Cummins bolsters medium- and heavy-duty hydrogen propulsion

New California facility to focus on proton-exchange membrane’ tech

Cummins bolsters medium- and heavy-duty hydrogen propulsion
A Cummins-powered fuel cell truck at the West Sacramento facility


Engine-maker Cummins has opened its Hydrogen Fuel Cell Powertrain Integration Center in West Sacramento, California.

The move signals its commitment to scaling the green hydrogen economy in the United States the company said.

The facility aims to aid development of its ‘proton-exchange membrane’ (PEM) fuel cell technology.

"Our presence in West Sacramento is important to advancing hydrogen technologies while being a central part of the decarbonisation conversation in the United States," Amy Davis, Cummins vice president and president of its New Power arm, said.

"With the most advanced hydrogen infrastructure system in the country, California provides a great ecosystem for advancing alternative power technologies.

"Ultimately, our goal is to accelerate change in transportation, innovate for our customers and put more zero-emissions vehicles on the road. This facility will help us do exactly that."

Cummins is investing in two types of hydrogen fuel cells: proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells and solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs).

At the West Sacramento facility, the focus is PEM fuel cells, which are considered a good solution for high-power transportation applications, like heavy-duty, long-haul trucks. When the hydrogen used to fuel a fuel cell vehicle is green, meaning it is produced using renewable electricity, the result is zero-carbon transportation.

"We’re investing heavily in alternative power solutions, particularly hydrogen fuel cells, batteries and electric drivetrains," Amy Adams, Vice President of Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Technologies at Cummins, said. "We have unique expertise and talent to bring these together and put trucks in our customers’ hands today." 

Read how Cummins reinforced its hydrogen message recently, here 

The new 1,672 square metre Cummins site is designed specifically for hydrogen innovation, including safety features, and will house fuel cell integration and fuel cell powertrain development and testing, controls and electrical engineering.

Cummins will be the largest tenant at the California Fuel Cell Partnership facility, which is occupied by other alternative power innovators and technology companies.

Despite doubts being expressed on the long-term viability of hydrogen fuel cell propulsion in the face of advances in battery electric power, Cummins appears in no doubt.

Last month, it hosted a ‘Hydrogen Day’, where it spruiked its technical expertise and the manufacturing and customer support capabilities to successfully bring to market a range of hydrogen-related products at a scale for widespread adoption.

"Hydrogen technologies, particularly electrolysers, will be a fast-growing and increasingly important part of our business over the next few years," Cummins chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger said at the virtual event, which was said to have drawn a registered audience of more than 3,000 analysts, media members, environmental advocates and others.

"As momentum increases worldwide for the use of hydrogen solutions, we will continue to leverage our industry-leading hydrogen technologies, our deep customer relationships and our extensive service network to enable adoption."

 Not that the company is ignoring battery electric.

Cummins has a long history of advanced technology and engineering capabilities, and a broad portfolio of market-leading renewable hydrogen and battery electric technologies," it said.

"To date, Cummins has deployed more than 2,000 fuel cells, 600 electrolysers and 400 battery electric powertrains globally."


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