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LAX Adds Mercedes-Benz F-Cell Demonstrator

Controlled Hydrogen Fleet and Infrastructure Demonstration and Validation Project will include two other field test sites in California.

Published: 09-Nov-2005

The Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners today approved a participant agreement with Mercedes-Benz USA, its parent-company DaimlerChrysler Corporation, and the U.S. Department of Energy to evaluate the use of a prototype zero-emission passenger vehicle that utilizes a hydrogen-fuel cell drive system (F-cell vehicle) in a real-world setting.

The agreement calls for Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to become the only U.S. airport to participate in the "Controlled Hydrogen Fleet and Infrastructure Demonstration and Validation Project" awarded to DaimlerChrysler by the U.S. Department of Energy. The project will include two other field test sites in California and only 30 F-cell vehicles are being placed throughout the nation under a cooperative agreement between the Energy Department and DaimlerChrysler.

An important factor in the selection of LAX for this program is the existence of a hydrogen fueling station on airport property. On Oct. 22, 2004, a 10,500-square-foot compressed hydrogen demonstration station was opened at LAX as a joint project among Los Angeles World Airports(LAWA), Praxair, British Petroleum, South Coast Air Quality Management District, the California Energy Commission, and the U.S. Department of Energy -- all of which helped to fund the nearly $2 million construction cost. The demonstration station was awarded this year's Airports Council International-North America Environmental Achievement Award in the large-airport category.

Los Angeles World Airports, the City of Los Angeles department that owns and operates LAX and three other Southern California airports, gains the benefit and visibility of being the first airport to evaluate the F-cell vehicle. The demonstration and validation project includes reviewing the performance and reliability of a fuel-cell vehicle in real-world conditions, and collecting data about hydrogen energy and possible expanded use of hydrogen for use in fuel-cell vehicles.

LAWA is committed to identifying and replacing fossil-fuel vehicles and equipment with alternative-fuel models. The prototype hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle will be added to LAX's alternative-fuel vehicle fleet. Established in 1993, LAX's Construction and Maintenance Division has developed the second largest airport-based alternative-fuel fleet comprised of 470 vehicles. Alternative fuels now include compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG), electricity, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), solar power and hydrogen.

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