On the PATH for Advancing the Transition to Hydrogen
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by Bob Mauro, Partnership for Advancing the Transition to Hydrogen

PATH was established in May of 2002 to create an international forum for hydrogen by establishing a real and virtual community of interest among national hydrogen associations.  The current members of PATH are the Canadian Hydrogen Association (CHA), the Hydrogen Energy Society of Japan (HESS), and the National Hydrogen Association (NHA).  PATH activities are guided by three objectives:

Since PATH is less than two years old it is still building its base from which future activities will flow and these base-building projects are designed to be on-going and growing.  The four activities which will form the foundation for PATH are: development of a collective vision for hydrogen, creation of a common living information base for hydrogen activities, creation of a curriculum which facilitates training and educating students in hydrogen and fuel cells, and the establishment of an international web of hydrogen researchers anchored at research institutes in each PATH member country.  PATH is exploring a fifth, less fundamental, activity that may be just as important as the others– its role in demonstration projects.

In 2004 PATH plans to make progress in all four foundation activities and perhaps demonstration projects also.  PATH expects to receive an APEC grant to expand the “Sourcebook for Hydrogen Applications” to include the activities of all APEC members.  Once completed PATH anticipates that the Sourcebook will be web accessible by CD with a password.  Revenues from the sale of the expanded Sourcebook will be used to update and expand it annually, and there will be a small annual subscription.  In this way over the next few years PATH hopes to capture all major fuel cell and hydrogen experiences and requirements globally.  PATH will also complete an initial version of the collective hydrogen energy vision of its members.  This would be revisited and appropriately revised as PATH membership grows.

Developing an International Curriculum

Duties of a PATH Alternate
for the NHA
The NHA is seeking an individual to serve as its alternate representative to PATH, providing a back-up to the principal representative.

The NHA alternate should generally follow PATH activities, assist the NHA representative in presenting PATH activities to the NHA Board, and provide another voice on the NHA's perspective on PATH activities.  He or she may serve on PATH program activities at his/her discretion.  In the absence of the principal representative, the alternate may vote for the NHA at PATH membership meetings and may attend PATH Board meetings and present the NHA perspective, if the NHA's Board representative is not present.

Interested individuals should contact Tara Willey at 202-457-0868.

PATH is working with a university-associated research institute in each PATH member country to develop an international curriculum for secondary school general science students and 3rd year college engineering students.  A workshop is being held in Washington at the end of January to select topics and assign authors from each of the research institutes to write a chapter.  A syllabus is due to be developed by the end of the summer and PATH is facilitating the project, as well as working with the universities to explore publication options.  If successful, the text is the first phase of a four phase effort to develop an interactive laboratory and lecture course on hydrogen and fuel cells.  PATH has also entered into discussions with the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute (HNEI) to pilot a research activity that will bring three hydrogen and fuel cell researchers a year from non-PATH member countries to Hawaii and to perform research.  The researchers will then return to their home country and continue their efforts with modest support from the PATH program.  The idea is for the hydrogen and fuel cell research institute in Japan and Canada to establish similar programs.  Once in full operation, an annual meeting would be held with a day devoted to highlighting each countries research activity and peer reviewing each researcher’s work.

Demonstrations are an important by not strictly a foundation activity for PATH.  PATH’s interest is to ensure that demonstration projects meet existing and proposed international requirements.  PATH also has an interest in seeing that mixing major equipment components from member countries results in a functional hydrogen system.  This year, through the U.S. DOE, PATH proposed six projects on hydrogen and fuel cell concepts to China for the 2008 Olympics.  The Chinese government has accepted, in modified form, five of the project concepts.  If these projects move forward with international participation, then PATH will seek to test the “plug and play” compatibility of each hydrogen system.  This would require acceptance testing of the hydrogen components and systems prior to shipping to China.  PATH is exploring options that allow for that.

PATH has set a direction and is pursuing it.  The course is toward openness and inclusion and against exclusion.  In pursuing directions that provide for spreading and sharing information, it will not discriminate against those who do not join in programs that are open to all.  PATH membership is for those who want to chart the course for the future development of hydrogen and fuel cells.  It hopes that all hydrogen associations want to participate in setting our future direction and, because PATH has a global view, it also welcomes those that want to be passengers in our journey into the future.
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