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Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

University of Maryland wins 2012 Hydrogen Student Design Contest

University of Maryland Wins 2012 Hydrogen Student Design Contest

Winning design uses waste to provide campus electricity, heating and fuel for 20 buses

WASHINGTON, DC – June 3, 2012 – The team of the University of Maryland is the winner of the 2012 Hydrogen Student Design Contest, announced today by the U.S. Department of Energy at the Young Scientist Symposium of the World Hydrogen Energy Conference 2012 in Toronto, Canada.

“A record number of 20 universities from all around the world submitted entries for the 2012 Contest,” said Jeff Serfass, President of the Hydrogen Education Foundation. “I am pleased that DOE is presenting the award and recognition to these bright young men and women, who are helping to shape the future of clean energy.”

For the 2012 Contest, students were challenged to plan and design a tri-generation system that produces electricity, heat, and hydrogen for their university campus. A panel of 16 judges from industry, government and national laboratories awarded the team of the University of Maryland 91% of available points, declaring it the Grand Prize winner. Their design would reduce the equivalent of taking 2300 cars off the road, and utilizes organic and municipal solid waste via gasification and anaerobic digestion technology. This Grand Prize marks the first award for the University of Maryland in the seven-year history of the Contest.

Second placed Washington State University, proposing a pyrolysis reactor for straw waste from agriculture in their community that would produce enough hydrogen to fuel 4000 fuel cell passenger vehicles. The University of California – Davis won third place for a design which included a hydrogen power and heating system for a residential building complex next to their new solar village.

At the awards ceremony, the theme for the next Contest was announced as well. The 2012-2013 Contest will ask students for their plans for the Development of Hydrogen Fueling Infrastructure in the Northeast. “Major car companies will introduce commercial fuel cell vehicles by 2015, requiring a functional fueling infrastructure which doesn’t exist in the Northeastern U.S., home of more than 50 million people,” said Jeff Serfass. “We’re very glad to already have sponsorship from Toyota and Mercedes Benz.”

The 2012 Contest was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, U.S. Combined Heat and Power Partnership, the World Hydrogen Energy Conference 2012, and the International Association for Hydrogen Energy.