Air Products has announced it has signed an agreement to be the hydrogen fueling station and technology supplier for FirstElement Fuel, Inc.’s initial network of 19 hydrogen fueling stations to be built throughout California in 2015. The SmartFuel® hydrogen fueling stations will be supplied to FirstElement Fuel following the company’s success in winning multiple grants through the California Energy Commission’s (CEC) hydrogen fueling program. Air Products will also be the hydrogen supplier for all 19 stations, which 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.
Beyond the coming network of 19 FirstElement Fuel stations, Air Products has nine existing SmartFuel stations in the state already fueling cars in public and private use. It is in the process of adding nine more locations from previous CEC program fueling station awards, with those stations featuring the company’s first hydrogen station product line. 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.
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All 19 stations for FirstElement Fuel will be SmartFuel stations, providing 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. Additionally, this novel patented supply system to cost-effectively seed early markets with fueling infrastructure in California is able to be deployed anywhere in the U.S.
The stations will also include Air Products’ advanced consumer-friendly retail hydrogen fuel dispenser. The new Air Products offering, developed by the company in conjunction with Bennett Pump Co., is the market’s first fully-integrated retail hydrogen dispenser, mirrors traditional consumer gasoline fueling and payment practices, and is readily available to meet consumer expectations of refilling hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles in a safe, fast, reliable, and familiar manner.