Another Hydrogen shortage has hit Southern California as Air Products struggles to keep up with demand.
Air Products primary Hydrogen supply and their backup system suffered a massive failure this week, but you wouldn’t know that if you visited their news center with nary a peep from their public relations department. As per Toyota Mirai’s community manager via Honda Clarity’s unofficial owner’s group earlier yesterday (Sept. 15,2018) Air Products gave updates to Toyota and presumably Honda on the status of their Hydrogen production.
Here’s a quick timeline of events as it unfolded.
- Aug 3- Air Products wraps up its previous shortage that started back in July.
- Sept. 12- Unrelated to this shortage, close to half of ALL stations in SoCal undergoing maintenance or repairs.
- Sept. 13 – Air Products unofficially confirms H2 shortage on the way.
As of this writing, almost every H2 refilling station is empty. Hydrogen is still being made by Air Products, but it’s trickling in. I’ve linked the entire statement via Toyota Mirai’s community manager here but basically, it says their primary supply and backup supply, like last time in July, both suffered operating issues. Since then a secondary backup system is working 24/7 to truck in whatever H2 they can make to the stations that need it the most.
“Air Products continues expansion of the fill system serving the hydrogen fueling station network in southern California. While this primary supply system is offline for this activity, a primary backup system was designed and installed earlier this year. That system experienced an operating issue and as a result we have brought online a secondary backup system. We anticipate stations may continue to experience periodic delays in refilling over the next few days. We are continuing work around the clock to bring both the primary supply system as well as the primary backup system back on-line. We appreciate your patience with any inconvenience during this period and will provide another update on Monday, 17 September on the status or sooner if the situation changes.”
As of this writing, it looks like deliveries once made in the middle of the night are arriving as fast as they can fill tankers so that means deliveries during the day. UC Irvine received a shipment of 100 KG of hydrogen, enough to fill 20 cars, earlier in the afternoon and that station should be empty again in a couple of hours.
Conveniently enough, real-time graphs of station totals and overall capacity of Hydrogen in California, with stations run by Air Products, is available at H2-ca.com and is where I’ve been getting specifics.
Here’s that graph of Irvine I mentioned earlier. This snapshot shows the previous 72 hours. You can see the fillup at noon earlier today and at the moment, supply is dropping as per usual.
Honda Clarity owners on Facebook in the Southern California region are already expressing their growing annoyance at this issue. Like last time, Honda has not given any updates to its Clarity owners nor reminded Clarity FCV owners of the available 21 days of rental they have at their disposal. Last time this shortage hit, Honda extended rental day vouchers with documentation.
Toyota is doing the best they can as they did last time with Mirai owners, or Trail Blazers as they’re called, getting updates and support as needed.
This newest shortage hasn’t come without rumors as the latest rumor sees Hydrogen being trucked in from Canada as per an informal chat with a tanker driver. In July, during the previous shortage, H2 from Air Products Louisiana plant was brought up as a possibility.
As this is JUST the beginning of the H2 shortage, I’ll be curious to see Air Product’s next step.
It’s clear that one supplier isn’t enough. Plants can’t be built overnight but some healthy competition from others would behoove the future of H2 cars moving forward.