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Building the hydrogen highway

The infrastructure for hydrogen fueling stations is in its infancy. Most of the current stations are concentrated in the urban areas of San Francisco and Los Angeles, making intercity travel difficult, given the limited range of a hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV). Blackstone has a plan to integrate 23 strategically located hydrogen fueling stations with the existing California infrastructure to facilitate FCEV interstate travel between Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.

Current infrastructure

Schematic of proposed Yuma, Arizona dissociation center

Click to enlarge

According to the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CFCP) there were 48 retail hydrogen fueling stations operating in California as of July 12, 2021. According to the literature, an FCEV can travel 300 miles (480 km) on a tank of hydrogen. For purposes of estimating range, we use 280 miles (450 km). While most of the state is reachable by an FCEV under the current infrastructure, the eight northernmost counties are not. This area epresents nearly 350,000 people. With no fueling stations available north of Saramento or Truckee, the effective range of a northbound FCEV would be only half the total range (140 miles or 225 km). As of the CFCP's July 12, 2021 report, there are no plans to build any stations to serve this area.

Blackstone additions

Schematic of proposed Yuma, Arizona dissociation center

Click to enlarge

Blackstone's plan is to complete the hydrogen highway for seven western states, using a series of 23 hydrogen fueling stations as described in our pro forma operations analysis. By adding Redding and Medford, Oregon, we can cover most of the 350,000 people in Northern California who do not have access to hydrogen fueling stations. Our estimated build-out costs are less than $730,000 per station, as opposed to the $2-$3.2 million per station the CFCP indicates is required. As shown in the map above, no hydrogen station is more than 450 km (280 miles) from the next station. While drivers will obviously have to do some trip planning, our proposed build-out allows FCEV owners to travel just about anywhere within the seven-state area.

Zinc oxide/Zinc delivery

Schematic of proposed Yuma, Arizona dissociation center

Click to enlarge

Zinc oxide is manufactured at the Blackstone Mine in southern Idaho and shipped to the dissociation center in Yuma, Arizona. Zinc oxide is dissociated into zinc powder at the Yuma Center and delivered to hydrogen fueling stations for on-site hydrogen production via hydrolysis. The zinc oxide byproduct resulting from hydrolysis is collected and returned to the Yuma Center for another round of dissociation to zinc powder and the hydrogen production cycle begins anew. All delivery routes circle back through the Blackstone Mine to collect new charges of zinc oxide in addition to that collected from the fueling stations. Prior research suggests that the dissociation cycle can be repeated as many as 10 times with a single charge of zinc oxide.



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