After close to a month of hydrogen fuel shortages, it looks like Air Products finally mended its supply chain.
Happy days are here again for fuel cell vehicle owners in SoCal as according to FCV owners earlier this week ( Aug. 3, 2018) SoCal Hydrogen refueling stations are meeting demand. If you pop on over to the California Fuel Cell Partnership’s status board, as of this writing, you’ll see a huge wall of green indicators which means H2 is available.
As per a few FCV owners who prefer to remain anonymous, wait times are close to zero at several SoCal Hydrogen refueling stations with nary a line in sight when they pull up to refuel. Average refueling times are now back to around ten minutes if you don’t have to wait.
This is in stark contrast to just a couple of days ago when word finally hit the greater public that there was a localized hydrogen supply problem affecting SoCal refueling stations. With the fiasco starting around July 9, the shortage would be approaching a whole month if Air Products, the supplier of hydrogen to most refueling stations in California, finally released a statement through third parties acknowledging their fault.
As reported earlier last week, I found out that back-to-back incidents at both hydrogen fuel production plants owned by Air Products suffered a severe failure.
In response, Air Products reassured its stations that a solution was being worked on and, although this particular part of their statement (quoted below) was deleted from other outlets, Air Products mentioned that more infrastructure to support increased demand was on the way.
“We are also pleased to share with you and want to make you aware that we will be adding infrastructure in Southern California which will support and increase our hydrogen filling capabilities. We are targeting this new investment in fueling infrastructure and capability to be operational by the end of August.
Although no specifics were given, I’m curious if this means a new plant, on-site generation at stations, or something else entirely.
With so few stations and supply being as finicky as it is, word spreads quickly. It would behoove Air Products to have contingency plans in place so this doesn’t happen on this magnitude again. Also, I’d like to know what they actually did to shore up their production plants.