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Air Liquide to build liquid hydrogen plant

Air Liquide’s plant will begin construction in 2019

Air Liquide will build the first world-scale liquid hydrogen production unit dedicated to the hydrogen energy markets, located in the western US, and has signed a long-term agreement with FirstElement Fuel (FEF), a leader in retail hydrogen infrastructure in the US, to supply hydrogen to FEF’s retail liquid hydrogen fuelling stations in California.

These new commitments will serve the growing needs of the hydrogen mobility market in California and help enable and complement the deployment of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles and support the hydrogen merchant market across the state.

Air Liquide expects to invest over US$150 million to build the liquid hydrogen plant, with construction to begin in early 2019. The plant will have a capacity of nearly 30 tonnes of hydrogen per day – an amount that can fuel 35,000 fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs).

Through this investment, Air Liquide will enable the large-scale deployment of hydrogen mobility on the west coast, providing a reliable supply solution to fuel the 40,000 FCEVs expected to be deployed in the state of California by 2022.

The plant will also support other fuel cell vehicles and transportation markets in the region, such as material handling and forklifts and heavy duty trucks.

The new plant is the first large scale investment into the supply chain infrastructure needed to support hydrogen energy solutions for the energy transition, starting with transport and mobility. The pace of FCEV deployment has now reached a level requiring a growing scale of investment and is paving the way for the growth of zero emission mobility in other geographies.

In addition to the long-term supply agreement, Air Liquide and FEF have entered into an agreement outlining Air Liquide’s intent to make an equity investment in FEF, following previous assistance to the company by Toyota and Honda.

With these agreements, Air Liquide also builds upon its existing collaborations with Toyota and Honda to further enable a robust hydrogen fuelling infrastructure and, along with others, bolster the deployment of FCEVs and the retail fuelling infrastructure in California.

Executive vice-president and executive committee member of L’Air Liquide and chairman and CEO of American Air Liquide Holdings 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.”

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