Nikola takes step toward hydrogen fueling, infrastructure development

Nikola Corporation and OPAL Fuels have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the development, construction, and operation of hydrogen fueling stations in North America and the use of renewable natural gas (RNG) in hydrogen production.

Under this strategic engagement, Nikola and OPAL Fuels intend to co-develop and co-market hydrogen refueling infrastructure to accelerate the adoption of heavy-duty zero-emission fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEV).

"This alliance with OPAL Fuels provides excellent potential synergies given their experience building and operating fueling stations," says Nikola President, Energy and Commercial Pablo Koziner. "Today marks another important step forward in Nikola's stated energy infrastructure plans and its focus on providing hydrogen fueling services to customers."

"We are very excited to be working with Nikola to help fleets realize the potential of hydrogen fuel-cell trucks with reliable, cost-effective fueling infrastructure," says Adam Comora, Co-CEO of OPAL Fuels. "Coupled with RNG as a fuel source to lower the carbon intensity of hydrogen, we see a very powerful combination for the future."

OPAL Fuels has constructed more than 350 RNG fueling station projects and has over 15 years of successful relationships with trucking fleets across the continent, reducing the carbon intensity of their fuel. Nikola's Tre FCEVs for the North American market are slated for a 2023 launch from the company's Coolidge, Ariz., manufacturing facility, the company says.

[RELATED: Nikola adds dealer partner for Northeast region]

The initial focus of the collaboration is on developing the infrastructure required to more safely and reliably serve the needs of large private fleets that utilize their own dedicated property fueling infrastructure "Behind the Fence." Nikola and OPAL Fuels say they will also identify and evaluate opportunities to establish public access hydrogen stations. 

This collaboration will combine Nikola's proposed FCEV bundled lease offer, which will include Nikola's FCEVs, vehicle service and maintenance and hydrogen fuel supply, with OPAL Fuels' significant experience in developing, constructing, and operating heavy-duty truck fueling stations to deliver a complete end-to-end solution, the company adds.

In addition, both parties plan to leverage OPAL Fuels' growing portfolio of RNG supply to cost-effectively reduce the carbon intensity of hydrogen supplied by Nikola at the station, to meet customer sustainability objectives as they begin to transition to zero-emission vehicles. 

Under their Memorandum of Understanding, the companies also note they intend to initiate beta projects with select customers to drive engagement and accelerate development. The Parties intend to also develop best-practices and standards for hydrogen refueling station design and protocols allowing for a more safe, reliable, scalable, and low total cost of ownership for the transportation market, the companies add.

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