Air Liquide has announced plans to build a liquid hydrogen production unit to be located in the Western US.
Air Liquide has also signed an agreement with FirstElement Fuel (FEF), a hydrogen retailer, to supply hydrogen to liquid hydrogen fueling stations in California.
The company expects to invest more than $150m in building the liquid hydrogen plant in the US, whose construction is expected to begin early next year. The plant will have a capacity to produce nearly 30 tons of hydrogen per day, which is an average amount that can be used to fuel nearly 35,000 fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs).
The investment will help the company to supply enough liquid hydrogen to be supplied to the 40,000 FCEVs that are expected to be deployed in California by 2022. The plan can also support other fuel cell vehicles and transportation markets in the region, such as material handling and forklifts and heavy duty trucks.
The company stated that these new commitments will serve the growing needs for hydrogen mobility market in California.
L’Air Liquide executive vice president & executive committee member and American Air Liquide chairman and CEO Michael Graff said: “This new investment in hydrogen production and our collaborative relationship with FirstElement Fuel, further demonstrate our long-term commitment to the development of hydrogen energy for mobility, and accelerate the deployment of new hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles — cars, trucks, buses — planned by automotive manufacturers like Toyota, Honda and other leading OEMs. We are convinced that hydrogen is an essential sustainable energy vector of the future and a cornerstone of the energy transition.”
In addition to the long-term supply agreement with FEF, Air Liquide also intends to invest in FEF’s equity, following previous assistance to the company from Toyota and Honda.
FirstElement Fuel founder and CEO Joel Ewanick said: “This signals a transitional moment for the hydrogen automobile market. Air Liquide is bringing significant private investment to build a key piece for growing California’s hydrogen network. It’s yet another indication of the momentum for hydrogen as a replacement for gasoline.”