NEWPORT BEACH, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today FirstElement Fuel Inc., a California-based company dedicated to providing fuel cell vehicle customers with retail hydrogen fuel, finalized an agreement with Black & Veatch to serve as the company’s primary engineering and construction provider. This came just one week after the California Energy Commission gave final approval for a $27.6 Million grant to FirstElement to help develop the first phase of a California hydrogen network that will support zero-emission fuel cell vehicles in the state. In addition to the California Grants, FirstElement is receiving financial support from Toyota who will begin selling fuel cell vehicles next year.
“The electrification of the automobile made great strides at the end of July,” said Joel Ewanick, CEO of FirstElement Fuel. “With the stroke of a pen the Energy Commission took the hydrogen infrastructure argument off the table with their final approval of our $27.6 Million grant. The very next week we completed our first order of business by signing Black & Veatch as our primary engineering and construction provider for the 19 hydrogen charging locations in our network.”
The Energy Commission grant to FirstElement for 19 hydrogen stations will more than triple the current number of stations in the state. The stations, scheduled to be completed by the fall of 2015, represent the initial phase of FirstElement’s plan to construct a state-wide hydrogen network as fuel cell vehicles hit show rooms in California starting this year and next.
“Black & Veatch is uniquely qualified having just built a national EV charging network,” Ewanick said. “This experience makes them an ideal provider. We are not wasting any time - we started Monday.”
The hydrogen network is planned as an add-on to existing gasoline stations to assure easy, retail access for fuel cell vehicle customers. Vehicles that use hydrogen fuel cells generate electricity through a chemical reaction to power an electric motor. Clean water vapor is the only exhaust from the vehicle.
“Black & Veatch is a leader in delivering distributed infrastructure solutions and we are excited to be part of the evolution in transportation fuels,” said Rick Azer, Director of Development for Black & Veatch’s Smart Integrated Infrastructure services. “This network is an essential component to widespread use of zero emission, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.”