The lack of infrastructure for out-of-state travel is a major impediment to the adoption of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (HFCVs), and there is a need to increase the number of hydrogen fueling stations. A major obstacle to the development of such infrastructure is the enormous capital investment required to construct and equip a hydrogen refueling station. The costs of building a station in California, e.g., have been benchmarked at approximately $2.8 million for stations with an approximate 450 kg/day capacity. Due to such costs, recent studies suggest that launching hydrogen refueling infrastructure on a national scale sufficient to foster substantial increased manufacturing and sales of fuel cell electric vehicles will likely take at least ten years and cost tens of billions of dollars.
The proposed statute aims to increase demand for HFCVs by addressing the lack of hydrogen refueling infrastructure in the U.S.. It would do so by creating a federal capital grant program to provide developers of such stations with funding to defray half of the costs of equipping stations with hydrogen refueling infrastructure along Federal Highway Administration’s designated alternative fuel corridors. In light of an NREL Report mapping an appropriate national network (approximately 1,500-3,300 hydrogen stations by 2035) and the fact that the average station cost is in the range of $ 3M (of which the federal government would pay half), the statute proposes allocating a total of $2.5 billion in the first six years of the program, such that the funding, which must be largely dispensed within two years of allocation, may incentivize the completed development of more than 1,500 hydrogen stations nationwide within a decade of its enactment.