The Livermore, Calif.-based Tri-Valley – San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority (Authority) board approved entering into a strategic collaboration with Linde Engineering North America (Linde) for the advancement of the proposed Valley Link green hydrogen production facility.
The collaboration involves the preparation of a project development agreement to further define the configuration of a hydrogen production facility, determine the implementation strategy, and establish the partnership structure with Linde. The action is critical to support the Authority’s vision of sustainability for the Valley Link rail project — to be the first passenger rail system in California to run on self-produced, green hydrogen, with a hydrogen fuel production facility able to support the clean energy goals of other transit and heavy truck operators.
The Authority’s action on the strategic collaboration with Linde is based on the outcome of a request for proposals process through which the Authority solicited proposals from qualified firms to design, build, finance, operate, and maintain a hydrogen production and storage facility. The request for proposals specifically identified the Authority’s pursuit of the project as a public-private partnership to leverage the expertise from the private sector hydrogen production industry while also leveraging the value and geography of 100 acres of property available for the project.
The 26-mile Valley Link rail project between the Dublin/Pleasanton Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) station in Alameda County and the Mountain House station in San Joaquin County, will connect tens of thousands of Bay Area workers now commuting daily from their homes in communities in the Northern San Joaquin Valley — some of the state’s most disadvantaged communities located in one of the most polluted air basins in the U.S.
The Authority is leading the implementation of the Valley Link rail project as a model of environmental and economic sustainability — one that could operate on its own created renewable energy, support transit-oriented land use development around station areas, and reduce ongoing operations costs, while maximizing air quality, equity, health, and workforce benefits.
To date, the state has invested in several hydrogen vehicle technologies and several transit agencies in California are producing their own hydrogen fuel. The sustainability vision of the Valley Link rail project seeks to significantly expand on this concept including the opportunity to manage risk and maximize the outcomes of green hydrogen production through public-private partnership with expertise from the hydrogen production industry.
While the feasibility study identifies the sizing of the production facility to meet Valley Link’s initial operating segment fuel needs, the Authority recognizes that there will be the opportunity to scale up a facility to ensure that both public and private investment in a green hydrogen hub can expand the availability, and reduce the cost, of green hydrogen to other users.