Air Liquide is building what they claim to be the world’s first liquid hydrogen production facility in the western United States. Moreover, the company has already signed a long-term contract with FirstElement Fuel (FEF) in California.
Air Liquide plans to invest $150 million in the facility, which will start construction in early 2019 and produce nearly 30 tons of liquid hydrogen per day – enough to supply 35,000 fuel cell vehicles they say. 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.
According to the California Fuel Cell Partnership, this investment means that the existing 35 hydrogen fueling stations operating in California can be followed by an additional 29 stations. A total of 19 of existing filling stations belong to True Zero, the H2 station network of FirstElement Fuel. In 2016, the group initially put 15 sites into operation in Silicon Valley and Greater L.A., among other places. Four more followed shortly afterwards. This expansion was mainly financed by the state, with the participation of Toyota and Honda, by the way.
On top of the long-term supply agreement, Air Liquide and FEF have entered into an agreement outlining Air Liquid’s intent to make an equity investment in FEF, following previous assistance to the company from Toyota and Honda. Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota North America, said that the investment by Air Liquide will enable the large-scale deployment of hydrogen mobility on the West Coast.