Several days is probably supply chain-speak for several weeks.

A photo shared earlier today (Feb 18,2021) on a Toyota Mirai Facebook owner’s group page showed a line of at least 20 Toyota Mirais and Honda Claritys, waiting for a fill-up at the UC Irvine H2 station. According to a statement from H2 Station developer True Zero, owner of more than half of the H2 stations in the Southern California area, confirmed earlier yesterday “there will be a temporary hydrogen shortage the next few days caused by the current weather conditions in the Southeastern United States.”

Here’s the photo of the backed up Irvine station including True Zero’s statement below.

According to H2-CA.com, the California H2 network is at 62 percent statewide capacity compared to ideal supply chain network conditions.

[French] SoCalGas boosts fleet by 5...
[French] SoCalGas boosts fleet by 50 Toyota Mirai fuel cell electric vehicles

The screenshot of how many stations are up at any one time shows the Northern California H2 supply chain remains unaffected. Northern California’s H2 market, if you remember, relies heavily on Air Products’ Santa Clara steam reformation plant and distribution site which garnered nationwide news after one of their supply trailers exploded in 2019.

While Southern California’s H2 infrastructure for fuel cell vehicles benefits from several nearby AP owned Hydrogen refineries, most of that hydrogen is already used for further petroleum refining.

29 tons represents how much H2 is made daily for fuel cell vehicle use

With only a small percentage of locally made H2 transported and piped in to surrounding stations, SoCal’s H2 network is heavily bolstered by H2 shipments from AP’s US Gulf Coast Pipeline network, 20 inter-connected Hydrogen plants in Texas and Louisiana serving its petroleum refinery customers.

According to a Toyota Mirai representative based in Texas who wishes to remain anonymous, “H2 deliveries have resumed from New Orleans as the inclement weather has eased.”

Most of the southeastern United States is on the tail-end of an unseasonably cold deep freeze affecting natural gas and hydrogen production, both linked and necessary to supply California’s hydrogen infrastructure for fuel cell vehicles.

Shortages are nothing new for H2 owners and lessees. The last H2 shortage was literally months ago in November, that time for Northern California, when AP reported a three-week shortage due to “an interruption in the national hydrogen supply chain.” My educated guess was a methane shortage, necessary for methane steam reforming, the most popular way to make H2 right now.

Like all H2 shortages I’ve blogged about, this only highlights how fragile and interlinked the current H2 infrastructure for fuel cell vehicles is.

The duration between shortages, however, has increased so there are improvements in the supply chain being made.

When the next shortage will be is not a matter of if, but when.

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