January 2010

 

1.29.2010
Hope for Hydrogen? Company to Build a Series of Stations on East Coast
(view article)

1.21.2010
Hydrogen Hybrid Bus to Provide Transit During 2010 Winter Olympics
(view article)

1.18.2010
Ballard, Dantherm, Danfoss Invest to Create Leading European Fuel Cell Backup Power Systems Capability
(view article)

1.14.2010
Toyota Fuel Cell Vehicle Demonstration Program Expands
(view article)

1.7.2010
Mercedes-Benz B-Class Fuel Cell Test Drive
(view article)

1.7.2010
Horizon to show home fuel cell technology that charges gadgets
(view article)

1.7.2010
Honda FCX Clarity shows hydrogen fuel-cell technology is still kicking
(view article)


January 29, 2010
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Hope for Hydrogen? Company to Build a Series of Stations on East Coast

Just as the future looks increasingly dim for hydrogen, the industry gets a boost.

Prospects of seeing hydrogen vehicles available commercially anytime soon have looked increasingly bleak.  U.S. President Barack Obama has refused to provide significant federal funding to hydrogen vehicle development, supporting battery electric vehicles instead.  In addition, recent research reports indicate that hydrogen would actually release more net greenhouse gas emissions than traditional gasoline, when analyzed over the entire life cycle.
However, there's a ray of light for the hydrogen industry amid the darkness.  Connecticut-based SunHydro has announced plans to transform Interstate 95 into a hydrogen highway.  Those who live in the U.S. East Coast know that I-95 stretches from Maine to Florida and is one of the nation's busiest interstate highways. 

SunHydro will construct 11 stations on the highway.  Each station will be a self-contained hydrolysis unit with solar power collectors attached.  The solar power will provide energy to create hydrogen from water via hydrolysis.  The hydrogen production system will come from an Proton Energy, an alternative energy start-up.  The net process is expected to be much more carbon friendly than transporting hydrogen by truck to fueling stations.


h2 stations

The station will likely look similar to this self unit. It will cost about $3M USD and fuel 10 to 15 vehicles daily with hydrogen produced by hydrolysis. The energy to split the hydrogen from the oxygen will come from attached solar panels.  (Source: The Center for Energy Research)

The plan is ambitious.  Explains company president Michael Grey, "Our goal is to make it possible for hydrogen car to drive from Maine to Miami strictly on sun and water.  Having talked to several of the auto manufacturers, the indication that we’ve received is that there has to be a network of stations on the east coast for them to bring the cars here.  They want to bring the cars here, but there’s nowhere to fuel them."

Currently, the hydrogen industry is stuck in a chicken and egg dilemma of sorts.  Lack of vehicles makes stations a poor business investment, while lack of stations make developing hydrogen vehicles problematic.  Paul Williamson of the University of Montana College of Technology, notes,"There’s no sense having hydrogen cars if there’s no place to refuel them. Most of the development is happening in California. Why? Because they have refueling stations."

The initial SunHydro station aim for a gradual build up, initially producing enough fuel to fill up 10 to 15 vehicles a day.  The stations will be located in Portland, Maine; Braintree, Massachusetts; Wallingford, Connecticut; South Hackensack, New Jersey; Claymont, Delaware; Richmond, Virginia; Charlotte, North Carolina; Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia; and Orlando and Miami, Florida.

The stations may cost up to $3M USD a piece in private investment.  Mr. Grey says his company is taking a bold risk shouldering these high costs in order to bolster the market.  He states, "We’ve just decided that somebody needed to start this process. You have a lot of the big companies talk about it, but nobody’s stepped up to the plate and made it happen. You’ve got to have some visionary risk taking if you want to be a company of the future. Otherwise, you’ll fall by the wayside."

Currently, several companies still have hydrogen plans despite the cold reception by the research community and government.  GM has worked for several years on fuel cell-powered Equinox SUVs.  Honda has its FCX fuel cell test vehicle that has seen limited U.S. deployment.  And Mercedes-Benz plans to release F-Cell, a limited edition fuel cell vehicle to “selected customers” in Europe and the United States this spring.  Mazda and Volkswagen are also eying hydrogen plans.


January 21, 2010
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Hydrogen Hybrid Bus to Provide Transit During 2010 Winter Olympics

A New Prototype Fuel Cell/Hybrid Electric Bus Travels to “The Other Columbia”


The Hydrogen Hybrid Bus, a University of South Carolina (USC) mobile test laboratory for hybrid electric, hydrogen fuel cell powered mass transit, will be leased to BC Transit for demonstration and evaluation with support from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Canadian Government.

A purpose-built, 35-foot, 37 passenger bus, the Hydrogen Hybrid Bus begins its journey north, leaving and travel to Golden, Colorado where it will be serviced for cold weather operation and then proceed to Victoria, British Columbia for transit operation.  Pending final approval from the Canadian Government, the bus will begin carrying passengers for approximately one month to support the influx of visitors to Victoria during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. The bus has been in Columbia undergoing testing since August of 2009. Upon completion of the BC Transit demonstration, the bus will return to Columbia to become part of the University of South Carolina transit fleet.

“The biggest thing we have to do is install supplemental heat for the fuel cells and for passenger comfort,” said Dale Hill of Proterra, the bus manufacturer.  “The bus was originally planned to have heat later in its life cycle since South Carolina’s climate is relatively mild and the new body composition holds heat and cold quite well.  But, when considering operating in Victoria, BC, we needed to accelerate this planned installation for the opportunity to gather this kind of data at this time in the project,” Hill added.

The composite-bodied Hydrogen Hybrid Bus combines a unique bank of fast-charge, lithium titanate batteries, with two, 16-kw hydrogen fuel cells to produce clean propulsion, emitting only water vapor.  “The bus is clean and green.  By using hydrogen, one of the most plentiful elements on the Earth, and state-of-the-art batteries, we are able to produce renewable electric power in a lighter, more aerodynamic package better suited for today’s transportation demands in the US and elsewhere,” added Hill.

“Because the bus has done so well here, we think it is ready for a higher visibility engagement with a different set of challenges,” said Jason Hanlin of the Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE), the project manager for the Hydrogen Hybrid Bus.  The passenger demand and climate extremes during the Winter Olympics will provide us with data from a strong contrasting environment for comparison against data gathered in South Carolina.  It will also provide an opportunity for others to evaluate this leading edge technology,” Hanlin said.

“SCRA is pleased to lead investment in this and other projects that develop and grow a sustainable alternative energy economy in the Midlands and throughout South Carolina,” said Bill Mahoney, SCRA CEO.

Because of a shortage of hydrogen fueling stations between Columbia and British Columbia, the bus will be transported via trailer. Costs for transporting the bus, and managing the bus on site will be borne entirely by BC Transit and the FTA. 

Part of the National Fuel Cell Bus Program, the Hydrogen Hybrid Bus will be one of several hydrogen-fuel-cell powered buses used by the BC Transit during the Olympic Games.

For more information about the bus visit www.hydrogenhybridbus.com.

Facts about the Hydrogen Hybrid Bus:
A prototype, the Hydrogen Hybrid Bus was built by Proterra with funding from the Federal Transit Administration as part of the National Fuel Cell Bus Program, managed by the Center for Transportation and the Environment.  The demonstration in Columbia, SC is the result of a partnership of local agencies and businesses including, The South Carolina Research Authority, (SCRA), Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority (CMRTA), The City of Columbia, Signature Transportation Services, Big Fish Advertising and Public Relations, and The University of South Carolina.

The Hydrogen Hybrid Bus is engaged in a three-year demonstration and evaluation project to prove the feasibility of advanced, hydrogen fuel cell technology applications for mass transit.

The primary mission of the demonstration program is to gather and transmit data to federal and state agencies on the bus’ performance including the onboard fuel cells and fast charge battery components.  All of the captured data is sent to various locations for evaluation, including the National Renewable Energies Laboratory in Colorado for public reporting.

South Carolina and USC, were the first choice of bus demonstration and evaluation locations because of their prominence in fuel cell and hydrogen research.


January 18, 2010
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Ballard, Dantherm, Danfoss Invest to Create Leading European Fuel Cell Backup Power Systems Capability

VANCOUVER, Jan. 18 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - Ballard Power Systems (TSX: BLD; NASDAQ: BLDP) announced that it has acquired a controlling interest in Denmark-based Dantherm Power, partnering with co-investors Danfoss A/S and Dantherm A/S.

Dantherm Power develops clean energy backup power systems, utilizing Ballard's hydrogen fuel cell technology, for telecom equipment suppliers including Motorola and Ericsson. The joint investment and partnering support from Ballard, Danfoss and Dantherm is expected to result in accelerated development of fuel cell backup power applications across Europe.

"Dantherm Power has a strong track record in fuel cell backup power systems in telecommunications, including the largest European fuel cell installation for TETRA emergency networks as well as for telecom service providers", said John Sheridan, Ballard's President and CEO. "Through this Dantherm Power investment, Ballard will now be actively involved with delivery of complete backup power systems, in addition to providing fuel cell stacks and power modules to leading companies including IdaTech, Plug Power, Baxi Innotech and ISE Corporation, in other markets."

Torben Duer, President and CEO of Dantherm A/S, which is a manufacturing partner of Dantherm Power, added "Dantherm Power is already supplying clean energy power products to some of our key customers, like Motorola. This investment will increase momentum behind fuel cell product development work at Dantherm Power and will help accelerate growth of fuel cell power in the backup telecom market."

"This strategic co-investment with Ballard, the leader in fuel cells, and Dantherm A/S creates a leading supplier of fuel cell power solutions", commented Niels Christiansen, President and CEO of Danfoss A/S. "We believe that this relationship will work well for our clean energy strategy, which today includes wind, solar and biofuels. We believe that fuel cell power can play an important role in our key markets, including renewable energy products and environmentally friendly heating."

Investment Details

Ballard is investing $6 million for a controlling interest in Dantherm Power, in two tranches between 2010 and 2012. Ballard will also provide knowledge and intellectual property related to core fuel cell technology. Dantherm Power will continue its current commercial initiatives, including sales of hydrogen-based products incorporating Ballard's fuel cell stack. In addition to its cash investment, Dantherm A/S will continue to provide operational support and collaborative sales and marketing activities through its worldwide sales organization. Danfoss A/S will invest cash, proprietary technology, expertise, as well as operational and commercial assistance through its network of 93 sites in 25 countries. Executives from the three companies will form a new board of directors for Dantherm Power.

Background

Ballard Power Systems provides clean energy fuel cell products enabling optimized power systems for a range of applications. Ballard provides fuel cell stacks to leading fuel cell companies including IdaTech, LLC, Plug Power Inc., Baxi Innotech GmbH, Heliocentris Fuel Cells AG and FutureE Fuel Cell Solutions GmbH. Ballard also provides power modules to system integrators seeking a 'plug-and-play' approach including, for example, ISE Corporation which integrates Ballard power modules with hybrid electric drives on transit buses. Now with this investment in Dantherm Power, Ballard will also be actively involved with the delivery of complete backup power systems for OEM's and other suppliers to the telecom sector in Europe.

About Dantherm Power

Dantherm Power is a 40-person company focused on development and production of commercially viable fuel cell-based backup power systems for use in IT and telecom network base stations. A significant recent market achievement has been the development, and deployment with Motorola, of 123 fuel cell based backup power systems for radio stations connected to Denmark's new public safety network - SINE. To learn more about Dantherm Power, please visit http://www.dantherm-power.com.

About Danfoss A/S

Danfoss A/S is one of the largest industrial companies in Denmark with a global group focused on development and manufacture of mechanical and electronic components for a number of industries, including solar energy, heating, industrial automation, water control and high pressure systems. Danfoss A/S generated revenue of 3.6B Euros in 2008, with over 26,000 employees in Europe, North America, Latin America, Asia and other regions. Danfoss A/S is actively involved in clean energy solutions based on solar, wind and biofuel technologies. To learn more about Danfoss A/S, please visit http://www.danfoss.com/OtherSites/NAdirect/group+global.

About Dantherm A/S

Dantherm A/S (NASDAQ OMX Copenhagen: DANTH) is, in addition a shareholder in Dantherm Power, parent company of the two business divisions: Dantherm Air Handling and Dantherm Filtration. Dantherm A/S has factories and sales companies in a number of European countries, the USA and Asia and offers products, solutions and services based on the mission - clean air for people. Dantherm Air Handling has a broad range of products for electronics cooling for the telecom industry, industrial and residential ventilation, dehumidification and heating/cooling. Dantherm Filtration is a leading worldwide supplier of industrial air filtration products, solutions and services to a wide range of industries. To learn more about Dantherm A/S, please visit www.dantherm.com.

About Ballard Power Systems

Ballard Power Systems (TSX: BLD; NASDAQ: BLDP) provides clean energy fuel cell products enabling optimized power systems for a range of applications. To learn more about Ballard, please visit www.ballard.com

This release contains forward-looking statements regarding the adoption of Ballard's products, which are provided to enable external stakeholders to understand Ballard's expectations as at the date of this release and may not be appropriate for other purposes. These forward-looking statements are based on the beliefs and assumptions of Ballard's management and reflect

Ballard's current expectations as contemplated under section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Such assumptions relate to Ballard's expectations regarding product development efforts and market demand.

These statements involve risks and uncertainties that may cause Ballard's actual results to be materially different, including, without limitation, the condition of the global economy, the rate of mass adoption of its products, product development delays, changing environmental regulations, its ability to attract and retain business partners and customers, its access to funding, increased competition, its ability to protect its intellectual property, changes in its customers' requirements, foreign exchange impacts on its net monetary assets and its ability to provide the capital required for product development, operations and marketing. For a detailed discussion of these risk factors and other risk factors that could affect Ballard's future performance, please refer to Ballard's most recent Annual Information Form.

Readers should not place undue reliance on Ballard's forward-looking statements and Ballard assumes no obligation to update or release any revisions to these forward looking statements, other than as required under applicable legislation.

SOURCE Ballard Power Systems Inc.


January 14, 2010
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Toyota Fuel Cell Vehicle Demonstration Program Expands

More Than 100 Fuel Cell Vehicles Placed in the U.S. Over The Next 3 Years

TOYOTA FCV

DETROIT, January 11, 2010 - - Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. (TMS) announced today that more than 100 Toyota Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle – Advanced (FCHV-adv) vehicles will be placed in a nationwide demonstration program over the next three years. 

TMS and Toyota Motor Manufacturing and Engineering North America, Inc. will place vehicles with universities, private companies and government agencies in both California and New York.  Over the three year course of the demonstration program, as new hydrogen stations come online, additional regions and partners will be added.  Toyota’s demonstration program expansion will provide one of the largest fleets of active fuel cell vehicles in the country with the primary goal of spurring essential hydrogen infrastructure development.  The demonstration program also will serve to demonstrate fuel cell technologies reliability and performance prior to its 2015 market introduction.   

“We plan to come to market in 2015, or earlier, with a vehicle that will be reliable and durable, with exceptional fuel economy and zero emissions, at an affordable price,” said Irv Miller, TMS group vice president of environmental and public affairs.  “Toyota will not be alone in the fuel cell marketplace and building an extensive hydrogen re-fueling infrastructure is the critical next step.  Hopefully, expansion of demonstration programs like this one will serve as a catalyst.”

In December 2002, Toyota began limited testing of fuel cell vehicles in the U.S. and Japan.  A total of 20 first generation fuel cell hybrid vehicles (FCHV) are in service in California with universities, corporations and government agencies.  Toyota enlisted the University of California, Irvine, University of California, Berkeley and the University of California, Davis to test different aspects of consumer acceptance and market dynamics of fuel cell vehicles.  FCHV also are placed with the California Fuel Cell Partnership, a public-private partnership organization to promote the adoption of hydrogen vehicles in California.  

Toyota’s hydrogen fuel cell technology has advanced at an impressive pace since the FCHV introduction in 2002.  Toyota engineers have consistently improved vehicle range, durability and efficiency through improvements in the fuel cell stack and the high-pressure hydrogen storage system, while achieving significant cost reductions in materials and manufacturing.  When the FCHV-adv was introduced in 2008, it boasted an estimated range increase of more than 150% over the first generation FCHV. 

In late 2008, the U.S. Department of Energy, Savannah River National Laboratory and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, approached Toyota to participate in a collaborative evaluation of the real-world driving range of the FCHV-adv.  When the range evaluation was completed in 2009, the FCHV-adv averaged the equivalent of 68 mpg and achieved an estimated range of 431 miles on a single fill of hydrogen compressed gas.  To compare, that’s more than double the range of the Highlander Hybrid with zero emissions.    

In late 2007, the technology improvements implemented in the FCHV-adv were road tested in extreme conditions on a 2,300 mile trek from Fairbanks, Alaska to Vancouver, British Columbia along the Alaska-Canadian (ALCAN) highway.   The seven day trip confirmed substantial progress in reliability and durability, cold-weather operation and extended range capability of the hybrid fuel cell system. 

Over the last decade, Toyota has focused on a broad, comprehensive advanced technology approach, with the belief that there is no single technology solution for the future.  Beginning in late 2009, Toyota began delivery of 600 Prius Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles (PHV) for a global demonstration program.  Of this initial fleet, 150 will be placed with select U.S. partners for market/consumer analysis and technical demonstration. The program will allow Toyota to gather real world vehicle-use feedback to better understand customer expectations for plug-in technology, confirm, in a wide variety of real world applications, the overall performance of first-generation lithium-ion battery technology and spur the development of public-access charging station infrastructure.

“Advanced technology demonstration programs like these are a necessary next step in societal preparation,” said Miller.  “They allow us the unique opportunity to inform, educate and prepare customers for the arrival of true sustainable mobility.” 

For additional information on Toyota’s fuel cell vehicle program, visit www.sustainablemobility.com


January 7, 2010
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Mercedes-Benz B-Class Fuel Cell Test Drive

mb fcell

The automotive industry as a whole might be focused on EVs and plug-in hybrids, thanks to a relatively easy-to-adapt infrastructure and generous incentives from the U.S. government, but Mercedes-Benz remains bullish on hydrogen as our future fuel. Against the unabashedly luxurious Monaco backdrop of fancy yachts, fancy cars and fancy people, we piloted the three-pointed star's latest fuel cell vehicle. The first lesson from our test drive? The real beauty in this car is beneath the skin.

The Specs

Mercedes-Benz has embraced hybrid, clean diesel and electric powertrains, but based on a scale of sheer technological ambition, its fuel cell research eclipses those efforts by miles. Mercedes has put nearly 3 million miles of testing into its alt-fuels flagship, and plans to make 200 fuel cell vehicles available for lease worldwide in the second half of 2010, with California and Washington, D.C., expected to receive roughly 70 of those test vehicles. Though official pricing has yet to be determined, the monthly lease payment is expected be in line with that of a Mercedes-Benz C-Class—somewhere between $800 and $1000.

Leapfrogging the first generation Mercedes-Benz fuel cell stack that appeared in the 2004 A-Class, the new B-Class boasts 30 percent more power production coupled with packaging that's 40 percent more compact. Crucially, the new system is able to start in temperatures as low as minus 13 degrees Fahrenheit, with the same startup time as a diesel engine at 5 degrees Fahrenheit, a significant improvement over the previous iteration.

The B-Class's so-called “sandwich" architecture uses a layout that makes it easy to remove the internal-combustion engine, transmission, and fuel tank, replacing them with fuel cell components that mate to a layer underneath the passenger compartment using simple mounting points. The system operates using a fuel cell stack with approximately 380 cells, which are responsible for driving the front wheels. The stack is fed by three carbon-fiber-wrapped tanks, which hold a total of 3.7 kilograms of gaseous hydrogen at 10,000 psi. A full refill should take roughly three minutes with a standardized refueling system. The fuel cells drive an electric motor, which produces 100 kilowatts (136 hp) and 214 lb-ft of torque.

The powertrain also incorporates a compact 1.4 kwh lithium-ion battery, which is cooled using the car's air-conditioning system. The battery is capable of propelling the car if hydrogen is depleted, and is designed to work in conjunction with the fuel cell stack by boosting power when necessary. Regenerative braking recharges the battery. The B-Class fuel cell vehicle is rated at the diesel equivalent of 3.3 liters/100 km (71 mpg), and just below 3 liters/100 km on the U.S. cycle. Range is estimated at 400 km (249 miles).

The Drive

Apart from the heavy decals cladding our B-Class test car, it's almost impossible to distinguish this unit from its internal combustion cousin—save the slightly higher ride height (to accommodate the taller powertrain) and the fuel-cell-specific gauges on the dash.

Turn the ignition key, and the instrumentation illuminates. Click the shifter through the traditional Mercedes shift gate, and the sensations are still familiar—except for a near complete lack of sound. But release the brake, and the B-Class eases stealthily forward, with faint high-pitched sounds perceptible in the otherwise silent cabin. Pressure on the right pedal translates linearly to forward motion, and as acceleration steadily mounts, the slight whining sound becomes incrementally more audible, reminding occupants that they're in no ordinary, gas-burning car.

The fuel cell hardware adds a total of 551 pounds of weight to the package, but the powertrain's relatively low center of gravity lent the small sedan an unexpectedly zippy feeling during our jaunt from the Nice airport to the Monte Carlo harbor. Apart from revised spring rates, suspension is generally unchanged from the regular B-Class, and our drive revealed a controlled ride that soaked up all but the biggest road irregularities. Brake feedback is a bit vague, and it takes some practice to keep the brakes from grabbing too aggressively as the car approaches a standstill.

The overall driving experience conveys a sense of chassis solidity, relatively lively acceleration, and impressive sound deadening and comfort. A hydrogen pump can occasionally be heard recirculating H2 into the system and a compressor sounds off as it diverts air towards the fuel cell stack, but those audible clues are barely perceptible—the drivetrain works that seamlessly.

Acceleration is strong enough for most urban driving conditions, and when we needed an extra dose of thrust, flooring the pedal triggered a kickdown mode that added battery power to the car's arsenal, sending the tachometer-like output gauge into the red “Boost" area. The effect is akin to a turbo, and the added thrust gives some oomph to the otherwise measured driving dynamics—at the expense of cruising range, of course. The published top speed of 106 mph may not be autobahn-ready, but it should suffice for most hot-blooded city dwellers.

The Bottom Line

Don't let its mild exterior fool you: the Mercedes-Benz B-Class fuel cell vehicle is a significant technological accomplishment, even if its powertrain advances are hidden beneath the tidy skin of a conventional five-door.

Honda's FCX Clarity may have been the first fully realized vision of a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle ready for public consumption, but the F-Cell represents an alternate approach that focuses on exploring the drivetrain in a flexible vehicle architecture until a more purpose-built chassis is developed. Mercedes-Benz says it is continuing development of its hydrogen fuel cell technology, with an eye for serial production by 2015.

There may be many miles to go before a refueling infrastructure can support hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, but Mercedes-Benz's efforts so far suggest that the cart that happens to be leading the horse at this moment is an impressively smooth, quiet and robustly engineered vehicle—everything we've come to expect from the German manufacturer.


January 7, 2010
(view original article)

Horizon to show home fuel cell technology that charges gadgets

horizon hydrofill

The route to clean energy is through small gadgets, according to fuel cell company Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies.

The company on Monday said it will show the Hydrofill, a home fuel cell suitable for charging small electronics at the Consumer Electronics Show, which starts later this week. The product will be available later in 2010.

The "desktop" fuel cell extracts hydrogen gas from water and stores it in cartridges with a metal alloy that absorb the hydrogen. To charge electronic devices, people use a pocket-size fuel cell charger, called the MiniPak, which pulls hydrogen from the cartridges and a produces an electrical current. The kit comes with a USB charger and cell phone adapter and the company offers an optional AA-battery charger.

Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies is touting the kit as a small step on the way to the so-called hydrogen economy, where hydrogen is an energy carrier and fuel cells make electricity. It already offers a larger off-grid portable charging system which uses the same basic technology and plans to expand into other areas, such as gardening equipment.

The Hydrofill system for electronics is clean during use because the chemical reaction that happens in hydrogen fuel cells only produces water vapor and no air pollutants.

To initially charge the hydrogen cartridges, which are called Hydrostiks, people either plug it into an electrical outlet or use a small solar panel. It's also compatible with small wind turbines.

The system can pump out 2.5 watts of power, making them suitable for smart phones, small digital cameras, GPS units, and cell phones that typically use 5-volt USB chargers. Expected pricing for the Hydrofill and related components wasn't immediately available.

Courtesy of CNNTech.com


January 7, 2010
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Honda FCX Clarity shows hydrogen fuel-cell technology is still kicking

niedermayer honda fcx
Two words best sum up how Honda and the National Hydrogen Association felt about yesterday's post on giving an FCX Clarity to the captain of the Anaheim Ducks NHL hockey team:

Not amused.

A Honda guy called to tell me that Drive On got it all wrong, that Ducks captain Scott Niedermayer is not getting a free car. He's going to pay $600 a month like everyone else who leases the electric cars. Honda is not handing out cars to every "pseudo-celebrity" it can find. Even Jamie Lee Curtis paid for her Clarity lease.

The association took particular aim at our conclusion that hydrogen fuel-cell cars are "Fun idea. Totally impractical." Well, they want us to know:

At the end of 2008, hundreds of hydrogen-powered light-duty vehicles were on U.S. roads. Although some of them entered service partway through the year, they drove a total of 1,100,000 miles.

The California Fuel Cell Partnership has said that as of today, 300 fuel-cell vehicles have been placed on California's roads fueling at 22 California stations.  

Currently, the NHA counts 69 open hydrogen stations in the U.S.  And automakers are still lining up around the technology.

Mercedes-Benz has been pursuing the deployment of the fuel cells in motor vehicles since 1994.  As part of a large-scale practical trial with fuel-cell vehicles, 100 cars, buses and vans from Mercedes-Benz are in daily use in customers' hands, covering over 4.5 million km to date.

Just a couple of months ago, Daimler, Ford, GM/Opel, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Renault, Nissan and Toyota released a memorandum of understanding saying: "The signing automobile manufacturers strongly anticipate that from 2015 onward a quite significant number of electric vehicles with fuel cells could be commercialized. This number is aimed at a few hundred thousand units over life cycle on a worldwide basis."

As for BMW, "BMW still considers hydrogen a viable technology option, namely for traveling medium and larger distances.  Given the need for a dedicated hydrogen infrastructure, bringing this technology to the street depends on political decisions. " 

And this from Toyota today: "We plan to come to market in 2015, or earlier, with a vehicle that will be reliable and durable, with exceptional fuel economy and zero emissions, at an affordable price."

Courtesy of USA Today


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