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Long Island’s First Hydrogen Fuel Station Powers Hempstead’s New Pollution-Free Cars for Inaugural Drive


Against the backdrop of the town’s evolving Energy Park, Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray joined with energy partners to fuel the first zero-emission, hydrogen-powered cars at Long Island’s first hydrogen fueling station in Point Lookout. Along with representatives from National Grid, Toyota, the New York State Energy Research Development Authority (NYSERDA), GM and several clean energy organizations, Supervisor Murray took guests for rides in the newly fueled hydrogen vehicles while highlighting an array of renewable energy projects featured in the Energy Park at the town’s Department of Conservation and Waterways. Present at the March 29th press conference were Councilwoman Angie Cullin, Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin, Town Clerk Mark Bonilla, Joe Rende, Vice President of Energy Solutions for National Grid, John Love of NYSERDA and Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. manager of public affairs Wade Hoyt.

“We’re pumping up the environment at Long Island’s first hydrogen car fueling station,” Murray said. “By powering up pollution-free vehicles, we’re exploring the potential of hydrogen in reducing our dependence on fossil fuel and we’re helping pave the way for a healthier planet.”

A vital component of Hempstead’s Clean Energy Project, the town’s pure hydrogen, blended hydrogen/compressed natural gas (HCNG) and compressed natural gas fueling station is the first of its kind on Long Island. With the addition of two “whisper quiet” Toyota FCHV-adv vehicles and a HCNG bus, the town will now to able to assess the viability of hydrogen and HCNG as alternative fuels to move our vehicles.

Hempstead Town received two Toyota fuel cell hybrid vehicles (FCHV-adv), valued at approximately $100,000, that convert hydrogen and oxygen to electricity through a zero emissions process. Additionally, blended hydrogen/compressed natural gas fuels a new shuttle bus that will be used for the town’s Senior Enrichment program. The Ford E450 shuttle bus, supplied by Clean Vehicle Solutions, has been upfitted to run on natural gas and calibrated to run on the HCNG fuel.

“The creation of hydrogen infrastructure is vital for automakers to successfully bring hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to market,” said Hoyt. “We are thrilled to partner with Hempstead as part of Toyota’s ongoing FCHV-adv demonstration program and look forward to seeing the results of the township’s usage of the vehicle.”

“All of the fuels utilized at the hydrogen station will significantly reduce or eliminate the harmful emissions that contribute to the production of greenhouse gases,” Murray said. “With the addition of hydrogen vehicles to our municipal fleet, we can demonstrate hydrogen’s use as an energy source that minimizes negative environmental effects,” added Councilwoman Angie Cullin.

Murray explained that the hydrogen fueling station project serves three purposes: to demonstrate, evaluate and educate. The demonstration of hydrogen energy technology and its potential will underscore the importance of exploring prospective solutions to fossil fuel dependency, air pollution and environmental sustainability issues. The Supervisor also said that the hydrogen fuel site serves as an important educational tool to raise awareness, particularly with students, about hydrogen and HCNG as alternative fuels. Finally, engineers and scientists will utilize data from the use of the Toyota FCHV-adv vehicles and the HCNG bus to evaluate the practical potential of developing hydrogen and hydrogen blended fuels for institutional use, commercial/industrial applications and broad consumer applications.

While it does not exist on its own, hydrogen can be derived from numerous sources, including water. At Hempstead Town’s fuel station, pure hydrogen is produced via electrolysis, a process that uses electricity to split water. Fuel cell vehicles convert pure hydrogen to electricity via an electrochemical process leaving zero tailpipe emissions. The station is capable of providing 12 kg per day of hydrogen gas, which can fill approximately four vehicles daily. Additionally, the fueling station includes a data monitoring system to help inform the town and others about the viability of hydrogen fuel. The town is also exploring wind power as an addition to the fueling station’s infrastructure.

Construction of the fueling station cost approximately $2.2 million, with financial contributions and grants from NYSERDA and National Grid. Additionally, the New York State alternative fuel vehicle fueling infrastructure tax credit contributed 50 percent of the total cost of the refueling station.

“We are pleased to partner with the Town of Hempstead to help bring hydrogen-powered vehicles to Long Island,” said Francis J. Murray Jr., President and CEO of NYSERDA. “As we continue to seek ways to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions in New York State, the use of hydrogen in our motor vehicles remains a promising technology that NYSERDA strongly supports.”

“National Grid is very excited to continue working on this innovative project with the Town of Hempstead,” said Joe Rende, Vice President of Energy Solutions for National Grid. “We are proud to contribute $55,000 for the Hythane shuttle bus, which is being used for the Senior Enrichment program. National Grid is committed to being an innovative leader on Long Island in energy management and in safeguarding our global environment for future generations.”

The hydrogen fueling station is an important component of Supervisor Murray’s broader environmental agenda to explore and utilize alternative energy sources that will lead to a greener, cleaner community. The town’s Energy Park offers numerous innovate energy projects, including a self-relying “green” energy solar house, a solar and wind powered shellfish nursery, a solar carport used to charge electric vehicles, a wind turbine, geothermal energy and an energy learning center.

“We are pleased to see this innovative project advance to the next level. LIPA commends Supervisor Murray, who continues to lead the way on projects like the ‘NYS Hydrogen Corridor’, which reaffirms Long Island’s commitment to reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and better preparing for our energy future through partnerships with communities and government leaders,” said LIPA vice president of environmental affairs Michael J. Deering.

“I want to thank Toyota for working diligently to develop innovative vehicles that offer alternatives to fossil fuels, as well as NYSERDA, National Grid and GM for working closely with the town to support uses of alternative energy,” Supervisor Murray concluded. “Along with the other components of our Energy Park, the demonstration of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will help us to lay the groundwork for a cleaner community and a greener planet for future generations.”

March 29, 2011 - 9:57 PM