Air Liquide to build $150M liquid hydrogen plant in US; long-term agreement with, investment in FirstElement Fuel
Air Liquide expects to invest more than US$150 million to build a liquid hydrogen plant in the western United States, with construction to begin in early 2019. Further, Air Liquide has signed a long-term agreement with FirstElement Fuel Inc (FEF), a leader in retail hydrogen infrastructure in the US, to supply renewable hydrogen to FEF’s retail liquid hydrogen fueling stations in California.
The plant will have a capacity of nearly 30 tons of hydrogen per day—an amount that can fuel 35,000 Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs). Through this investment, Air Liquide will enable the large-scale deployment of hydrogen mobility on the west coast, providing a reliable supply solution to fuel the 40,000 FCEVs expected to be deployed in the state of California by 2022.
The plant will also support other fuel cell vehicle and transportation markets in the region, such as material handling and forklifts and heavy duty trucks.
The new plant is the first large-scale investment into the supply chain infrastructure needed to support hydrogen energy solutions for the energy transition, starting with transport and mobility. The pace of FCEV deployment has now reached a level requiring a growing scale of investment and is paving the way for the growth of zero emission mobility in other geographies.
In addition to the long-term supply agreement, Air Liquide and FEF have entered into an agreement outlining Air Liquide’s intent to make an equity investment in FEF, following previous assistance to the company by Toyota and Honda.
With these agreements, Air Liquide also builds upon its existing collaborations with Toyota and Honda to further enable a robust hydrogen fueling infrastructure and, along with others, bolster the deployment of fuel cell electric vehicles and the retail fueling infrastructure in California.
Over the past 50 years, Air Liquide has developed expertise enabling it to master the entire hydrogen supply chain, from production and storage to distribution and the development of applications for end users, thus contributing to the widespread use of hydrogen as a clean energy source, for mobility in particular. Air Liquide has designed and installed more than 120 stations around the world to date.
FirstElement Fuel Inc is a California-based company established in 2013 with the sole purpose of providing safe, reliable, retail hydrogen to customers of fuel cell electric vehicles. The company is the developer, owner and operator of the True Zero brand of retail stations, which currently represents the largest retail hydrogen station network in the world.
Currently FirstElement operates 19 of its True Zero retail hydrogen stations with 12 more under development. The True Zero Network of stations spans from San Diego, throughout Orange County, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay Area, and out to Santa Barbara and Lake Tahoe.
Since the opening of its first station in January 2016, the True Zero Network has completed over 230,000 successful fills, eliminated more than 52 million gasoline miles and replaced them with zero emission fuel cell miles, and avoided over 32 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions (in CO2 equivalence).