ERDC’s Josefik Honored for Advancing Emergency Response

Nicholas Josefik, an industrial engineer at the U.S. Army Engineer Research Development Center (ERDC), was recently recognized at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) Under Secretary’s Awards Ceremony for leading a team in the development of a one-of-a-kind emergency response vehicle. This innovative vehicle, called H2Rescue, is equipped with an alternative power generation device and can play a crucial role in delivering critical services during emergency situations.

The 2023 Under Secretary’s Awards are the pinnacle of employee recognition within the S&T Directorate. The ceremony showcases exemplary S&T activities and superior individual and team achievements that advance the S&T mission.

Josefik leads the team at ERDC’s Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL) responsible for the development of H2Rescue, working alongside other federal and industry partners that include the U.S. Department of Energy’s Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office and Vehicle Technologies Office, the U.S. Army Ground Vehicle Systems Center, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Science & Technology Directorate, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory and Accelera™ by Cummins. The ERDC-CERL team includes Carol Bailey, Frank Holcomb and Scott Lux.

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Josefik, a native of Morris, Illinois, has been a part of ERDC-CERL since 1999. He began his journey as a University of Illinois student worker and transitioned to a full-time role upon graduating in May 2001. Josefik has worked in the energy branch since joining CERL, working mainly on fuel cells and hydrogen research. He has also worked on several waste to energy projects, building energy and water audits, Installation Energy and Water Plans and other distributed generation projects. In 2019, Josefik became the team leader for the H2Rescue project.

“This is a great honor culminating years of research and work,” Josefik said about receiving the award. “The team being honored is just a small part of the researchers who helped push the science forward.”

H2Rescue is a zero-emission fuel cell-powered emergency vehicle that provides a new way to offer relief in a time of emergency and natural disasters. The vehicle has successfully been tested on a driving range of 180 miles round trip and provides up to 25 kilowatts load of exportable power for up to 72 hours once on site. To read more on H2Rescue and its mission, click here.

Josefik credits the success of H2Rescue to his team at ERDC, but also contributes the accomplishment to collaboration across multiple agencies.

“This project highlights the benefits that can be gained by assembling a multi-agency team to use the strength of each agency,” he said. “Without all the players on this team, the project would not have been the success that it is.”

Through the development and success of H2Rescue, Josefik and his team feel motivated to keep the technology moving forward. He hopes they can advance the fuel cell technology and see its widespread adoption by the U.S. Department of Defense.

“Advancing fuel cell technology can help our nation’s energy security and reliability, while also offering a cleaner option of energy generation when compared to combustion,” Josefik said. “We hope someday the use of hydrogen and fuel cells are a common occurrence across the country. If fuel cells can be part of the mix in our energy portfolio, we may be able to decrease some air pollution.”

Over the next year, Josefik and the H2Rescue team hope to demonstrate the vehicle in multiple scenarios. Josefik aims to showcase the capabilities and document the applications of the vehicle, and lastly, he has a goal to build more vehicles and put them in the hands of users.

Josefik received the award at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington D.C. on December 12th, 2023.

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