OCEAN TOWNSHIP - This past Friday, Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation introduced by Senator Vin Gopal to create a New Jersey Fuel Cell Task Force, with a goal of expanding infrastructure and supporting investment in vehicle fuel cells and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks on New Jersey roads.

“If we want to reduce New Jersey’s carbon footprint, fuel cells absolutely have to be one of the first alternative energy sources we look at - especially when it comes to transportation,” said Gopal (D-Long Branch). “Not only are the byproducts of fuel cells better for the environment, they have a wealth of other advantages over traditional gasoline-powered engines that make them perfectly suited for the needs of Garden State consumers. With this legislation, we can continue our efforts to fight back against climate change and to create a modern, electrified system of transportation.”

According to the United States Department of Energy, “A fuel cell uses the chemical energy of hydrogen or another fuel to cleanly and efficiently produce electricity. If hydrogen is the fuel, electricity, water, and heat are the only products. Fuel cells are unique in terms of the variety of their potential applications; they can provide power for systems as large as a utility power station and as small as a laptop computer.” 

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Fuel cells can also “operate at higher efficiencies than combustion engines, and can convert the chemical energy in the fuel to electrical energy with efficiencies of up to 60%.” Moreover, “Fuel cells have lower emissions than combustion engines. Hydrogen fuel cells emit only water, so there are no carbon dioxide emissions and no air pollutants that create smog and cause health problems at the point of operation.”

The new law (formerly A741), which creates a task force to develop a plan to increase the use of fuel cells in New Jersey, would also aim to provide information, education, and resources for that purpose. Once created, the task force will: 

serve as a resource to State departments and local governments on fuel cell issues;
assist in the growth of fuel cell businesses in the State;
increase the use of fuel cells throughout State government departments and agencies; 
develop a strategy for the development of infrastructure to support the use of fuel cells; and 
provide information and educational materials to the public, government, and industry about the use and benefits of fuel cells. 
In conducting its duties, the task force will consult with the United States Department of Energy and any fuel cell organizations that may exist in other states.

The task force is required to submit its findings to the Governor and Legislature no later than one year after its creation, including any recommendations for legislative or regulatory actions that would be necessary to expand and support the use of fuel cells in New Jersey.

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Senator Vin Gopal represents New Jersey’s 11th Legislative District in the State Senate, where he works to make the Garden State more affordable for its hard-working residents. The 11th District includes the Monmouth County municipalities of Allenhurst, Asbury Park, Colts Neck, Deal, Eatontown, Freehold Borough, Freehold Township, Interlaken, Loch Arbour, Long Branch, Neptune City, Neptune, Ocean Township, Red Bank, Shrewsbury Borough, Shrewsbury Township, Tinton Falls and West Long Branch.