One competition is willing to pay a lot of money for what may be a little hydrogen refueling station. The Hydrogen Education Foundation launched its H2 Refuel H-Prize competition a year ago October, with the intention of giving out $1 million to the contest winner. Now, a half-dozen competitors have been announced, including Ion Power, Katsu Technologies, Millennium Reign Energy, Reactwell, Simple.Fuel.; and Washington State University. Yes, it's nice to know the Pac-12 conference is represented.

The idea behind the competition is to find a cheaper way to distribute fuel for hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, since fuel-distribution costs are considered a major hurdle to the proliferation of fuel-cell vehicles. Contestants must power their refueling stations with either electricity or natural gas. The stations must provide anywhere from one kilogram of hydrogen per refueling session for home-based systems to as much as 50 kg a day for publicly accessible systems.

Finalists will be announced next month, and testing of those finalists' systems will start next July. The competition concludes in October 2016 and the winner will be announced that December. Those curious can get a load of the contest's rules and guidelines here.

With automakers like Toyota and Honda either debuting production fuel cell vehicles now or planning to do so soon, there's obviously a growing need for hydrogen refueling stations, and precious little inventory on that front. Throughout the US, there are still just a dozen publicly accessible hydrogen fueling stations, including 10 in California and one each in Connecticut and South Carolina, according to the US Department of Energy.


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