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First NHA Student Hydrogen Design Contest Underway
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by Patrick Serfass, National Hydrogen Association

Upon the completion of the final set of rules and guidelines, the 1st Annual University Student Hydrogen Design Contest for a hydrogen fueling station has begun.  Presented by the U.S. Department of Energy, ChevronTexaco and the National Hydrogen Association (NHA), the Hydrogen Design Contest will bring university-level students together to create their own design for a next-generation hydrogen fueling station.  For this year’s contest, rules require students to create a station that could be conceivably built as early as March 2006.

The idea was born this past summer with two NHA members who were trying to think of ways to get students more involved with hydrogen.  Their solution was to create a Hydrogen Design Contest to engage students in creative thought and friendly competition.  Through sponsorship and contest awards, dozens of students will have an opportunity to interact with industry professionals at the 15th Annual Hydrogen Conference, the venue for presenting the winning designs.

So far, interest is booming and growing fast.  There are over 100 educators and students from over 40 colleges and universities who are interested in participating.

The contest is open to teams of graduate and undergraduate students enrolled in North American colleges and universities for the 2003-04 academic year.

This year’s contest will result in a document (with drawings) that outlines the design a fueling station that could conceivably open in the next two years.  In an effort to keep this gargantuan task manageable, a comprehensive set of rules were developed to help focus efforts and simplify some variables.  For example, the primary function of the station will be to sell hydrogen, not sell power back to the grid, gasoline or food from a convenience store, although those functions are allowed.  Also, the rules state requirements for footprint size and the number of vehicles that can be fueled in one day.

In general, the design document will be divided into five sections:

After entries are submitted in the first week of March 2004, 5 winning teams will be selected.  One team will get an all expenses paid trip to Los Angeles, CA to present their winning design at the 15th Annual Hydrogen Conference and Hydrogen Expo USA.  The other four teams will present their designs as posters at the conference and all will receive complimentary registration to the conference.

Much remains to be seen until the entries are in, but given the positive reaction so far, contest organizers are already talking about what the focus will be for next year’s Hydrogen Design Contest.

For more information, to sign up your team, and a full set of rules, visit: www.HydrogenConference.org/contest.asp.  Sign up at the “Keep in Touch” link to receive future updates and announcements. ©2003. All Rights Reserved. A Publication of the National Hydrogen Association.
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