Earth Day was the perfect time to promote a “zero emissions” vehicle. My journey began April 26th, at the Wildlands Conservancy in Emmaus, for their 1st Annual Earth Day Festival. I brought the Toyota Highlander and set up posters and brochures to help educate the 200+ in attendance. Folks of all ages were interested in the Hydrogen fueled car. One gentleman even commented that he never thought he would “see the day that a car would be fueled by Hydrogen”. Other questions were asked around safety, horsepower of the engine, where is it fueled and how far can it go on “one” tank. Some were very interested in seeing the engine and thanked me as I showed them the main components and explained how it is different than a “combustion engine”. I heard multiple times, “boy I couldn’t work on this car”. There was also an electric vehicle there, the Tesla, to promote another eco-friendly vehicle. I did point out, however, that another advantage of the Hydrogen fuel and fuel cell hybrid technology is that it creates electricity vs. consuming it.
I took it home to Fountain Hill, PA where neighbors and friends got to see it. My father-in-law wanted to see the fuel port and so I “popped the gas cover” and the vehicle immediately shut down. I quickly recognized that this was a safety inter-lock feature! My kids (Evan, 4 and Nova, 2) are too young to appreciate the significance of the Highlander but thought it was neat that I brought home “my work car”. The following day, I drove it to the March of Dimes walk event at Dorney Park where my family participated as part of Air Products team.
The following week, on 4/29 and 5/1, myself and co-worker, Marianne Goodhead, attended the 2014 Lehigh Co. High School EnviroThon hosted by the Lehigh Co. Conservation District at the Wildlands Conservancy. I spoke to environmental teams of students & advisors from 6 different Lehigh Co. High Schools and Middle Schools during their lunch break. I was impressed with their questions as well: how do we make Hydrogen and what are some of the “byproducts” (our plant schematic poster board came in handy), what will the cost of Hydrogen fuel be, what was the volume of water from tailpipe, will the vehicle be expensive to buy, do I think Hydrogen fuel will one day be used in airplanes. Wildlands President, Chris Kocher, appreciated us bringing the car over and being a guest speaker for the event.
To have an opportunity to drive a Hydrogen fueled vehicle was exciting. It was fun educating myself and others on APCI’s Smartfuel retail Hydrogen dispenser and Toyota’s fuel cell hybrid vehicle and our Sustainability roles.