First Mode, a clean energy company, has announced the construction of a new manufacturing facility in Seattle’s Sodo district. Spanning 45,000 square feet, the facility will focus on producing zero-emission power plants to replace diesel engines in mining haul trucks.
Although First Mode relocated its headquarters to London earlier this year, the majority of its employees remain in Seattle. The manufacturing facility is scheduled to commence operations later this year, following First Mode’s merger with nuGen, the clean energy division of global mining company Anglo American. Under a supply agreement, First Mode will retrofit and decarbonize approximately 400 Anglo American haul trucks over the next 15 years, according to a report by the Puget Sound Business Journal.
The CEO of First Mode, Julian Soles, expressed the importance of the manufacturing facility in realizing its mission to eliminate diesel from heavy industry. Situated at 3417 First Ave. S., the facility will employ 80 full-time workers once fully operational. Its primary function will be to manufacture components for retrofitting 36 trucks annually while also serving as a validation for the company’s manufacturing process and paving the way for future manufacturing expansion.
This new facility will complement First Mode’s existing spaces in Pioneer Square and Sodo, totaling approximately 90,000 square feet. The company’s engineering headquarters is located at 542 First Ave. S., with a research and development facility situated just north of the 2400 block of Occidental.
Established in 2018, First Mode specializes in clean energy solutions for heavy industry. In January, it finalized a $1.5 billion merger with nuGen, with Anglo American investing $200 million and acquiring a majority stake in the company. While the headquarters shifted to London, First Mode’s product development operations remain in Seattle.
As part of the merger, First Mode’s co-founder and former CEO, Chris Voorhees, transitioned to the role of chief product and technology officer, while Julian Soles, previously heading technology development at Anglo American, assumed the position of CEO.
Initially focusing on deep space exploration, First Mode has been collaborating with Anglo American for approximately five years. However, the company has temporarily shifted its space-related endeavors to prioritize its work with clean energy. In May 2022, First Mode demonstrated a hydrogen-powered haul truck at an Anglo American mine in South Africa, which subsequently joined Anglo American’s commercial fleet in December. Additionally, First Mode maintains a presence in Perth, Australia.
Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell expressed his delight at First Mode’s decision to establish its inaugural manufacturing facility in the city, emphasizing the positive impact it will have on decarbonizing heavy industry, creating clean energy jobs, and building a sustainable future.