February 2011

2.2.2011 Benz kicks off hydrogen-powered world tour
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2.3.2011 The Media Tablet Market and Fuel Cells
(view article)

2.4.2011 Cox O.C. reduces environmental impact with fuel-cell technology
(view article)

2.7.2011 Hyundai to Test Fuel-Cell Vehicles in Northern Europe
(view article)

2.7.2011 Cowboys Stadium One of Top 10 Green Stadium
(view article)

2.8.2011 First Industrial Park to Supply Hydrogen Fuel Opens in South Carolina
(view article)

2.8.2011 Modular approach drives a zero emission dream
(view article)

2.11.2011 Partnership dedicates hydrogen fueling station
(view article)

2.13.2011 Jeremy Rifkin opens Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Conference and Exposition
(view article)

2.14.2011 DOE funding for hydrogen technology reduced by more than 40 percent
(view article)

2.20.2011 Echnology breakthrough fuels laptops and phones
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2.22.2011 EcoATM Lands $14M in Funding for E-Waste Kiosks
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February 2, 2011
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Benz kicks off hydrogen-powered world tour

Published on Wednesday, Feb. 02, 2011

The first emissions-free trip around the world started this past weekend, a 125-day odyssey with Mercedes-Benz B-Class Fuel Cell models, in a global demonstration of what the company calls the first production fuel cell made in Germany.

While plug-in electric vehicles still seem to have the most manufacturer, government and media hype behind them, fuel cells also promise no emissions except water, with the major advantage of much further range than offered by upcoming battery electric vehicles. Honda has built and sold two generations of its FCX fuel cell electric car in California, if only in tiny batches, while the B-Class F-CELL has so far been built in similarly minuscule numbers.

But as it has been for at least the past 10 years, the major impediment to wide-scale fuel cell adoption is not with the FCEV technology itself, although cost is still a major issue, but with the lack of hydrogen fuel stations to replenish them.

Thus the Mercedes-Benz world tour entourage includes a mobile fuelling station for the FC B-Classes, as a continually rotating string of politicians, celebrities, media types and maybe even potential consumers help drive the cars from the Mercedes-Benz museum in Stuttgart to a continent-hopping 30,000 kilometres over a bit more than four months. The tour will make one stop in Canada, on March 17 in Vancouver.

Why a 125-day tour? The company celebrated the 125th anniversary of Karl Benz’s filing of the first “motor wagen” patent Jan. 29, at a gala party attended by German chancellor Angela Merkel and 1,400 members of Daimler and German high society, including Formula One racers Michael Schumacher, Nico Rosberg, CEO Dieter Zetsche and German international football coach Joachim Low.

Three Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-CELL models will make the global trek, which will seek to highlight the real-world benefits of fuel cells versus EVs – mainly their much further range – as well as to lobby for the need for a global hydrogen refueling infrastructure.

Regal hybrid likely to be built in Canada
The Buick Regal will become the brand’s next model to offer GM’s eAssist mild hybrid system, which will likely make the Regal the first hybrid to be built in Canada when the gas-electric sedan starts production as early as this summer, according to well-placed sources within GM.

GM previewed the eAssist mild hybrid system in the full-size Buick LaCrosse at the Los Angeles auto show in November, but curiously isn’t trumpeting it as a hybrid, perhaps because its Battery Assist System II will become standard on base 2012 four-cylinder LaCrosse models this fall.

The Buick Regal model with eAssist has yet to be confirmed by GM officially, but sources within the company confirm that the now-Oshawa-made Buick Regal will offer the system, even if the LaCrosse and other GM models receive it first.

The addition of the 115-volt lithium ion battery and the start/stop technology to the LaCrosse will cut its fuel consumption by about a quarter over the base four-cylinder model, says GM, to about 9.4 litres/100 km city/6.4 highway, but the battery can’t power the car on its own. The Regal uses the same 2.4-litre four-cylinder base engine as the LaCrosse and is about 100 kg lighter, so the addition of the eAssist system should result in a similar or higher fuel economy boost and more low-end power and smoothness.

If the Regal eAssist doesn’t arrive until 2012, it may yet be in a race with the Chrysler 300 for the first-hybrid-built-in-Canada crown. Chrysler and Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne reportedly confirmed at the Detroit show that a hybrid 300 full-size sedan is coming for 2013. If he meant model year ’13, that could place production of the Brampton-built 300 hybrid at almost any point next year.

U.S. green-car push contrasts with Canada
U.S. President Barack Obama’s recent State of the Union address included increased support for consumers and producers of plug-in vehicles, including another $2-billion (U.S.) on top of the $6-billion already pledged, putting an increasingly contrasting spotlight on the lack of any national plug-in car rebate for consumers, or federal aid for EV-friendly projects or plug-in auto manufacturing in Canada.

And the chances of any major new programs in the upcoming federal budget in March seem bleak, as federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has vowed for months that there will be no major new spending programs announced in the upcoming budget.
On the other hand, with the limited number of plug-in vehicles now available in Canada, and the fact that many coming to the U.S. either won’t be available in Canada at all, or much later, means that any EV-boosting rebate or research program could be much smaller in their relative scale than measures in the U.S.
In the U.S., Obama reiterated an aggressive goal of one million plug-in vehicles on the road by 2015. The administration’s plan involves a three-pronged approach that includes making the current $7,500 tax credit an instant tax rebate, such as the plug-in rebate in Ontario now, investments in R&D, and a competitive fund for communities looking to invest in charging infrastructure.

Porsches last longest in Canada
More Porsche vehicles are still on the road in Canada than any other brand in the past 25 years, auto consultant Dennis DesRosiers says, with 97.4 per cent of Porsches bought in the last quarter century still on the road.

An average of 60.6 per cent of all vehicles sold in this time are still being driven, according to DesRosiers’ latest longevity numbers, which measure figures for vehicles produced in 1984 and still on the road as of July, 2009.

This is an “amazing” figure, said DesRosiers in a note to clients, but “problematic for the regulators because the older the vehicle the more likely it is a ‘smoker,’ poor on fuel efficiency and less safe since they would not contain the same level of technology as vehicles bought today.

“If regulators want to solve these social ills then the absolute best policy would be to ‘force’ older vehicles off the road,” said DesRosiers.

A concept fuel cell car from Toyota


February 3, 2011
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The Media Tablet Market and Fuel Cells

By Euan Sadden at Matter Network
Thursday Feb 3, 2011

Media tablets have become one of the fastest growing markets within the consumer electronics industry. Driven primarily by success of the Apple iPad, these new technology platforms are thriving across rapidly expanding host of social and business applications including as a portable web browser, e-reader, application platform, and electronic notebook.

There are currently around 80 tablet manufacturers vying for a piece of the market. Eager to distinguish their products from the rest of the pack, Fluid Computer Systems, based out of Las Vegas, Nevada recently unveiled a prototype fuel cell powered Windows 7 Tablet PC. The prototype was announced at the Consumer Electronics show and was produced in partnership with NuMeridian and with parts sourced from Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies.

Fluid's announcement didn't offer too much in the way of details and there was little opportunity to gauge the performance and specifications of the device. However, the potential for fuel cell powered media tablets is an area we've been thinking about for quite some time and Fluid's announcement is an exciting step for the industry into the rapidly expanding consumer electronics industry. In the past, companies such as NEC and Polyfuel have demonstrated fuel cell-powered laptops while others such as Samsung have shown off a smartphone powered by a fuel cell battery charger. As it happens, there has been very little to report back on since with virtually no follow-up developments regarding portable consumer electronics and fuel cells.

Given the speed of growth being witnessed across the media tablet industry, one can see more manufacturers eventually opening up to the advantages offered by fuel cells. One of the most attractive advantages of media tablets is their autonomy and practicability. In extending battery life and reducing recharge times, fuel cell technologies could significantly enhance the degree of autonomy these products already enjoy. The same is true for other consumer electronics industries including smartphones, laptop PCs, and cordless power tools.

Fluid's announcements regarding fuel cells are an exciting prospect for an already dynamic market environment. We hope to hear more from them soon.

February 4, 2011
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Cox O.C. reduces environmental impact with fuel-cell technology

By Caitlin Adams
February 4, 2011

Rancho Santa Margarita-based Cox Communications is using an 800-kilowatt fuel cell to generate more than half of its own energy – making it one of the first companies in Southern California to do so. The project will reduce Cox's energy costs by using a clean, renewable source to generate electricity, thereby lowering the firm’s dependence on the local power grid and further decreasing its carbon footprint.

Emissions savings are expected to be more than 2,707 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year – and that's roughly equal to planting 624 acres of trees. And, combined with the O.C. location's previously installed 100-kilowatt photovoltaic rooftop solar array, the applications will offset the yearly amount of pollution produced by more than 850 cars.

“At Cox Communications, we’re always looking for innovative ways to do business more sustainably to reduce our carbon footprint,” said Duffy Leone, vice president of operations for Cox Communications in California. “The fuel-cell technology is one of the most cutting-edge environmental solutions on the market for renewable energy."

The platform is made up of two UTC Power PureCell Model 400 fuel-cell units, which will provide nearly 60 percent of the building’s total electricity demands. The system is highly efficient, nearly pollutant-free, and produces electricity, heat and water through an electrochemical process combining hydrogen and oxygen. The cells will be powered by a blend of biogas and natural gas. Cox will further improve the system’s sustainability by burning biogas to prevent methane from entering the environment.

This is not the first fuel-cell technology installation for Cox, which has its national headquarters in Atlanta, Ga.; the KTVU television station in Oakland, Calif., completed a 400-kilowatt fuel-cell system installation in January 2010. And Cox San Diego recently installed 400-kilowatt units at two separate facilities.

Orange County and San Diego's installations together produce enough clean energy to power 1,200 average-size homes.

"The launch of Cox’s fuel-cell program at the Orange County facility, together with our overall Cox Conserves initiatives, clearly demonstrates our commitment to our customers, to our communities and to the state of California,” said Leone.

A concept fuel cell car from Toyota

February 7, 2011
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Hyundai to Test Fuel-Cell Vehicles in Northern Europe

By Pure Green Cars
February 7, 2011

Hyundai will test a fleet of fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) in four Northern European countries.

The South Korean automaker will supply its Tucson ix FCEVs for operation in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Iceland as a part of the Scandinavian Hydrogen Highway Partnership.

Hyundai’s third-generation FCEV is equipped with a 100-kilowatt fuel-cell system and two hydrogen storage tanks (700bar).
The Tucson Fuel-Cell can travel 650 km (404 miles) on a single charge – a range equal to a gasoline-powered car. By comparison, the old ix35 FCEV only managed 370 km (230 miles). The new model gets gasoline equivalent fuel efficiency of 31 kilometers per liter, a 15-percent improvement over the previous version.

Hyundai says the Tucson ix FCEV can operate at temperatures of minus 25 degrees Celsius.

An initial agreement for the project was signed recently in Seoul by Woong-Chul Yang, President of the Hyundai Motor Group’s R&D Center, Lars Vargo, the Swedish Ambassador to South Korea, and other government and company officials.

February 7, 2011
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Cowboys Stadium One of Top 10 Green Stadiums

February 7, 2011 

Everyone is talking about Super Bowl 45 today: the national anthem fiasco, the best and worst adverts and the celebrity shenanigans. As a green blog we’d like to add another point to the Super Bowl buzz: how green stadiums across the country are.

The Cowboys Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, appears at number five for some green initiatives it intends to implement. How do other stadiums across the country fare in terms of green credentials? Solar company SunRun helped us with the task of finding out about that.

1. Qwest Field, Home of the Seattle Seahawks and Seattle Mariners – The stadium has installed solar panels to help the building offset double-digit percentage increases in electric rates.

2. Lincoln Financial Field, Home of The Philadelphia Eagles – In 2008, the Eagles produced 97 percent of their energy through renewable sources. The team also calculates their travel emissions and plants trees to offset their carbon footprint.

3. STAPLES Center, Home of the LA Lakers – Was awarded ISO 14001 Certification in 2010 for the third-party review of its Environmental Management System (EMS), making it the first U.S. arena to receive the respected accreditation.

4. Nationals Stadium, home of The Washington Nationals –The stadium is building LEED certification and has an in-house recycling center.

5. Cowboys Stadium, Home of the Dallas Cowboys – The $650 million stadium is aiming to reduce solid waste by 25%, energy use by 20% and water consumption by 1 million gallons annually.

6. Qualcomm Stadium, Home of the San Diego Chargers – The stadium boasts 350 ninety-four gallon recycling bins in the tailgating area.

7. Gillette Stadium, Home of the New England Patriots – Recycling bags are handed out at the parking lot and solar-powered compactors collect plastic bottles and cans around the stadium.

8. Meadowlands Stadium, Shared by the New York Giants and Jets – The seats are made from recycled plastic and the Environmental Protection Agency consulted on the construction of the stadium.

9. Progressive Field, Home of The Cleveland Indians – The stadium uses recycled paper and cornstarch cups in their concession stands.

10. The Future Home of the San Francisco 49ers – Still in its planning stages, the new stadium is slated to open in 2014 and will have solar panels and a green roof, recycled water, and a plan that would have almost a fourth of all fans arriving via public transport.

February 8, 2011
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First Industrial Park to Supply Hydrogen Fuel Opens in South Carolina

PITTSBURGH, Feb. 8, 2011 /PRNewswire

Kimberly-Clark, GENCO ATC, Plug Power, Air Products and the Aiken-Edgefield Development Partnership demonstrate leadership in clean energy using American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds

GENCO ATC, North America's second largest and a Global Top 50 third-party logistics provider, announced today that it is partnering with customer Kimberly-Clark Corporation (NYSE: KMB), Plug Power Inc. (Nasdaq: PLUG), Air Products (NYSE: APD), and the Aiken-Edgefield Development Partnership to launch the nation's first multi-use industrial park fueling station to supply hydrogen directly for industrial, commercial, and government use.

The fueling station supplies hydrogen directly to Kimberly-Clark's 450,000-square-foot distribution facility managed by GENCO ATC to be used with fuel cells powering Toyota forklifts.  Both the fueling station and the Kimberly-Clark facility are located in Sage Mill Industrial Park, Graniteville, South Carolina.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony and technology demonstration will take place inside the Kimberly-Clark facility on Friday, February 11, 2011 at 11 a.m. and will feature several executive speakers and Bobby Harrell, Speaker of the South Carolina House of Representatives.

"Kimberly-Clark is constantly looking for innovative ways to minimize the impact of our operations on the environment," said Rick Sather, Vice President of Customer Supply Chain at Kimberly-Clark.  "We are pleased to partner with GENCO ATC, Plug Power and Air Products to help expand hydrogen fuel cell technology to our entire forklift fleet. This energy technology can reduce our carbon emissions by hundreds of metric tons per year, lower costs and drive efficiencies to power our operations."

The fueling station and hydrogen-powered forklifts were made possible through the use of $1.1 million of a $6.1 million cost-share award made to GENCO ATC by the U.S. Department of Energy through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

"GENCO ATC is committed to green technology initiatives that are viable, equitable and sustainable for our customers and our company," said Herb Shear, Chairman and CEO, GENCO ATC. "Hydrogen fuel cells represent the best in energy innovation as a sustainable, productive and clean alternative to lead-acid batteries."

The supply chain industry estimates that annual greenhouse gas emissions created by an average 20-truck lead acid battery-powered forklift fleet can be reduced by hundreds of tons a year simply by converting to fuel cell-powered equipment. By using hydrogen fuel cells instead of lead-acid batteries, greenhouse gases can be reduced by over 90%, according to customer consumption estimates.

"Today's event marks a key step in South Carolina's emergence as a leader in hydrogen fueling infrastructure and commercial use of hydrogen fuel cells," said Bobby Harrell, Speaker of the South Carolina House of Representatives. "This fleet of hydrogen-powered forklifts will enable recognized employers such as Kimberly-Clark, GENCO ATC and Bridgestone to operate in a more efficient and environmentally sustainable manner, which embodies the practical applications of alternative energy that the state should encourage."

GENCO ATC is North America's 2nd largest and a Global Top 50 third-party logistics provider and the recognized leader in reverse logistics. The company manages 120 operations and 37 million square feet of warehouse space throughout North America for a diverse range of retail, manufacturing and government customers, including many Fortune 500 companies. As the industry's most innovative product lifecycle logistics provider, GENCO ATC provides a complete range of solutions, including forward logistics, transportation logistics, parcel negotiation and audits, reverse logistics, consumer electronics test & repair, product remarketing, damage research, pharmaceutical services, government logistics and operations management, supply chain technology and automotive remanufacturing.  For more information, visit www.genco.com.

About Kimberly-Clark
Kimberly-Clark and its well-known global brands are an indispensable part of life for people in more than 150 countries. Every day, 1.3 billion people - nearly a quarter of the world's population - trust K-C brands and the solutions they provide to enhance their health, hygiene and well-being. With brands such as Kleenex, Scott, Huggies, Pull-Ups, Kotex and Depend, Kimberly-Clark holds the No. 1 or No. 2 share position in more than 80 countries. To keep up with the latest K-C news and to learn more about the company's 139-year history of innovation, visit www.Kimberly-Clark.com.


February 8, 2011
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Modular approach drives a zero emission dream

Mercedes-Benz wants to lead the way in the zero tailpipe emissions market with a host of electric and alternative fuel vehicles that are close to production. The German firm has developed what it calls an E-Drive modular system, which it has fitted to a number of its existing vehicles.

E-Drive is an electric drivetrain that can be adapted for different vehicles. The company has already produced a small fleet based on existing models, all of which are close to production ready.

The Smart Fortwo Electric Drive is already on trial in the UK, while the next influx of electric and fuel cell models includes the A-Class E-Cell, the B-Class F-Cell, the Vito E-Cell van and the SLS AMG E-Cell supercar.

Shared components include electric motors, lithium ion batteries and charging systems, most of which are either based on or identical to the technology in the electric Smart.

Group research and development manager Dr Thomas Weber said: “The success of E-mobility stands and falls on customer acceptance, which essentially depends on three factors: everyday practicality, efficiency and a charging and refuelling infrastructure for power and hydrogen.”

Among the benefits for fleet operators should be significantly reduced running costs. Servicing and maintenance costs should be lower, due to the lack of lubrication and moving/replaceable parts associated with internal combustion engines. Mercedes is conservatively estimating a lifetime of 10 years and 100,000km (around 60,000 miles), but that remains to be seen.

Although the cars feel close to production ready, Mercedes claims the technology still needs fine-tuning.

Not a fleet car (for most, anyway), but an indication of how far electric technology could go.

This electric version of Mercedes’ gullwing-door supercar, the SLS AMG E-Cell, is almost as powerful as its petrol equivalent. Its 526bhp, compared to the petrol version’s 563bhp, takes it to 62mph in 4secs, only 0.2secs more than the petrol.

Power comes from three lithium ion battery packs – one in the boot, one in the transmission tunnel and one at the back of the engine bay.
Four electric motors send power to the wheels, which are housed in pairs inside two ‘gearboxes’ – one at either end of the car. The SLS E-Cell isn’t confirmed for production but AMG is desperate to get it there.

A-Class E-Cell
The A-Class E-Cell is already in small-scale production – 500 examples are being built for a four-year trial, but not in the UK. If the trials go well then full production is expected to follow.

The E-Cell has two lithium-ion batteries, which have a range of around 160 miles from a full charge. There is no compromise in cabin space or practicality and the performance is competitive with combustion-engined versions of the A-Class – 214lb-ft of torque is available and 0-62mph takes 14 seconds.
Charging times are similar to those of the Smart.

B-Class E-Cell
An alternative to pure electric, the B-Class F-Cell uses fuel cell technology with an electric motor.

The combination of a hydrogen-powered fuel cell and an electric motor means performance on a par with a 2.0-litre petrol-engined car, so expect 134bhp and 214lb-ft of torque. Fuel consumption is equivalent to 85.6mpg and Mercedes claims a range of 240 miles.

The B-Class F-Cell is significantly further away from serious production than the A-Class, largely because of the lack of a hydrogen fuelling infrastructure. However, 70 models will be produced for trial by 2012.

Smart Fortwo Electric Drive
A limited number of models have been undergoing UK trials since December 2009. Aimed at urban users, it has a modest 30kW (40bhp) electric motor mounted at the rear.

The Fortwo can be recharged from any conventional mains socket and a full charge takes up to eight hours, for a range of up to 85 miles. A three-hour charge from the mains offers around 20-25 miles of driving.

Parent company Mercedes says that it will be available in close to 40 countries that already sell Smarts from 2012.

February 11, 2011
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Partnership dedicates hydrogen fuel station


Industry professionals, state and local elected officials, Department of Energy representatives and members of the community gathered at Sage Mill Industrial Park in Graniteville on Friday to celebrate the ribbon cutting of the first multiuse industrial park hydrogen fueling station to supply hydrogen directly for industrial, commercial and government use.

The collaboration between Kimberly-Clark and GENCO ATC began as a partnership in August 2007 and resulted Friday in the celebration of the Sage Mill fuel station and the deployment of 25 fuel cells, made possible in part by funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through the Department of Energy.

I think this facility is going to enable us to look forward to the future," said Aiken-Edgefield Economic Development Partnership Executive Director Fred Humes, who also led the Center for Hydrogen Research initiative.

When school-aged children see hydrogen-powered vehicles that the Center for Hydrogen Research uses, they ask when they can have one, Humes said.

"Soon, very soon," Humes said he tells them.

Auto companies have said that they will have fuel cell vehicles by 2014 or 2015, Humes said, and those cars will need a place to refuel.

"Aiken County is going to be ready for that," Humes said.

At the Sage Mill Industrial Park, a tanker stores 9,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen that is vaporized and can be pumped into a vehicle, much like gasoline that is pumped into a car.

While, at least initially, hydrogen fuel would be more expensive per gallon, 1 kilogram of hydrogen fuel could last a vehicle for 60 miles, said Bruce Luff, Air Products business development manager.

The benefits of using fuel cell technology include environmental friendliness, more efficient fueling and more operator safety, said Todd Armstrong, Kimberly-Clark director of distribution operations for the North American consumer products sector.

"Sustainability is extremely important to us," he said. "Today's event is really just the first step in bringing fuel cells into our industry and into our network."

Hydrogen fuel cell technology could also help to create jobs and lessen the nation's dependence on foreign energy sources, said Aiken County Council Chairman Ronnie Young.

"We have the resources within our community to contribute to the solution for a very serious energy problem," Young said.

An employee demonstrated the process for fueling a hydrogen-powered forklift, which takes approximately 75 percent less time to fuel and needs to be refueled less frequency. Speakers said this contributes to increased productivity and less labor down time. The technology also shows savings on equipment and energy costs because batteries and chargers can be eliminated.

The fuel station and 25 fuel cells used $1.1 million of a $6.1 million cost-share award made to GENCO ATC by DOE.

"We can never underestimate the importance of partnerships with the private and public sectors working together," said Lt. Gov. Ken Ard.

A concept fuel cell car from Toyota

February 13, 2011
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Jeremy Rifkin opens Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Conference and Exposition

By Frank Sherosky

Rifkin is one of the 13 energy experts who will keynote the annual event, according to the FCHE website.

While GM with its HydroGEN vehicle (shown), and Daimler and Toyota with their own versions, each is a Platinum Sponsor of the event. Honda is a Gold Sponsor, while Hyundai will be debuting its third-generation Tucson Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle-- the Tucson ix FCEV.

The Tucson iX Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV), for example, will be able to travel about 650 kilometers on a single charge, due to a 100-kilowatt fuel cell system and two hydrogen storage tanks. This is similar to a gas-powered vehicle and represents a 76% advance over the second generation Tucson FCEV, which couldn’t travel for more than 370 kilometers, which is a little more than a half of what the current-generation Tucson can.

Fuel cells and hydrogen energy are seen as essential elements in clean energy portfolio and key to American competitiveness, job growth and national security.

The fact that major automakers are attending is a mighty statement, in addition to Mr. Rifkin being the best-selling author of eighteen books on environmental, energy and economic related issues including The Hydrogen Economy: The Creation of the World Wide Energy Web and the Redistribution of Power on Earth.

This level of participation speaks volumes for the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy 2011 Conference and Exposition. Formerly the NHA Hydrogen Conference and Expo, the FC&HE 2011 will open Sunday, February 13 in Washington, DC and run through the Friday the 16th.

Rifkin’s address, though, will show how hydrogen and fuel cells will transform today's energy infrastructure into a smart, efficient, clean energy network.

He will further lay out a compelling vision of the emerging energy age, where the convergence of alternative energy sources, enabled by hydrogen, and the latest developments in communications create pivotal changes in the world economy.

"We are poised at the cusp of a significant point in history, a point where a new paradigm in the world's economic future is about to come to fruition — and hydrogen will be at the centerpiece of that new revolution: The Third Industrial Revolution," stated Rifkin.

As president of The Foundation on Economic Trends in Washington, DC, Jeremy Rifken’s appearance at the conference is key. Already a teacher at the Wharton School's Executive Education Program at the University of Pennsylvania, Rifkin has also been an advisor to the European Union for the past decade. In that capacity, he has advised five of the last eight Presidents of the European Council including: Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany; Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero of Spain; and President Nicolas Sarkozy of France.

Mr. Rifkin also advised Romano Prodi, during his presidency of the European Commission, and José Manuel Barosso, the current President of the European Commission.

There is an urgent need to prepare the infrastructure and marketplace for the coming convergence. Being first to market will be crucial in this new landscape, for countries as well as for the companies that will make this a reality.

February 14, 2011
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DOE funding for hydrogen technology reduced by more than 40 percent

U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu detailed President Barack Obama's $29.5 billion Fiscal Year 2012 budget request for the Department of Energy, which now affects hydrogen power development.

In the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, DOE reduced funding for the hydrogen technology program by nearly $70 million in order to focus on technologies deployable at large scale in the near term.

According to the news release, the FY 2012 budget makes tough choices, cutting programs and expenses to underscore the Administration's commitment to fiscal responsibility.

Question is

Will this so-called shared sacrifice shoot the automotive hydrogen future in the foot or in the head?

Are we saving the interim EV lithium-ion at the expense of the hydrogen fuel cell future?

Fact is every major auto manufacturer has developed or is in development of fuel cell technology that will able to generate on-board electricity using hydrogen as a fuel.

GM has the HydroGEN; even Hyundai has the Tucson ix FCEV which debuts at the FC&CH 2011 in Washington, DC this week.

According to Administration rhetoric

The cuts are merely part of an Administration-wide plan to win the future by out-innovating, out-educating and out-building the rest of the world.

Still, the President's Energy Budget is touted as an investment in innovation, clean energy, and national security priorities.
According to Secretary Chu, "The United States faces a choice today: will we lead in innovation and out-compete the rest of the world or will we fall behind? To lead the world in clean energy, we must act now. We can't afford not to. Through our investments, we are laying the groundwork for the nation's future prosperity and security. While we are investing in areas that are critical to our future, we are also rooting out programs that aren't needed and making hard choices to tighten our belt. Additionally, we are improving our management and operations so we function more efficiently and effectively."

Specifically the President's FY 2012 budget request for the Department of Energy:

  • Puts the nation on the path to reach a bold but achievable goal of generating 80% of America's electricity from clean sources by 2035 as called for by the President.
  • Supports groundbreaking basic science, research and innovation to solve our energy challenges and ensure that the United States remains at the forefront of science and technology.
  • Leads in the development and deployment of clean and efficient energy technologies to reduce our dependence on oil, accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy and promote economic competitiveness; and
  • Strengthens national security by reducing nuclear dangers, maintaining a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent and cleaning up our Cold War nuclear legacy.

For more information about the Administration's Fiscal Year 2012 budget proposal for the Department of Energy, please visit energy.gov.

February 20, 2011
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Echnology breakthrough fuels laptops and phones

SiGNa Chemistry Inc. unveiled its new hydrogen cartridges, which provide energy to fuel cells designed to recharge cell phones, laptops and GPS units.

How does a Michigan State University scientist fuel his enthusiasm for chemistry after 60 years?

By discovering a new energy source, of course.

This week, SiGNa Chemistry Inc. unveiled its new hydrogen cartridges, which provide energy to fuel cells designed to recharge cell phones, laptops and GPS units. The green power source is geared toward outdoor enthusiasts as well as residents of the Third World, where electricity in homes is considered a luxury.

"SiGNa has created an inherently safe solution to produce electric power, resulting in an eco-friendly and cost-effective portable solution," said Michael Lefenfeld, SiGNa's CEO.

The spark for this groundbreaking technology came from the laboratory of James Dye, SiGNa's co-founder and University Distinguished Professor of Chemistry Emeritus at MSU. His work with alkali metals led to a green process to harness the power of sodium silicide, which is the source for SiGNa's new product.

"In our lab, we were able to produce alkali metal silicides, which basically are made from sodium and silicon, which, in turn, are produced from salt and sand," Dye said. "By adding water to sodium silicide, we're able to produce hydrogen, which creates energy for fuel cells. The byproduct, sodium silicate, is also green. It's the same stuff found in toothpaste."

SiGNa was able to build on Dye's research and develop a power platform that produces low-pressure hydrogen gas on demand, convert it to electricity via a low-cost fuel cell and emit simple water vapor.

Dye, director of SiGNa's scientific council, said that making the jump to research the company's products was a small one.

"I've been working with alkali metals for 50 years," he said. "My research was closely related to what SiGNa was looking for. So when they came to me with their idea, it was a relatively easy adaptation to make."

Dye came to MSU in 1953 - two years before MSU was a university. Based on the products that can be linked to Dye's research just in the last year, it's clear that he is reaping the rewards of his six decades of scientific sowing.

Using a similar process, Dye was able to assist the creation of a fuel source to power electric bicycles. The fuel cell, developed by SiGNa's partners, ranges in size from 1 watt to 3 kilowatts and is capable of pushing a bicycle up to 25 mph for approximately 100 miles.

While the mainstream attention of his work is rewarding, it's the untamed excitement of daily discovery and being able to share it with his students that fuel Dye's desire to maintain a full-time research schedule.

"Instilling that excitement about chemistry in my undergraduate students and giving them a jump on their graduate research is my reward," Dye said. "Everyone who has come through the lab and gone on to graduate school has had glowing reviews on how this experience helped their career."

February 22, 2011
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EcoATM Lands $14M in Funding for E-Waste Kiosks

By Jonathan Bardelline
February 22, 2011

SAN DIEGO, CA — EcoATM has received investment from Coinstar and a grant from the National Science Foundation to advance its kiosks that buy used electronics from consumers.

The company's machines are designed for collecting used cell phones and other devices from people while paying them based on a product's condition.

An EcoATM kiosk scans a device, determines what model it is, provides a cable for the consumer to connect to it so the kiosk can make sure the device works, analyzes the exterior for damage, offers a price based on secondary market values and pays the seller in cash or store credit.

Coinstar, which has a wide reach into supermarkets with its coin-counting machines and Redbox DVD rental kiosks, and Claremont Creek Ventures led a $14.4 million round of Series A preferred stock offering. The funds will go toward commercialization and launch of the kiosks.

So far, EcoATM has been using its kiosks in trial locations, and says it has collected tens of thousands of devices while paying hundreds of thousands of dollars. According to EcoATM, about half of what they've collected is sold through secondary markets and half is recycled.

EcoATM also was awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation to advance the technology behind the kiosks. The grant will help the company refine and expand its research and development in machine vision, artificial intelligence and testing systems for electronics.

A concept fuel cell car from Toyota

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