Black & Veatch and FirstElement Fuel Inc. are working to rapidly bring hydrogen fueling stations to consumers in California who want a zero emission option for their cars. FirstElement Fuel selected Black & Veatch to engineer, permit and construct 19 hydrogen refueling stations across California.
The project represents the first stage of a comprehensive program for constructing a statewide True Zero hydrogen network. It is the single largest deployment of hydrogen fueling stations in the United States. The project is backed by grants from the California Energy Commission and by loans from Toyota and Honda.
“Black & Veatch’s experience in building electrical vehicle charging infrastructure and distributed energy facilities makes it an ideal provider for this program.”
Joel Ewanick, CEO, FirstElement Fuel Inc.
Changing the Industry
The True Zero stations are located at existing gas stations across Northern and Southern California. The stations represent a critical step in supporting greater adoption of zero emission, hydrogen fuel cell technology for transportation purposes. Vehicles that use hydrogen fuel cells create a chemical reaction with the hydrogen to generate electricity and power an electric motor.
Black & Veatch completed the first True Zero hydrogen fueling stations with FirstElement in Coalinga and Long Beach, California, in December 2015. As the halfway point between San Francisco and Los Angeles, the rural Coalinga location is emerging as a vehicle charging and alternative fuel hot spot. This first-of-a-kind program is changing the industry, focusing on the rapid design and development of stations in support of automakers’ objectives for a geographically expansive station footprint.
This project combined FirstElement’s hydrogen domain expertise with Black & Veatch’s distributed infrastructure acumen to create a development process that was readily adaptable to a variety of site-specific locations. Construction for FirstElement was managed by Overland Contracting Inc. (OCI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Black & Veatch.
The fuel is made of the most abundant element in the universe — the first element — hydrogen. When it is consumed in a fuel cell vehicle, the only byproduct is water vapor.