SunHydro, Proton open first solar-powered East Coast hydrogen fueling station

Oct 15th, 2010 | By | Category: Top Story

Entrepreneur Tom Sullivan personally invests in the future of nation’s energy infrastructure by launching first hydrogen fueling station of East Coast Hydrogen Highway

U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, the DOE’s Gil Sperling, senior advisor for policy and programs in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, and Tom Sullivan, pose with the hydrogen fueling system at the first solar-powered hydrogen fueling station in Connecticut

Proton Energy Systems, an on-site hydrogen generation company, and SunHydro, an upcoming chain of hydrogen fueling stations, announced today the grand opening of the first station at 10 Technology Drive in Wallingford, Conn. — the companies’ headquarters.

[Also today: Four next-generation fuel cell-powered hybrid-electric transit buses were introduced in Hartford. They join an earlier generation bus that began service in 2007. See the story in CT Environmental Headlines here.]

Proton Energy Systems and SunHydro are sister companies and the station will run under the SunHydro banner. The solar-powered station in Connecticut marks the start of the East Coast Hydrogen Highway SunHydro is creating to make it possible to travel from Maine to Florida on sun and water.
 
SunHydro is the vision of successful entrepreneur Tom Sullivan, founder of Lumber Liquidators, who is expanding his business focus from hardwood floors to hydrogen fuel.

What was just a dream a few years ago has become a reality for Sullivan.

“Last night I was driving around in the hydrogren Toyota car and I realized what seemed to be a fantasy just a few years ago was really actually happening,” said Tom Sullivan,  owner of SunHydro and Proton Energy Systems. “We were driving in a car fueled only by sun, the solar on the roof here and water, making zero pollution and not using a drop of gasoline.

The message (and the tailpipe emissions) is clear on the bumper of this Toyota fuel cell-powered vehicle

My main reason to build these stations is so people can see this really can happen. Hydrogen is real. There is an alternative to gasoline. And the U.S. should be the leader in this technology. And instead of spending a billion dollars a day importing foreign oil, we have the technology right in our backyard … to develop the cleanest fuel there is — sun and water — and we should be exporting this technology around the world and creating jobs here in the U.S.” 
 
The Department of Energy’s Gil Sperling, senior advisor for policy and programs in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, attended the event.

Tom Sullivan said what was a fantasy just a few years ago has become a reality.

“This project shows SunHydro’s firm commitment to the advancement of the East Coast’s Hydrogen Highway, energy conservation, the environment, and the green collar job market. They are truly innovators and leaders in the green economy and I applaud them for their efforts,” said Gil Sperling of the Department of Energy on behalf of the Obama Administration.
 
U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) also addressed the audience and called the station’s grand opening an important step toward more goals.
 
“Investing in new clean and renewable energy technologies is vital for our security and our economy, for our nation’s future and for our children’s future. We have to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and stop sending money overseas. We must reinvest in our own clean energy sector to stay competitive in the 21st century economy. And we have to reduce our carbon emissions and find ways to stop the dangerous cycle of global warming,” said Rep. DeLauro. “Today, with the opening of this Wallingford fueling station, we take an important step closer to all of these goals, and will help to create the jobs of the future here in Connecticut.”
 
The SunHydro hydrogen fueling station will be simple, with limited public access to start and full public access in the future. It will offer businesses and government vehicles a quick and easy option to fill up their fuel cell vehicles, and will provide the infrastructure to support broader availability of fuel cell vehicles, which is expected in 2015.
 
Taking The Technology To The Streets

This past August, SunHydro announced an agreement with Toyota Motor Sales to place ten (10) Toyota Advanced Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicles (FCHV-adv) in the Connecticut area this fall. The vehicles will support the new SunHydro fueling station, as part of a nationwide fuel cell demonstration program that will place more than 100 vehicles over the next three years. The ten fuel cell vehicles will be kept in Connecticut and will be used by SunHydro/Proton Energy Systems staff, in addition to other community members.

The fuel cells in the Toyota vehicles are about the size of a microwave oven and produce about 100 kilowatts of electric power (compared to a house, which uses between 5-7 kilowatts). Then, below the fuel cell, is the electric drive motor that drives the wheels. GM has a fleet of 120 fuel cell vehicles worldwide, said Gary P. Stottler, manager of GM’s fuel cell vehicle service and support in Honeoye, NY.

Generating Fuel On-Site Using Sun And Water

The SunHydro fueling station is powered by a new million-dollar system constructed by Proton Energy Systems, which privately funded the hydrogen fueling equipment and station installation. The fueling station generates hydrogen on-site using Proton Energy Systems’ enhanced proton exchange membrane (PEM) technology that derives hydrogen from water.
 
“Proton’s progressive and innovative technology that creates energy from sun and water really supports Tom’s overall vision,” said Rob Friedland, president and chief executive officer of Proton Energy Systems. “This station’s accessibility and availability to everyday community members via the fuel cell demonstration cars is a big component of the overall education and engagement process for the consumer.”
 
The hydrogen fuel developed will power cells that generate electrical power without pollution. Fuel cells enable an electrochemical reaction between the hydrogen and oxygen, which ultimately converts chemical energy to electrical energy. The only emission from this process in fuel cell vehicles is water vapor.

For more information about the new SunHydro hydrogen fueling station visit www.SunHydro.com. For more information about Proton Energy Systems’ hydrogen generation technology, visit www.ProtonEnergy.com.

About SunHydro
 
SunHydro is the world’s first chain of privately funded fueling stations that provides hydrogen to fuel cell cars. SunHydro’s hydrogen is produced right on-site using solar and water, which means zero emissions. The company is developing and building a network of hydrogen fuel stations all along the east coast with larger plans for national expansion (www.sunhydro.com).

About Proton Energy Systems

 
Proton Energy Systems designs and manufactures proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrochemical systems to make hydrogen from water in a zero pollution process producing safe, pure, reliable onsite hydrogen to meet today’s global hydrogen requirements. Proton Energy Systems has been developing and manufacturing world-class electrolysis systems since 1996, with thousands of units deployed world-wide, on every continent. With a reputation for building robust, reliable, and safe systems, federal, state, and commercial partners repeatedly seek the creative solutions that Proton Energy Systems has proven it is capable of delivering. For more information, visit www.ProtonEnergy.com.
 
About Proton Energy Scholarship

Proton Energy Systems is also the creator and steward of the Proton Energy Scholarship <http://www.protonenergyscholarship.com> , a program recognizing and awarding high school seniors who demonstrate outstanding achievement, excellence and promise in the field of science or technology. For more information, visit http://www.protonenergyscholarship.com.

Tom Sullivan is an entrepreneur and founder and CEO of SunHydro, an upcoming chain of fueling stations that provide hydrogen to fuel cell vehicles using sun and water. In this role, he oversees the company’s overall direction and growth strategy. Sullivan also is the owner of Proton Energy Systems, the global leader in on-site hydrogen generation, and founder of Cabinets To Go and Lumber Liquidators, the largest retailer of hardwood floors. Prior to September 2006, Sullivan also served as president and chief executive officer of Lumber Liquidators.

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