October 2006

Hydrogen Storage Challenges for Mobility Symposium
(full article)

Eleven NHA Members Selected for $43.5 Million in Hydrogen Bus Program Awards
(full article)

Harrell works on plan to boost hydrogen fuel
(full article)

Six projects to spark use of fuel cells
(full article)

October 29, 2007
(view event brochure)

Hydrogen Storage Challenges for Mobility Symposium
December 6 - 7, 2006
Center for Hydrogen Research
Aiken, SC

The internal combustion engine has served the transportation industry admirably since its introduction by Henry Ford. Steady progress has been made over the last century in improving the engine itself and the liquid gasoline fuel. Rising costs of petroleum, global warming fears, and concerns that nations are exhausting their reserves of petroleum have fueled a global interest in the hydrogen economy. The Bush Administration support for research through the FreedomCAR initiative has the U.S. and the rest of the world working on the research issues facing the introduction of the hydrogen economy. What are these challenges and can they be overcome? Is the hydrogen economy just hype or is it feasible to consider that future cars and trucks will be powered by hydrogen? This symposium will address the issue of safe and efficient hydrogen storage, which has been identified as a key requirement for a future hydrogen economy.

The Department of Energy (DOE) working with the U.S. Council for Automotive Research (USCAR) and the energy companies has developed technical performance targets for hydrogen storage systems for light duty vehicles. To help meet these targets, in July 2003 the DOE issued a "Grand Challenge" to the global scientific community for research and development in hydrogen storage. This "Grand Challenge" called for the establishment of hydrogen storage Centers of Excellence on Metal Hydrides, Chemical Hydrogen Storage, and Carbon-Based Materials, with multiple university, industry, and federal laboratory partners. In addition, independent projects were solicited on new materials and concepts, off-board hydrogen storage systems, and analyses of life-cycle cost, performance, and environmental impact. At this symposium experts working on the hydrogen storage challenge will describe their latest achievements and put into perspective how these novel hydrogen storage methods may achieve current and future DOE and vehicle company goals.

This symposium will be of interest to executives, scientists, and engineers from the car and truck industry as well as to energy companies who are uncertain whether or not to seriously invest in the hydrogen economy. Utility executives and materials suppliers will be interested in the changes that will come from using hydrogen as a fuel. Global researchers and business leaders will want to keep abreast of this rapidly developing global effort to make the hydrogen economy a reality.

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October 27, 2006

Eleven NHA Members Selected for $43.5 Million in Hydrogen Bus Program Awards

Thousand Palms, CA - Eleven member companies of the National Hydrogen Association are on teams receiving portions of $43.5 million in awards from the Federal Transit Authority (FTA) in support of a program to make ten percent of all bus purchases in the US hydrogen fuel cell buses by 2015. The program represents a large step in the development of a zero-emissions public transportation system.

“While national and international hydrogen attention is largely focused on transforming the personal vehicle, much of the public is likely to first experience quiet, zero-emission, fuel cell buses,” said NHA President Jeff Serfass. “We are very proud that so many of our members are leading the way in implementing the use of hydrogen in the public transportation market.”

The NHA members include Ballard Power Systems, Daimler-Chrysler, GE Research, Hydrogenics, ISE Corporation, New York Power Authority (NYPA), Nuvera Fuel Cells, Shell Hydrogen, South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA), University of South Carolina (USC), and UTC Power. In addition, NHA Affiliate Weststart/CALSTART was selected by the FTA to receive a share of the funding.

"The expansion and use of fuel cell and hydrogen technology is a necessary and innovative step to significantly reduce dependency on foreign oil,” remarked Representative Bono during the announcement. “Americans and Congress must continue to support legislation that strengthens any efforts to diversify our nation’s energy portfolio.”

The individual projects represent a wide variety of fuel cell bus research and demonstration projects in Alabama, South Carolina, Connecticut, Washington DC, and California. NHA members Ballard, ISE Corp, Shell Hydrogen, and UTC Power have teamed with the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority which was granted $8.4 Million for advanced bus development and in-service evaluation of hybrid fuel cell buses. USC and SCRA have a $5.67 million project that will bring the first fuel cell bus to South Carolina in time for the NHA’s Annual Hydrogen Conference, which will be held in Columbia, SC in 2009. Other NHA member projects include GE and NYPA’s lightweight fuel cell hybrid bus; a fuel cell bus fleet in Massachusetts with Nuvera Fuel Cells; DaimlerChrylser and Hydrogenics’ compound fuel cell hybrid bus in San Francisco; and an ISE Corp/ UTC Power collaboration which will design and demonstrate a 40-foot fuel cell bus for use in hot desert climates.

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October 25, 2006
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Harrell works on plan to boost hydrogen fuel

House Speaker Bobby Harrell plans to introduce legislation in 2007 to provide incentives and seed money for South Carolina’s strategy to become a major center for hydrogen fuel development.

Harrell, R-Charleston, said the bill, which his staff is drafting, should include:

• Tax cuts to encourage hydrogen fuel businesses to locate research and manufacturing here

• A state development fund, perhaps $15 million, to support commercialization of hydrogen fuel technology

• Changes in the state procurement code to ensure that, when possible, state purchases support alternative fuels

• Financial incentives to lower the cost of hydrogen fuel development and fuel cell technology

• Continued incentives for collaborative research among South Carolina institutions

Leaders in the effort to make South Carolina a center of fuel cell research have said the state lacked a comprehensive policy putting substantial resources behind developing a hydrogen fuel economy.

Harrell’s legislation could fill that gap.

“Frankly, when we started this, we did not know where we wanted the research to go, only that we wanted it to lead to jobs,” Harrell said. “It is our job to ensure that South Carolina is positioned to benefit from the next big changes in technology.”

The General Assembly has channeled hundreds of millions of dollars into basic research at the University of South Carolina, Clemson University and the Medical University of South Carolina through the endowed chairs and Life Sciences laws. A substantial portion of that money will be dedicated to fuel cell and hydrogen fuel research.

While hydrogen fuel research is a high-risk economic development strategy, it also has the greatest potential for reward.

South Carolina has substantial research and development resources to help build a hydrogen fuel economy:

• The Savannah River National Laboratory, with a half-century of experience in basic research about hydrogen generation and storage

• USC’s Industry/University Cooperative Research Center for Fuel Cells, the only such center designated by the National Science Foundation. Private partners in the center include Millennium Cell; Air Liquide; BASF AG; Boeing; DANA Corp.; ePower Technologies; General Motors Corp.; John Deere; LG Electronics; and Westinghouse Savannah River Co.

• Clemson’s International Center for Automotive Research in Greenville, which plans to work with S.C. institutions in adapting hydrogen fuel technology to power vehicles

But South Carolina also has many competitors, some of which have substantially larger financial resources. In a report compiled for the state of California, Breakthrough Technologies Institute Inc. found that 47 states and the District of Columbia have some sort of fuel cell or hydrogen legislation, demonstration or activity.

U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., told fuel cell advocates at last week’s EngenuitySC ’06 conference in Columbia that Fort Jackson, the largest U.S. Army basic training base, might provide an important testbed for fuel cell power plants.

He said the U.S. Defense Department aims to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels, and hydrogen fuel cells will be an important piece of that strategy.

U.S. Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., said the state’s strategy must find a way to “break the cycle of South Carolina developing the technology and other states reaping the benefits” of new manufacturing jobs.

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October 18, 2006
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Six projects to spark use of fuel cells

Fuel cell powered Segway Personal Transporters to be used on the USC campus are among the first six projects that will be funded through The Greater Columbia Fuel Cell Challenge.

Awards totaling more than $150,000 were made Tuesday during the annual meeting of EngenuitySC.

The other projects include:

• A backup power system at Benedict College

• A citizen’s school for hydrogen and fuel cell technology

• A hands-on exhibit at EdVenture Children’s Museum

• Portable batteries for television cameras at ETV

• A first responders extended power pack for law enforcement and emergency officials

“These projects represent the wide variety of applications of fuel cell technology from transportation, to portable power, to community education. This is a significant step in this multiphase, multiyear project for the future of Columbia’s hydrogen economy,” said Neil McLean, executive director of EngenuitySC.

Fuel cells convert hydrogen and oxygen into energy while emitting water vapor. Hydrogen has been touted as a replacement for oil and other fossil fuels.

The Segway project was proposed by John Weidner, a professor of chemical engineering at USC.

The Segway Personal Transporter was developed in 2001 and went on sale in 2002. The two-wheel personal scooter uses a battery system.

Weidner’s project is to develop two fuel cell battery hybrid prototype personal transporters. Using fuel cells would allow the transporter to have a larger range than available with just batteries.

A second phase of the project would be to produce four more transporters.

The demonstration units would be used around the USC campus and by city law enforcement officers.

But Weidner doesn’t want to stop with the demonstration project. He and two associates would like to turn the project into a business.

They intend to pursue the project through SCLaunch! a program of the S.C. Research Authority, which funds startup businesses.

The fuel cell challenge received more than 40 project proposals, McLean said. The six awards announced Tuesday will just be the first of many more to come.

Organizers solicited proposals in three phases: discovery, development and deployment. Awards will range from $10,000 to $200,000. The exact amounts of Tuesday’s awards are being determined.

The fuel cell challenge was issued earlier this year as a project of the USC Columbia Fuel Cell Collaborative, which includes EngenuitySC, USC, the city of Columbia and the S.C. Research Authority.

SCRA is helping administer the project and fund the awards.

Officials hope the projects announced Tuesday will be well under way when the National Hydrogen Association holds its annual meeting in Columbia in 2009.

The projects will all be part of the vision for a Columbia Fuel Cell District that would bring together educational projects; hydrogen production, storage and distribution sites — including refueling facilities — and lots of working fuel cells.

Tuesday’s announcements “represent the first chance to turn Engenuity’s vision of making Columbia home to a fuel cell economy into a reality,” Mayor Bob Coble said.

More than 200 people attended Engenuity’s annual meeting, which focused on building a hydrogen fuel cell economy in the Columbia region.

Columbia’s plan for a fuel cell district is “unique in the world,” said Pierre Rivard, chief executive officer of Hyrdogenics, a Toronto-based fuel cell company.

The district could become a “destination and an attraction” for people interested in hydrogen and could draw in academic researchers and new businesses, said Rivard, who gave the conference’s keynote address.

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