The Hydrogen Education Foundation is inviting undergraduate and graduate students around the world to participate in the 2015 Hydrogen Student Design Contest, its annual multidisciplinary concept design competition.
The theme of the 2015 Hydrogen Student Design Contest is “Development of Innovative Hydrogen Fueling Station Business and Financing Models.”
Since 2004, the HEF Hydrogen Student Design Contest has challenged multidisciplinary teams of university students to apply their creativity and academic skills in the areas of design, engineering, economics, environmental science, business and marketing to the hydrogen and fuel cell industries.
The Contest challenges undergraduate and graduate student teams to conceive business and financing models for hydrogen fueling stations that make financial sense without the support of government funding and pitch them to investors.
Expansion of hydrogen refueling infrastructure is one of the greatest challenges facing mass deployment of fuel cell vehicles. In California, Japan and Germany, the combination of public and stakeholder (OEM, gas supplier, etc.) funding has jump-started initial station construction. But public financing is not a sustainable business model for successful adoption of the technology; rather, completion of a successful transition requires hydrogen fueling stations to be funded by private investment.
The OEMs, H2USA and other stakeholders are examining a range of financing options, but struggle to find any that overcome the large capital, low initial cash-flow conundrum. Without business models that can attract investors, hydrogen infrastructure expansion will stall, jeopardizing the Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle market.