Kalibrate Wins DOE Contract on Hydrogen Refueling Stations

Initiative will help identify sites; state hopes to open 68 locations by 2016

Published in CSP Daily News

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Hydrogen fuel-cell technology holds incredible promise for its ability to produce electricity to run a car battery with zero greenhouse-gas emissions, proponents say. One roadblock to rolling out more hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), however, has been a lack of fueling infrastructure, with only nine public hydrogen stations currently available in the United States, all in the state of California.

But a recent contract awarded to Kalibrate Technologies may start to change that.

Kalibrate, a provider of fuel pricing and retail location analytics, has won a contract from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The company will work with NREL to identify locations for more hydrogen refueling stations in California. The state has a roadmap initiative to open 68 hydrogen stations by 2016 to serve what it expects will be thousands of FCEVs.

"Alternative fuels are a growing segment that will create commercial opportunities for today's petroleum retailers," said Bob Stein, president and CEO of Kalibrate Technologies, in a press release on the announcement. "We look forward to working with the petroleum and convenience store industry to adapt and plan for this changing environment and look forward to working with NREL to address this new opportunity."

In 2015, vehicle manufacturers including Toyota, Honda and Hyundai plan to begin offering FCEVs for sale to the public. The advantages to the technology are many, including zero tailpipe emissions and fuel economies that are more than twice that of current conventional gasoline-powered vehicles. FCEVs also offer the quiet, smooth drive of battery electric vehicles with the range, size and rapid fill-up times of conventional gasoline vehicles. And, hydrogen is the most common element in the universe and can be generated from any primary energy resource, including low-carbon sources such as renewables, nuclear and fossil with carbon capture and storage.

Kalibrate's partnership with NREL aims to get over the chicken-and-egg hump that has blocked faster rollout of many alternative fuels—consumers are reluctant to buy an alternative fuel vehicle if they have few refueling options. Kalibrate plans to employ its more than 20 years' experience evaluating retail sites and planning fuel networks, as well as modeling techniques to identify how many hydrogen fueling stations are needed and where they could be located.

NREL and Kalibrate will identify optimal locations along with alternate sites. Meanwhile, NREL's industry knowledge and expertise about hydrogen fueling and the potential consumer will help guide Kalibrate in determining the right infrastructure for these stations.

Kalibrate (formerly KSS Fuels) is a provider of fuels pricing and retail location intelligence designed to help retailers fine-tune decisions to deliver on performance goals. It has global headquarters in Manchester, U.K., and U.S. headquarters in Florham Park, N.J.