Air Water is strengthening its presence in the evolving hydrogen market, with the Japanese industrial gas company announcing a $50m investment in FirstElement Fuel (FEF).

One of California’s largest developers of hydrogen fuel stations, FEF currently operates 31 of out the 52 hydrogen stations currently operational in California, one of the world’s leading markets for hydrogen-fuelled fuel cell electric vehicles.

Having now invested in FEF, Air Water will help support the buildout of FEF’s station network by providing equipment solutions for the company’s hydrogen station operations. It is believed liquid hydrogen bulk tanks, liquid hydrogen trailers and refuellers will be provided under this effort.

Ryosuke Matsubayashi, President and CEO of Air Water America, said, “As part of our continued development in North America, we promote new initiatives and investments related to the hydrogen infrastructure and supply chain in all aspects of production, sales and distribution of liquid hydrogen.”

“When the hydrogen society commercialises in Japan, we will get our Japanese hydrogen business established quickly by using products and technologies developed in the US. We are excited for our future partnership with FEF as they continue to expand in California and beyond.”

Already, Air Water’s subsidiary Taylor-Wharton has inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for new product development and a supply agreement for the supply of hydrogen storage, transportation and refuelling equipment with FEF.

Eric Rottier, Chief Operating Officer at Air Water America and CEO of Taylor-Wharton, added, “We are thrilled to support FEF’s strategic growth plan and contribute to reducing carbon emissions via hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle deployment.”