Hydrogen Road Tour 2008

The Hydrogen Road Tour 2008 rolled into East Hartford, Connecticut today. The Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology Inc. hosted the event, which was a coup for the town of East Hartford. Long known for its close association with Pratt & Whitney Aircraft jet engines, East Hartford has put itself on the fuel cell map in a big time way. A lot of the credit still goes to Hartford based United Technologies Corporation, the parent of both PWA and UTC Power (formerly known as International Fuel Cells/ONSI). CCAT got help from the Connecticut Hydrogen-Fuel Cell Coalition, the California Fuel Cell Partnership and the National Hydrogen Association, in its promotion of this advanced transportation technology.


The tour.

As a long time supplier of precision machined components to the fuel cell and power generation industries, our company, Horst Engineering, another long time East Hartford enterprise, was invited to participate in the program. The stars of the show were the fuel cell powered automobiles and bus, but several suppliers to the industry and pioneers of the technology were asked to display their products for the various industry executives, local/state politicians, dignitaries, and media. Horst Engineering supplies a variety of components to fuel cell manufacturers, including tie rods, bushings, couplings, fittings, fasteners, and other custom components made from plastic, stainless steel, and titanium. The titanium tie rods that we make for the PEM stacks are an essential component. This type of business isn’t currently sustaining our workforce, but it is a nice compliment to our aerospace products business. It is also nice to be involved in the development stage of an important “new” technology. 

Hydrogen fuel cells aren’t exactly new. They have long been used in space applications dating back to the 1960’s. Over the past 30 years, efforts have been made to commercialize the product for power generation and transportation applications. The challenge has been great as fuel cell manufacturing costs and technical challenges remain high. The technology isn’t new, but the private, not-for-profit, and government interest has never been greater. With regular unleaded gas hovering around $3.85/gallon in Connecticut, fuel cell powered vehicles are hot. You could say that the politics of the industry have changed. Of course, it is the politics of the oil industry that will have to change if we ever expect to see a hydrogen filling station on every busy street corner. I lot will have to change if they are going to compete opposite the ones offering the more traditional fossil fuels.  

The Hydrogen Road Tour will continue down the eastern seaboard, then head west to California, its ultimate destination. There are many stops on the way, as there are many communities interested in this technology. Connecticut and East Hartford had their day in the sun today, providing a glimpse of what might be a whole knew fuel of the future.

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Horst Engineering

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Overnight with @boyscoutsofamerica Troop 25 at the 4-H Camp in Pomfret. The toboggan run was hairy! I just watched. #boyscouts That moment when @trailrunningmom discovered that our longtime #Christmas Tree 🌲 supplier is a regular student in her #yoga class. They previously hadn’t recognized each other when not wearing #yogini gear. It was great to hear how our farmer has improved her strength and flexibility since she took over the business from her late husband. Note: preparing our menorah for #hannukah takes less work than this! Lovely December day for #Cyclocross at Goddard Park. @nbx_bikes #nbxcx @vittoriaseries #teamhorstsports #teamhorstjuniorsquad @horsteng #crossspikes #rhodeisland Lovely day for more than 130 #BoltonLandTrust members and friends at the annual Walk of #Thanksgiving #bolton #connecticut 🌲 #blackfriday didn’t start so badly! Great day at the #manchesterroadrace @shenipsitstriders #shenipsitstriders #silkcitystriders #teamhorstsports #thanksgiving 🏃🏻 If I always had the option to commute by train 🚂, I would take it. #multitasking 1h45m each way if uninterrupted productivity and NO driving. I even squeezed in a lap of #centralpark with Tim. 🏃🏻#manhattan #newyork Fir @john.meyerle because I neglected to post earlier: @supercross_cup This video is the Cat 4/5 Men. Great start for @the_ccap boys Nick and Johnny. #supercrosscx #teamhorstsports #teamhorstjuniorsquad #horstengineering #crossspikes @horsteng #cyclocross #lifedeathcyclocross Another great day at the @supercross_cup The #teamhorstjuniorsquad did great on the tricky and challenging course that was left muddy by overnight rain. The wind was fierce. The Junior 9-14 year olds did battle with the Category 4/5 Women. #teamhorstsports @vittoriaseries #supercrosscx #supercrosscup #horstengineering @horsteng #crossspikes #cyclocross

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