Colorado State University is set to receive $8.9 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation to build three public hydrogen fueling stations in Fort Collins, Denver and Pueblo. The stations will service medium-to-heavy-duty vehicle fleets and future light-duty passenger vehicles along Interstate 25 and will be located near campus facilities in each community.
The award is part of a larger $13.8 million grant from the agency that also includes support for similar work in Boulder County around electric vehicle adoption and is part of the recent Bipartisan Infrastructure bill.
The DOT said these investments will help build a national charging and sustainable fueling network to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create jobs while also making electric and alternative fuel vehicles more accessible to drivers.
The work at CSU will be led through the Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering by Associate Professor Bret Windom and Research Associate Andrew Zdanowicz, both part of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Windom said the funding will first support the installation of a public hydrogen fueling station at the Powerhouse Energy Campus, which will also be used in ongoing sustainability research. He added that the effort closely matches the university’s ongoing mission as a land-grant institution by broadening access to sustainable fuel options for residents across the state.
“We are collaborating with several public and private partners – including Colorado small business New Day Hydrogen – on this project, and I am excited to dig in and begin to build out the needed infrastructure to make hydrogen-powered vehicles a reality in Colorado,” he said.
This joint project continues research that Windom and his team have been doing within the CSU Energy Institute around hydrogen-powered vehicles and infrastructure. He added that seed money from the Scott Foundation High-Impact Research Program was also key in supporting his team’s ability to apply for the funding from the DOT.
“The stations we are helping build will be located on or very close to the CSU campuses along the I-25 corridor and will provide safe, resilient, carbon-free fueling,” Windom said. “CSU will be responsible for managing the overall program as well as creating a workforce development component with partners at the Southern Colorado Institute of Transportation Technology at CSU Pueblo that addresses the local transportation impacts and environmental justice elements as well as the basic management of the Fort Collins location.”
CSU President Amy Parsons said she was excited to see this project develop over the next few years.
“I’m grateful to the CSU researchers who are continually discovering and implementing solutions in the sustainability space,” she said. “This award builds on CSU’s longstanding expertise in clean energy and climate, and our commitment to workforce development in emerging industries.”
U.S. Sens. John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet and U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse applauded the announcement as well. Hickenlooper said in a separate release: “As our energy economy transitions, advances like electric vehicles are essential for cleaner air and fighting climate change.”
Through the CSU Energy Institute, Windom’s team is part of a broader ecosystem of interdisciplinary researchers working to develop solutions to address issues across the energy and climate spectrum. Often working in partnership with industry, the institute has led research efforts for three decades around topics like carbon sequestration and storage, sustainable agriculture production, electric vehicles, net-zero buildings and more on campus.
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