Hydrogen Fuel Cells & the Future of Clean Energy

On October 8, states around the country celebrated “National Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Day.”  Given that the standard atomic weight of hydrogen is 1.008, the United States House of Representatives, the United States Senate, and several state legislative bodies, on 10/08, passed resolutions in support of this rapidly developing technology.

Fuel cells are playing an increasingly important role as many states, municipalities, and corporations aim to reduce their emissions and increase their use of clean energy technology.

The United States federal government has provided important support to research and development efforts in the form of grants to, and partnerships with, universities and start-ups in dozens of states.

As a public policy issue, the regulation and implementation of a hydrogen fuel cell infrastructure has the potential to move quickly to the forefront in states and municipalities across the nation.

The deployment of fuel cells has varied significantly from state to state according to a recent report ordered by the US Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy.

For example, California has seen significant investment in fuel cell infrastructure, with the construction of more than 29 retail hydrogen fuel stations to date, and continued funding until 100 are operational.  These investments have helped lead to 1,500 Fuel Cell Vehicles (FCV’s) being sold or leased in the state between January 2016-2017.

Conversely, in a state like Indiana, there has been relatively little use of fuel cell technology to date, with stationary units providing backup power to 19 AT&T cell towers and undisclosed government facilities.

States continue to lay the groundwork for new rules and regulations to take advantage of the potential promised by fuel cell technology.

On October 11, in recognition of National Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Day, the New Jersey State Assembly Science, Innovation & Technology and the Assembly Commerce & Economic Development Committees held a joint hearing on the future of Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology in New Jersey.

Following the hearing, Commerce & Economic Development Chair Assemblyman Gordon Johnson noted that “hydrogen and fuel cell technology is a nearly untapped alternative energy resource with both environmental and economic benefits for the state of New Jersey… New Jersey needs to be prepared to take full advantage of this technology as we act to reduce pollution and greenhouse emissions.”

Science, Innovation & Technology Chair Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker echoed these sentiments, saying that “it’s now up to us to come up with legislation that makes sense for the people of New Jersey.”

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