Florida Department of Environmental Protection, DEP, Secretary Michael Sole joined executives from Ford Motor Company, BP America, Inc., Progress Energy Florida and the United States Department of Energy to officially open the new fueling station.
"By using state-of-the-art technology we are demonstrating the power of alternative energy in Florida's future," said Sole.
The hydrogen demonstration project is part of an initiative unveiled in 2004 by the U.S. Department of Energy. That same year BP and Ford selected the Sunshine State as one of three sites in the nation to demonstrate pollution free hydrogen fuel cell cars.
Hydrogen fueling station at Oviedo, Florida (Photo courtesy Florida DEP)
Ford supplied the Florida DEP and Progress Energy Florida with six hydrogen powered Ford Focus fuel cell vehicles through a federal government project.
One of the hydrogen-powered Fords gives DEP park rangers a pollution-free ride during everyday operations at Wekiwa Springs State Park, which attracts nearly 185,000 visitors annually to its freshwater springs. The 8,000-acre park protects the headwaters of the Wekiva River.
Two more fuel cell vehicles are used by DEP's Central Regulatory District for field inspections.
Progress Energy Florida's energy efficiency specialists and customer account managers are using the other three hydrogen cars at their Jamestown Operations Center.
BP America supplies the cars with hydrogen fuel through a grant from the state of Florida.
"BP is committed to developing cleaner fuels," said Maria Curry-Nkansah, BP's hydrogen business development manager. "With this station, we will continue our work to gain real-world experience in hydrogen fueling infrastructure and help build public awareness of this developing technology."
"This program is an example of how government, energy companies and the auto industry are working collaboratively to assess the potential of hydrogen as an alternative fuel," she said.
Hydrogen can power cars by replacing gasoline in an internal combustion engine or as a source of power for a fuel cell. A fuel cell combines hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, which powers the car and emits only steam.
"The opening of this second station under the Ford-DOE Controlled Hydrogen Fleet and Infrastructure Demonstration and Validation Project represents another step forward for hydrogen as an alternative fuel," said Sheral Arbuckle with Ford's Research and Advanced Engineering Department.
"We have made much progress in hydrogen propulsion over the past 15 years and are pleased that our energy partner, BP, has continued their efforts in supporting this project with the much needed infrastructure to fuel our vehicle fleet," she said.
In May, Governor Charlie Crist opened the state's first hydrogen energy demonstration station in Orlando. The station fuels hydrogen-powered shuttle buses and provides a test platform for showcasing the production, storage and dispensing of hydrogen fuel.
Partners in that fueling station are Ford Motor Company, Chevron Technology Ventures and Progress Energy Florida.
Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2007. All rights reserved.