PATH Completes First Year, Looks to Accelerate Interest
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By Robert Mauro, General Manager, PATH, and
Tara Willey, Technical Coordinator, PATH

The Partnership for Advancing the Transition to Hydrogen (PATH) completed its first year of operations in April 2003.  In the first year of its existence, PATH laid out a plan and began a process that, in future years, will accelerate toward developing a community of interest in hydrogen.

PATH was conceived as a means of pooling information and sharing experience, and as a forum for discussion with a broader goal of creating a global community of interest with respect to hydrogen.  Its members, Canada, Japan, and the United States, worked hard the first year to establish the organization, and to develop the mechanisms to disseminate information (web site, www.hpath.org, and quarterly newsletter).  The members established three goals for PATH:

In its first year of operations PATH produced a report on codes and standards, engaged its members in developing a collective vision for a sustainable hydrogen future, and participated in a workshop with the Mexican Hydrogen Association.  All of these activities will be expanded upon in the next few years.

To develop a clear understanding of the state of codes and standards in its member countries, PATH developed a report and matrix outlining the codes and standards applicable to hydrogen in Canada, Japan, and the United States.  The report also addresses the approach each country takes to establish codes and standards, and identifies gaps in the existing codes and standards.  The accompanying matrix lists the codes and standards for each country, individually and combined, as well as a brief description and contact information.  In the next year, PATH will update, expand, and publish a revised report with expanded conclusion.  The broader goal of this activity is to expand the Sourcebook for Hydrogen Applications to include the information, particularly Japan’s data, from PATH’s codes and standards report, and translate the sourcebook into Japanese.

PATH has begun discussions with its members to develop a collective vision for the future of hydrogen.  PATH must first identify common elements of its members’ visions, activities, and energy situation.  Earlier this year PATH drafted a short white paper describing the energy situation for each of its member countries, and the most likely scenarios for the integration of hydrogen into the energy infrastructure.  The next step for PATH is to develop a more detailed vision for the member countries and the organization as a whole.  The common elements of the individual members will become the core elements of PATH’s global vision, and will form the basis of an action plan to establish a community of interest in hydrogen.

The PATH vision activities ties directly to its work in holding country workshops, such as the one held in Mexico in February of this year.  The country workshops will be used to expand the collective vision, and help non-member countries develop their own, and hopefully lead to membership in PATH.  Over time PATH’s vision will evolve to reflect the visions of its growing membership.

In addition to building on activities from the first year of operations, PATH plans to catalyze the development of demonstration projects throughout the world through its country workshops.  PATH is also undertaking two educational activities.  The first is to develop an interdisciplinary hydrogen and renewable energy curriculum for students at either high school or college level. The second activity is to establish centers of excellence in hydrogen where researchers throughout the world can convene to conduct research, sharing it with their home country as well as other researchers at the center.  This activity will help to foster research in the field of hydrogen technologies, facilitate sharing of information, and advance the growth of the technologies.

PATH’s plans for the future are ambitious; however, by working closely with its members and other organizations these goals can and will be accomplished.

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