Clean Technology Canada

U.S. hydrogen refueling company awarded a $7.7M contract from the CEC to scale up its mfg.

August 15, 2023
By Canadian Manufacturing

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FirstElement Fuel team members break for a photo at the Company’s hydrogen logistics hub and field-testing facility located in Livermore, CA. The facility is home to a one-of-a-kind field-testing facility for liquid hydrogen cryopump systems.

IRVINE — FirstElement Fuel Inc., announced that it has received a $7.7 million grant from the California Energy Commission (CEC) to increase the Company’s Santa Ana, Ca. manufacturing facility output by more than 10 times. FEF, a California-based company, is currently operating a network of hydrogen refueling stations comprised of 85 dispensers across 40 station locations and serving hydrogen-powered vehicles across California.

“The CEC is playing a huge role to transition the state of California, and the world, away from fossil fuels. It’s truly an honor to continue our partnership with the CEC to make zero emissions transportation a reality,” said Joel Ewanick, Founder and Chief Executive officer of FEF.

FEF’s manufacturing facility in Santa Ana currently produces critical high tech components and systems for hydrogen refueling stations, including liquid hydrogen cryopump systems. The scale-up of the Santa Ana, CA FirstElement Fuel Innovation Center, partially funded by the CEC, will reportedly increase local jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by enabling more zero-emissions transportation. FEF was awarded the grant through the CEC’s Zero-Emission Transportation Manufacturing competitive grant solicitation. FEF will also contribute at least $14M to the project.

Hydrogen-powered vehicles have the capacity to transform modern transportation by eliminating tailpipe emissions, slashing carbon emissions, and more than doubling driving efficiency as compared to traditional internal combustion engine vehicles. California State government policy has for decades supported a transition to hydrogen in the transportation sector as part of its zero-emission vehicle strategy, placing the State in a leadership position for hydrogen-related development. California’s policies have also laid the foundation for FEF’s success in becoming the world’s leading hydrogen refueling station company. Setting up adequate supply chains and manufacturing of hydrogen refueling station equipment to supply the development of a hydrogen refueling network is critical to the successful scale-up of hydrogen-powered vehicles.

“FirstElement is a true California story – the company could not have been born anywhere else,” said Dee Dee Myers, Senior Advisor to Governor Newsom and Director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. “They are emblematic of California’s role in creating new markets and expanding clean energy manufacturing, building on the foundation of our world-class workforce and ongoing commitment to a carbon-free economy.”

FEF’s manufacturing expansion project will extend through March 2026 FEF will also increase its pump testing capability at its hydrogen logistics hub and field-testing facility located in Livermore, CA as part of this project.

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