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.
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.
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!