President Obama’s top aide on Energy and Climate Change, Heather Zichal, spoke about the importance of fuel cells in the overall U.S. energy strategy at the Washington Fuel Cell Summit, an event co-organized by the National Fuel Cell Research Center and the Hydrogen Education Foundation. The Summit included keynote talks from high level government officials, industry panels, and a fuel cell vehicle ride and drive with the goal to create a dialog between industry and the federal government about successes and remaining challenges associated with fuel cell technology. Other speakers at the Summit included David Danielson, Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Energy, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), Sharon Burke, Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Defense, Peter Perez, Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Commerce, and Chip Bottone, CEO of Fuel Cell Energy. Professor Scott Samuelsen, Director of the NFCRC, introduced the keynote speakers and moderated a panel on the commercial success of stationary fuel cells in powering businesses, factories, and homes.
The Summit included four industry panels, each one representing a different theme. The first panel focused on the commercial success of stationary fuel cells, which operate on natural gas or biomethane; the second panel focused on the development of fuel cell vehicles and buses and Toyota, Honda, and Mercedes stressed their plans to commercialize fuel cell vehicles by 2015 or before; the third panel focused on fuel sources for fuel cells such as natural gas and biomethane for stationary fuel cells, hydrogen fueling stations for fuel cell vehicles, and sources for renewable hydrogen; the fourth panel focused on the commercial success of fuel cell forklifts. Keynote speakers from the different branches of the U.S. government voiced the impressive record of fuel cell technology from the success of the stationary fuel cell commercial market to the advances of the pre-commercial fuel cell vehicle technology.
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