Honors for Hydrogen Fueling Station Research

While there are still many questions to be answered regarding the Bush Administration’s push for a hydrogen economy, solving the fueling component of the equation may be one step closer to being solved with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) recent praise for a particular approach.

Los Angeles, California – May 3, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] In a keynote address at the 15th Annual U.S. Hydrogen Conference and Hydrogen Expo, U.S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham announced that the University of Victoria from British Columbia, Canada, was selected as the grand prize winner of the first Hydrogen Fueling Station Design Contest, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the National Hydrogen Association (NHA), ChevronTexaco, Natural Resources Canada, and Swagelok Company. Seventeen teams from universities in the United States and Canada participated in the competition. Their challenge was to consider five key areas in designing a hydrogen fueling station: 1) technical specifications for hydrogen production, delivery and storage; 2) environmental impact; 3) safety issues; 4) profitability; and 5) education and marketing to build community awareness. The teams were also required to build a digital 3D rendering of the proposed station. In awarding the grand prize to the University of Victoria, Secretary Abraham remarked on the highly competitive nature of the contest. Each team received a score based on a possible total of 115 points. The University of Victoria scored three-tenths of a point more than second-place winner Humboldt State University in Arcata, California. Honorable mentions included the University of California-Davis, University of Missouri-Rolla, and University of Toronto. “The intellectual and creative capabilities of the 150 students who participated in this contest were truly inspirational,” said Jeff Serfass, president of the NHA. “The smart, safe and practical designs for hydrogen fueling stations that were submitted are proof that building a hydrogen infrastructure is within reach.” The station designs included renewable and non-renewable hydrogen production technologies suitable for constructing a hydrogen fueling station by the year 2006. The team from the University of Victoria received an all-expense paid trip to the conference and presented its design during a plenary session immediately following the Secretary’s keynote address. All winning designs will be published in the conference proceedings. In addition to announcing the winner of the design competition, Secretary Abraham reaffirmed President Bush’s commitment to develop hydrogen technologies and a national hydrogen infrastructure to a group of more than 1,000 people in the hydrogen, energy, and automobile industries. He also discussed $350 million in hydrogen research grants awarded earlier in the week by the DOE to support the President’s Hydrogen Fuel Initiative in the areas of hydrogen storage, vehicle and infrastructure systems solutions, fuel cell research, and hydrogen education. “We are enthusiastic about all these projects,” Secretary Abraham said. “They represent action for the future, and leave me convinced that the hydrogen future we speak about in such glowing, rosy terms will indeed come to pass – and soon.” NHA was awarded DOE funding for three projects. One project will be a “learning demonstration” in partnership with NHA member company DaimlerChrysler. The other two projects will be in the area of education development – the first is in partnership with the University of California, Berkeley through its Center for Curriculum Innovation of the Lawrence Hall of Science, and the second is in partnership with the National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project. This last project will be led by NHA member, Sentech. The purpose of the learning demonstration is to focus research efforts in developing complete systems solutions for the real-world use of both hydrogen as a transportation fuel and fuel cell vehicles. The education projects will target key audiences – students, teachers, state and local governments, safety and code officials, potential end-users, and the U.S. public – to facilitate the transition to a hydrogen economy. “Educating these target audiences about hydrogen technologies is a top priority for the NHA,” said Serfass. “The more they understand the promise of hydrogen and the pressing need for our nation to transition to a hydrogen economy, the more confidently government and business leaders will be in developing America’s energy, economic and environmental future.”
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