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True Zero opens hydrogen fuelling station in Central Coast region

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

A major roadblock for widespread adoption of electric fuel-cell cars came crashing down on 13 May with the opening of a new True Zero station in the Central Coast region – the latest addition to the world's largest network of hydrogen fuel stations being built in California by First Element Fuel, Inc.

"With Phase one of the True Zero network taking shape fuel cell vehicle customers are able to get around California seamlessly," explained Tim Brown, Founder and COO of Irvine-based FirstElement Fuel. "Soon, a short stop for a four minute charge of True Zero at stations like this one in Santa Barbara, will enable drivers to confidently get to their destination without the worry of range anxiety."

Phase one of the True Zero Network, including the one at Conserv Fuel, was brought online at an unprecedented speed and scale throughout the Silicon Valley, the greater Los Angeles area, the Lake Tahoe area and the San Joaquin Valley. The projects are funded in large part by grants from the California Energy Commission, South Coast AQMD and Bay Area AQMD, as well as partnerships with automotive firms Honda and Toyota who are first to market with fuel cell electric vehicles.

"We owe a special thanks to the State of California and to the automakers committed to fuel cell vehicles for their persistence and support," said Brown. "It goes well beyond the financial assistance; the technical assistance has also been critical. We knew building this network was going to be challenging. Having completed 15 stations in 18 months is an unprecedented achievement."

This generation of electric vehicles powered by fuel cells will be able to travel more than 300 miles on a single charge and a ‘fill up’ of True Zero will take four minutes or less.

"The Santa Barbara True Zero station serves not only the local market, but also as a destination and connector for fuel cell customers have access throughout California, through the Central Coast area and beyond, just like they drive a gasoline-fuelled vehicle," added Brown.

"True Zero symbolises the ultimate goal – a vehicle fuel with zero pollution, zero use of fossil fuels and zero greenhouse gases in both its production and use," explained Brown. "It's about the drive towards zero emissions from well to wheels; towards zero impact on the environment from a motor vehicle."

As a fuel, hydrogen is similar to electricity in that it is produced from a variety of sources. In California one third of the hydrogen produced today comes from renewable sources, with the remaining two thirds incorporating natural gas and water. An electric vehicle powered by hydrogen uses its fuel cell to convert the hydrogen into electricity to run the motor. The only emission coming from the vehicle is water.

Adapted from press release by Rosalie Starling

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