In February 2020, just a few weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic forced a global shutdown, American football team the Philadelphia Eagles and PDC Machines unveiled a multiyear sustainability partnership.
With the pandemic now behind us this partnership has finally come to fruition. On September 22, 2023, the Eagles achieved a groundbreaking milestone as the first professional sports team in North America to implement a hydrogen refuelling station, enabling them to power their zero-carbon passenger vehicles, all thanks to their collaboration with PDC Machines.
“Today marks another milestone for Lincoln Financial Field, the Philadelphia Eagles Go Green program, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the City of Philadelphia,” so says Don Smolenski, Eagles President. “This is another stop on our sustainability journey as we continually strive to reduce our carbon footprint.”
The refuelling station is connected to an electrolysis plant which sends a renewable electricity charge through water, to generate clean hydrogen by separating it from the oxygen. The energy being used comes from the stadium’s 10,456 solar panels.
The only by-product of using hydrogen energy to power vehicles is water vapour, making it an environmentally friendly alternative to petrol or diesel.
A leading example of hydrogen powered transport already in action is U.K firm Wrightbus, who were the first manufacturer in the world to build a zero-carbon hydrogen-powered double-deck bus. There is now a growing fleet of these non-polluting hydrogen buses operating in cities across the country and beyond, and with every journey these hydrogen buses save vast amounts of toxic CO2 from entering the atmosphere that their fossil fuel equivalents emit.
Back at the Eagles football stadium, during the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro quipped that the refuelling station was going to feature hydrogen in a shade reminiscent of Kelly Green – the recently revealed colour of the team’s throwback uniforms.
Shapiro went on to say “Not only are the Eagles leading on the field, but they are setting an example for how companies throughout Pennsylvania and the country can act when it comes to addressing climate change and bringing clean energy into their business strategy.”
So what started with Eagle and PDC being photographed in front of a hydrogen vehicle before the pandemic, has now progressed to the installation of the hydrogen refuelling unit in the stadium parking lot.
PDC Executive Chairman Kareem Afzal said “I want to thank the City of Philadelphia for working with us to get this product permitted to be sitting here. It is a unique installation nationally and throughout the world. This is truly the first that I have seen at a stadium, producing hydrogen, and fuelling (hydrogen) vehicles on site.”
The journey of PDC is a story of its own, as a family-owned local enterprise started in 1977 by Sy, Kareem’s father, who embarked on the engineering venture after immigrating from India.
PDC has always aspired to spearhead the global shift toward sustainable energy, leaving a profound mark on both the local community and the planet for future generations. Rising to prominence within the industry PDC now boasts offices in South Korea, Japan, and Germany, along with a significant new facility in Souderton, Pennsylvania.
Afzal said, “Through his (my father’s) leadership over the years, we grew this company from a sole proprietor to the 208 people that are powering the future of hydrogen today.”
The hydrogen-powered Hyundai Nexo, driven by the Eagles team, made history as the first vehicle to use the hydrogen refuelling station, now poised to revolutionise the adoption of clean hydrogen energy within the community.
It’s certainly exciting to see a significant sports team demonstrating its commitment to decarbonisation, by developing its own hydrogen manufacturing and refuelling capabilities on site.
Here at Ryze we were delighted to announce the consortium led by us has recently won more than £3 million in government funding to develop mobile refuelling for construction sites.
The funding will be used to demonstrate new technologies in a real world setting at a working quarry site where a large quantity of construction machines will be on trial.
Ryze are also currently in planning consultation phase for a state of the art new hydrogen plant and refuelling station in Bradford.
The construction industry has seen an increase in demand for sustainable construction practices and low carbon energy sources, with hydrogen seen as a leading alternative to diesel, especially in heavy duty industries where battery electric vehicles are unsuitable.
To learn more about Ryze Hydrogen, click here.