February 10, 2017

Hydrogen Fueling: A Driving Force of the Future

Ana Melentijevic, Market Development Fellow

A sunny day in Billerica, Massachusetts was punctuated with enthusiastic conversations about hydrogen fuel cells. While this may seem like a strange combination, it was far from foreign to the MassCEC employees who attended a demonstrative fueling of a fuel cell-powered car at a Nuvera station using a dedicated electrochemical hydrogen compressor.

Nuvera Fuel Cells Inc. developed an innovative electrochemical hydrogen compression system for use in fuel cell electric vehicles. In partnership with Hyundai, it was able to showcase the technology last Friday by refueling a 2016 Hyundai Tuscon. Several directors from both Nuvera and MassCEC spoke about the strides Nuvera has taken toward a cleaner energy future. Electrochemical compression enables more efficient delivery of hydrogen, opening the door for wider-scale adoption of fuel cell electric vehicles.

Nuvera was granted an award from MassCEC’s second round of its InnovateMass program in 2014. The InnovateMass program seeks to guide innovative cleantech companies through what’s known as the “Commercialization Valley of Death;” the funding gap between early-stage and late-stage technology development which often stalls commercialization.

After a brief overview of how the tech works, MassCEC employees Maeghan Lefebvre and Galen Nelson were able to take a ride in the Hyundai test car! A Nuvera employee explained the mechanics of the Nuvera Advanced Compressor and pump to a group of employees, local officials, and other guests, showing all its safety features. In just five minutes, the car was fueled and ready to take eager passengers on a test drive. The employees in the crowd were ironically loud with excitement about how quiet the car was. The hard work of all the Nuvera employees has really made this a monumental milestone!

Days like this are a testament to the importance of the InnovateMass program and the work that MassCEC does with companies like Nuvera. We hope that hydrogen cars, and indeed refueling them, become more and more common in the near future.