Attending industry conferences always prove to be successful for the NAFTC. Al Ebron, NAFTC Executive Director, attended the National Hydrogen Association (NHA) Conference and Hydrogen Expo, and the AFVI Conference, to gain new and exciting industry information and updates.

The NHA Conference is the nation’s largest gathering of hydrogen industry professionals. This year’s conference was held March 30-April 2, 2009 in Columbia, S.C.

Conference attendees had the opportunity to attend numerous informational sessions, get an up-close look at the showcased newest hydrogen technologies and vehicles at the expo, drive a hydrogen-powered vehicle at the ride-and-drive, or attend one of several special events like the Savannah River National Laboratory Tour or the Ribbon-Cutting Events at Aiken Hydrogen Fueling Station and the Columbia Hydrogen Fueling Station.

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The newest hydrogen technologies and vehicles were on hand at the National Hydrogen Association Conference expo and ride-and-drive, for up-close attendee opportunities. NAFTC photos.

The Alternative Fuels & Vehicles National Conference + Expo was held in Orlando, Florida, April 19-22, 2009. The conference showcased non-petroleum options including natural gas, ethanol, biodiesel, propane, electricity, and hydrogen, and their companion vehicles. Multiple information sessions, dozens of exhibits and vehicles in the expo hall and the ride-n-drive, were options available to attendees.


The AFVI Conference showcased non-petroleum options at the expo and ride-and-drive. NAFTC photos.

Many outstanding industry leaders were recognized at the conference. The awards honor excellence in individuals and/or organizations that have advanced the use of alternative fuels, alternative fuel vehicles, or advanced technologies resulting in clean alternatives to petroleum. The list of 2009 award winners are listed below:

20/20 Vision Award: Mario Cordero, immediate Past President of the Port of Long Beach, CA, and S. David Freeman, President, of the Port of Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners, accepted the award for their cooperative leadership, strength of purpose, and powerful vision, in shaping landmark policy through their combined San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP). Under the plan, the fifth largest seaport complex in the world is now working with drayage truck owners to replace old trucks that can cut truck related air pollution by 80% by 2012. The plan, at times highly contentious, is a bellwether for other ports worldwide seeking trade growth that runs parallel with environmental stewardship.

Golden Bullet Award: Joe Jobe is the tour de force unifier behind the national effort to bring the biodiesel industry together to advance the use of biodiesel in our nation’s fleets. For twelve years he has blended his searing intelligence, political savvy, personal style, and endless passion to elevate the National Biodiesel Board, and subsequently the industry. Not one to shy from conflict, Mr. Jobe faces head-on would be foes from the Grocery Manufacturers Association to those embracing what he calls “junk science.” With biodiesel production projected to increase to one billion gallons by 2012, Joe Jobe remains the Golden Bullet for the industry.

Green Fleet Award: When the San Pedro Bay Ports crafted a clean air policy, Victor La Rosa, President of Total Transportation Services, Inc. (TTSI), was the first in line with alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) to operate in fulltime drayage service at the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. TTSI has invested $15 million in LNG trucks and plans to replace half of its 300truck fleet with AFVs. Mr. La Rosa appreciates the business case, but equally compelling is a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 20% and a 75% NOX reduction compared to the diesel vehicles being replaced. “We all have a responsibility to protect the environment,” said Mr. La Rosa.

Green Giant Award: T. Boone Pickens once said, “A fool with a plan can outsmart a genius with no plan.” Less than one year ago, he set out to show what a genius with a plan can do. In July of last year, the octogenarian proved that age is no barrier when it comes to remaking yourself, by launching the “Pickens Plan.” He has mastered political communication using a social networking campaign that has attracted 1.4 million supporters organized around wind, solar and natural gas. AFVi awards Mr. Pickens the Green Giant Award for focusing national attention on natural gas for transportation as a key tenet in lessening U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

Invention and Innovation Award (HeavyDuty): Vancouver based Westport Innovations is a leading developer of advanced engines that run on natural gas and other gaseous fuels. Michael Gallagher joined the company in 2003, after working for preeminent firms like Bechtel Group and Fluor Corporation. As President and COO, Dr. Gallagher’s commitment to the development of alternative energy and environmental cleanup technologies is paying off. His tireless work with customers, industry partners and policy makers has given alternative fuel vehicles using Westport engines a competitive advantage in the truck market. Today, even in a tough market, the innovative engine manufacturer is realizing significant sales, growing demand and general market acceptance globally for natural gas as a clean alternative to petroleum.

Invention and Innovation Award (LightDuty): The Toyota Prius entered the U.S. marketplace in 2001 and changed the makeup of the world’s fleet of vehicles. Like all good new ideas, it met internal resistance early on, only to pay off as a top seller in the U.S. market. The Prius is sold in more than 40 countries and regions and, since it was first introduced in the United States; more than 1.2 million Prius have been sold worldwide. With the launch of the 2010 Prius, which gets 50 MPG and is among the cleanest vehicles sold in the United States, Toyota plans to introduce ten new hybrid models globally by 2012. In an evolving new vehicle market, Toyota has set the bar for eco-supremacy.

Oxygen Award: School districts across the country have found an affordable and environmentally friendly school bus option in the Blue Bird VISION. The Vision is the first full size; dedicated propane powered school bus to be offered by a major manufacturer in the United States since 2002. Dangerous exhaust from school bus tailpipes can be significantly reduced by using alternative fuels, like propane. Blue Bird has invested in a bus that reduces NOx, CO, particulate matter and VOC emissions by as much as 83%99%. Rusty Mitchell, Product Management Director, accepted the award saying, “This is a solution to go green and a means to reduce fuel costs for school districts.”

Prescient Pioneer Award: Mike Scarpino worked for twelve years as a nuclear engineer before accepting a position in 1997 with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities Program. The program facilitates the work of 90 coalitions located in cities throughout the country to assist public and private fleets as they transition to alternative fuels. For twelve years Mike has been on hand to assist the national program and local coalitions as they’ve weathered budget threats, low gasoline prices, and erratic incentives. Through it all, his seasoned eye has been on the power of communities working together to create a new, clean way to fuel America’s vehicle fleets. His leadership, humor, and intelligence have played a crucial part in the strength of the national program.

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