, vice president for advanced vehicle engineering--Chrysler Group.  “Our vehicle is another step in the real world validation program that we have embarked on with many partners including the Department of Energy, U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Fuel Cell Partnership.”

“At Toyota, we believe in the power of learning by doing: in exploring promising technology firsthand, and in moving – thoughtfully, but deliberately – from theory to market reality.  We’ve done this with hybrids, and we’re doing it with fuel cell vehicles and hydrogen,” said Dean Kato, managing counsel for environment at Toyota Motor Sales USA, Inc.  “We applaud the AQMD’s leadership in moving us further down the track toward a hydrogen future by providing a 'hydrogen hub' in Southern California.”

“We're very pleased to have AQMD as a customer for Honda fuel cell technology,” said Gunnar Lindstrom, senior manager of Alternative Fuel Programs for American Honda Motor Co., Inc.  “We applaud the vision and commitment that the leaders of AQMD have demonstrated by investing in the environment and hydrogen power.”

“By field-testing these technologies, those of us who are concerned with air quality are taking pro-active steps that will benefit all those who live and work in Southern California in the not-too-distant future,” said Todd Campbell, Burbank Councilmember and Policy Director for the Coalition for Clean Air.

Guest speakers at the grand opening included:

  • Terry Tamminen, Secretary, California Environmental Protection Agency

  • Jon Slangerup, President and CEO, Stuart Energy

  • Mark Chernoby, Vice President, Advanced Vehicle Engineering, DaimlerChrysler

  • Stephen Ellis, Manager, Alternative Fuel Vehicle Sales & Marketing, Honda

  • Dean Kato, Managing Council, Toyota

  • Todd Campbell, Council Member, City of Burbank and Policy Director, Coalition for Clean Air

AQMD is the air pollution control agency for Orange County and major portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

Photo caption, left to right:

DaimlerChrylser’s Mark Chernoby, Vice President of Advanced Vehicle Engineering, AQMD Board Member Cynthia Verdugo-Peralta, and CalEPA Secretary Terry Tamminen ‘Hydrogen Up’ at the grand opening of AQMD’s Hydrogen Fueling Station in Diamond Bar.  The station is Southern California’s first official link in Governor Schwarzenneger’s Hydrogen Highway.