Small Business Benefits from NHA Initiatives

by David Haberman, Vice President, Engineering, DCH Technology

The National Hydrogen Association (NHA) has undertaken several important actions recently which will benefit our small business members. Small business, especially, needs timely information on technology, regulatory issues, and business development opportunities.

There is a living document, entitled the NHA Commercialization Plan, which all members should review for applicability to their businesses. Since the annual meeting, the NHA has been working on the following efforts which specifically support small business.

  1. The NHA is evolving to be more active politically and in the area of hydrogen technology implementation. The NHA is advocating maximizing available dollars from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for small business as budgeted through DOE Hydrogen Program funding appropriations. This includes an initiative by our chairman for a US$10 million increase in program funds for this coming fiscal year. Many of these funds, if appropriated, will be available to industry in the form of research, energy system, corridor development, and technical validation projects to be awarded from successful proposals.

  2. The NHA is advertising and tracking the hydrogen-applicable solicitations on the street. These include the Integrated Hydrogen Energy System Solicitation to be issued imminently by the DOE Golden [Colorado, U.S.A.] Field Office. DOE has a strong commitment to the competitive process and a level playing field which supports small businesses to compete singly or in teams. DOE is very supportive of technically based industries which are developing equipment to support a future hydrogen infrastructure. DOE also exercises a rigorous self-scrutinizing process of technical peer reviews and other portfolio analysis techniques.

  3. NHA is collaborating with the DOE Hydrogen Program and the Hydrogen Technical Advisory Panel (HTAP) on the plans for demonstration projects which can use the talents, products, and services of the small businesses in both Alaska [U.S.A.] and clusters/corridors initiatives. Energy Secretary Peña has received a series of comprehensive letters from the Chairman of the NHA clarifying the key elements of these important programs and the community’s readiness to undertake these challenges.

  4. Several members of the NHA have formed a business council in California [U.S.A.] which invites the participation of all businesses in an effort to define an industrially oriented pathway for building the hydrogen infrastructure. The California Hydrogen Business Council (CHBC) is an initial example of creating a forum for team building and near-term business development which hopefully will be replicated throughout the United States.

  5. Each NHA member can enjoy an increasing return on its investment when it participates in the activities of the NHA:

    1. The codes and standards activity is scheduling an important workshop on 24-25 July 1997 which requires industrial input to ensure that the evolving rulesets will support industrial, safety, and regulatory requirements (see Codes & Standards Update: Containers).

    2. The NHA improves through recruitment. Industrial members especially should seek to recruit their customers, strategic partners, and key subcontractors into the hydrogen community.

    3. Participation and exhibition at the NHA Annual Meeting has provided many useful business development opportunities for the industries which staff a booth. [The 9th Annual U.S. Hydrogen Meeting will be held 3-5 March 1998 just outside Washington, D.C., U.S.A.]

It is important for the members to feel comfortable with contacting the representatives on the Board of Directors. The entire Board welcomes all suggestions, comments, and criticisms. Only by this exchange can we honestly claim to be working on behalf of the hydrogen business community.

©1997. All Rights Reserved. A Publication of the National Hydrogen Association.
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