Carbon reduction company First Mode has announced construction of its first manufacturing facility in Seattle, Washington, USA. The factory will produce zero-emission powerplants and associated ground infrastructure for First Mode’s nuGen™ haulage solutions, which replace diesel engines in mining haul trucks and locomotives by retrofitting customer’s existing fleets with battery and hydrogen fuel cell solutions.
“Our First Mode manufacturing facility is a crucial step towards fulfilling our mission to eliminate diesel from heavy industry,” said First Mode CEO Julian Soles. “This factory allows us to demonstrate our zero-emission powertrain solutions at scale and enables our customers to deliver on their decarbonisation commitments.”
At scale, the manufacturing facility will produce components to retrofit 36 vehicles with nuGen™ systems annually, the equivalent of removing 25,000 passenger vehicles from the road each year. The factory will also validate the company’s manufacturing processes and establish a foundation for expanding First Mode manufacturing capacity near customer locations.
“We’re incredibly pleased that First Mode is establishing its first manufacturing facility in Seattle,” said Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell. “Seattle has always been known for big, progress-driving ideas, and this announcement speaks to our continued status as a hub for innovation and being on the cutting edge of world-changing technology. We look forward to how this state-of-the-art facility helps First Mode achieve its mission of decarbonising heavy industry, brings clean energy jobs to our city, and builds a more sustainable future for the next generation.”
Set to begin operations later this year, First Mode’s manufacturing facility will be the largest clean technology manufacturing facility in the city of Seattle. In recognition of this investment, First Mode recently received the Evergreen Manufacturing Grant from the Washington State Department of Commerce to support factory construction.
“First Mode represents one of the largest clean tech companies in Seattle and I’m thrilled that they chose to invest in our city by building a manufacturing facility here,” said Markham McIntyre, Director of the Seattle Office of Economic Development. “Seattle is uniquely positioned as a leader in sustainability and clean technology deployment. We’re excited to continue working with First Mode as they bring new clean tech manufacturing and engineering jobs to our city and help shape the future of Seattle’s economy.”
By utilising smart manufacturing, the 45,000-square-foot facility will enable concurrent development and production of multiple nuGen™ engine configurations – also allowing the company to digitalise and automate workflows for a smarter, safer, and more efficient factory with a high level of adaptability to design changes – crucial to First Mode’s rapid product development roadmap and design iteration.
The first factory-built nuGen™ engines will be transported to First Mode Proving Grounds in Centralia, Washington, USA, in 2024. The engines will then be integrated into Komatsu 930E haul trucks and become the largest zero-emission trucks to drive on US soil.
The factory will help First Mode fulfill its supplier agreement with Anglo American to decarbonise their global fleet of ultra-class haul trucks with the nuGen™ Haulage Solution, which includes haul truck retrofit with the company’s nuGen™ haulage solution and supporting infrastructure such as battery charging, hydrogen production, and refuelling.