3.3.2014 Hydrogen Fuel Cells Might Clean Up Ports
3.3.2014 Walmart Doubles Down on Hydrogen Fuel Cells
3.6.2014 Honda Opens High-Pressure Hydrogen Fueling Station In SoCal
3.6.2014 Stationary Fuel Cells
3.7.2014 New Fuel Cell Technology for Lower Emissions at Honolulu Port
3.10.2014 FuelCell receives $2.8M continuation of Dept. of Energy award Business briefs
3.10.2014 Hydrogen growth “infrastructure dependent”, says Hyundai
3.11.2014 Fuel cell power helps capture wildlife footage in Scotland for BBC Winterwatch TV series
3.12.2014 HyRange- Extender made by Proton Motor is on duty at Hermes
Hydrogen Fuel Cells Might Clean Up Ports
Hawaii has become a hotbed of renewable energy projects, including a fuel cell to power refrigeration in port
If all goes according to plan, Honolulu's main port may soon get a power source as clean as the water sloshing under its docks.
A consortium of partners headed by the Department of Energy's Sandia National Laboratories is looking to integrate a portable hydrogen fuel cell unit into the operations of Younger Brothers Ltd., the primary shipper of goods throughout the Hawaiian Islands. Its architects say the technology demonstration could serve as a model for similar facilities in ports around the nation.
Composed of four 30-kilowatt fuel cells, the unit would be housed within a 20-foot shipping container that could be floated, lifted or rolled around the dock.
Hydrogen as a fuel source produces zero emissions, and its only waste byproduct is clean water. The relatively high cost of securing hydrogen -- usually by stripping it from natural gas -- has made it historically uncompetitive with other energy sources in most situations, however.
But Honolulu's port is particularly positioned to make use of the technology, said Joe Pratt, project manager at Sandia Labs.
"Because of the specific characteristics of this port, the numbers actually do pencil out," he said. "There's a good probability that this project will be cost-effective."
Much of Hawaii's bulk commodities -- including much of its food -- has to be shipped to the islands from elsewhere, he said. A large portion of this cargo is routed through Honolulu's port, meaning many refrigerated containers sit in port for hours on end before being loaded onto barges and redistributed to the other islands.
Currently, those refrigerated units are powered by large diesel generators. And like so many other things in the Aloha State, the imported diesel fuel is significantly more expensive than it would be on the mainland, opening the playing field to other fuel sources.
"We compared the efficiencies of [the port's] diesel engines versus fuel cells, studied the energy efficiencies at various power levels and estimated the savings and reductions in emissions that would be realized if they were to convert to a fuel cell-powered operation," Pratt said. Because hydrogen fuel cells operate more efficiently at less-than-maximum power, their advantage relative to diesel generators rises, he said.
Hydrogen looks to expand its niche
Hawaii has, in fact, been something of a hotbed for test projects in green energy design. Volcanic in origin, geothermal energy supplies 20 percent of the Hawaii Big Island's energy needs. State regulations and a favorable market have driven the expansion of solar and wind power, and biomass gas is even harvested from landfills in some areas.
Hydrogen, on the other hand, has typically been more of a "niche" energy source, requiring its proponents to seek out just the right vector of cost and convenience to put it to work.
As the technology improves, however, applications for hydrogen as a fuel are expanding.
"The fuel-cell industry has largely moved beyond one-off demonstration projects towards pre-commercialization and even commercialization in certain markets," said Bud DeFlaviis, director of government affairs at the Fuel Cell & Hydrogen Energy Association.
Cost-effective applications for fuel cells have been identified for material handling equipment, as well as primary and backup power for data centers and telecommunication systems, he said.
The Honolulu prototype has likewise been developed with an eye to more extensive proliferation. After the fuel-cell unit is deployed in 2015, the team behind it -- which includes the Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration, the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute and the prototype developer, Hydrogenics Corp. -- will study its performance, in terms of both physical performance and cost-effectiveness. Based on their findings, they hope to design a commercial-ready product that could be purchased and deployed by ports around the country.
Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. www.eenews.net, 202-628-6500
Walmart Doubles Down on Hydrogen Fuel Cells
Walmart is dramatically increasing its investment in hydrogen fuel cells to get away from dirtier battery and fueling options, giving a boost to high-profile supplier Plug Power PLUG +1.28%.
The world’s biggest retailer has ordered another 1,738 of them, almost 40% of Plug Power’s total existing installed base of about 4,500 units and representing the company’s single biggest order ever. For additional perspective, the number of cells ordered is triple the number Walmart is already using in two refrigerated distribution centers (535).
This latest batch of GenDrive cells will be used in the electric lift trucks used to shuttle products around six North American distribution centers. The installations will begin during the second quarter of this year, and they will continue over the next two years, according to Plug Power and Walmart.
The significant deal was actually disclosed in early February, but it was only this week that Plug Power revealed the customer’s name. Aside from the cells themselves, Walmart is buying the company’s GenFuel infrastructure to keep them running, as well as a six-year service contract for each site.
“This turnkey deal represents a significant milestone for Plug Power,” said Plug Power CEO Andy Marsh. “We’ve, without a doubt, clearly demonstrated our leadership position as the premier provider of industrial fuel cell solutions. In the coming year, we plan to grow not only in the material handling industry, but also expand into other fleet vehicle applications such as transport refrigeration units, ground support equipment and range extenders.”
The size of the transaction wasn’t revealed, but one Cowen & Co. analyst estimated it at close to $50 million. During the fourth quarter of 2013, Plug Power’s orders were approximately $32 million.
Hydrogen fuel cells work by converting hydrogen and oxygen into electricity; their adoption has been challenged by the lack of fueling infrastructure, but that obstacle is fading. Plug Power’s cells are typically used for materials handling fleets in big warehouses or distribution centers, but the applications for its technology are expanding. In January, for example, Sprint announced it would start using them for backing up rooftop sites powering its wireless network instead of diesel generators. Nokia is embracing a similar strategy in Asia.
The Walmart order disclosure sent Plug Power’s stock up nearly 15% on Feb. 26, to settle at $4.47. Its Canadian supplier, Ballard Power Systems BLDP -1.63%, also got a boost of almost 11%. Over the past 12 months, shares for both companies are up significantly: almost 700% for Plug Power and about half that for Ballard.
Honda Opens High-Pressure Hydrogen Fueling Station In SoCal
You can't have hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles without places to refuel them.
In preparation for the launch of its 2015 fuel-cell car, Honda has opened a new high-pressure hydrogen fueling station at its Torrance, California, research facility.
The station uses a new fueling process developed by Honda called MC Fill, which the Japanese automaker hopes to make the industry standard.
According to Honda, the "M" in MC Fill stands for "mass," while the "C" stands for "specific heat"--two values in a heat transfer equation that governs the process.
The system--which operates at 10,000 psi--can absorb heat generated during filling, and monitor dispenser outlet temperature to make changes in fuel flow on the fly, Honda says.
The ability to more precisely regulate temperature will translate into faster refueling times, according to the company.
Honda says refueling time can be cut by almost half compared to similar systems. Average refueling time with MC Fill, the company says, should be around 3 minutes under normal temperature conditions.
Honda also hopes that MC Fill will become the standard for hydrogen fueling stations. It plans to use the Torrance station to test the system's capabilities under real-world conditions before it launches a production fuel-cell car based on the FCEV concept in 2015.
It will also make the fueling station available for evaluation by other automakers. In the near term, those would be Toyota and Hyundai, both of whom will offer hydrogen-powered vehicles within the next two years.
The Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell will be offered in California starting this spring or summer; the Korean automaker too is updating a hydrogen fueling station at its facility in Chino to meet anticipated demand.
Toyota will launch its own car within 18 months, based on the most recent FCV concept.
Today, only 10 public hydrogen fueling stations exist in the U.S., nine of them in California. The state legislature approved funding for at least 100 more late last year.
Stationary Fuel Cells
The stationary fuel cell industry continues to be the poster child of the entire global fuel cell sector. Focus on grid stability is increasing and the costs associated with natural disasters are rising. As a result, the use of fuel cells as small distributed power plants for grid stabilization or backup is moving forward faster than any other sector in terms of megawatts.
The principal drivers for adoption continue to be focused on the shifting economics of adoption and the increased need for more reliable power, as well as increased financing options. Since different countries are facing different pain points, in terms of power and power availability, the adoption costs of distributed generation (DG) technologies, including fuel cells, are also different. The core application segments of prime power, large combined heat and power (CHP), residential CHP (resCHP), and uninterruptible power supply (UPS) continue to grow, albeit at different paces. In addition, the stationary fuel cell industry is still led by a small number of companies, as just 20 key system players accounted for over 95% of revenue at the end of 2013. Navigant Research forecasts that global stationary fuel cell revenue will grow from $1.4 billion in 2013 to $40.0 billion in 2022.
This Navigant Research report analyzes the global market opportunity for stationary fuel cells across four key application segments: prime power, large CHP, resCHP, and UPS. The study provides a comprehensive assessment of the demand drivers, business models, and policy factors associated with the rapidly developing market for stationary fuel cells. Global revenue and capacity forecasts, segmented by application, region of manufacture, and electrolyte type, extend through 2022. The report also examines the main technology issues related to stationary fuel cells and includes in-depth profiles of key industry players.
Article courtesy of Navigant Research.
New Fuel Cell Technology for Lower Emissions at Honolulu Port
Clean hydrogen power that’s expected to lower emissions and reduce energy consumption will be coming to the Port of Honolulu in 2015 after the completion of a new fuel cell technology demonstration, one that could lead to a commercial technology for ports worldwide.
The work comes on the heels of last year’s study and analysis that confirmed the viability of hydrogen fuel cells to provide auxiliary power to docked or anchored ships. Hydrogen researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have joined with several partners in the follow-up project, which will result in a portable, self-contained hydrogen fuel cell unit that can float on a barge, sit on a dock or be transported to wherever it’s needed to provide electrical power.
Ports have been a major source of water and air pollution in the U.S. but remained relatively unregulated until recent years. As ports have begun to expand and their impact on the environment has become more apparent, port operators face a variety of regulations. Many ports have begun to enact sustainability goals or adopt green practices, and that’s where fuel cells can play a role.
“No one has ever built this kind of custom unit for this purpose,” said Sandia’s project manager, Joe Pratt. The unit, he said, will fit inside a 20-foot shipping container and will consist of four 30-kilowatt fuel cells, a hydrogen storage system and power conversion equipment.
The system will be delivered to and deployed by Young Brothers, Ltd., one of the project partners and a primary shipper of goods throughout the Hawaiian Islands. The unit is undergoing detailed engineering and design through mid-2014 and, after fabrication, assembly and training for Young Brothers operators, will be operational during a six-month deployment in early 2015. Young Brothers, the project’s demonstration partner, is a subsidiary of Foss Maritime Company, a shipping firm that has strong environmental and financial interests in the project.
The Hawaii project is jointly sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD).
Optimism abounds after earlier study
After conducting a study of various ports in 2013, Sandia analyzed Young Brother’s shipping operations in more detail. Like many operators, the company uses diesel engine generators to provide power to refrigerated containers.
“We compared the efficiencies of their diesel engines versus fuel cells, studied the energy efficiencies at various power levels and estimated the savings and reductions in emissions that would be realized if they were to convert to a fuel cell-powered operation,” said Pratt. “Analyses have shown that when generators are frequently producing less than maximum power, such as in the Hawaii application, the efficiency advantage of fuel cells compared to the combustion engine increases“, he said.
Though the study had to make some assumptions (the purchase price of hydrogen, for instance), it determined that Young Brothers could save fuel and energy while greatly reducing emissions, if it switched primarily to fuel cells.
With promising study results and a shipping partner, Young Brothers, to serve as an early adopter and operate the fuel cell system for six months, EERE and MARAD decided to fund the demonstration. The project’s other partners include Hydrogenics Corp., which will design and build the prototype unit and supply the fuel cells, and Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, which will provide assistance with hydrogen supply issues.
Other stakeholders include the U.S. Coast Guard and its local Sector Honolulu office and the American Bureau of Shipping. These organizations have regulatory authority over the design and operation of the prototype and see the project as a way to assist their development of formal regulations for hydrogen and fuel cells in the maritime environment. They, along with the Department of Energy’s Hydrogen Safety Review Panel, will review the safety aspects of the design and operating plans.
Future deployments and other ports
In addition to its project management role, Sandia is providing technical expertise in hydrogen and fuel cells, particularly in the areas of codes and standards, system design, safety systems, data collection and analysis of both operations and the business case for deployment.
Following the six-month deployment of the fuel cell system, Pratt said the project team will analyze the project’s successes and challenges, including the operating and cost parameters needed to make a business case at other ports.
The long-range goal, he said, is to develop a commercial-ready technology that can be widely used at other ports. The project team sees a strong market need and desire for a fuel cell solution, not only at maritime ports but also for other applications, such as providing power to users that are not connected to an electric grid.
Sandia National Laboratories is a multi-program laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corp., for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. With main facilities in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies and economic competitiveness.
FuelCell receives $2.8M continuation of Dept. of Energy award Business briefs
FuelCell receives $2.8M to develop hydrogen power plant
FuelCell Energy, the Danbury-based company focused on design, manufacture, operation and service of fuel cell power plants, has announced further progress with developing the on-site distributed hydrogen generation market with a $2.8 million continuation of an award from the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Manufacturing Office. FuelCell will install a sub-megawatt fuel cell power plant at its manufacturing facility in Torrington, to generate hydrogen, electricity and heat, replacing hydrogen that is currently purchased and delivered to the facility via truck, and replacing electricity purchased from the electric grid. The tri-generation DFC-H2 is expected to be operational by the end of 2014.
For the fifth consecutive year, Ability Beyond, the leading provider of services and programs to individuals with developmental disabilities, has been honored for creating health and wellness intiatives and programs for its 1100+ employees. Presented by the Business Council of Fairfield County at the Annual Healthy Workplace Employer Recognition Program, the event honored 27 companies throughout Fairfield County that have implemented programs to promote a healthy workplace. Ability Beyond was recognized for its "Live Well" program, a year-long initiative that starts in January of each year and involves a full calendar of wellness programs, tools, and incentives. In addition, Ability Beyond offers employees four fitness challenges during the year and holds an annual Wellness & Work-life Fair.
The Rise N Shine Networking Group of the Ridgefield Chamber of Commerce will hold the seminar, "SCORE: Experienced Advisors for Your Small Business," on Thursday from 7:45 - 9:30 a.m. at The Keeler Tavern Museum Garden House, 132 Main St., Ridgefield. The seminar, aimed at small business owners and entrepreneurs seeking advice and guidance from business mentors, will be presented by Tom Longmire of the Service Corp of Retired Executives . The seminar is free. Attendees are encouraged to bring business cards as there will be an opportunity for networking after the seminar. Light breakfast and coffee will be served. Registration is required. For information and to register, visit www.ridgefieldchamber.org under Events.
Hydrogen growth “infrastructure dependent”, says Hyundai
The rollout of more hydrogen fuel cell cars is being held back by a lack of refuelling infrastructure, according to Hyundai Europe president and chief operating officer Allan Rushforth.
Rushforth said the Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell – which he claims is the only hydrogen fuel cell car currently commercially available in the world – is limited in its application due to a slow rollout of refuelling points.
“We can move as quickly as the market will allow us, on the basis that the infrastructure is available to refuel,” Rushforth said. “And at the moment there isn’t the infrastructure.”
Rushforth said any mainstream application of hydrogen fuel cell cars globally is ”entirely infrastructure dependent”.
“Having said that, the cars drive, refuel, ride just like any other car. There’s lots of useability, the range is there,” he said, pointing out the Intrado concept SUV revealed at the 2014 Geneva motor show has a range of 600km.
“Everything is there to allow the technology to take off – except for the hydrogen refuelling stations.”
Rushforth said Europe and the US would be the two main centres of hydrogen focus for Hyundai and other brands such as Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler, Toyota and Honda.
Mercedes-Benz built a number of prototype B-Class F-Cell models in the car’s previous iteration, and while the company completed an around the world trip in those cars, there has been little news in relation to further fuel cell development for production cars.
Toyota has ambitious plans for its first hydrogen fuel cell car, which will go on sale in 2015. Fellow Japanese brand Honda was once at the cutting edge of fuel cell development with the FCX Clarity (which is still available to some buyers at $600/month on a three-year lease in the US), and it intends to be there again in 2015 when it launches a new-generation hydrogen-powered EV in 2015/16 (see image of the Honda FCEV concept above).
Rushforth said Hyundai was collaborating with all three of these companies to push the case for mainstream hydrogen cars.
“What we’re doing is working very closely with Toyota, Daimler and Honda – all of whom have got some capability with hydrogen fuel cell technology. We’re the most developed, we’re the only brand that has [hydrogen] cars for sale right now.
“Nonetheless, yes, we’re happy to work alongside other manufacturers to get critical mass for this fuel in Europe,” Rushforth said.
Fuel cell power helps capture wildlife footage in Scotland for BBC Winterwatch TV series
Fuel cell technology has been used to provide a reliable source of off-grid power for remote camera units that recorded wildlife footage in Scotland for a recent BBC natural history TV series.
Capturing elusive wildlife footage can be fraught with challenges. It often involves a considerable amount of waiting around, after setting up and positioning remote recording equipment. A wildlife film crew needs patience and persistence to produce captivating footage of the natural world that will engage and inspire TV audiences.
During the production of the BBC Winterwatch programme, which was broadcast in January 2014, the BBC’s Natural History Unit opted for an alternative power supply that would ensure minimal disturbance to both wildlife and the environment while filming two spectacular wildlife events in the Mar Lodge Estate in Braemar, Scotland.
The Mar Lodge Estate occupies nearly 7% of the Cairngorms National Park, covering in total 29 380 hectares of some of the most remote and scenic wild land in Scotland – including four of the five highest mountains in the UK.
The film crew’s objective was to position remote cameras and recording equipment at two separate locations on the estate approximately 3 km (2 miles) away from its main operating site. The production team chose one site close to where a pair of Golden Eagles had been spotted.
A separate site was set up to record the courtship ritual of the Black Grouse, a sort of game between male and females referred to as ‘lekking’, which usually takes place in early spring. During a ‘lek’ several male grouse strut around an area of ground while displaying and making a distinctive mating call, in the hope of attracting a female mate.
The remoteness of the filming sites meant that mains power, usually supplied by the electricity grid, was unavailable. Diesel generators would have proved too noisy and cumbersome, and would have also produced unnecessary carbon emissions in one of Britain’s most important nature conservation landscapes.
In locations such as this, batteries are often regarded as the most suitable power solution. However, batteries will only supply a limited amount of power before they discharge and need changing. If the film crew was to capture these extremely rare wildlife events, then regular site visits had to be avoided at all costs.
Berkshire-based Fuel Cell Systems supplied two EFOY Pro 2400 direct methanol fuel cells, each powered with 10 litres of methanol fuel (M10) to provide a reliable source of off-grid power. The EFOY Pro units were manufactured by German-based SFC Energy, whose fuel cells are well established in the consumer, industry, and defence & security markets.
As the batteries dropped below their floating charge of 12.5 V, power was automatically supplied from the fuel cells, allowing them to be constantly topped up.
Each fuel cell was housed in specially adapted 'Peli’ cases (known as Pelican outside Europe), designed to offer ventilation, water drainage, power access, protection, and safe transportation for the sensitive outside broadcast equipment.
A reliable source of continuous power was supplied by the fuel cells, to run two Bradley remote cameras along with audio and video codecs for nine days. This allowed the film crew to maintain remote video, audio, and camera control via a fibre-optic cable, while minimising disturbance to both sites.
Fuel cells run silently, and can be left in situ for long periods of time without refueling. This allowed the BBC Winterwatch film crew to obtain some excellent rare footage of a pair of Golden Eagles arriving and roosting in a tree, along with some unusual film of Black Grouse courtship rituals.
‘There is growing interest from the outside broadcasting industry in the benefits offered by fuel cells,’ says Tom Sperrey, managing director of Fuel Cell Systems and its parent company, UPS Systems Plc. ‘They are quiet, easy to transport, cheap to maintain, and offer long runtimes.’
‘The environment-friendly nature of fuel cell technology makes it appealing, particularly for those production companies looking to lower their carbon footprint and use sustainable technology,’ continues Sperrey. ‘These benefits allow fuel cells to be used in a variety of different applications, and provide an effective solution for off-grid portable power demands.’
HyRange- Extender made by Proton Motor is on duty at Hermes
Hermes is testing a 7.5 to duty vehicle of the UK based company Smith Electric Vehicles, which combines a Fuel Cell HyRange®-Extender of Proton Motor with a battery-electric powertrain.
The main argument for this type of vehicle is the prevention of noise emission and polutant emission, which predestinated this vehicle to operate in urban regions. The vehicle fits for the use of Hermes parcel service as well as 2-man-handling service, e.g. delivery of furniture and equipment.
The drive system is based on the HyRange® fuel cell system combined with a battery. This system meets demands in respect of range, payload and costs, with zero emissions and low-noise drive.
The hydrogen based HyRange®-Extender for electrical battery-driven commercial vehicles and buses provides additional energy for areas of application for which the existing battery capacity is not sufficient enough. Supported by the German NIP (Nationale Innovationsprogramm Wasserstoff- und Brennstoffzellentechnologie) the system was developed as a modular solution in order to ensure a broad range of applications for various platforms. The only emission produced during operation is a small amount of clean, warm water. No harmful substances are produced.