Key Terms for hydrogen fuel, fuel cell vehicles, and hydrogen fueling infrastructure

    What are the key terms to know when discussing hydrogen fuel, fuel cell vehicles, and hydrogen fueling infrastructure?

    Answer: It is important to know how to “talk the talk” when it comes to hydrogen and hydrogen-fueled vehicles. Becoming familiar with the terms below will help you better understand the fuel so you can ask the right questions and make informed decisions.


    Considered an alternative fuel under the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPAct), hydrogen (H2) can dramatically reduce emissions and has the potential to significantly reduce our dependence on imported petroleum. While pure hydrogen is not abundant, it is present in water (H2O), hydrocarbons (e.g., methane, CH4), and other organic matter.

    Although hydrogen is not currently widely used as a transportation fuel, government and industry are developing clean, economical, and safe hydrogen fuel and hydrogen-fueled vehicles. The first commercially available hydrogen vehicle is expected to be offered in select dealerships this year. 


    Fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) are zero emission vehicles fueled by pure hydrogen gas stored directly in the vehicle. FCEVs are two to three times more efficient than a conventional vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine. FCEVs produce no harmful tailpipe emissions, have the ability to refuel in as little as three minutes, can achieve a range of more than 300 miles on a single fill-up, and may use other advanced efficiency technologies, such as regenerative braking systems.

    Similar to battery electric vehicles, FCEVs use electricity to power a motor located near the vehicle’s wheels. However, unlike other electric vehicles, FCEVs produce electricity from hydrogen using the fuel cell, leaving heat and water as byproducts. A fuel cell is a device that can convert the chemical energy of hydrogen into an electrical current through a chemical reaction with an oxidizing agent, such as oxygen. The most common type of fuel cell for vehicle applications is the polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM). A PEM fuel cell is composed of an electrolyte membrane positioned between a cathode (positive electrode) and an anode (negative electrode). The hydrogen gas is introduced to the anode, while oxygen is introduced to the cathode. A catalyst (typically platinum) induces an electrochemical reaction that splits the hydrogen molecule into hydrogen ions. The protons are allowed to pass through the membrane while the electrons are forced to travel through an external circuit to produce electricity for the car. Then the electrons combine with the protons and oxygen at the cathode to form water, which is the fuel cell’s exhaust.

    The energy in 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram) of hydrogen gas provides about the same FCEV driving range as a conventional sedan propelled on 1 gallon on gasoline.Due to hydrogen’s low energy content by volume, the fuel must be stored as a gas in the fuel tank at high pressures (10,000 pounds per square inch). Additional research is currently underway to optimize fuel storage.

    At this time, FCEVs are more expensive than conventional vehicles, but are nearing commercial readiness. Many major original equipment manufacturers, including Honda, Hyundai, and Toyota, have announced plans to begin selling or leasing FCEVs to the public in 2014 and 2015 in certain markets.

    Fuel Production

    Hydrogen can be produced domestically from a variety of sources, such as natural gas, coal, and renewable resources (solar, wind, and biomass). The environmental impact and energy efficiency of hydrogen depends on how it is produced. A challenge of using hydrogen is efficiently and inexpensively producing hydrogen fuel.

    Hydrogen for use in FCEVs is split from other molecules through either reforming (using steam) or electrolysis (using electricity and water).  Currently, natural gas reforming is the cheapest and most efficient process to produce hydrogen in the United States.

    If the hydrogen is produced through electrolysis from clean, renewable energy, FCEVs could produce zero lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions. There are projects underway to decrease the costs associated with these production methods.

    Fueling Infrastructure

    Hydrogen stations are typically located in areas of current or expected FCEV deployment, and can either be designed to store delivered hydrogen, or to produce hydrogen on-site (via electrolosys or reforming).  Fueling sites include storage tanks, compression, and fuel dispensing equipment. Hydrogen fueling stations can be standalone operations or co-located with conventional fuel or natural gas dispensers. Applicable safety standards and codes specific to hydrogen fuel include the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA)’s NFPA 2: Hydrogen Technologies Code (

    To date, most existing hydrogen fueling stations have been constructed as part of demonstration projects. Earlier this month, the California Energy Commission (CEC) awarded nearly $47 million in grants for the development of a network of retail hydrogen fueling stations throughout the state. For additional information, please see the CEC’s Notice of Proposed Awards ( As the FCEV market expands, fueling infrastructure is expected to continue to grow to meet the demand. 

    For more information on hydrogen fuel, vehicles, and infrastructure, you can visit the Alternative Fuels Data Center Hydrogen page ( and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Program page ( 

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    2014 Louisiana Alternative Fuels Conference & Expo Recap

    2014 Louisiana Alternative Fuels Conference & Expo Recap 

    Louisiana Clean Fuels and the Southeast Clean Fuels Partnership with the support of the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources hosted the 2014 Louisiana Alternative Fuels Conference & Expo on May 16th at the Lod Cook Alumni Center on Louisiana State University’s campus. 

    The Louisiana Alternative Fuels Conference & Expo offered attendees the opportunity to listen to panel experts who discussed natural gas, propane, electric vehicles and various other technologies.  The speakers provided guidance on the process of converting to alternative fuels from infrastructure, fueling decisions, available alternative fuel vehicle options, and the benefits of using alternative fuels in public and private fleets.   

    The meeting included keynote speaker, Mayor Cedric B. Glover of Shreveport, LA, to discuss the city’s use of public transit systems and garbage packer trucks powered by compressed natural gas.  By using the alternative fueled vehicles, Glover stated that the city’s efforts will create less ozone, CO2, and save around $350, 000 per year in fuel costs. 

    In addition to Glover and alternative fuel panel experts, alternative fuel vehicles were available on site for the event participants to test drive and observe.  To close the conference, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne presented the Louisiana Clean Fuel Leader Awards to private and public fleets that have taken measures to reduce petroleum consumption in their fleets.  Alongside Lt. Gov. Dardenne, Commissioner Mike Strain presented the award for the innovative project of the year.  The other awards presented that day were:  Fleet of the Year, Municipality of the Year, and other Honorable Mentions.  

    To view photos of the event click here.

    2014 Louisiana Alternative Fuels Conference & Expo in the news: 

    For more information on previous and future events visit:




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    Last chance to register: Louisiana Alt Fuels Conference & Expo

    Friday:  May 16, 2014
    9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

    Keynote Speaker:
    Mayor Cedric Glover, City of Shreveport

    Louisiana Clean Fuel Leader Awards Master of Ceremonies: 
    Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne, State of Louisiana

    Louisiana Clean Fuels and the Southeast Clean Fuels Partnership together with their co-host, the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, invite you to our Louisiana Alternative Fuels Conference & Expo at the beautiful Lod Cook Alumni Center on the campus of Louisiana State University. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

    The Louisiana Alternative Fuels Conference & Expo aims to educate and assist pubic and private fleet managers to diversify transportation fuels in their fleets by incorporating alternative fuels and fuel-saving measures into their daily operations.


       CenterPoint Energy



    7:30-9:00           Exhibitor setup

    9:00-10:00         Registration/Exhibiting

    10:00-10:30       Welcome & Clean Fuels Update

      • Louisiana Department of Natural Resources
      • Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality
      • LCF/SLCFP

    10:30-10:45       Keynote Address

      • Mayor Cedric Glover, City of Shreveport

    10:45-11:30       The Pros of Propane

      • Randy Hayden, LPGA
      • Curtis Donaldson, CleanFuel USA
      • Tom Barrall, UPS


    11:30-11:45         Innovative Technologies: Utilizing BioCNG/Landfill Gas

      • Katry Martin, St. Landry Waste Disposal District

    11:45-12:15         Lunch/Exhibiting

    12:15-12:45         Ride & Drive/Exhibiting

    12:45-1:45           Natural Gas in Louisiana: Practical Advice for Fleets

      • Moderator: Sarie Joubert, TruStar Energy
      • Robert Borne, Entergy
      • April Dents, Trillium
      • Mayor Clarence Beebe, Town of Hornbeck
      • Rueben Stokes, Ryder


    1:45-2:30           Plugging in to EV

      • Jedediah Greenfield, City of Houston 
      • Jeff Cantin, Solar Alternatives
      • Dave Aasheim, ChargePoint

    2:30-3:00            Louisiana Clean Fuel Leader Awards & Press Conference

      • Master of Ceremonies:  
        Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism

    3:00-4:00            Exhibiting/Ride & Drive/Outdoor Vehicle Expo 


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    DERA Funding Now Available

    EPA has announced a $9 million funding opportunity for the National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program.

    Proposal submission deadline is Tuesday June 17th, either:

    • Electronically via by 4:00 p.m. EDT, or
    • Hard copy to appropriate EPA contact must be received by 4:00 p.m. local time as described in Section IV of the RFP


    EPA anticipates that evaluations and selections will be completed during September 2014, at which time applicants will be notified of their status.

    Eligible Uses of Funding
    Funds awarded under this program cannot be used to fund emissions reductions mandated under Federal law. Equipment used for testing emissions or for fueling infrastructure is not eligible for funding.

    Buses, medium or heavy duty trucks, marine engines and locomotives may qualify for funding. Non-road engines or vehicles used in construction, cargo handling (including at a port or airport), agriculture, mining or energy production (including stationary generators and pumps) also qualify.

    Grant funds may be used for clean diesel projects that use:


    Eligible Applicants
    The following United States entities are eligible to apply for these grants:

    • Regional, state, local or tribal agencies/consortia or port authorities with jurisdiction over transportation or air quality
    • Nonprofit organizations or institutions that promote transportation or air quality as their principal purpose or that represent or provide pollution reduction or educational services to people or organizations that own or operate diesel fleets
    • School districts, municipalities, metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), cities and counties are all eligible entities under this assistance agreement program to the extent that they fall within the definition above. 



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