July 7th, a Milestone for Hyzon and a Major Leap Forward for the USA
Bolingbrook, IL probably never imagined that it would one day be home to the first heavy-duty hydrogen fuel cell manufacturer and fuel cell truck producer in the United States, but on July 7th Hyzon publicly unveiled its MEA and fuel cell stack manufacturing capabilities at its bright and shiny facility in Bolingbrook during the Midwest Hydrogen Summit. While only the first phase of construction has been completed, the reveal on the 7th was nonetheless most impressive.
The event was open to the public and a lot of organizations came to the summit. For many it was the first time any had been able to see a MEA, fuel cell, and fuel cell stack in-person, and Hyzon took things one step further by letting attendees drive one of its bona fide fuel cell trucks. The fuel cell technology that powers the vehicles in Horizon Educational’s H2GP Pro series is, at its core, the same as the fuel cell technology that power Hyzon’s trucks.
Hyzon also had a panel discussion that touched on a number of issues related to hydrogen and fuel cell stacks, but before the panel Dr. Jack Brouwer from UC Irvine (UCI) gave a highly educational keynote speech related to hydrogen and fuel cells. One thing that Dr. Brouwer reminded everyone is that BEVs and FCEVs are both needed to decarbonize the entire mobility sector, but hydrogen’s ability to be stored now and used later enables hydrogen to be the keystone to a successful global economy. It is precisely that ability that enables renewable energy production from solar panels and wind farms to become much more robust as we move into the future.
In the panel discussion Colleen Wright from Constellation agreed with Dr. Brouwer’s assessment of hydrogen as a way to store energy, and she mentioned that using nuclear power to produce hydrogen is ultimately going to be necessary given that nuclear energy is already decarbonized. It represents one of the easiest ways to create low carbon intensity hydrogen, which one thing the world economy sorely needs.
Illinois State Senator Laura Ellman provided some closing remarks, and in her speech she echoed what Dr. Brouwer and the panel mentioned regarding the need for public hydrogen and fuel cell education. Perhaps one of the most important challenges the hydrogen and fuel cell industry needs to address is educating the world on what is a fuel cell and how hydrogen fuel cells can electrify the global economy. Only with an educated public can the industry really revolutionize its economy. It is this need that partly drives the importance of Horizon Educational’s H2GP Pro series, because the H2GP Pro enables high school students to become very familiar with hydrogen fuel cells. With that familiarity they are positioned well to enter workforces, like those of BEV and FCEV manufacturers, and they are also able to make informed decarbonized choices.
Perhaps the most encouraging outcome of Hyzon’s Bolingbrook unveiling is that Hyzon and, ultimately, the rest of the hydrogen and fuel cell industry is just getting started. With innovative companies like Hyzon, successful public-private partnerships on infrastructure and other projects, and government tax credits all of us can look forward to a day when being beholden to the volatility of fossil fuels and all of their pollution ends and we step into a bright and shiny future.