PDC Machines works with Philadelphia Eagles on hydrogen project
by Molly Burgess | gasworld US Edition | June 2020
With states such as California taking a global lead on hydrogen innovations, the US currently stands as one of the major players in the clean fuel market. Philadelphia-based diaphragm compressor technology provider PDC Machines has made a big breakthrough in the US by combining the nation’s favorite sport with hydrogen innovations.
NFL is a frequent topic of conversation, but rarely for its support toward a hydrogen fuel. Earlier this year that changed, when Philadelphia Eagles entered into a sustainability partnership with PDC Machines for a SimpleFuel hydrogen refueling unit that will provide green hydrogen to the team.
The unit, which now stands as one of PDC Machines’ key innovations, was originally developed as the out-product of H-Prize, the Department of Energy’s H2Refuel, which challenged American innovators to collaborate to design and build a small scale refueler.
After the challenge, the popularity for the green solution drastically grew, and today PDC Machines has installed its SimpleFuel innovation all over the world.
Although various customers have received the unit, the Eagles’ partnership marks PDC Machines’ first sports team collaboration. Partnering with the Super Bowl LII Champions, who play in green, was an easy decision for PDC due to its ever evolving “Go Green” sustainability campaign that continually seeks to evolve and experiment with ways to reduce the Eagles’ carbon footprint.
As part of the Go Green campaign, in December 2018, Lincoln Financial Field – home of the Eagles – became LEED Gold certified by the US Green Building Council for implementing practical and measurable strategies and solutions aimed at achieving high performance in sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.
And a few months earlier, in June 2018, the Eagles became the first professional sports team to achieve ISO 20121 certification, which is an international standard designed to help organizations in the events and hospitality industry integrate sustainability into management practices and processes.
Through its Go Green campaign, the Eagles’ commitment to clean power has been extremely impressive, but now the team has gone one step further with hydrogen which can help accelerate its carbon footprint goals. As a life-long Philadelphia Eagles fan, the partnership was an exciting concept for Kareem Afzal, Vice-President of PDC Machines.
“The Philadelphia Eagles were always my favorite sports team,” Afzal told gasworld. “After they won Super Bowl LII, I was driving past the stadium one day staring at the façade covered in solar panels. Immediately, it dawned on me how progressive the team is. I thought with all that renewable power – which completely offset gameday power needs of the team and then some – our SimpleFuel unit would perfectly meet their fleet needs and keep the stadium green.”
Two years on, the Eagles can say its Lincoln Financial Field will soon be a proud home for PDC Machines’ SimpleFuel hydrogen refueling unit that will provide green hydrogen. Designed to take only the inputs of water and electricity to produce clean hydrogen fuel, the SimpleFuel unit will power the team’s fuel cell vehicles and material handling equipment all while reducing the stadium’s carbon footprint.
“For PDC, this partnership is a world class deployment with the world’s leader in sports sustainability,” Afzal said.
“If provide a public facing opportunity to showcase hydrogen energy with a world famous pop- culture icon that today does not exist in the hydrogen world. We also hope it will encourage other teams in sport to join the hydrogen energy movement. In fact, PDC has been approached by other teams very interested in a similar deployment.
“In fact, PDC has been approached by other teams very interested in a similar deployment.” Due to the coronavirus pandemic Afzal explained, “The Eagles and PDC are working together on installation of the SimpleFuel unit, however, due to the current environment this process has been delayed and will work together to find a time that is safe to do so.”
But the installation of the unit does not mean the end of the partnership. PDC Machines hopes to further assists the Eagles on their hydrogen journey.
“First, we will focus on getting the deployment in operation,” Afzal said.
“Next, we will help the Eagles use the hydrogen technology in the team’s day-to-day operations. After that, we will see what the future brings as thing naturally evolve.”
Sharing his enthusiasm towards the partnership and the Eagles’ cleaner future, the team’s President Don Smolenski, said, “Our partnership with PDC Machines is a tremendous opportunity to strengthen our sustainable management practices,” said Don Smolenski, Philadelphia Eagles President.
“Fueling our vehicles and operational equipment with clean hydrogen energy is an exciting new component of our comprehensive efforts to reduce our carbon footprint.”
Aside from its partnership with the Eagles, PDC Machines has been busy with other contracts, innovations and company goals.
“PDC is laser-focused on the emerging medium and heavy-duty vehicle market which will be a critical industry in the very near future. In short time, we will have a new product offering to support this market at a much larger scale,” explained Afzal.
“We’re talking many orders of magnitude larger than anything currently available. The opportunity to make impact on climate change through hydrogen creates an unparalleled enthusiasm for our work everyday.”