Contest Winner Could Improve Airports Worldwide

The team from Missouri University of Science & Technology won this year's Hydrogen Student Design contest, sponsored by the Hydrogen Education Foundation of the National Hydrogen Association. The award was presented in March at the 19th annual Hydrogen Conference.

The winning team's design included an on-site hydrogen fueling station, a primary fuel cell system to provide 200 kW of power to the airport, back-up power supply to protect the airport's computer systems, portable fuel cell power for tools and communications, a hydrogen forklift and baggage tug for use on the tarmac, as well as two hydrogen vehicles designed to increase public attention: a hydrogen ICE shuttle bus to transport passengers from the airport to downtown, as well as a hydrogen fuel cell scooter for use at the airport. Not only does the system drastically reduce the emissions created by power and personal vehicle use at the airport, it saves over $28,000 in heating and electric costs annually.

"The design presented by the team from Missouri was completely realistic and technically accurate," said Columbia Airport Director Mike Flack. "If implemented, this design would greatly decrease our energy footprint and bolster airport operations as a whole."

The contest challenged student teams to use a $3 million budget to design the most effective airport hydrogen system to address the three main challenges for airports: noise, air pollution, and groundwater contamination. Designs were based on the Columbia International Airport in Columbia, S.C., but are applicable to other airports worldwide. Twenty-three teams, including those from Canada, China, Guinea, India, Libya, Nigeria, registered for the competition.

Four teams received honorable mention awards: McMaster University (Ontario, Canada), University of Waterloo (Ontario, Canada), and two teams from Wayne State University (Detroit, Michigan).

To see the designs submitted by all contest finalists, visit

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