2012-2013 Contest Description
Fueling Infrastructure in the Northeast
The theme of the 2012-2013 Hydrogen Student Design Contest is “Development of a Hydrogen Fueling Infrastructure in the Northeastern United States”.
The challenge for student teams is to create a feasible plan for the implementation of a hydrogen infrastructure, using only commercially available technology, designed to facilitate fuel cell vehicle travel within and between major urban areas in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.
Please visit the rules and guidelines section for all important documents.
In the United States, the transportation sector accounts for roughly 33% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, transportation emissions have been increasing at an average of 1.7 % annually since 1990. These emissions must be reduced in order for our global society to meet the challenges of climate change.
The U.S. Department of Energy announced their goal of reducing carbon emissions from the transportation sector by 80% by 2050. According to “The Energy Evolution”, a report issued by the National Hydrogen Association in 2008, one way to significantly reduce emissions in the transportation sector is to increase the number of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles on the road.
In recent years, several major car manufacturers announced their plans to commercially introduce fuel cell vehicles by 2015. In concert with this rollout, a fueling infrastructure is required. However, the challenge of infrastructure development remains a critical unresolved issue to advancing hydrogen as a fuel. According to the Electric Power Research Institute, “the primary obstacle to [hydrogen vehicle] implementation is the perceived infrastructure investment cost associated with building and operating hydrogen fueling stations during the early market penetration years of hydrogen vehicles.”
The Northeastern U.S. is the home of more than 50 million people, and features densely populated areas like New York, Washington, Boston, and Philadelphia, and has roughly a dozen fueling stations - too little for convenient refueling that is needed for broader consumer acceptance. In a recently published report by the National Fuel Cell Research Center, California, with a similar population and area, would require 68 hydrogen stations across the state to guarantee a viable fueling experience for early customers.
In order to prepare for the upcoming commercialization of fuel cell vehicles hydrogen production and fueling infrastructures must be planned for and developed across the United States, especially in such densely populated regions such as the northeast. Furthermore, the advancement of hydrogen as a transportation fuel will help decrease greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector.
This Contest will challenge participants to identify and analyze possible hydrogen production and fueling locations, then use the best locations to create an infrastructure development timeline for the Northeastern United States. The Hydrogen Education Foundation believes that the work done during this contest will help motivate the development of a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle infrastructure in the United States.
The official Rules and Guidelines provides detail on the contest sections.