It looks like Air Products H2 production in the SoCal area finally got their act together, repaired what needed repairing, and is operating at 100 percent capacity.
Earlier last week (Sept 29,2018) I noticed that the three-day Hydrogen supply for most of the hydrogen stations in the SoCal normalized and overall Hydrogen production increased. Now, a week later, I’m unofficially declaring this late summer SoCal H2 shortage over. I say unofficially because I have not heard any official news from Air Products nor have I got an update through a third-party like Toyota or Honda.
If you’d like a quick recap of how this H2 shortage played out, here’s a list of my coverage of this localized H2 shortage.
- 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.
- Sept 15- Air Products releases statment via Toyota.
- Sept 19- SoCal FCV owners coping with H2 shortage, Toyota opens Port of LB, Honda doling out help case by case
- Sept. 30- H2 Convention wraps up in Anaheim.
Here’s the total H2 supply around all of California as of this writing. Compare that graph to the one below I took around Sept. 15, also a Saturday when this SoCal H2 shortage just started.
As you can clearly see, the total amount of H2 is a lot more, and, as a result, most stations at this moment, as per m.CAFCP.org, is full or near full if there are no pre-existing problems.
The situation isn’t entirely perfect and there are still a handful of stations with lingering problems. The H2 station at Long Beach, despite full top-offs, is still being run dry in a 24 hour period highlighting the need for another station in that area.
The station in Ontario, co-owned by Air Products and Shell, is still down despite a promise to be open by yesterday, Oct. 5.
It’s a similar situation at the West L.A. station with the station still inoperable due to regulatory testing, whatever that means.
Here are a handful of quotes from Honda Clarity FCV owners when I asked them how things were, as far as H2 availability goes, each quote a different owner.
“Situation has improved somewhat”
“I haven’t had any issue”
“Situation is a lot better, but it’s concerning how long it took to refill all stations after H2 production issues were reported to be back online. Right now the system looks very vulnerable if Torrance goes offline, cascading into outages all over SoCal. Hopefully some of the new stations going online this fall will alleviate the pressure somewhat.”
“We need more stations in their own location like Torrance. Long Beach is the worst location because of the mini mart, 12 fossil fuel pumps, car wash, and the busiest intersection near freeway onramp.”
As I’ve said a dozen times before, the H2 infrastructure is OK when everything works, but, one station down means overburdening surrounding stations. And when one supplier has a monopoly on supply, like Air Products, a problem at their main H2 production facilities spells disaster for all local FCV owners.
It’s a shame that Air Products never gives reasons, updates on its website, or any reassurance that they’ve rectified the situation.
For now, FCV owners can enjoy filling up, as per usual.
But, as it stands, it’s not a question of if there’s going to be another H2 shortage, but when.
What would really, REALLY help, is if Toyota would STOP FLOODING the market with their crappy Mirai.
Just flew back from a trip, check on UCI availability. nada, zilch! The place got run dry in 11 hours.
It’s simply crazy.
At least Torrance is back up, but now Newport is down. Sometimes I wonder if the station operators, other than UCI, really take his whole thing seriously. For example, why aren’t spare compressors locally available. They have to be ordered from the factory when the old one breaks…. really? What year is this? 100BC? I think the Roman Legions had much better logistics than some of these operators (can you hear me Torrance???).