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NHA event sees growing interest in hydrogen

Interest in hydrogen is "greater than ever", says the National Hydrogen Association, pointing to a record-breaking number of participants at its recent NHA Conference and Hydrogen Expo.

Held for the first time in Columbia, South Carolina, USA the event attracted 2,000 public visitors in addition to the more than 700 registered attendees-nearly twice as many as previous years.

"Despite the challenges of working in a tightening economy, the event is a true testament to the strength and vitality of the hydrogen industry and the public's extremely high interest in alternative fuels," noted Jeffrey Serfass, president of the National Hydrogen Association. "As more hydrogen products are sold to meet materials handling and reliable power needs, people are realising its abundant uses, benefits and ultimately the vast economic growth potential."

Public and professional participants visited the event to see the latest innovations presented by nearly 80 exhibitors-from hydrogen-powered video cameras to electrolysers and fuel cells for forklifts. While the overarching theme was the potential for growth in the industry, more products for sale today were available than in previous years, including hydrogen forklifts, portable power units, hydrogen production equipment, dozens of components and even hydrogen-powered Segways currently in use by the Columbia, SC police department.

Eleven hydrogen-fueled vehicles were on hand including a Proterra hydrogen bus. More than 500 people lined up to test drive cars from General Motors, Honda, Daimler and Hyundai. Despite dismal financial reports from the auto industry, auto manufacturers reiterated their commitment to hydrogen development alongside other alternative fuel sources in keynote addresses -further confirming that hydrogen vehicles will be a more common sight in the coming years.

An impressive range of robotics was unveiled during the 2nd Annual Fuel Cell "Green Machine" Competition, and the last keynote session provided the occasion to announce the winning university teams in the Hydrogen Student Design Contest.

In 2010, the event will continue to focus on advancing the industry with the theme of "green energy, green jobs, green planet." Renamed as the NHA Hydrogen Conference and Expo, the event will return to Long Beach, CA, May 3-6, 2010.

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