HyPoint Hires Industry Veterans, Joins California Hydrogen Business Council To Accelerate Development Of Zero-Emission Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology

By July 8, 2020 6   min read  (1027 words)

July 8, 2020 |

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Brian Benicewicz Joins as Head of Science; John Vogel Joins as Chief Engineer of HTPEM; Rhonda Staudt Joins as Chief Engineer of HTPEM MEA

MENLO PARK, Calif.–HyPoint, the company developing zero carbon emission hydrogen fuel cell systems for air transportation and urban air mobility, today announced that it has hired several new key executives to drive HyPoint’s technology development and go-to-market strategy. The new hires bring decades of engineering and leadership experience in hydrogen fuels, polymer nanocomposites, robotics, and related technologies.

The company also announced that it has joined the California Hydrogen Business Council (CHBC), a membership-based trade association that advances the commercialization of hydrogen in the power production, energy storage, and transportation sectors. With its membership HyPoint joins the likes of Honda, Ballard, Linde, Plug Power, Nel Hydrogen, ITM Power, and many more.

“We are very pleased to have HyPoint join the CHBC as a member,” said Bill Zobel, Executive Director, CHBC. “HyPoint’s fuel cell systems for the air transportation and urban air mobility market will contribute to the diversity of our broad membership and help the CHBC inform California decision-makers on the emergence of hydrogen fuel cell solutions in the aviation sector.”

The news comes just weeks after Urban Aeronautics, a leader in eVTOL aircraft, announced that it has partnered with HyPoint to explore the development of an advanced version of Urban Aeronautics’ CityHawk eVTOL powered by HyPoint’s cutting-edge, hydrogen fuel cell stack technology.

“We look forward to collaborating with HyPoint on the integration of the next generation of hydrogen fuel cell systems for eVTOL transportation and the urban air mobility market,” said Rafi Yoeli, CEO of Urban Aeronautics. “As a high-power, 100 percent environmentally friendly fuel, hydrogen is key to the future of eVTOL aircraft.”

Key leaders join HyPoint to fuel the future of hydrogen-powered air transportation

Dr. Brian Benicewicz, Ph.D., Head of Science — Benicewicz has held positions as Educational Foundation Distinguished Professor and SmartState Endowed Chair in Polymer Nanocomposites, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of South Carolina; professor and director of the NY State Center for Polymer Synthesis at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; and various scientific and management positions in the private sector as well as Los Alamos National Laboratory. He co-founded H2Pump, a manufacturer of electrochemical hydrogen purification systems and invented the PBI high temperature membrane found in many fuel cell systems in stationary, portable, and automotive applications. He holds almost 50 issued U.S. patents. He received his B.S. degree from Florida Institute of Technology and his M.S. and Ph.D degrees in polymer chemistry from the University of Connecticut.

John Vogel, Chief Engineer of HTPEM Stack — Vogel is responsible for developing the power generation module including stack design, stack materials, balance of plant design, and algorithm of operation. He is an experienced business leader, product developer, and innovator and has been a leader in the alternative energy industry for over 15 years. He has held executive level operations, engineering, and product development positions and has successfully received and managed multi-million-dollar government programs including awards from the DOE, DOD, and NYSERDA. He is a founder of Combined Energies, where he is responsible for engineering and product development activities and was instrumental in securing the company’s first NYSERDA grant to begin the development of a novel DC to DC converter for renewables and energy storage. He holds several patents including US9413271: Power Conversion System with a DC-DC Boost Converter. From 2011 to 2016 Vogel held the position of VP of Technology Development at GE Ventures. Prior to GE, he held various leadership positions at Plug Power for over 10 years, most notably in the development of the residential CHP system GenSys Blue, the world’s first high-temperature proton exchange membrane residential fuel cell. Vogel holds a Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Engineering from the United States Military Academy and a Master of Mechanical Engineering from Auburn University.

Rhonda Staudt, Chief Engineer of HTPEM MEA — Staudt is responsible for fuel cell development including design of MEAs, gaskets, manufacturing, and tooling. She has been a leader in the alternative energy industry for over 15 years and has held various senior management positions in operations and engineering. She is a founding member of Combined Energies, where she directs the company operations focused on DC to DC converter technology for alternative energy. During her career, Staudt successfully executed multi-million dollar government programs, including awards from the US Department of Energy (DoE) and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). Prior to Combined Energies, she was the Director of Operations at H2Pump. H2Pump developed hydrogen purification systems using LTPEM and HTPEM. Prior to H2Pump, she was VP of Operations for Plug Power’s Stationary Fuel Cell Division. Plug Power is the leading developer of fuel cells in the US. Staudt holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Syracuse University and a Master of Science degree in Systems Engineering from the Rochester Institute of Technology.

“Delivering on the promise of a future with ubiquitous zero-emission air transportation — powered by hydrogen fuel cells — requires the best and brightest minds,” said Alex Ivanenko, co-founder and CEO of HyPoint. “Our expanded team shares decades of experience engineering and delivering next-generation energy solutions to global markets, as well as more than 65 U.S. patents, and together represent a new hydrogen fuel cell vanguard. We are incredibly excited to work together, and with CHBC, to bring hydrogen fuel cell technology into the mainstream.”

About HyPoint
Based in Silicon Valley, HyPoint is a VC-backed manufacturer of next-generation hydrogen fuel cell systems. HyPoint’s turbo air-cooled hydrogen fuel cells feature zero CO2 emissions and game-changing energy performance for the air transportation and urban air mobility market. HyPoint’s unique offering is based on several patented innovations including a HTPEM membrane, a lightweight bipolar plate, a catalyst recipe, and an industry-leading “turbo” air-cooled system. The combination of these technologies enables a lightweight climate-independent fuel system with extended lifespan that increases operational time by 5X and utilization rate by 10X while decreasing TCO by 90%. To learn more, please visit

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