Crowds Celebrate Second Annual National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day

Events, Featured  /   /  By Bradley Berman

Consumers interested in clean-vehicle technologies learned about hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles at public fairs, educational events and online sessions that occurred last week throughout the United States and Europe. The celebrations and activities followed the US Senate’s passage earlier this month of Resolution 573, which designated Oct. 8, 2016 as the official date for the second annual National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day. October 8th was chosen in reference to the atomic weight of hydrogen—1.008.

US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz marked the occasion by tweeting his support of the technology. His Tweet read: “Proud of @Energy’s work to advance fuel cell tech on #HydrogenDay and every day.”

The Sandia National Laboratories hosted a series of hydrogen-related events between Oct. 6 and 10. The activities included an “Ask Me Anything” session about hydrogen on Reddit, on Friday, Oct. 7. Chris San Marchi, manager of the hydrogen and fuel-cell program at Sandia, was asked a range of questions about hydrogen, including:

  • What is the storage mechanism of choice for hydrogen now?
  • How much energy does it take to produce the hydrogen fuel?
  • Has there been progress in recent years regarding production of metallic hydrogen?

“Hydrogen fuel-cell cars are now on the market in the US in limited geographic areas (California in particular), while Japan, Korea, Germany, Denmark and many others are building hydrogen refueling station networks,” said San Marchi, in response to questions about the overall pace of development. “The potential for hydrogen to reduce carbon emissions in the energy sector is almost limitless.”

People participating in the Taste of DC in Washington, DC, on Oct. 8 and 9, had the opportunity to see a display of the Toyota Mirai fuel-cell vehicle. Hundreds of thousands of people gather every year for Taste of DC, which takes place on four blocks of Pennsylvania Avenue near the National Mall. The event is considered the Mid-Atlantic region’s premier culinary cultural festival. Toyota recently delivered its 700th Mirai—on its path to selling the first 3,000 units globally before the end of 2017.

The Da Vinci Science Center in Allentown, Penn. put a Toyota Mirai on display. The vehicle is owned by Air Products, a supplier of hydrogen fuel.

Meanwhile, on the West Coast, the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CAFCP) took part in the 2016 annual Charge Across Town EV Test Drive at Pier 27 on the Embarcadero in San Francisco, as part of the annual Fleet Week. There were free “ride and drives” of the 2016 Toyota Mirai, Hyundai Tucson Fuel-Cell SUV and Mercedes Benz B-Class F-Cell. Members of the CAFCP staff answered questions about fuel-cell technology and California’s growing hydrogen fueling network.

There was also a 2017 Honda Clarity on display at the San Francisco event. The five-passenger, hydrogen-powered Clarity Fuel Cell sedan will be available for lease in California by the end of the year. Certified Honda dealers in Los Angeles and Orange counties, as well as the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento areas, will handle sales. Details about pricing or the exact launch date have not yet been announced.

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The UK’s ITM Power last week launched its third hydrogen station in London, as part of National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day. (Photo courtesy of ITM Power.)

National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day is an international event. On Oct. 10, the UK’s ITM Power, which manufacturers hydrogen energy systems, ran a “hydrogen rally.” Twelve fuel-cell vehicles departed from the company’s Wind Hydrogen station in Rotherham and then traveled 185 miles to the company’s Solar Hydrogen fuel station in East London. A second route went from the company’s London station and traveled through the center of London en route to East London. “The hydrogen rally was a great way of demonstrating the benefits of these vehicles for both longer commutes and throughout the city,” said Dr. Graham Cooley, chief executive of ITM Power.

The events were sponsored by the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association, a trade association. The association, which includes automakers, technology companies and fuel providers, supports public education and other activities related to the commercialization of fuel cells and hydrogen.

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