Local Leaders Meet in Richmond to Discuss Zero Emissions Plan

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Zero emissions are a lofty goal, but leaders and local officials gathered in Contra Costa County Thursday to discuss ways to achieve it.

“It’s amazing to be in this building that manufactured more internal gasoline cars than anywhere on the West Coast and to be talking about getting to zero emissions through hydrogen,” said Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia.

And with a nod to the history of Richmond’s Craneway Pavillion, once considered the largest auto assembly plant on the West Coast, Gioia set the stage for Thursday’s event at the location.

During the event called "Richmond's Road to Zero Day," a number of experts were on hand, primarily focusing on hydrogen-fueled cars. They don’t emit the same harmful substances into the air as traditional gas-powered cars.

“A lot of people know about electric vehicles. This is the other electric vehicle, but instead of batteries, it has hydrogen and fuel cell batteries on board,” said Bill Elrick, Executive Director of the California Fuel Cell Partnership.

One of the companies that attended the event was Raven SR, which is a company that creates hydrogen fuel and plans to build a facility in Richmond next year. They convert waste from landfills into hydrogen that can be used for cars.

Drivers like San Jose resident Brandon Ghanma said it can be difficult finding a working hydrogen fuel station. He hopes changes are made to make it easier for drivers, who are doing their part to create a cleaner environment.

“I feel like if there was a better hydrogen infrastructure throughout the United States, I feel like there it would actually be a lot better system, they would feel more obligated to like make sure all the systems are working and stuff,” he said.

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