updated 5/11/2011 6:15:13 PM ET 2011-05-11T22:15:13

Toyota Motor Sales (TMS) announced the first-ever hydrogen fueling station in the United States being fed directly from an active industrial hydrogen pipeline on Tuesday (May 10) in the Los Angeles area, providing fuel-cell drivers a new way to power up their vehicles.

Located in Torrence, Calif., adjacent to the Toyota Marketing Sales campus and close to major freeways, the fueling station is operated by Shell on land leased from Toyota. The gas itself comes from Air Products' hydrogen product plants and received funding from the South Coast Air Quality Management District and the Department of Energy.

What sets this station apart from other hydrogen fueling stations is that it doesn't rely on hydrogen that is delivered in and stored on the site. Unlike other facilities that usually have wait times for fueling, this system will allow four vehicles to refuel at the same time.

Although Toyota currently does not offer a line of fuel-cell cars, it plans to use the station as a demonstration program to test out over 100 cars in the near future.

"Building an extensive hydrogen re-fueling infrastructure is a critical step in the successful market launch of fuel cell vehicles," said Chris Hostetter, group vice president, product and strategic planning, TMS. "We plan to bring a fuel cell vehicle to market in 2015 or sooner, and the infrastructure must be in place to support our customers’ needs."

The facility will also be open to other manufacturers' fuel cell vehicle fleets in the area, including Honda’s FCX Clarity vehicle.

The close proximity of the hydrogen pipeline to Toyota Marketing Sales campus led Toyota to think beyond vehicles to consider additional ways to use hydrogen, the company said.

In 2010, Toyota partnered with Ballard Power Systems to install a one-megawatt hydrogen fuel cell generator to offset peak electricity demand on campus. The fuel cell generator will be fed directly from the hydrogen pipeline through an existing tap on the property. Pipeline hydrogen used on campus will be offset with the purchase of landfill generated renewable bio-gas.

The system is scheduled for installation in 2012 and is estimated to reduce CO2 emissions by 10,000 tons with emission-free fuel cell technology.

Reach TechNewsDaily senior writer Samantha Murphy at Follow her on Twitter @SamMurphy_TMN


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