$25.5 Million Agreement Said to Be ‘Largest Ever of Its Kind:’
Equipment and the Hydrogen Fuel for 19 California Stations
Air Products will supply SmartFuel brand fueling equipment, and the fuel iteself, for 19 hydrogen stations being built in California by FirstElement Fuel. They “will be open to the public at a time when several vehicle manufacturers prepare to launch fuel cell vehicles into the California market in 2015,” Air Products says. Toyota, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, and Hyundai are commercializing fuel cell vehicles as early as this year, FirstElement noted.
The $25.5 million contract with Air Products is “the largest deal ever of its kind,” FirstElement said. It signals the firm’s transition “from planning to building the first phase of California’s hydrogen network.”
FirstElement has received multiple California Energy Commission awards to help establish a viable hydrogen fueling infrastructure in the state in support of the new zero-emission fuel cell vehicles (F&F, July 23).
Black & Veatch
“After a summer of hard-fought negotiations, we have all of the pieces in place to get these first 19 stations built,” FirstElement CEO Joel Ewanick said in his firm’s announcement.
Black & Veatch will handle the engineering and construction.
“Our hydrogen fueling station technology is a product that has a small footprint, can be placed on-site at existing retail gasoline fueling stations, and is also cost-effective,” Air Products hydrogen energy global business director Ed Kiczek said in the Air Products release.
“These will be retail stations so their performance needs to be impeccable,” said FirstElement COO Tim Brown.
40 in California All-Told
Beyond the coming network of 19 FirstElement Fuel stations, Air Products has nine existing SmartFuel stations in the state fueling cars in public and private use. The firm reports that it is in the process of adding nine more locations from previous CEC program fueling station awards. In addition, Air Products operates three hydrogen-powered forklift fueling stations in the state.
“When all of these stations are onstream, Air Products’ hydrogen fueling technology will be in place at 40 California locations,” the company says.
The 19 SmartFuel stations for FirstElement Fuel will provide hydrogen fueling at 700 bar (10,000 psi) and include Air Products’ technology referenced in the SAE J2601 hydrogen fueling protocol. “Air Products has available several SmartFuel station concepts incorporating modular and expandable technology and holds an entire portfolio of global patents, with additional patents pending, related to the advancements to be deployed under this program.
The stations will also include Air Products’ advanced consumer-friendly retail hydrogen fuel dispenser, developed with Bennett Pump. The dispenser is said to be the market’s first fully-integrated retail hydrogen unit, mirroring traditional consumer gasoline fueling and payment practices, and “readily available to meet consumer expectations of refilling hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles in a safe, fast, reliable, and familiar manner.”
Air Products says it’s been involved in more than 170 hydrogen fueling projects in the U.S. and 20 countries worldwide, and that it’s providing more than one million 1,000,000 hydrogen fills per year. “Cars, trucks, vans, buses, scooters, forklifts, locomotives, planes, cell towers, material handling equipment, and even submarines have been fueled with trend-setting Air Products’ technologies.”
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Source: Air Products and FirstElement Fuel with Fleets & Fuels follow-up