Competition seeks to improve the hydrogen fuel infrastructure

December 1, 2014 0 By Stephen Vagus
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Annual competition tasks student teams with improving the business and financing models of hydrogen stations

The Hydrogen Education Foundation has launched its 11th annual Hydrogen Student Design Contest. The competition is meant to challenge student teams to develop business and funding models for hydrogen fuel stations. Demand for a working hydrogen infrastructure has risen significantly over the past few years. This infrastructure is needed to power a new generation of clean vehicles that make use of fuel cells rather than conventional internal combustion engines.

Lacking infrastructure could create turbulence for fuel cell vehicles

A lacking infrastructure is one of the most significant challenges that faces fuel cell vehicles throughout the world. Countries like Germany and Japan have been investing in the construction of new fuel stations before fuel cell vehicles are launched, but there has been relatively little progress made in this endeavor. While investments from governments and some automakers have helped bolster the infrastructure of some countries, continued growth of this infrastructure is largely reliant on public funding.

Private investments may be key to the continued expansion of the hydrogen infrastructure

Hydrogen Fuel competitionThe Hydrogen Education Foundation believes that the long term transition toward clean transportation requires significant investments from the private sector. The organization’s Hydrogen Student Design Contest is meant to draw the attention of private investors, exposing them to new and innovative ideas regarding how hydrogen fuel stations can be funded and how they can be managed from a business perspective. The competition’s finalists will have the opportunity to pitch their business and financing models to investors.

Without infrastructure, fuel cell vehicles may fail to gain support among consumers

Without an expansive hydrogen fuel infrastructure, fuel cell vehicles may not be able to find the support among consumers that they need to become successful. It could be years before a comprehensive infrastructure takes form, however, largely due to lack of funding and complications regarding financing models. The auto industry has been investing heavily in the development of new hydrogen stations in many of its favored markets, as many automakers plan to begin releasing their fuel cell vehicles in the near future.