The California Energy Commissione (CEC) awarded $4.3m to Linde North America to construct retail hydrogen fueling stations in Northern California.

The stations will be located at the Oakland International Airport and on Toyota owned property in San Ramon, California, adjacent to Toyota’s San Francisco Regional Office and Parts Distribution Center.

The award is part of the $46.6m funding program the CEC has committed this year to expand the retail hydrogen fueling infrastructure within the state.

The grants, made through CEC’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, were made to eight applicants and will add 13 new hydrogen fueling locations in Northern California and 15 in Southern California, strategically located to create a refueling network along major corridors and in regional centers.

The California legislature has authorised CEC to spend $20m per year over the next 10 years to build up to 100 stations, in order advance the commercialisation of fuel cell cars.

“Transitioning to low- and zero-emission vehicles is critical to meeting air quality goals and to reducing the emissions that lead to climate change,” said Energy Commissioner Janea A. Scott.

“With this funding, California will accelerate the construction of a reliable and affordable refueling infrastructure to support the commercial market launch of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.”

Mike Beckman, head of Hydrogen Fueling for Linde North America, said, “This is a huge shot in the arm for the commercialisation of hydrogen-fueled cars. Not just for California and the US, but for the global initiative as well. California is taking the lead, and by adding additional funds for 28 new retail stations sends a strong message about how serious one market is about setting up the infrastructure to promote the introduction of zero-emission vehicles.”

Toyota, Honda and Hyundaihave already committed to commercial introduction of fuel cell cars by the end of this year and beginning of next year. “Others will soon follow,” Beckman said. “So we’re moving closer to hydrogen fueled automobiles becoming a commercial reality. We are currently cooperating with Toyota and the Port of Oakland and appreciate their support. The next step for us is to commercialize our first two retail stations and prove that Linde can lead the way in high performance, high throughput retail hydrogen fueling.”

“The first few years here in California will be a critical period for hydrogen fuel cell technology,” said Craig Scott, national manager of advanced technology vehicles at Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc.

“Toyota is working with partners like Linde to ensure fuel cell customers have access to infrastructure, no matter what car brand is on the hood.”

Commenting on the award, Deborah Ale Flint, Director of Aviation for the Port of Oakland, said, “OAK is a demonstrated leader in providing alternative fuel infrastructure that serves our tenants, our customers and the public, while reducing our carbon footprint.  Working with Linde and the CEC to bring hydrogen fueling to the Airport is consistent with the innovative approach that has brought other air quality improvements such as CNG fueling, EV chargers and electrification of baggage tractors to OAK.  This presents a great opportunity for the Airport to showcase its commitment to air quality by creating transportation alternatives based on low-emission technologies.  Oakland International Airport congratulates Linde on their grant award and whole-heartedly supports CEC’s goal of expanding access to hydrogen fueling to OAK and across the state.”

Linde North America is a member of The Linde Group, one of the world’s largest hydrogen energy producers and a leader in developing alternative fuel technologies. Linde, one of the earliest entrants into the hydrogen energy arena, is a leader in the safe production, storage and distribution of hydrogen.