Deployment of Sustainable Fueling/Charging Systems at California Highway Safety Roadside Rest Areas

The transportation and electricity sectors are major sources of U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions because fossil fuels are the dominant energy source for the transportation sector and for electricity generation. Both sectors are facing the challenge of shifting to a more sustainable future. In the transportation sector, plug-in electric vehicles (PEV) and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) will play a key role in meeting California’s 2050 GHG goals. This research studied the feasibility of the deployment of renewable hydrogen fueling for FCEVs and DC fast charging stations for PEVs at Highway Safety Roadside Rest Areas (SRRAs) and the integration of the stations with the electricity grid, including solar electric generation, to lower the infrastructure cost and to accelerate the usage of renewable energy in the California transportation sector. Three hydrogen fueling/DC fast charging system configurations were studied: two integrated stations with energy storage using compressed hydrogen or batteries as the energy storage medium located on a single site, and a distributed system configuration deployed on different sites. In this analysis, we assessed the sustainable integrated fueling/charging stations based on 100% of utilization of the local PV electricity for hydrogen fueling/DC fast charging. The hydrogen fuelings and EV chargings were evenly divided based on their energy consumption. However, in the early stage of FCEV and PEV adoption, a relatively low utilization of fueling/charging stations is likely. In that case, the integrated stations could function as distributed power generation and energy storage for the grid. As the market for FCEVs and EVs develops, the integrated stations have the potential to serve the larger numbers of FCEVs and PEVs by using grid electricity during off-peak hours.