In the USA, members of the hydrogen and fuel cell industry have formally announced a new alliance to effect rapid deployment of zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell electric trucks, buses, locomotives, vessels, aircraft and off-road equipment throughout the Western United States.
The Western States Hydrogen Alliance (WSHA) is made up of leading figures in the heavy-duty hydrogen fuel cell industry and will focus on a rapid increase in development and deployment of fuel cell electric technology across multiple commercial sectors in 13 western states.
This follows in the wake of a flurry of activity in the hydrogen sector recently both in energy production and vehicles, particularly in heavy-duty, long-haul vehicles. This year California introduced the Advanced Clean Trucks act, while Hyundai just revealed their business strategy to supply more than 12,000 units to the North American market by 2030. Toyota just announced that Toyota and Hino Motors have extended their cooperation for electric commercial vehicles and now also want to develop a 40-ton truck with fuel cell drive for the North American market. The first demonstration vehicle is scheduled for completion in the first half of 2021.
“Hydrogen fuel cells will power the future of zero-emission mobility in these heavy-duty, hard to electrify sectors,” said WSHA Executive Director Roxana Bekemohammadi. “The fact is indisputable. This new alliance exists to ensure government and industry can work efficiently together to accelerate the coming of this revolution.”
In order to establish a bridge between industry and government, an external Advisory Board has been established comprised of current elected and appointed officials from the Western US, that should help steer the organisation’s policy activities.
The founding members of the alliance include Capacity Trucks, El Dorado National, Golden Gate Zero Emission Marine, Hyundai, Plug Power, the Protium Company and last but not least, Ballard Power Systems.
Bekemohammadi said that they will be announcing new members in the course of the next few days as well as a list of initiatives that the group plans to spearhead throughout the Western region.
Although hydrogen fuel cell technology is now emerging across markets, specifically in buses, aircraft, larger ships and trucks, it is still emerging technology and will develop enormously in the upcoming future. Therefore the group says that their members are interested in both increasing the rapid deployment of existing applications as well as working together to accelerate the development of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle technology in new applications.
In the upcoming activities of the new alliance, a particular focus will first be on areas hardest hit by diesel pollution. Although California is a central focus for a lot of fuel cell technology, the Alliance is hoping to increase that market whole developing a regional market outside of California. This would fit in with Hyundai’s strategy of working with those states promoting an EV-friendly environment.
The Western United States is not the only region starting alliances. These are now emerging across the globe as energy and vehicle players join regional partnerships and infrastructure agreements, which are far more plannable with known logistics needs and markets. Just this week we also reported that a Japanese Hydrogen Alliance is being formed, while many countries, including Australia, France, Germany, the EU, China and Korea have all formed hydrogen economy strategies in order to affect the transition of the hard to electrify sectors and to diversify resource needs.
Just last month Canadian fuel cell specialist Ballard and German supplier Mahle joined forces to industrialise fuel cell systems for commercial vehicles.
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