The California Fuel Cell Partnership is committed to promoting fuel cell vehicle commercialization as a means of moving towards a sustainable energy future increasing energy efficiency and reducing or eliminating air pollution and greenhouse gasA gas in Earth's atmosphere that traps heat and can contribute to global warming. Carbon dioxide and methane are two GHGs. emissions.
Collaboration is key
Our members collaborate on activities that advance the technology, often creating consensus that saves time, effort and money. For example, California was the first state to designate hydrogen as a transportation fuel. With that designation came a need to immediately set some standards and regulations. CaFCP and its members provided the Department of Measurement Standards with joint input about hydrogen quality regulations, instead of individually submitting conflicting input to the agency. DMS was able to create the regulation in months instead of years.
Some projects, like public outreach and first responder education, are ongoing and involve a team of staff and members. Other projects arise around one issue, like training drivers on how to use the stations. Staff and members come together as a team to address it and, when completed, the project team disbands.
Regardless of the issue or matter, CaFCP and its members are engaged on a day-to-day basis to move fuel cell electric vehicles closer to market.
- Automotive members provide fuel cell passenger vehicles that are placed in demonstration programs, where they are tested in real-world driving conditions.
- Energy members work to build hydrogen stations within an infrastructure that is safe, convenient and fits into the community.
- Fuel cell technology members provide fuel cells for passenger vehicles and transit buses.
- Government members lay the groundwork for demonstration programs by facilitating steps to creating a hydrogen fueling infrastructure.
In January 1999, the California Air Resources Board and California Energy Commission joined with six private-sector companies—Ballard Power Systems, DaimlerChrysler, Ford Motor Company, BP, Shell Hydrogen and ChevronTexaco—to form the California Fuel Cell Partnership. The goal was to demonstrate and promote the potential for electric vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells as a clean, safe, and practical alternative to vehicles with internal combustion engines. Within a very short time, other government agencies and private businesses became members.
"California has teamed with some of the best automotive manufacturers and energy providers in the world, to develop an exciting new technology that is both environmentally safe and commercially viable." -- former Governor Gray Davis formally announcing the collaboration on April 20,1999
In November 2000, our West Sacramento headquarters opened. The building includes a public gallery, offices, a hydrogen fueling station and indoor service bays for vehicle maintenance. In the beginning, the automakers had just handful of cars-all stationed in Sacramento. Our goal was to see if these fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) and hydrogen could be technically viable. If the answer was no, then CaFCP would close its doors in 2004.
Before the first phase was finished, CaFCP members knew that the technology could succeed. Our membership grew to 33 and they drafted a new set of goals for the next phase of operation, 2004 to 2007. During this period, CaFCP members worked on projects to prove or disprove the commercially viability—would the vehicles, fuels and public policies meet consumer expectations?
In mid-2006, our members again agreed that FCEVs could be a commercial success. They agreed to a third phase through the end of 2012 to lay the foundations for a commercial market. This included developing early retail stations, supporting policies to enable the retail sale of hydrogen and establishing the steps to build a supplier base for large-scale production.
CaFCP completed its first phase of operation in December 2003 and its second phase in 2007. As we complete our third phase, we look to the fourth when the early commercial market for fuel cell electric vehicles will launch. Much remains to be done, but our members remain confident that FCEVs offer consumers the performance they have come to expect in a typical automobile while producing zero emissions.
Chair: Dr. Dan Sperling
Dr. Sperling is Professor of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science and Policy and founding Director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis. He also holds the transportation seat on the California Air Resources Board. He received a 2010 Heinz Award for his “achievements in the research of alternative transportation fuels.”
Dr. Sperling is recognized as a leading international expert on transportation technology assessment, energy and environmental aspects of transportation, and transportation policy. He is chair of the Davos World Economic Forum's Council on "Future of Mobility" and recent chair of the U.S. Transportation Research Board's standing committees on Sustainable Transportation and Alternative Fuels. He was honored as a lifetime National Associate of the National Academies, is author or editor of 200 technical articles and 11 books, including Two Billion Cars (Oxford University Press, 2009), and has testified many times to the U.S. Congress on alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technology.
Executive Director: Catherine Dunwoody
Catherine Dunwoody is the executive director of the California Fuel Cell Partnership. She has led the organization from 1999 when it was announced as a fuel cell vehicle demonstration program. Today the CaFCP is globally recognized as a leader in promoting hydrogen fuel cell vehicle commercialization. Catherine leads the CaFCP’s team of industry and government members in their collaborative planning, technical and outreach activities. Prior to CaFCP, she worked for the California Air Resources Board where she managed teams responsible for a variety of activities, ranging from developing stationary source test methods to developing and implementing vehicle regulations. Catherine has a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry from the University of California, Davis.