The NHA Conference and Hydrogen Expo in Columbia, South Carolina, drew thousands on its public day, indicating trend of growing interest in hydrogen industry.
Washington DC--April 8, 2009--Interest in hydrogen is greater than ever as evidenced by the record breaking number of participants at the NHA Conference and Hydrogen Expo. Held for the first time in Columbia, South Carolina March 30 to April 3, 2009, the event attracted 2,000 public visitors in addition to the more than 700 registered attendees-nearly twice as many as previous years. "Despite the challenges of working in a tightening economy, the event is a true testament to the strength and vitality of the hydrogen industry and the public's extremely high interest in alternative fuels," noted Jeffrey Serfass, President of the National Hydrogen Association. "As more hydrogen products are sold to meet materials handling and reliable power needs, people are realizing its abundant uses, benefits and ultimately the vast economic growth potential."
Public and professional participants flooded the exhibit hall to see the latest innovations presented by nearly 80 exhibitors-from hydrogen-powered video cameras to electrolyzers and fuel cells for forklifts. While the overarching theme was the potential for growth in the industry, more products for sale today were available than in previous years, including hydrogen forklifts, portable power units, hydrogen production equipment, dozens of components and even hydrogen-powered Segways currently in use by the Columbia, SC police department. Exhibitors reported numerous inquiries about the purchase of their products from potential customers and publications.
Eleven hydrogen-fueled vehicles were on hand including a Proterra hydrogen bus. More than 500 people eagerly lined up to test drive cars from General Motors, Honda, Daimler and Hyundai. Despite dismal financial reports from the auto industry, auto manufacturers reiterated their commitment to hydrogen development alongside other alternative fuel sources in keynote addresses -further confirming that hydrogen vehicles will be a more common sight in the coming years.
Participants were also introduced to the next generation of industry professionals. The NHA's dedication to fostering industry growth was more apparent than ever with the number of student activities featured at the event. The Element One hydrogen race kart, designed and built by a Formula Zero team from Lawrence Technological University, created a considerable amount of buzz as they demonstrated its high-performance capabilities with zero emissions. An impressive range of robotics was unveiled during the 2nd Annual Fuel Cell "Green Machine" Competition and the last keynote session provided the occasion to announce the winning university teams in the Hydrogen Student Design Contest.
In addition to the phenomenal public interest, professional participants hailing from across the United States and nearly 30 other countries came to learn about the latest advancements, innovations and research driving the industry. Undeterred by the economic downturn, participants took advantage of the timely sessions and the opportunity to develop new and lucrative relationships to advance their work. "All of the key people in the industry were here," said Puneet Verma, Manager of the Hydrogen Business Unit at Chevron. "I was able to get more than a week's worth of work done in just days."
With more than 40 sessions covering everything from producers to users of hydrogen, the conference featured its most relevant content to date, presented by some of the biggest names inside and outside the industry. Among them included David Houle, respected futurist, strategist, Emmy Award-winner and author of The Shift Age and Dr. R. K. Malhotra, the Executive Director of the Indian Oil Company.
In 2010, the event will continue to focus on advancing the industry with the theme of "green energy, green jobs, green planet." Renamed as the NHA Hydrogen Conference and Expo, the event will return to Long Beach, CA, May 3-6.
# # #
Patrick Serfass, National Hydrogen Association
About the NHA Conference Hydrogen Expo
The NHA Hydrogen Conference and Expo is the largest hydrogen event in the US. Now in its 21st year, it is also the longest running annual hydrogen event in the world, attracting more than 1,200 business professionals and expo visitors every year, who gather to learn about the latest advances, network with colleagues and exchange ideas. The Expo offers more than 90 exhibits, industry tours, a Live Demo Area and the popular Ride & Drive that features vehicles and buses with the latest in hydrogen and fuel-cell technology. More information may be obtained by visiting www.hydrogenconference.org.
About the National Hydrogen Association
The National Hydrogen Association (NHA) is the Nation's premier hydrogen trade organization led by over 100 companies dedicated to supporting the transition to hydrogen. Efforts are focused on education and outreach, policy, safety and codes and standards. Since 1989, the NHA has served as a catalyst for information exchange and cooperative projects and continues to provide the setting for mutual support among industry, research and government organizations. Find out more at: www.HydrogenAssociation.org