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The Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association (FCHEA) is the trade association for the fuel cell and hydrogen energy industry, and is dedicated to the commercialization of fuel cells and hydrogen energy technologies. Fuel cells and hydrogen energy technologies deliver clean, reliable power to leading edge corporate, academic and public sector users, and FCHEA members are helping to transform our energy future. FCHEA represents the full global supply chain, including universities, government laboratories and agencies, trade associations, fuel cell materials, components and systems manufacturers, hydrogen producers and fuel distributors, utilities and other end users.

In Transition

5th Annual National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day: What You Need to Know!

Connor Dolan

By Andrew Magie

In 2014, the United States Senate unanimously agreed to recognize National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day on October 8th (10/08), a reference to the atomic weight of hydrogen (1.008). 2019 marks the 5th annual National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day, founded by the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association (FCHEA) for supporters, companies, and policymakers to celebrate the benefits of clean fuel cell and hydrogen technology for stationary power, transportation, industrial processes, and energy storage. In addition to the fifth annual celebration of National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day, this year also marks the one year anniversary of our “In Transition” blog, which discusses the industry’s implications on energy and economic security, reliability, and important role in mitigating greenhouse emissions.

As an intern at FCHEA, this will be my first year celebrating, and it could not be a better year to start. The fuel cell industry is beginning to take off around the world, with nearly 7,500 fuel cell vehicles on the road in California, and exciting new announcements from FCHEA members including Doosan Fuel Cell America’s plan for a 20-MW  fuel cell plant (which would be the largest indoor fuel-cell microgrid in the world), and BMW’s recent reveal of their i Hydrogen NEXT concept vehicle. As the fuel cell industry expands here in the U.S. and worldwide, so do the events around National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day.

Digital rendering of BMW’s i Hydrogen NEXT  Source

Digital rendering of BMW’s i Hydrogen NEXT Source

Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, accounting for 75 percent of all matter. Although it is only found naturally in trace amounts on earth, the U.S. already creates 10 million metric tons of hydrogen per year: enough to power over 20-30 million cars or 5-8 million homes! Processes like steam reformation from natural gas to create hydrogen cuts greenhouse gasses in half compared to internal combustion engines, and electrolysis can create hydrogen from renewable sources with no emissions at all!

To celebrate hydrogen and fuel cells, activities will include social and traditional media engagement, stakeholder and policymaker outreach, and company announcements, briefings, tours, and other special events across the country. Last year, many prominent energy organizations and companies like the Department of Energy, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and Plug Power hosted events. Hydrogenics announced additional hydrogen refueling facilities in California, and the Ohio Stark Area Regional Transit Authority (SARTA)—which runs one of the country’s largest hydrogen fuel cell transit bus fleets—rolled out the Borrow a Hydrogen Fuel Cell Bus program to raise awareness for fuel cell transportation.

One of SARTA’s hydrogen buses  Source

One of SARTA’s hydrogen buses Source

The process for renewable hydrogen energy  Source

The process for renewable hydrogen energy Source

This National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day, you can join the movement and support efforts to decarbonize transportation, industrial processes, and the electric grid and ensure American energy security by using the hashtags #FuelCellNow #HydrogenNow on social media. In addition, make sure to follow FCHEA on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn and check the official National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day 2019 page to make sure you don’t miss any of the excitement!

Shipping Propulsion Blog Update

Connor Dolan

Since we last covered fuel cell shipping propulsion in October of 2018, there has been tremendous progress in previously reported projects, and significant new efforts have been announced. Here’s a breakdown of all that’s happened.

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Hydrogen-Powered Train Blog Update

Connor Dolan

Since hydrogen fuel cell-powered rail, or hydrail, was last covered on the “In Transition” blog in October 2018, previously reported projects have progressed, and significant new projects have been announced.

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Fuel Cell Customers - Medium and Heavy-Duty Transportation

Connor Dolan

Various corporate actors are introducing fuel cell-powered medium- and heavy-duty vehicles into their commercial fleets as a way to increase sustainability. Whether operating entirely on a fuel cell powertrain or in combination with lithium-ion batteries, these vehicles demonstrate the strengths of using hydrogen to power deliveries and long-distance transportation.

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Fuel Cell Customers - Power Generation

Connor Dolan

Fuel cells address several needs in the power generation sphere, with the capacity to scale from individual units to megawatt (MW)-scale installations. Whether fueled by natural gas, biogas, or hydrogen, the power generation technology reduces emissions when compared with coal and other traditional fuels. It also provides a resilient source of energy that keeps critical facilities and infrastructure, such as hospitals and data centers running around the clock.

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Fuel Cell Customers - Material Handling

Connor Dolan

The material handling industry has moved towards fuel cells because they provide benefits for warehouses, ports and other localized operations. The efficiency of refueling and consistent, reliable power generated from fuel cells simplifies logistical challenges by reducing space requirements and scheduling limitations.

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Unlocking the Potential of Hydrogen Energy Storage

Connor Dolan

Hydrogen energy storage is a process wherein the surplus of energy created by renewables during low energy demand periods is used to power electrolysis, a process in which an electrical current is passed through a chemical solution in order to separate hydrogen. Once hydrogen is created through electrolysis it can be used in stationary fuel cells, for power generation, to provide fuel for fuel cell vehicles, injected into natural gas pipelines to reduce their carbon intensity, or even stored as a compressed gas, cryogenic liquid or wide variety of loosely-bonded hydride compounds for later use.

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European Union Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Programs

Connor Dolan

The European Union has been instrumental in advancing the deployment of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies and have plans to further push the industry towards commercialization. For countries going to great lengths to advance their hydrogen economies, EU programs have provided the assistance necessary for them to achieve their goals.

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Scandinavia Fuel Cell Industry Developments

Jackson Carr

The Northern European nations of Scandinavia, which include Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Iceland, have been at the leading edge of energy efficiency and decarbonization efforts throughout the 21st century. Working alongside industry leaders and the European Union’s (EU) Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU), Scandinavian countries have been taking steps to further incorporate hydrogen and fuel cell technology into their energy profiles.

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Canada Fuel Cell Industry Developments

Jack Chaben

While the luster of hydrogen may have dulled after the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, Canada has since renewed its efforts at promoting a clean and sustainable energy future through widespread government collaboration with the country’s hydrogen and fuel cell industries.

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France Fuel Cell Industry Developments

Jack Chaben

As France looks to transition to cleaner and more renewably-sourced energy, fuel cells and hydrogen have become prominent technologies, and through government policy and industry innovation, they are helping to advance both France and Europe’s progress to clean energy.

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Germany Fuel Cell Industry Developments

Jackson Carr

Germany has certainly fulfilled its first objective of positioning themselves as international leaders in fuel cell and hydrogen energy. With the third-largest funding program for hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, Germany is in an opportune position to further commercialize fuel cell and hydrogen technology in 2019 and beyond.

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Japan Fuel Cell Developments

Jack Chaben

The prospects for a clean and sustainable energy future in Japan continue to increase as both the government and many private sector companies further their commitments to hydrogen and fuel cells.  Japan’s vision is that fuel cells, as a power source for several modes of transportation, as well as stationary and mobile applications, will allow the country to diversify and strengthen its energy infrastructure. 

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South Korean Fuel Cell Industry Developments

Jack Chaben

In the past few years, South Korea has emerged as a strong proponent of fuel cells and hydrogen energy. Between supportive government ventures and innovation from local industry, the country is positioned to become a global leader in fuel cell technology.  

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United Kingdom Fuel Cell Industry Developments

Jackson Carr

In her June 21, 2017 speech to Parliament, Queen Elizabeth II announced that her government would introduce an “Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill”. In the year and a half since the bill’s introduction, the country’s hydrogen and fuel cell industry has seen some impressive developments. Here are some recent updates in the UK, in both the transportation and stationary power sectors.

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Chinese Fuel Cell Industry Developments

Jackson Carr

To meet the ambitious CO2 emissions reductions goal of the 2015 Paris Climate Accord, the Chinese government has invested heavily in clean and renewable energy in recent years. As part of this strategic goal, China has started to play a significant role in manufacturing and deploying hydrogen fuel cell technologies.

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Traffic Signals, Railroads, and Public Safety

Justin Lewis

This week’s In Transitions discusses how hydrogen fuel cells can help ensure crucial signaling and communications equipment for railroads, motorways, and other transportation networks stay up and running when natural disasters and other emergencies shut down the electric grid.

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UAVs and UUVs

Justin Lewis

While unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology has advanced substantially, fuel cells and hydrogen energy have shown that further improvements can be made to performance, efficiency, and run time. 

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