First Element Fuel Inc., which is building the True Zero Network of hydrogen charging stations throughout California, has been named winner of the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) Clean Air Award for 2016 in the category of Business Leadership in Air Quality.
During the past year, the Irvine, Calif.-based company says it has completed six of its True Zero hydrogen dispensers throughout the SCAQMD region and an additional 10 throughout other parts of California as part of the world’s largest network of such stations.
“We’re thrilled the South Coast AQMD is recognizing True Zero’s role in helping get drivers out of gasoline-powered vehicles and into zero-emission electric vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells,” said Joel Ewanick, First Element Fuel’s CEO, following the Oct. 7 presentation at the Riverside Convention Center.
“The South Coast AQMD has been a great partner in advancing hydrogen and fuel cell technologies for decades, and they are a great partner to the True Zero network, providing critical funding that is helping us open and operate retail hydrogen stations. We’ve now opened the world’s largest retail hydrogen network here in California to help enable manufacturers like Toyota and Honda to expand their hydrogen-vehicle business.”
With the True Zero network, the owner of a Toyota Mirai or Honda Clarity – which can both travel more than 300 miles on a full tank of hydrogen – can now drive from Orange County out to Santa Barbara, up to the San Francisco Bay Area, and even out east to the Truckee/Lake Tahoe region, and then back without fear of running out of fuel.
“And all it takes is a four-minute stop at a True Zero hydrogen dispenser to fill up and get back on the road,” explained Ewanick.
The company says it has completed 16 of its 19 hydrogen fueling stations in California that make up phase 1 of the network, with the remaining three expected to open early in 2017. In addition, it is in the process of planning for the next expansion stage. Funding for the True Zero charging stations included grants from the California Energy Commission, the SCAQMD and the Bay Area AQMD, as well as financing from Toyota and Honda.
In addition to the SCAQMD Clean Air Award, First Element Fuel has also received an award for its work in Combatting Climate Change from the City of Los Angeles, a Business Achievement Award from the Climate Change Business Journal, and a Sustainability Award from ACG Orange County.