The National Hydrogen Association (NHA) held its annual conference in Long Beach, California, on March 12-16. Al Ebron, NAFTC Executive Director, and Randall Levelle, NAFTC Assistant Director of Programs, attended.

This year’s theme, “Global Progress Toward Clean Energy,” focused on international efforts as well as advancements in hydrogen technology and the availability of hydrogen as an energy source.

“The energy, auto, fuel cell, electrolyzer, utility, and many other companies, large and small, universities and government agencies, shared in the state-of-the-art development of the hydrogen economy at the industry’s most important annual event,” NHA President Jeffrey Serfass said of the conference. “Progress is unmistakable and impressive, much of the developed world is engaged, and we continue to be driven by the need for energy security and an environment in which our grandchildren can live healthy lives. The payoff, beyond these drivers, is lots of new business opportunities for companies around the world.”

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Hydrogen vehicles on dislpaly at NAHC 2006. Credit: NHA Annual Hydrogen Conference 2006

The conference featured three plenary meetings. The first focused on and opened with remarks by NHA Chairman Mike Davis. Cynthia Verdugo-Peralta (South Coast Air Quality Management District Governing Board) and Alan Lloyd (California EPA) presented at the meeting, and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke through a remote broadcast. The second plenary meeting focused on international progress. Pierre Rivard (President of Hydrogenics – Canada), Dr. Giovanni De Santi (Head of the Transport and Air Quality – European Commission), Dr. Zong Qiang Mao (Professor of Tsinghua University – People’s Republic of China), Dr. Thorsteinn Sigfusson (Co-Chair of IPHE – Iceland), and Dr. Joachim Wolf (Executive Director of Linde AG – Germany) spoke about national and state progress at this meeting. Technology progress was featured in the third plenary meeting, in which Lewis Gilles (Vice President of Hydrogen for Power, BP), Jon Slangerup (President of Solar Integrated Technologies), Jan Van Dokkum (President of UTC Power), Stephen Ellis (Manager of Fuel Cell Marketing, Honda), Duncan MacLeod (Global Vice President, Shell Hydrogen), and Eugene Zeltman (President of New York Power Authority and Chairman, Electric Power Research Institute) presented.

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California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger through a remote broadcast. Credit: NHA Annual Hydrogen Conference 2006

“There are a lot of folks out there working toward the hydrogen economy,” said Levelle. “Seeing what they’re doing, how they’re doing it, and who’s doing what was fascinating.”

Questions were raised concerning the timeframe of availability for widespread use of hydrogen technology, and conference presenters projected that widespread use could occur between 2015 and 2020. The presenters indicated the need to conduct proper research, but not over research the technology. They also suggested that those wishing to proceed with launching the technology are not always given enough credit.

More information concerning the conference can be found at

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