Fuel Cell Vehicle owners in Northern California are going through their second H2 Supply Shortage this year due to an explosion at a nearby Air Products Santa Clara production facility.
For the second time this year, Fuel Cell Vehicle owners in Northern California literally have nowhere to refuel. As per a True Zero representative, GasWorld.com as well as thousands of Santa Clara residents, an explosion at a Santa Clara industrial gas plant owned and maintained by Air Products happened during refilling of one of its hydrogen distribution trailers.
Multiple vehicles were damaged by the explosion and Air Products has temporarily suspended deliveries from its CT-450 and CT-500 fleets while the incident is being investigated.
The industrial gases major admits the incident will impact its hydrogen delivery capabilities in Northern and Southern California “for a currently unknown period of time”.
Air Products said in a statement, ”There was significant damage to the distribution trailer directly involved in the incident, as well as to multiple other distribution trailers at the site.
Witnesses several miles from the Air Products explosion felt the boom, shockwave, and force of the explosion.
According to one business owner interviewed by ABC 7 News,
“You heard the boom and then you felt like a wave, a pressure… a force. It just hit you all around you and moving you slanting you back,”
Witnesses describe seeing flames shooting up over 50 feet in the air.
It took firefighters well over an hour to contain the situation and get everything under control.
Here are two videos from the scene which show just how extensive the damage was.
30 minutes ago Firefighters make access to tanker valve and shut down while master streams flow to cool the tanks and trucks previously impinged with Fire. pic.twitter.com/3Vb3V3RMG4
— Santa Clara CA Fire (@SantaClaraFD) June 2, 2019
— Luz Peña (@LuzPenaABC7) June 2, 2019
With Air Products the major supplier for most of Northern California, this has effectively halved the available Hydrogen in all of California leaving Northern California bone dry for the immediate future.
— Paulo nonVTEC Acoba (@ferio_252) June 4, 2019
In a statment from True Zero’s CEO shared with Honda Clarity owners over the unofficial Facebook Group for Honda FCV’s, he reassured Honda Clarity owners (and all Northern California FCV owners) that other production facilities not related to Air Products were banding together to come up with a stop-gap to get Hydrogen to empty N. Calif stations.
H2 shortage incoming for Northern California. Will affect all the Mirais, Clarities and that one Hyundai Nexo roaming around. pic.twitter.com/8CqWrClPkW
— Paulo nonVTEC Acoba (@ferio_252) June 3, 2019
As mentioned, the last Hydrogen shortage was earlier this year in January. During that shortage, details were few and far between from Air Products. However, with such a violent explosion where local FD had to step in, Air Products could not keep so quiet.
Both Honda and Toyota have contingency programs that allow their FCV leesses or owners to rent cars from local rental agencies. Presumably, Hyundai and its handful of Hyundai Nexo owners have something similar.
It’s unacceptable for the local Hydrogen Infrastructure to be as unreliable as it is at the moment. If hydrogen cars are supposed to be a viable replacement for ICE powered cars, reliable refueling, at the very least, has to be guaranteed.