A Shell station on Santa Monica Boulevard will begin dispensing hydrogen fuel later this month as part of a research program run by the US Department of Energy in conjunction with GM. The station will be followed in the next few months by other stations in the LA area in an effort to build the mini networks necessary to jump-start the production and adoption of hydrogen-powered vehicles. Shell's hydrogen is created on-site with an electrolyzer, but all parties agree that this is only a short-term solution.

In order to service a heavy load of vehicles down the line, it will be necessary to produce hydrogen at petrochemical plants until it becomes possible to manufacture it from cleaner sources like carbon capture and storage, bio-feedstocks and municipal solid waste. There are numerous hydrogen stations located throughout the world, and it isn't the first of its kind in California, but the fact that it is backed by a major company could be the spark needed to generate real progress. [Ecogeek via CNET]