April 2011

4.1.2011 President Obama's Green Fleet Initiative: A Bold Step Forward in US Energy Use
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4.1.2011 Hyundai Shows Off Blue 2 Fuel Cell Concept, Delays Two Hybrid Models
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4.2.2011 IdaTech Participates in Hutchison Indonesia Telecommunications Fuel Cell Press Conference
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4.3.2011 Materials scientists at Harvard demonstrate the first macro-scale thin-film solid-oxide fuel cell
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4.4.2011 California to get three new hydrogen stations
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4.5.2011 Plug Power Registers Record Fuel Cell Sales in Q1 2011
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4.12.11 AnyThing RV, Inc. Announces New Green Solution to Cope with Escalating Fuel Prices
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4.13.11 Honda heads for Hydrogen Highway
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4.13.11 Hydrogen generators cut airside vehicle emissions
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4.13.11 In Honor of Earth Day 2011, AAA Names Its Top Picks for 'Green' Vehicles
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4.14.11 A Chance Discovery May Revolutionize Hydrogen Production
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4.14.11 Busan to Build Hydrogen Fuel Cell Power Plant
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4.18.11 Universal Studios Hollywood Adds Innovative New Energy Program to Reduce Carbon Emissions
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4.19.11 Plug Power GenDrive Sales Into Food Distribution Centers Up
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4.21.11 Innovation Focuses on A320 Taxi Burn
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4.22.11 Cobalt, iron and processed carbon make cheaper hydrogen fuel cells
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4.25.11 Coca-Cola Gets Greener Fueling Forklifts with Linde Hydrogen
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April 1, 2011
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President Obama's Green Fleet Initiative: A Bold Step Forward in US Energy Use

By: Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, via the White House Blog

This afternoon, President Obama unveils his green fleet initiative which ensures that by 2015, all new vehicles purchased for Americas's federal agencies will be electric, gas-electric hybrid, or alternatively fueled.

I will stand alongside the President when he makes that announcement because the Department of Transportation will do whatever we can to support this bold new goal.

The transportation sector accounts for two-thirds of the United States’ oil use and contributes one-third of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions.  After housing, transportation is the second biggest monthly expense for most American families.  Reducing the gas consumed by our federal fleet will help relieve some of the upward pressure on gas prices.

As the President said earlier this week, “In an economy that relies so heavily on oil, rising prices at the pump affect everybody.”
We have the opportunity, and the obligation, to take action.  We can change both the types and the amounts of energy that our transportation systems use while also creating good, high-paying jobs and easing everyone’s burden at the pump.

The Administration is already leading by example on this one. Since taking office, President Obama has doubled the number of hybrids in the government’s fleet of 600,000 vehicles.

President Obama is also right when he says that electric vehicles offer one solution.  They’re on the market, more are coming, and people are excited to buy them.  DOT has already awarded grants to help develop charging stations for these vehicles, and communities across America--from Baltimore to Houston to Seattle are beginning to have more and more of these stations available.

Through historic fuel economy standards, we’ve also made sure the gasoline-powered vehicles purchased by the federal government prior to President Obama's 2015 deadline will also run more efficiently and use less gas.

Reducing the amount of gas consumed by our federal fleet and by America's private vehicles will lower overall fuel demand, helping to keep gas prices lower than they would otherwise be, and save all of us from spending a fortune to fill up. This comprehensive national program is also projected to save 500 million barrels of oil over the lives of the vehicles produced within the first five years of these new standards.

DOT’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration explores the full range of alternative fuels needed to meet our energy sustainability goals.  Their researchers are investigating hydrogen fuel-cell and biofuel transportation technologies that could someday greatly reduce or eliminate our dependence on foreign oil sources.  Already hydrogen refueling stations are popping up to serve the growing number of fuel-cell vehicles on our roadways.

Now, we can’t just wave a magic wand and end our reliance on oil overnight. But under President Obama’s leadership, we are progressing down the path toward sustainability, a cleaner environment, and more livable communities.

April 1, 2011
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Hyundai Shows Off Blue 2 Fuel Cell Concept, Delays Two Hybrid Models

Hyundai has unveiled a new concept car at the 2011 Soul Motor Show that is called Blue 2. The car is a mid-size sedan that offers some hints at the future blueprint for mid-size sedans from Hyundai.

The car is a FCEV or a Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle that is powered by hydrogen and is an attempt by Hyundai to capture some leadership for the emerging fuel cell vehicle market. There are some huge hurdles for FCEVs though, namely an infrastructure around the world for producing and distributing hydrogen.

Hyundai notes that the Blue 2 concept has a stack power of 90kW and a fuel economy of 34.9km/L. The car has special low-resistance tires and light alloy wheels
to reduce weight and help extend the driving range of the car. The concept has LED screen panels on the exterior of the car that allow the driver to see the vehicles status located on the front and rear. The car also has a welcome system that recognizes the driver and automatically opens the door.

The concept has no side mirrors, using cameras on the sides mounted on the roof allowing the driver to see behind the car. The dash of the car uses OLED panels rather than normal gauges. While Hyundai is showing off its new concept car, a few details on the production hybrids from Hyundai and Kia have surfaced at Wards Auto.

In other Hyundai news, Wards Auto reports that the Hyundai Sonata hybrids have been promised for delivery to the U.S. in later-April. The car has been officially on sale since December of 2010, but few dealers have actually been able to get the cars in stock. Hyundai reports that the delay in delivery was to give the automaker time to remove a switch that was integrated into the vehicles that allowed the driver to disable a warning system that makes noise to alert blind pedestrians.

Wards notes that the car has been criticized by reviewers for having real world fuel economy that is much lower than the published EPA ratings. Hyundai spokesman Jim Trainor says, "The slow rollout has nothing to do with some of the early results that folks got."

“Even with the early prototypes that were making the rounds last fall (in California), many media got well over 40 mpg on the drive,” Trainor says, adding “production units will be better.”

While the Sonata Hybrid is being promised by the end of the month, its kissing cousin --the Kia Optima Hybrid -- has been set to go on sale in the U.S. in Q2 rather than the January 2011 launch that Kia originally planned. 

Electrochemical device

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April 2, 2011
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IdaTech Participates in Hutchison Indonesia Telecommunications Fuel Cell Press Conference

IdaTech plc (AIM: IDA) a global leader in the development and manufacture of Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell products for telecommunications and other critical backup power applications is pleased to announce its participation in the Indonesian Hutchison Telecommunications (HCPT) fuel cell press conference. 

In an effort to use alternative energy solutions that have a positive impact on the environment, more than 150 IdaTech backup power fuel cell systems have been installed on Hutchison Indonesia's network instead of traditional diesel generators. Indonesia's Ministry of the Environment has been encouraging local companies to aggressively adopt alternative and renewable sources of energy in an effort to reduce Indonesia's carbon footprint. The press conference, held on March 9th, was attended by both Indonesia's Minister of Communication and Indonesian Renewable Energy Society. Bapak Tifatul Sembiring, Minister of Communication commented, "The use of Hydrogen gas to power BTS makes us very happy and the use of alternative energy is an innovative move which we all support. We congratulate PT Hutchison Indonesia for using fuel cells and hope this initiative can be developed by other operators as an example."

IdaTech's ElectraGen H2-I backup fuel cell system was on display at the press conference to demonstrate the benefits of using fuel cells as a clean technology solution. Low emissions, high efficiency, and quiet operation are a few of the "green" characteristics of a fuel cell system. Mobile network operators worldwide are increasingly implementing clean technology solutions to lower their environmental impact, improve network reliability, and reduce operating expenses.

About IdaTech

IdaTech plc is an advanced fuel cell products company which is operationally headquartered in Bend, Oregon, USA and is listed on AIM with the ticker code IDA.

IdaTech designs, develops, and manufactures extended run backup power fuel cell products for Telecom applications requiring 100 W to 15 kW of backup power. IdaTech's unique PEM fuel cell technology provides solutions for a wide range of applications to directly support efforts towards sustainable energy.

IdaTech's portfolio of industry-certified fuel cell products are based on the company's fuel processing, purification and fuel cell system integration capabilities. With the support of strategic partners and customers, the company's extended run backup power products are being deployed worldwide for stationary applications.

April 3, 2011
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Materials scientists at Harvard demonstrate the first macro-scale thin-film solid-oxide fuel cell

Strong, nanostructured membrane enables scaling for practical clean-energy applications

Cambridge, Mass. - Materials scientists at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and SiEnergy Systems LLC have demonstrated the first macro-scale thin-film solid-oxide fuel cell (SOFC).

While SOFCs have previously worked at the micro-scale, this is the first time any research group has overcome the structural challenges of scaling the technology up to a practical size with a proportionally higher power output.

Reported online April 3 in Nature Nanotechnology, the demonstration of this fully functional SOFC indicates the potential of electrochemical fuel cells to be a viable source of clean energy.

"The breakthrough in this work is that we have demonstrated power density comparable to what you can get with tiny membranes, but with membranes that are a factor of a hundred or so larger, demonstrating that the technology is scalable," says principal investigator Shriram Ramanathan, Associate Professor of Materials Science at SEAS.

SOFCs create electrical energy via an electrochemical reaction that takes place across an ultra-thin membrane. This 100-nanometer membrane, comprising the electrolyte and electrodes, has to be thin enough to allow ions to pass through it at a relatively low temperature (which, for ceramic fuel cells, lies in the range of 300 to 500 degrees Celsius). These low temperatures allow for a quick start-up, a more compact design, and less use of rare-earth materials.

So far, however, thin films have been successfully implemented only in micro-SOFCs, where each chip in the fuel cell wafer is about 100 microns wide. For practical applications, such as use in compact power sources, SOFCs need to be about 50 times wider.
The electrochemical membranes are so thin that creating one on that scale is roughly equivalent to making a 16-foot-wide sheet of paper. Naturally, the structural issues are significant.

"If you make a conventional thin membrane on that scale without a support structure, you can't do anything—it will just break," says co-author Bo-Kuai Lai, a postdoctoral fellow at SEAS. "You make the membrane in the lab, but you can't even take it out. It will just shatter."

With lead author Masaru Tsuchiya (Ph.D. '09), a former member of Ramanathan's lab who is now at SiEnergy, Ramanathan and Lai fortified the thin film membrane using a metallic grid that looks like nanoscale chicken wire.

Scanning electron microscopy reveals the structured surface of the electrochemical membrane. Ramanathan's team found circles and hexagons to provide the most stable structure. Photo courtesy of Shriram Ramanathan.

The tiny metal honeycomb provides the critical structural element for the large membrane while also serving as a current collector. Ramanathan's team was able to manufacture membrane chips that were 5 mm wide, combining hundreds of these chips into palm-sized SOFC wafers.

While other researchers' earlier attempts at implementing the metallic grid showed structural success, Ramanathan's team is the first to demonstrate a fully functional SOFC on this scale. Their fuel cell's power density of 155 milliwatts per square centimeter (at 510 degrees Celsius) is comparable to the power density of micro-SOFCs.

When multiplied by the much larger active area of this new fuel cell, that power density translates into an output high enough for relevance to portable power.

Previous work in Ramanathan's lab has developed micro-SOFCs that are all-ceramic or that use methane as the fuel source instead of hydrogen. The researchers hope that future work on SOFCs will incorporate these technologies into the large-scale fuel cells, improving their affordability.

In the coming months, they will explore the design of novel nanostructured anodes for hydrogen-alternative fuels that are operable at these low temperatures and work to enhance the microstructural stability of the electrodes.

The research was supported in part by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and performed in part at the Harvard University Center for Nanoscale Systems, a member of the NSF-funded National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network.

April 4, 2011
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California to get three new hydrogen stations

The mantra for the California's Hydrogen Highway has been, "build it and they will come." That planned thoroughfare will soon see more zero-emission traffic now that the California Energy Commission (CEC) released funds for three new hydrogen refueling stations across the state.

Stations in Laguna Niguel, West Sacramento, and South San Francisco should come online in the next 18 months, and will eventually serve the fuel cell vehicles that manufacturers will produce starting in 2015. To ensure these stations aren't fly-by-night operations with all the curb appeal of a scrap yard, they are required to be in high-traffic areas, produce at least 100 kg of hydrogen per day (33 percent of which must be produced using renewable energy), have public access with retail-like facilities, and be backed by multiple automakers planning to sell fuel cell vehicles to consumers near the station.

For stations that meet the CEC's hydrogen station business plan and building requirements, the organization is funding up to 75 percent of the construction costs. The Laguna Nigel and Sacramento stations will receive almost $4 million to construct the facilities, which amounts to 75 percent of the planned costs. However, the the station near the San Francisco airport will get $567,003, which is only 18 percent of the planned budget.
Splitting constructions costs is necessary to encourage developers to seed the state with hydrogen fuel stations even though there is no immediate revenue stream. In fact, it's not even legal to sell hydrogen to retail customers currently because the standards for weights and measurements have not been established. But that could change soon.

In addition to funding the three stations, the CEC is also giving money to the California Division of Measurement Standards to work on the codes, standards, and tests that will allow hydrogen to be sold as a retail fuel.

April 5, 2011
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Plug Power Registers Record Fuel Cell Sales in Q1 2011

Fuel cell technology specialist, Plug Power proclaimed that it has secured 534 orders for its GenDrive full cell systems from material handling customers during the Q1 of 2011.

Plug Power’s orders in the Q1 of 2011 have surpassed its 419 GenDrive orders in the Q4 of 2010. It is a new record in the hydrogen fuel cell market because none of the fuel cell producers has secured that much number of orders in a single quarter.

Plug Power has included five new client locations to its expanding list of customers. The company will supply class-3 units for rider pallet jacks, class-2 units for reach trucks and class-1 units for sit down counterbalanced trucks for these new locations. The GenDrive fuell cells will be used in electric lift truck fleets in New Jersey, Texas, Massachusetts and New York. Plug Power has also secured follow-on orders for more units from Bridgestone in Tennessee and BMW in South Carolina.

Earlier in 2010, Plug Power was focusing on the North American market for its GenDrive products. However in the Q1 of 2011, the company has made an entry into the European region by earning an order from a French customer to supply 10 GenDrive fuel cells. These GenDrive fuel cells are suitable for European-style lift trucks that handle a range of welding supply parts in a warehousing and distribution center.

April 12, 2011
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AnyThing RV, Inc. Announces New Green Solution to Cope with Escalating Fuel Prices

Expects Significant Expansion of Sales in 2011

WAUSAU, Wis. - AnyThing Technology Media Inc. announced today that its AnyThing RV Division is offering a HYDROGEN BOOSTER product line as an answer to escalating fuel prices.

The HYDOGEN BOOSTER can be used on Commercial, Agricultural and Heavy Duty Trucking, RVs of all classes and family automobiles. Go to www.anythingrv.com to view this exciting new line and request technical information from their Engineering support team.

The RV and Transportation Industries have been hard hit by the Recession and now the Cost of Fuel for commercial and recreational purposes. The same can be said for owners of private and fleet motor vehicles. AnyThing RV management has addressed these problems by researching and testing this product line to confirm the expected results from an investment that has great pay-back and with a one-year full replacement warranty.

The company expects to see a significant expansion in its market base by offering these products on their website and through active trade-show presentations to RV, Agricultural, Commercial, Safety, Police, and Utility Vehicle owners.

The Hydrogen Booster offers dramatically reduced Emissions while increasing Horsepower & Torque along with increases in fuel economy delivering a payback in as few as 2-3 months depending upon the miles traveled.

Typical results show:

  • 18% Increase in Fuel Economy
  • 10% Increase in Horsepower
  • 20% Increase in Torque
  • 50% Reduction in Emissions

April 13, 2011
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Honda heads for Hydrogen Highway

A NEXT-GENERATION hydrogen pump is to be built at the Honda plant – and it could pave the way for the technology to be developed here in the future.

Forward Swindon, the council’s regeneration body, has received a £250,000 grant from the South West England Regional Development Agency to build the ultra-modern fuel station at car factory.

Called the Hydrogen Highway project, it is a bid to encourage Honda to research and develop new hydrogen cars in Swindon.
Because they don’t use petrol or diesel, they only produce water, not carbon dioxide and harmful chemicals.

Bill Cotton, Forward Swindon’s director of economic development, said: “The key is to look at hydrogen fuel cell technology.

“Honda are one of the few companies in the world to have produced a hydrogen fuel cell car.

“There’s only a handful of the cars at the moment. They’re very expensive.

“We want to encourage them to bring them to the UK and develop the technology over here.

“It’s a hydrogen refuelling station; like a petrol pump for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

“At the moment these cars are very rare and kind of experimental. Part of this project is to encourage new take-up of these vehicles.

“It’s a really small investment for a long-term hope that we can get a bit of edge developing these type of products in Swindon.

“It does open the door for more local companies and the likes of Honda to be able to test these vehicles and develop new vehicles.

It’s a research-and-development project more than a mass-market type of thing.”

Mr Cotton is talking to bus companies in Swindon about whether they are interested in running vehicles on hydrogen.

A Honda spokesman said: “The plan is to create Hydrogen Highway, a number of refuelling sites in the south west, and we’re planning on installing a hydrogen refuelling station in the Honda site at South Marston.”

But there are no plans to manufacture the cars in Swindon – at the moment, they are all built in Japan.

There are already a small handful of such sites in the UK, he said.
He said the site would be ready by late summer and added: “We’ve got to sow the seeds of the future.

“We hope by putting it in Swindon it will encourage more people to think about using hydrogen.”

April 13, 2011
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Hydrogen generators cut airside vehicle emissions

H2gogo has revealed that Heathrow airport has installed HRN3 hydrogen generator units to extend the lifespan of its airside vehicles and produce fewer emissions.

The airport has long been focused on reducing airside vehicle emissions to meet internal and government targets for cleaner air.

The HRN3 hydrogen generator unit can be retrofitted on any vehicle or static machine with a diesel or petrol engine
Its airside team investigated a number of technologies to help it achieve these objectives.

The HRN3 hydrogen generator unit from H2gogo can be retrofitted on any vehicle (or static machine) with a diesel or petrol engine.

The unit is said to ensure a cleaner burn of the fuel, resulting in lower carbon and other emissions, increased power output and the potential for additional fuel and cost savings.

A Mercedes 2009 stop/start dust cart from Heathrow's airside vehicle fleet was selected for the trial.

With a 24V HRN3 unit fitted to its diesel engine, the vehicle undertook normal duties in airside rubbish collection and loading over a six-week period.

The trial readings have proven a reduction of up to 40 per cent in CO2, particulates, nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons, exceeding the levels of emission reduction Heathrow required to achieve compliance with company, industry and government targets.
HRN3 hydrogen generators are scalable.

Both 12V and 24V systems are available for varying engine requirements, ensuring the units can be used to reduce emissions on medium- and large-scale vehicles as well as machinery and generators.

Electrochemical device

The HRN3 hydrogen generator unit can be retrofitted on any vehicle or static machine with a diesel or petrol engine

April 13, 2011
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In Honor of Earth Day 2011, AAA Names Its Top Picks for 'Green' Vehicles

Orlando, Fl - 4/13/2011

From all electric to traditional internal combustion engines to lesser-known options, AAA Auto Buying experts provide insight for those looking to go 'green' with next vehicle purchase 

In honor of the upcoming Earth Day 2011, AAA announced its top picks for ‘green’ vehicles. As part of the list, the auto buying experts at the nation’s largest motor club explain the various ‘green’ technologies available to motorists and highlight some of the top vehicles in each category.

“There has been an influx of ‘green’ technologies by automakers into the market, which is great for consumers looking to make a more environmentally-conscious choice for their next vehicle purchase,” said John Nielsen, AAA National Director of Auto Repair, Buying and Consumer Information. “Increasing the efficiency of the cars we drive means that less fuel is burned for every mile driven. That’s great news for the environment and our pocketbooks.”

Some of the technologies AAA highlights as making these advances possible include:

Electric Power
The year 2011 ushers in the new generation of fully electric vehicles that do not use gasoline at all. The Nissan Leaf is the standout in this category. The car is comfortable and the driving experience is enjoyable. Depending on traffic, speed and temperature, owners can expect to travel 50 to 80 miles on a single charge. That’s well within the range of most daily commutes. Enhancing the Leaf’s appeal, charging stations are increasingly available in the cities where this car is sold.

With the average cost for a kilowatt hour of electrical energy at approximately 12 cents, a full charge in a Leaf would cost around $3.17. That works out to between 4 cents and 6.5 cents per mile for fuel. A comparable compact car would burn nearly 11 cents worth of gasoline for every mile traveled. Making the Leaf even more appealing and green, there will be no need for oil changes, ignition system maintenance, fuel system service or exhaust pipe and muffler replacements.

The Mini E Electric and the Smart Fortwo Electric Drive are also available (for lease only) in very limited numbers. Ford is planning on producing an electric version of its promising new Focus in the near future.

Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles
Similar economy can be realized in the plug-in hybrid powertrains. These use a rechargeable battery pack that allows the car to travel up to 35 miles before the onboard gasoline engine starts. In some cars, this engine will provide power to the drive wheels. In other models this engine powers a generator that delivers power to the motor driving the vehicle while also recharging the batteries. Unlike fully electric vehicles, a plug-in hybrid is limited only by the range of its gas tank.

The Chevrolet Volt, which is available in selected regions of the country but should be available throughout the nation by the end of 2011, uses this technology. Owners can plug in the car for recharging overnight then drive 25 to 40 miles before the gasoline engine starts to recharge the batteries. For most drivers, this range covers the daily commute, suggesting that the gasoline engine will rarely be needed. However, when a longer trip is planned, even one that goes from coast to coast, the Chevrolet Volt will be able to use its gasoline engine much as a normal car would.

While the Chevrolet Volt is the only commercially available plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) now offered from a major automaker, watch for the Toyota Prius PHEV to arrive later this year.

Gasoline-Electric Hybrids
These cars and trucks use a gasoline engine and an electric motor. A full or parallel hybrid can run on either the gasoline or electric motor, or use both for maximum performance. A mild hybrid uses the electric motor to aid the gasoline engine, which must always be running when the car is moving. Full hybrids can travel on electric power alone. The Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ hybrids can hit speeds of up to 45 miles per hour and travel for more than two miles using only battery power.

Hybrids never need to be plugged into a wall outlet or external charging station to keep the batteries at full power. The gasoline engine that powers the car also handles the task of recharging the batteries.

For fuel economy and minimal environmental impact from its operation, the Toyota Prius is the hybrid to beat. Its fuel economy is outstanding, with many owners reporting 50-plus miles to the gallon in daily driving. Making the vehicle even more appealing is a surprisingly roomy and flexible interior.

The Ford Fusion also delivers impressive fuel economy, and its transitions from electric to gasoline power are exceptionally smooth. The new Hyundai Sonata hybrid is also impressive, with its roomy and family-friendly interior and good road manners.

Compressed Natural Gas
Vehicles running on compressed natural gas (CNG) marry efficiency with markedly reduced tailpipe emissions. While many gasoline-powered vehicles have been converted to run on compressed natural gas, which is abundant and produced in the United States, the Honda Civic GX is the only sedan that comes from the factory with this ability. CNG vehicles use a standard piston engine.

Let Us Not Forget Gasoline and Diesel Vehicles
The regular internal combustion engine is also getting greener, too. An excellent example of an economical gasoline-powered vehicle is the new Chevy Cruz Eco. In AAA testing, this very attractive compact averaged 36 miles per gallon.

Diesels are not often thought of as being “green,” but the latest generation diesels produce fewer tailpipe emissions and significantly reduce carbon dioxide output. Today’s diesels are so clean they meet environmental standards in all states, including those that have adopted the more stringent California emissions rules. Among diesel powered cars, the Audi A3 is a standout.

A Hydrogen Future?
Hydrogen has been proclaimed as the fuel of the future. It can be stripped from natural gas or derived from water using electrolysis. It can then be used to produce electricity from a fuel cell. The byproducts from generating this electricity, which can be used to run an electric vehicle, are heat and water. Currently Honda has a fleet of FCX Clarity fuel cell sedans on lease to drivers in California.

There are hurdles to be overcome, including the cost of fuel cells and the development of a hydrogen infrastructure. There also are interesting alternative uses for these vehicles. One such application: A fuel cell powered car could easily provide electric power to an average home in the event of a power failure. What role hydrogen will play in the future is still to be decided. The performance of cars, such as the FCX Clarity, however, is not in doubt. It is a thoroughly credible vehicle.

AAA’s top picks for new vehicle technology are selected by AAA Auto Buying experts who review hundreds of vehicles each year. The list takes into consideration not only the first appearance of a new technology in vehicles, but also its availability to U.S. motorists in popular mainstream vehicles.

AAA’s top picks are selected by its auto buying experts who test drive and evaluate hundreds of vehicles each year. AAA provides free vehicle reviews, localized pricing information and more for consumers online at AAA.com/AutoMaker. Additional information on AAA Auto Buying is available at AAA.com/AutoBuying.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 52 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

April 14, 2011
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A Chance Discovery May Revolutionize Hydrogen Production

Molybdenum-based catalysts now enable a more cost effective hydrogen production

Producing hydrogen in a sustainable way is a challenge and production cost is too high. A team led by EPFL Professor Xile Hu has discovered that a molybdenum based catalyst is produced at room temperature, inexpensive and efficient. The results of the research are published online in Chemical Science Thursday the 14th of April. An international patent based on this discovery has just been filled.

Existing in large quantities on Earth, water is composed of hydrogen and oxygen. It can be broken down by applying an electrical current; this is the process known as electrolysis. To improve this particularly slow reaction, platinum is generally used as a catalyst. However, platinum is a particularly expensive material that has tripled in price over the last decade. Now EPFL scientists have shown that amorphous molybdenum sulphides, found abundantly, are efficient catalysts and hydrogen production cost can be significantly lowered.

Industrial prospects

The new catalysts exhibit many advantageous technical characteristics. They are stable and compatible with acidic, neutral or basic conditions in water. Also, the rate of the hydrogen production is faster than other catalysts of the same price. The discovery opens up some interesting possibilities for industrial applications such as in the area of solar energy storage.

It's only by chance that Daniel Merki, Stéphane Fierro, Heron Vrubel and Xile Hu made this discovery during an electrochemical experience. "It's a perfect illustration of the famous serendipity principle in fundamental research", as Xile Hu emphasizes: "Thanks to this unexpected result, we've revealed a unique phenomenon", he explains. "But we don't yet know exactly why the catalysts are so efficient."

The next stage is to create a prototype that can help to improve sunlight-driven hydrogen production. But a better understanding of the observed phenomenon is also required in order to optimize the catalysts.

April 14, 2011
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Busan to Build Hydrogen Fuel Cell Power Plant

A 5.6MW hydrogen fuel cell power plant will be built in the Gangseo area of Busan. Busan City announced that it would build a 5.6MW hydrogen fuel cell power plant in the Hwajeon Industrial Complex of Gangseo-gu by attracting the private investment amounting to 30 billion won. The investment will be made by Cobalt Sky which is an energy and carbon market-specialized firm. The company will found a special purpose company (Cobalt Sky + POSCO + Busan City Gas) within this month, start to build the power plant in May and complete the construction in October. The power plant is expected to produce and sell electric power beginning in October after a test operation.

Busan expects the hydrogen fuel cell power plant to supply more new and renewable energy to its citizens and promote the development of the new and renewable energy industry. Considering its capacity, the power plant will be able to reduce about 6,000 tons of CO2 emissions (CO2 emissions from 1,250 cars or 5,000 households a year)

April 18, 2011
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Universal Studios Hollywood Adds Innovative New Energy Program to Reduce Carbon Emissions

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif., April 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- As part of NBCUniversal's continued efforts to employ the latest in alternative energy, an innovative onsite fuel cell energy system has been installed at Universal Studios Hollywood(SM), enabling the theme park to cut CO2 emissions from its enormous food production operations by 40% compared to traditional forms of power generation, an environmental impact equivalent to the planting of almost four acres of trees.

Announcement of the new energy system program built on fuel cell technology,  coincides with "Green is Universal's Earth Week, April 17-24," observed throughout NBCUniversal.  The announcement was made jointly by Universal Studios Hollywood and ClearEdge Power, the company that created the theme park's newly installed fuel cell technology program.

Since embarking upon a sweeping energy-reduction program in 2007, the company has continued to reinforce its commitment to proactively implement sustainable products like the ClearEdge5 and other programs, which drive both business growth as well as satisfy their customers' demand for energy efficient products and practices.  

"The ClearEdge Power stationary fuel cell energy system is a great fit for our needs at Universal Studios Hollywood," said Russ Randall, Senior Vice President, Technical Services, Universal Studios Hollywood. "The fuel cell system is an excellent example of the type of innovative solutions that we adopt to address our environmental challenges while helping to demonstrate that new energy solutions are now available to people who want to make a greener choice."

ClearEdge Power president and CEO, Russell Ford said, "NBCUniversal's thought leadership and action- oriented sustainable practices are a guiding force for companies like ours who are working to bring cost effective alternative energy solutions to businesses and consumers. We are proud to be part of the diverse Universal power system and to provide this same smart energy across the California market and beyond."

Functioning as a reliable microCHP (combined heat and power) system, four ClearEdge5 energy appliances are installed and currently supporting the power and hot water needs of the Universal production kitchen serving the theme park where reliable heat and power are a necessity.  The ClearEdge5 appliances are uniquely equipped for the kitchen's needs where both hot water for the dishwashers and food prep areas are needed along with electricity.  

Universal Studios Hollywood, The Entertainment Capital of L.A. (SM), includes a movie-based theme park and Studio Tour, the CityWalk® entertainment, shopping and dining complex, the Universal Cinemas and the Gibson Amphitheatre concert and special event venue. The theme park features the groundbreaking attractions "The Simpsons Ride™," "Revenge of the Mummy(SM) —The Ride," "Shrek 4-D™," "Jurassic Park®—The Ride" and the world-renowned Studio Tour, which features the world's largest and most intense 3D experience, "King Kong 360 3D," created by Peter Jackson. The Studio Tour also takes guests behind-the-scenes of such landmark TV and movie locations and sets as Steven Spielberg's "War of the Worlds" and ABC's hit series "Desperate Housewives."  Universal CityWalk features 65 entertainment-themed restaurants, nightclubs, shops and dynamic entertainment options. The Universal CityWalk Cinemas, which includes California's largest IMAX venue, features the best movie-going experience in Los Angeles.

Universal Studios Hollywood is a unit of the Universal Parks & Resorts division of NBCUniversal.  NBCUniversal is one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment television networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. Comcast Corporation owns a controlling 51% interest in NBCUniversal, with GE (NYSE: GE) holding a 49% stake.

ClearEdge Power is a privately held, technology company leading the way for smarter, cleaner on-site energy systems focused on commercial, institutional and residential buildings. The company designs, manufactures and markets the ClearEdge5 system, a unique, proven fuel cell appliance that cleanly converts natural gas to electricity and heat, offering both significant financial and energy savings as well as a greatly reduced impact on the global environment. The ClearEdge Power corporate management systems are certified to ISO 9001 and ISO 14001. Please visit: http://www.clearedgepower.com.

April 19, 2011
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Plug Power GenDrive Sales Into Food Distribution Centers Up

LATHAM, N.Y., April 19, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Plug Power Inc. (Nasdaq:PLUG) a leader in providing clean, reliable energy solutions recognizes the benefits that its GenDrive fuel cell product for material handling brings to grocery distribution centers. And, so do the grocery distribution customers. When comparing orders received by food distribution customers during the first quarter of 2011 with the year 2010 in entirety, Plug Power saw a growth rate of 55 percent.

The company is capturing upon building traction in the growing market space. During the first quarter of 2011, Plug Power received three additional orders from a customer who is the global leader in selling, marketing and distributing food products to restaurants, healthcare and educational facilities.

A total of 315 units will be divided across three sites:

  • 160 GenDrive units to be operational in Boston, MA
  • 42 GenDrive units to be operational in Long Island, NY
  • 113 GenDrive to be operational in San Antonio, TX

Each GenDrive-powered fleet is comprised of a mix of class-1 units for sit down counterbalanced trucks, class-2 units for reach trucks and class-3 units for rider pallet jacks. Particular to hydrogen fuel cells, use in cold storage areas does not interfere with operations as it does with lead-acid batteries. Hydrogen fuel cells maintain full power in dry and cold storage facilities, allowing for increased productivity from lift truck fleets.

By eliminating the need to charge batteries off the grid, each facility will significantly improve sustainability efforts. With a fleet conversion to GenDrive, customers will see a significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions created at each site. Because GenDrive is a hydrogen-fueled system, the only byproducts of the energy creation process are heat and water.
At the same time, converted facilities will recoup valuable time and labor wasted in the battery changing area, instead of on the floor moving product. Unlike time-consuming lead-acid battery changing processes, hydrogen refueling takes as little as 60 seconds and can be performed by the truck operator.

"When Plug Power made a decision to dedicate all resources to our GenDrive business, we did so because we believed in the solution and the economic benefits it brought to our customers," said Andy Marsh, CEO at Plug Power. "We knew that once individual branches of large customers began to witness what GenDrive would do for its operations, word would spread, and the value would be disseminated to other territories of the business."

About Plug Power Inc.

The architects of modern fuel cell technology, Plug Power revolutionized the industry with cost-effective power solutions that increase productivity, lower operating costs and reduce carbon footprints. Long-standing relationships with industry leaders forged the path for our key accounts, including Sysco Foods, Wegmans, Whole Foods, and FedEx Freight.  With more than 2 million hours of runtime, Plug Power manufactures tomorrow's incumbent power solutions today. Visit us at www.plugpower.com.

April 21, 2011
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Innovation Focuses on A320 Taxi Burn

Researchers from the German Aerospace Center (DLR) Institute of Technical Thermodynamics have begun ground testing a new technology that, if successful, could eliminate much of the fuel burn and noise generated by airport taxiing.

The invention is an emission-free, fuel cell powered, electric nose wheel for the Airbus A320, which scientists estimate could save up to 400 liters (150 gal.) of kerosene during an aircraft’s daily schedule. An A320 usually undergoes five to seven runway turnarounds per day, repositioned by tugs that typically are diesel powered. During taxiing, the aircraft’s main engine runs at a lower efficiency than it would during flight. The new, electric nose wheel can power the A320 both forward and backward without requiring power from the aircraft's main engine. In addition to the energy savings, the electric nose wheel completely eliminates engine noise during taxi maneuvers.
This innovation should reduce aircraft emissions by about 27% during taxiing because main engine power is no longer necessary.

On average, an A320 main engine runs for about 3.5 hours per day during taxi processes alone, says Dr. Josef Kallo, project manager for the electric nose wheel. The testing could reduce main engines’ operating time by 1,200 hr. per year.

DLR has been working with Airbus Deutschland GmbH to test the nose wheel for the past three years, and Lufthansa Technik oversaw the construction of the nose wheel from start to finish. In February, the institute received the green light to start rolling tests of the invention on its Airbus A320 Advanced Testing and Research Aircraft. DLR has scheduled tests this month in Hamburg to see how the innovation performs on the runway.

The nose wheel drive is powered by a fuel cell system that converts electrochemical energy and produces electricity from hydrogen and oxygen. The advantage of using this method to power the motor instead of a combustion engine and generator is that the fuel cells can run more efficiently at lower loads. Kallo says the fuel cells are about 40-50% efficient, compared to a good combustion engine that may be only 33% efficient.

The key to making an electric nose wheel work is maximizing the torque of the engine inside the nose wheel rim to be able to power a 70-ton aircraft. The electric nose wheel consists of two motor units that fit inside the nose wheel’s rims. The outside diameter of the A320 electric nose wheel is the same as the traditional component, but engineers have redesigned the inside of the rim to fit the motors and planetary gear, minimizing the size of the parts and maximizing the mechanical torque of the motors.

Kallo says that testing the torque of tugs was necessary to determine how powerful the motors inside the nose wheel needed to be.

“We moved a lot of planes around with a diesel tug and measurement bar and saw that a torque of around 4,500-7,000 Newton-meters was enough to accelerate most airplanes,” he says.

The maximum torque that can be applied on the electric nose wheel is 11,000 Newton-meters, and the current certification for the electric nose wheel can support up to 120 tons.

The original axle of the A320 nose wheel drive stays the same, so technicians only have to make minor changes to the nose wheel to fit the motors inside. Kallo says that DLR has designed the electric nose wheel with new-production aircraft in mind, but retrofits would be very easy to achieve because technicians have to add little more than a torque clamp and four connection points to make the new nose wheel drive system work.

Kallo acknowledges that the Airbus A320 was the first candidate for the electric nose wheel because of its convenience—DLR has one on hand at its facility. But, he says, the A320 is also a great candidate for the electric nose wheel because it spends so much time taxiing between shorter flights. With that utilization pattern in mind, it makes sense to further develop a model for similar aircraft, such as the Boeing 737 series.

The need for the electric nose wheel for a larger aircraft making transatlantic flights may not be as immediate, but Kallo says that an opportunity to install the fuel cell on the main gear of a larger aircraft may be a good idea in the long run.

“A good thing with the main landing gear is that the diameter of the rims is bigger,” says Kallo. “With bigger diameters, the torque of the motor can be much higher. It’s going to be better, if you compare the motor to the weight of the plane, the bigger it gets.”

Kallo says to expect an announcement from a launch customer using the electric nose wheel “very shortly,” and indicates that both original equipment manufacturers and airlines are interested in purchasing the technology.

April 22, 2011
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Cobalt, iron and processed carbon make cheaper hydrogen fuel cells

Scientists from the Los Alamos National Laboratory found a way to cut down hydrogen fuel cell costs by replacing the catalyst platinum with three cheaper materials.

The research team’s fuel cell combined processed carbon, iron and cobalt as substitute catalysts.

The alternative hydrogen fuel cell yielded higher energy output, lasted longer and was more durable than conventional platinum-based types, the researchers said.

"The encouraging point is that we have found a catalyst with a good durability and life cycle relative to platinum-based catalysts," Piotr Zelanay, member of the Los Alamos National Laboratory research team who developed the fuel cell technology.

"For all intents and purposes, this is a zero-cost catalyst in comparison to platinum, so it directly addresses one of the main barriers to hydrogen fuel cells," Mr. Zelanay added.

Using platinum as a catalyst for hydrogen fuel cells has been the setback for the energy technology’s production. Platinum, a precious metal more expensive than gold, is currently priced at 1,800 dollars an ounce. Increased demand can raise prices even higher. The creation of the alternative catalyst could provide an economic solution in the large-scale production of hydrogen fuel cells.

The alternative fuel cell successfully converted hydrogen and oxygen into water as its ‘waste’ product instead of hydrogen peroxide, in which case it decreases the fuel cell’s power production capacity by as much as 50 percent.

The researchers are now studying how their catalyst works and confirming their theories on how it functions.

The research done by the team was funded by the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office of the United States Department of Energy, with the Laboratory-Directed Research and Development program of the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

As a research institution created to tap strategic science for national security, the Los Alamos National Laboratory has been particularly focused on developing alternative energy solutions to climate change issues. It has worked on developing hydrogen as a means to fuel automotive engines by using a ‘chemical storage tank.’

Hydrogen fuel cells can provide power to large-scale applications and can also be used to power small personal storage devices.

April 25, 2011
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Coca-Cola Gets Greener Fueling Forklifts with Linde Hydrogen

MURRAY HILL, N.J. & NEW PROVIDENCE, N.J.-- (BUSINESS WIRE)--Just as the nation has celebrated the 41st annual Earth Day, Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated, the U.S.’ largest independent Coca-Cola bottler, is announcing that it is boosting environmental sustainability with a hydrogen fueling system for materials handling equipment from Linde North America.

“Linde is helping Coca-Cola Consolidated bring its business to a new level of green and creating a win-win situation for consumers and the environment”

Linde North America is a member of The Linde Group, one of the world’s largest hydrogen energy producers and a leader in developing alternative fuel technologies. Coca-Cola Consolidated is a leader in the manufacturing, marketing and distribution of soft drinks.

Beginning in June, Coca-Cola Consolidated’s Charlotte, North Carolina, distribution center will begin using forklift trucks that will run on green hydrogen produced and supplied by Linde. “Linde is helping Coca-Cola Consolidated bring its business to a new level of green and creating a win-win situation for consumers and the environment,” said Mike Beckman, vice president, alternative energy for Linde North America.

Linde is supplying a hydrogen fueling system with three indoor dispenser stations to support more than 40 pieces of materials handling equipment operating inside Coca-Cola Consolidated’s distribution center. The hydrogen fuel cell powered forklift trucks, which are replacing propane models, move pallets of soft drinks, juice and water around the center prior to shipment to retail outlets in the U.S. Southeast.

This is Coca-Cola Consolidated’s first application of hydrogen fuel cell powered forklift trucks. The hydrogen fuel cells are supplied by Latham, New York-based Plug Power Inc., the leading provider of hydrogen based fuel cells in the materials handling market.

Beckman said, “Linde is proud to celebrate Earth Day by bringing hydrogen into use as a cost-effective everyday fuel. We’re showing that our technology can help improve sustainability, lower emissions and reduce our dependence on foreign fuel.

Hydrogen already is one of the most promising alternative fuels. And because of the way it is produced, the hydrogen Linde supplies to Coca-Cola Consolidated is truly green, with only a small carbon footprint incurred during shipping.”

“The Linde hydrogen fuel cell solution has allowed us to promote sustainable business practices that will help us achieve greater efficiencies in our materials handling,” said Alison Patient, director of corporate affairs for Coca-Cola Consolidated. “And due to the high efficiency of the hydrogen fuel cells and the convenient location of the refueling stations in our plant, we expect to improve both our operating cost and our productivity. I think this innovative installation may serve as a model for other Coca-Cola bottlers who want to achieve similar results. Coca-Cola Consolidated is pleased to celebrate Earth Day with the announcement of a new business practice that both adds shareholder value and helps reduce our overall carbon footprint.”

Coca-Cola Consolidated is able to boost productivity in two ways. Refueling these trucks with hydrogen takes an operator less than three minutes, compared with 10-15 minutes to change out a propane tank. The company also is able to reduce its total carbon footprint because no fossil fuel is required to power the trucks.

Linde is a leading supplier of hydrogen fueling systems, having equipped over 70 stations in 15 countries. Linde is implementing this earth-friendly fueling solution at numerous other customers, to include automotive manufacturers, large retailers and food service companies. Hydrogen fuel cell powered forklift applications build on Linde’s expertise in providing leading solutions for fueling hydrogen fuel cell cars and buses.

The Linde Group is a world-leading gases and engineering company with around 48,500 employees working in more than 100 countries worldwide. In the 2010 financial year, it achieved sales of EUR 12.9 billion (USD 17.9 billion). The strategy of The Linde Group is geared towards long-term profitable growth and focuses on the expansion of its international business with forward-looking products and services.

Linde acts responsibly towards its shareholders, business partners, employees, society and the environment – in every one of its business areas, regions and locations across the globe. Linde is committed to technologies and products that unite the goals of customer value and sustainable development. For more information, visit Linde North America online at http://www.lindeus.com

Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated is the largest Coca-Cola bottler in the United States and is a leader in the manufacturing, marketing and distribution of refreshment beverages. The Company has one of the highest per capita soft drink consumption rates in the world and manages bottling territories with a consumer base of approximately 19 million people. The company is publicly traded on the NASDAQ market under the symbol COKE.

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