The Assembly Science, Innovation and Technology and Assembly Commerce and Economic Committees held a joint hearing on October 11, 2018 to hear testimony regarding the benefits of hydrogen fuel cells to power microgrids, the State’s ports and, of course, consumer vehicles. The Committee heard testimony about how greater use of hydrogen fuel cells would curb greenhouse gas emissions. Legislators also heard about obstacles to greater use of the technology in New Jersey.
With so much media and legislative attention on electric vehicles, proponents of fuel cells are concerned their technology will be left out of New Jersey’s clean-energy future. They are encouraging New Jersey legislators to continue allocating funds to encourage use of hydrogen fuel cell technology, especially in urban areas of the State with the worst air quality.
Supporters, including representatives from Honda and Toyota, testified about the state of hydrogen fuel cell technology and where it is headed in the future. For instance, Honda, which is producing a fuel cell vehicle (the Clarity), testified that hydrogen fuel cell vehicles have a longer range than electric vehicles and that government incentives should provide equal opportunities for ALL alternative fuel vehicles, as they try to compete with their internal combustion counterparts. Some vehicle manufacturers are all-in on fuel cell and other alternative fuel technologies. Toyota testified that, by 2025, all of their models will have a hydrogen or electric fuel cell option and, by 2030, the company predicts that 50% of their sales will be electric vehicles.
Both Honda and Toyota also stressed the need to develop and implement a hydrogen refueling infrastructure, something that is already underway in California. There are currently two hydrogen fueling stations going through the permitting process in New Jersey — one in Lodi and another in Whippany.
The joint legislative Committees were urged to look at policies that will allow the State to boost the hydrogen fuel cell market in New Jersey, which will bring environmental and economic benefits to the State.