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A hydrogen fueling station in San Francisco, CA. | Photo courtesy of the California Fuel Cell Partnership

A hydrogen fueling station in San Francisco, CA. | Photo courtesy of the California Fuel Cell Partnership

Last week, the city of San Francisco was named the first Climate Action Champion to be focused on hydrogen and fuel cells in the United States by the Energy Department’s (DOE) Fuel Cell Technologies Office. The city has established some of the most aggressive climate and sustainability targets in the nation, including a broad range of sectors: energy efficiency, renewable energy, transportation, water, green infrastructure, and waste. With robust goals to measure progress, San Francisco aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25% below 1990 levels by 2017, and 40% by 2025. Ramping up the deployment of fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) and hydrogen infrastructure are critical components of the city’s action plan.

In this DOE-funded project, the San Francisco Department of the Environment will conduct comprehensive training and educational workshops for hydrogen and fuel cell stakeholders throughout the Bay Area. As San Francisco works to triple California’s zero emissions vehicles (ZEV) adoption goal and have 15% ZEV—including a high percentage of FCEVs—in the city by 2025, local governments engaged in the rollout of new stations need to address a range of permitting, code, and communication barriers. Although 14 of these new hydrogen-fueling stations are planned for deployment in the Bay Area within the next two years, high upfront costs and lack of consumer education can be additional barriers to the widespread adoption of FCEVs.

In addition, the project aims to enroll at least three local businesses into an FCEV group purchasing program, exploring opportunities for discount pricing and offering information about local, state, and federal incentives. By pooling the purchasing power of groups, the project will reduce cost and complexity for consumers. This project will also connect local building, public safety, and planning officials with FCEV manufacturers, hydrogen safety experts, and station developers to learn about FCEVs and streamline the station development approval process.

The selection of San Francisco was announced during a forum at the meeting of the International Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in the Economy, a government partnership of 17 countries and the European Commission coordinating activities in hydrogen and fuel cells.