June 2011

6.1.2011 Linde and Daimler press ahead with development of infrastructure for fuel-cell vehicles
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6.1.2011 New Whole Foods Market® in Fairfield, Conn., to Generate Clean Power On-Site with PureCell® System Model 400 from UTC Power
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6.1.2011 DOE Announces Expanded Partnership with Industry to Advance Next-Generation Automotive Technologies
(view article)

6.2.2011 Ballard Fuel Cell Products Provide Backup Power Solution for German City Council Headquarters
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6.9.2011 JBT AeroTech Selected for Airport Fuel Cell Project
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6.13.2011 State of the States: Fuel Cells in America
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6.13.2011 General Motors Opens New Green Vehicle Tech Center in L.A.
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6.14.2011 Siemens advances hydrogen technology for industry, energy
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6.14.2011 Obama Hydrogen Fuel Failure Conceded by Chu Paring Budget: Cars
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6.14.2011 Nissan's Ghosn on the Future of the Zero-Emission Car
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6.15.2011 New Catalyst Will Allow Commercialization of Revolutionary Fuel Cells
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6.16.2011 Fuel cells for buildings provide both power and heat
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6.16.2011 Solar generator splits water to make hydrogen
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6.17.2011 Global fuel cell market test fleet reaches two million test miles
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6.17.2011 Latest Batmobile Goes Green With Hydrogen Fuel Cell
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6.17.2011 Camp Pendleton Continues to Help Pave the Way for Hydrogen-Powered Vehicles
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6.17.2011 Green GT Hydrogen Racer Heading to Le Mans in 2012
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6.20.2011 Researchers create world’s smallest bacteria-powered fuel cell
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6.20.2011 Shell opens hydrogen service station with Linde technology in Germany
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6.21.2011 Coca-Cola Consolidated Pioneering Green Power Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology in Charlotte Plant
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6.21.2011 Opel HydroGen4 Helps Set New GM Fuel Cell Milestone
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6.21.2011 Mercedes-Benz Fuel-Cell Car Ready for Market in 2014
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6.21.2011 Missouri S&T EcoCAR finishes fifth
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6.22.2011 Coke installs UTC fuel cell in East Hartford
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6.23.2011 Paris 2011: Airbus and Parker Collaborate on Fuel Cells
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6.26.2011 Hydrogen fuel: backseat to electric vehicles?
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6.27.2011 GS Caltex shifting main focus to green energy
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6.29.2011 Plug Power to Provide Kroger Co. With GenDrive Fuel Cell Solution
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6.30.2011 CommScope to Supply Hydrogen Fuel Cell Solution to SCTE
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June 1, 2011
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Linde and Daimler press ahead with development of infrastructure for fuel-cell vehicles

Stuttgart/Munich, 1 June 2011 - Car manufacturer Daimler and technology company The Linde Group are pressing ahead with the development of an infrastructure for hydrogen-powered fuel-cell vehicles. Over the coming three years, the two companies plan to construct aA additional 20 hydrogen filling stations in Germany, thereby ensuring a supply of hydrogen produced purely from renewable resources for the steadily increasing number of fuel-cell vehicles on the roads. The initiative links in with the existing H2 Mobility and Clean Energy Partnership infrastructure projects, which are being subsidised by the National Innovation Programme for hydrogen and fuel-cell technology (NIP). This places Germany at the international forefront of hydrogen infrastructure development.

The initiative that Linde and Daimler are embarking upon involves investment running into the tens of millions, and is set to more than triple the number of public hydrogen refuelling points in Germany. The new stations will be located in the current hydrogen centres of Stuttgart, Berlin and Hamburg as well as along two new continuous north-south and east-west axes. The aim is to use existing sites belonging to different petroleum companies that are strategically located in the traffic network. This will make it possible to drive anywhere in Germany with a fuel-cell-powered vehicle for the first time. One of the focal points for the infrastructure's extension will be in Baden-Württemberg, where, 125 years after the invention of the motor car, the stage is being set for its reinvention.

"Together with the fuel cell, hydrogen is set to be of fundamental importance to the expansion of electromobility," explained Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Reitzle, Chief Executive Officer of Linde AG. "We are delighted to be able to play such an instrumental role in shaping this development together with Daimler. We see ourselves as providing an impetus for existing initiatives, such as H2 Mobility and the Clean Energy Partnership (CEP), and wish to support the commercialisation of hydrogen vehicles as best we can. By systematically developing hydrogen technology, Germany can assume a pioneering role in this field and establish itself as the industry leader as we move towards emission-free mobility."

"The fuel cell represents a decisive step forward for electromobility, as it enables zero-emission driving with high ranges and short refuelling times - and not just for passenger cars, but for commercial vehicles, too. In partnership with Linde, we are now taking the next step by getting things going on the infrastructure side. 20 new hydrogen filling stations will give the market a major stimulus," remarked Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars at the finish of the Mercedes-Benz F-CELL World Drive in Stuttgart. Having started off from Stuttgart at the end of January, the first circumnavigation of the globe in fuel-cell vehicles took in four continents and 14 countries. Each of the vehicles involved covered over 30,000 kilometres. Linde accompanied the F-CELL World Drive as the exclusive hydrogen partner, providing the zero-emission vehicles with a mobile supply of hydrogen for the duration of the tour.

Construction and commissioning of the new filling stations will already start in 2012. Other partners from the petroleum, power supply or automotive industries, for instance, are welcome to become involved in the joint initiative that has been set up by Daimler and Linde.

Background: the infrastructure of hydrogen filling stations in Germany

The successful introduction of fuel-cell vehicles depends on the development of a public hydrogen supply infrastructure. The first centres have already sprung up in large metropolitan areas, such as Berlin and Hamburg. There are nearly 30 hydrogen refuelling points in Germany at the current time, seven of which are integrated into a public filling station facility. This means that Germany clearly leads the way in Europe. To begin with, just five to ten filling stations are sufficient for conveniently servicing the requirements of a large city. Joining up these urban centres - for example Berlin with Hamburg, Stuttgart with Munich - by means of corridors along the arterial roads between them is a major step forward towards the establishment of a nationwide public H2 infrastructure.

The Linde Group is a world-leading gases and engineering company with around 48,700 employees in more than 100 countries worldwide. In the 2010 financial year, it achieved sales of EUR 12.868 bn. The strategy of The Linde Group is geared towards sustainable earnings-based 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, see The Linde Group online at http://www.linde.com

About Daimler: The company's founders, Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz, made history with the invention of the motor car in the year 1886. 125 years later, in the anniversary year of 2011, Daimler AG is one of the world's most successful automotive companies. With its divisions Mercedes-Benz Cars, Daimler Trucks, Mercedes-Benz Vans, Daimler Buses and Daimler Financial Services, the Daimler Group is one of the biggest producers of premium cars and the world's biggest manufacturer of commercial vehicles with a global reach. Daimler Financial Services provides its customers with a full range of automotive financial services, including financing, leasing, insurance and fleet management. As an automotive pioneer, Daimler continues to shape the future of mobility today. The company applies innovative and green technologies to produce safe and superior vehicles which fascinate and delight its customers. When it comes to the development of alternative drive systems, Daimler is the only automotive manufacturer investing in all three technologies of hybrid drive, electric motors and fuel cells, with the goal of achieving emission-free mobility in the long term. This is just one example of how Daimler willingly accepts the challenge of meeting its responsibility towards society and the environment. Daimler sells its vehicles and services in nearly all the countries of the world, and has production facilities on five continents. In addition to Mercedes-Benz, the world's most valuable automotive brand, Daimler's brand portfolio includes smart, Maybach, Freightliner, Western Star, BharatBenz, Fuso, Setra, Orion and Thomas Built Buses. The company is listed on the Frankfurt and Stuttgart stock exchanges (stock exchange symbol DAI). In 2010, the Daimler Group sold 1.9 million vehicles and employed a workforce of over 260,000 people; revenue totalled €97.8 billion and EBIT amounted to €7.3 billion.

Further information from Daimler is available on the internet:
www.media.daimler.com and www.daimler.com


June 1, 2011
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New Whole Foods Market® in Fairfield, Conn., to Generate Clean Power On-Site with PureCell® System Model 400 from UTC Power

Store will be the forth Whole Foods Market to generate majority of its power with a fuel cell from UTC Power.

SOUTH WINDSOR, Conn., June 1, 2011 - UTC Power, a United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) company, today announced that Whole Foods Market has selected UTC Power's PureCell System Model 400 to provide clean, reliable on-site power to a new store in Fairfield, Conn. The 400 kilowatt (kW) UTC Power fuel cell system will generate 90 percent of the store's electricity needs, and its byproduct thermal energy will be used for store heating, cooling and refrigeration. This marks the second Whole Foods Market in Connecticut and the fourth Whole Foods Market in the United States to install a UTC Power fuel cell.  

"In connection to our company's green mission, we are very proud to be reducing our carbon footprint while producing clean energy in our new Fairfield, Connecticut location," said Tristam Coffin, green mission specialist for Whole Foods Market's Northeast region. "UTC Power has been a great local partner in implementing our fuel cell to help us reduce our environmental impact in the Fairfield community."

The UTC Power fuel cell installed at the Fairfield, Conn., store will be supported with a grant from the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund (CCEF) through its On-Site Renewable Distributed Generation Program.

"This fuel cell project demonstrates Whole Foods Market's continued commitment to sustainability by using smarter and more efficient sources of energy in our local communities," said Bryan Garcia, president of CCEF. "Because supermarkets consume a lot of heat and electricity, they provide a great application for UTC Power's fuel cells. By utilizing both the thermal and power attributes of fuel cells, energy is used more efficiently and therefore contributes to the bottom line of the company."

By generating most of its power on-site with a fuel cell, the Whole Foods Market Fairfield, Conn., store will prevent the release of more than 847 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually – the equivalent of planting more than 85 acres of trees. The reductions in nitrogen oxide emissions compared to a conventional power plant are equal to the environmental benefit of removing more than 100 cars from the road. In addition to the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, the PureCell System will allow Whole Foods Market to save nearly 3.5 million gallons of water annually. Unlike central generation and other fuel cell technologies, the PureCell System is designed to operate in water balance so there is no consumption or discharge of water during its operation.

"UTC Power is proud of our ongoing relationship with Whole Foods Market and we are excited that the company has decided to install our next-generation Model 400 at a new store in UTC Power's home state of Connecticut," said Neal Montany, director of UTC Power's stationary fuel cell business. "It is truly rewarding to have Whole Foods Market as a repeat customer and to know our fuel cell technology is fulfilling our customer's energy needs and helping them achieve their sustainability goals."

UTC Power's stationary fuel cell, the PureCell System, is a combined heat and power system that represents a game-changing technology. Compared to typical central generation and other fuel cell offerings, the PureCell System offers customers lower energy costs, reduced emissions, an industry-leading 90 percent system efficiency, 10-year cell stack durability and 20-year product life. No other stationary fuel cell product in the field today can offer the same range of benefits as the PureCell System.

The 400 kilowatt fuel cell in Fairfield, Conn., joins a growing fleet of PureCell Systems powering Whole Foods Market stores.  A 200-kilowatt UTC Power fuel cell has powered a Whole Foods Market store in Glastonbury, Conn., since March 2008 and the company's 400-kilowatt fuel cell is providing electricity, heat and hot water for stores in Dedham, Mass., and San Jose, Calif.

About UTC Power

UTC Power is part of United Technologies Corp. (UTC), which provides energy-efficient products and services to the aerospace and building industries. UTC is a founding member of the U.S. Green Building Council and the Pew Center on Global Climate Change and has been named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index each year since it was launched in 1999. Based in South Windsor, Conn., UTC Power is the world leader in developing and producing fuel cells that generate energy for buildings and for transportation, space and defense applications. For more information, please visit www.utcpower.com

About Whole Foods Market®

Founded in 1980 in Austin, Texas, Whole Foods Market (wholefoodsmarket.com, NASDAQ: WFM) is the leading natural and organic food retailer. As America's first national certified organic grocer, Whole Foods Market was named "America's Healthiest Grocery Store" by Health magazine. The company's motto "Whole Foods, Whole People, Whole Planet"™ captures its mission to ensure customer satisfaction and health, Team Member excellence and happiness, enhanced shareholder value, community support and environmental improvement. Thanks to the company's nearly 60,000 Team Members, Whole Foods Market has been ranked as one of the "100 Best Companies to Work For" in America by FORTUNE magazine for 14 consecutive years. In fiscal year 2010, the company had sales of more than $9 billion and currently has more than 300 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.


June 1, 2011
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DOE Announces Expanded Partnership with Industry to Advance Next-Generation Automotive Technologies

On May 19, 2011, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu announced U.S. DRIVE, a cooperative partnership with industry to accelerate the development of clean, advanced, energy-efficient technologies for cars and light trucks and the infrastructure needed to support their widespread use. This partnership is part of DOE's broad strategy to expand the availability of advanced vehicles to American families to help protect them from future spikes in gas prices and reduce our nation's reliance on imported oil. Formerly known as the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership, U.S. DRIVE — Driving Research and Innovation for Vehicle efficiency and Energy sustainability — brings together top technical experts from DOE, the national laboratories, and industry partners to identify critical research and development (R&D) needs, develop technical targets and strategic roadmaps, and evaluate R&D progress on a broad range of advanced vehicle and energy infrastructure technologies.

U.S. DRIVE partners work together on an extensive portfolio of advanced automotive and energy infrastructure technologies, including batteries and electric-drive components, advanced combustion engines, lightweight materials, and fuel cells and hydrogen technologies.


June 2, 2011
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Ballard Fuel Cell Products Provide Backup Power Solution for German City Council Headquarters

VANCOUVER, June 2, 2011 - Ballard Power Systems (TSX: BLD) (NASDAQ: BLDP) announced that its FCgen®-1020ACS fuel cell stack is the power source for a ten kilowatt (kW) backup power system deployed by Heliocentris Energy Solutions AG, specialist in environmentally-friendly energy storage solutions. A total of eight 1.2 kW Heliocentris Nexa 1200 fuel cell systems - using Ballard stacks - provide extended duration backup power to critical information technology services at the City Council headquarters of Meiningen, Germany.

The direct hydrogen system is hybridized together with lithium-ion batteries and deployed for indoor use. This replaces an uninterruptible power supply system using lead-acid batteries, which has proven insufficient for long power outages. This installation is the latest in a series of field trials demonstrating capabilities of the Heliocentris solution to industrial customers having requirements that include remote monitoring stations, emergency power supplies and auxiliary power units. Heliocentris also designs fuel cell training systems for the educational market.

Backup power solutions based on fuel cell technology deliver a number of advantages over conventional batteries and diesel generators, including higher reliability across a wide range of operating conditions, lower maintenance costs, longer operating life as well as reduced size, weight, installation footprint, noise signature and environmental impact. Ballard's FCgen®-1020ACS fuel cell stack enables all of these advantages with its compact and cost-effective air-cooled design.

The trial in Meiningen is being supported by the German Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development as part of the National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology Innovation Programme (NIP). NOW GmbH National Organisation for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology is in charge of coordinating the NIP.

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. Products contain proprietary esencia™ technology, ensuring incomparable performance, durability and versatility. To learn more about Ballard, please visit www.ballard.com.


June 9, 2011
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JBT AeroTech Selected for Airport Fuel Cell Project

CHICAGO, June 9, 2011 - JBT Corporation (NYSE: JBT) announced that its JBT AeroTech business has teamed with InnovaTek and EnerFuel in the development of a Fuel Cell Range Extender for battery-powered airport ground support equipment. The multi-phase project is funded by a Department Of Energy grant through their Small Business Innovation Research Program.

JBT AeroTech will collaborate with InnovaTek, a leader in fuel processing technology, and EnerFuel, a fuel cell developer, during Phase I to establish the technology's feasibility to reduce the emissions and fuel costs of airport ground support equipment. The project's overall objective is to develop a fuel cell power system capable of converting Bio-Jet fuel to electricity for the on-board recharging of an electric vehicle's battery.  Upon successful completion of the first phase, the project will be eligible for follow-on grants to develop, demonstrate and commercialize the product.

"JBT AeroTech is excited to team up with InnovaTek and EnerFuel for this innovative project which has the potential to make clean energy available for a wide range of aircraft ground support equipment," said John Lee, Vice President and Division Manager, JBT AeroTech. "This project aligns well with JBT's Corporate Social Responsibility commitment to develop efficient solutions for the airlines, ground handling companies and airport authorities to meet their future emission requirements."

About JBT Corporation
JBT Corporation (NYSE: JBT) is a leading global solutions provider to the food processing and air transportation industries. JBT Corporation designs, manufactures, tests and services technologically sophisticated systems and products for regional and multi-national industrial food processing customers through its JBT FoodTech segment and for domestic and international air transportation customers through its JBT AeroTech segment. JBT Corporation employs approximately 3,300 people worldwide and operates sales, service, manufacturing and sourcing operations located in over 25 countries. For more information please visit www.jbtcorporation.com or www.jbtaerotech.com.

JBT AeroTech, a global leader in high value, motorized airport ground support equipment has been manufacturing electric powered vehicles since 1982.  Current electric powered product offerings include the Commander 15i electric loader, B400e push back tractor, CPT-7e cargo transporter, UES-2  passenger boarding steps and RampSnake® mobile bulk loader.  

About InnovaTek, Inc.
InnovaTek, Inc. creates technologies for environmental safety and sustainable power.  InnovaTek is a leader in portable fuel processing technology and advanced catalysts for hydrogen production from petroleum and renewable fuels.  For more information, visit www.innovatek.com.

About EnerFuel
A wholly owned subsidiary of Ener1, Inc., EnerFuel has been developing high temperature PEM fuel cell stack and system technology since 2006.  The Company has demonstrated expertise in developing integrated fuel cell and battery power systems.  For more information, visit www.enerfuel.com.


June 13, 2011
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State of the States: Fuel Cells in America

The 2011 Top 5 fuel cell states have been named - California, Connecticut, New York, Ohio and South Carolina.


June 13, 2011
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General Motors Opens New Green Vehicle Tech Center in L.A.

General Motors announced Thursday the opening of an addition to their Advanced Tech Center in Torrance, Calif. Created to help facilitate the advancement of alternative fuel vehicles, the Tech Center will serve as a proving grounds for the engineering and testing of future green vehicles.

The dozen or so scientists, engineers and technicians now have an extra 12,000 square feet in which to play with up-and-coming green car tech. General Motors has said that the Advance Tech Center will serve as a base for the creation, development and testing of its alternative fuel vehicles. Somewhat telling of what GM plans for its new facility, it’s already equipped with both electric charging stations, and hydrogen fuel stations, as well as battery maintenance and development facilities. GM has already said that both the Chevrolet Volt and its EN-V urban mobility vehicle, which is an odd cross between a Segway and golf cart, if you will.

GM’s move of its Advanced Tech center from Burbank to Torrance shouldn’t really come as a surprise from the automaker. Both Honda and Toyota have long maintained their American headquarters in Torrance, and Nissan previously was based in the area before its move to Tennessee. The presence of foreign automakers nearby makes the area especially well known for its rich talent pool of automotive engineers and it looks like GM is attempting to hop into the fray and add to that.

A concept fuel cell car from Toyota


June 14, 2011
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Siemens advances hydrogen technology for industry, energy

Munich, Germany – Siemens claims to have made progress with its development of an electrolysis system to generate hydrogen on a large-scale for industrial applications, as well as for storing energy.

The company is focusing on PEM (proton exchange membrane) technology, in which electricity decomposes water into hydrogen and oxygen.

According to Siemens, if the electrolysis uses electricity from regenerative sources, the hydrogen is generated with almost no effect on the climate.

“The investment in the field of hydrogen is an important step toward further widening our environment portfolio. We’re offering a technology that exploits the potential of hydrogen for industrial processes and storing energy,” said Roland Kaeppner, head of Siemens’ hydrogen electrolyzer business.

The production of hydrogen provides a source of energy which can be stored and used anywhere, Simens also notes. Hydrogen can also be transformed into primary energy in many ways, such as feeding it back into gas turbines, adding it into the natural gas supply, or in material-sensitive recycling.

According to Kaeppner, Siemens aims to develop PEM electrolysis technology into the “three-digit megawatt range” for industrial applications.


June 14, 2011
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Obama Hydrogen Fuel Failure Conceded by Chu Paring Budget: Cars

Energy Secretary Steven Chu, whose mandate includes getting more fuel-efficient cars on U.S. roads, is disregarding advisers in his own department and seeking to cut almost half the federal funding for hydrogen-powered autos.

A Nobel Prize-winning physicist who also researched advanced biofuels, Chu says hydrogen fuel-cell technology developed by carmakers such as General Motors Co. (GM), Daimler AG (DAI) and Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) isn’t yet practical. Auto companies and members of a government panel say he’s wrong and that they will be ready to market such cars by 2015.

“Secretary Chu has firmly set his mind against hydrogen as a passenger-car fuel,” Mary Nichols, chairwoman of California’s Air Resources Board, said in an interview with Bloomberg Government. Her agency’s regulations affect more drivers than any other state’s. “Frankly, his explanations don’t make sense to me. They are not based on the facts as we know them.”

The Obama administration’s fading support for hydrogen is a challenge for carmakers who say advanced gasoline engines, batteries, biofuels and fuel cells are all needed to curb U.S. oil consumption and carbon emissions. Chu’s proposed budget, which cuts funds for hydrogen stations, creates roadblocks for retail sales of fuel-cell cars, the companies say.

Chu is “hostile to hydrogen,” Robert Walker, a former member of the Energy Department’s Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technical Advisory Committee, said in an interview. Walker, executive chairman of Wexler & Walker Public Policy Associates, a Washington lobbying firm, and a former Republican House member from Pennsylvania, resigned from the panel in April over the budget proposal.

‘More Likely’ Options

Chu, 63, has advocated battery cars and biofuels as options more likely to meet U.S. energy and environmental goals in the near term. Discounting hydrogen means the U.S. risks falling behind Japan, Germany and South Korea in the technology because those nations are moving ahead with plans for extensive fuel- station networks to serve buyers of the cars.

“The secretary believes that we should fund fuel-cell research and development as part of a diverse energy portfolio, including both stationary and mobile applications -- and we are,” said Stephanie Mueller, an Energy Department spokeswoman.

Chu, who said in 2009 that the Obama administration was “going to be moving away from hydrogen-fuel cells for vehicles,” declined a request for an interview.

$4 a Gallon

Consumer interest in alternative-fuel vehicles has grown this year as gasoline neared $4 a gallon. U.S. drivers bought about 275,000 gasoline-electric hybrids last year, led by Toyota’s Prius, and GM and Nissan Motor Co. are boosting sales of rechargeable Volt and Leaf vehicles.

“Fuel-cell technology is viable and ready for the mass market,” Chris Hostetter, Toyota’s U.S. group vice president for advanced planning, said in a May 10 interview at the opening of a hydrogen filling station in Torrance, California. “Building an extensive hydrogen refueling infrastructure is the critical next step in bringing these products to market.”

Automotive fuel cells are layers of platinum-coated plastic film sandwiched between metal plates that create electricity from the chemical reaction of hydrogen and oxygen. Vehicles use the same type of electric motors and controls as battery-only models, and neither emits tailpipe pollutants.

$10 Billion Bet

Toyota plans to sell a fuel-cell car in the U.S. and other markets by 2015 or sooner, Hostetter said. Japan’s largest automaker has said the model may sell for about $50,000, without elaborating.

Honda Motor Co. and Daimler offer a limited number of fuel- cell vehicles for lease in the U.S. Honda reported 17 leases last year, none yet this year. Daimler reports four leases through May this year. Automakers estimated the cost of fuel- cell vehicles was about $1 million each as recently as five years ago.

Globally, automakers have poured an estimated $10 billion into fuel-cell vehicle research, saying hydrogen provides range and rapid fueling that is comparable to gasoline and superior to plug-in electrics.

The Energy Department cut hydrogen funding to make way for biofuels, battery vehicles and increased fuel-efficiency standards, Steven Chalk, deputy assistant secretary for renewable energy, said in an interview.

‘Folks Are Frustrated’

“If folks are frustrated with that position, I understand that,” Chalk said. In a time of budget constraints, “we’re trying to focus on the things that are going to make the impact in the time frame that matters, which is in the next five years.”

The $100 million the department is requesting for hydrogen, down from $177 million provided in the 2010 fiscal year, “is still quite an investment, and we think we can be competitive,” he said.

President George W. Bush announced a $720 million research and development effort for hydrogen-powered cars in his 2003 State of the Union address. Congress in 2005 created the advisory committee that Walker ran, which tracks progress by fuel-cell manufacturers, automakers and energy companies pushing to commercialize hydrogen technology.

During his two years on the job, Chu hasn’t met with the committee, according to Walker and Chalk.

Chu told the Senate Appropriations energy and water development subcommittee on May 18 that hydrogen tanks for fuel- cell vehicles are inadequate and that the technology contributes to carbon emissions, linked to climate change, because natural gas is the main source of industrial hydrogen.

Carbon Emissions

Toyota, Honda, GM, Daimler and Hyundai Motor Co. (005380) all say the hydrogen tanks on fuel-cell vehicles they’re testing in California and elsewhere provide the same range of 250 miles (402 kilometers) to 400 miles as gasoline autos.

Vehicles powered by hydrogen made from natural gas produce at least 50 percent fewer carbon emissions than the cleanest gasoline autos, according to Energy Department estimates.

Natural gas “will have to be significantly more abundant and less costly,” to make hydrogen affordable, Chu said at the Senate hearing.

Natural gas prices have fallen 66 percent since July 3, 2008, when it reached $13.577 per million British thermal units. The price for July delivery declined to $4.646 per million BTUs yesterday on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

“Why is it that the secretary can’t look at the data, look at the facts, and arrive at the same conclusion that his own advisory committee has reached?” Robert Shaw, who is chairman of the 18-member advisory panel, said in an interview. Shaw is president of Arete Corp., a venture capital-fund manager based in Center Harbor, New Hampshire.

Taxpayer Funds

“It’s just not a good use of taxpayer funds,” Joseph Romm, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, said in an interview. Romm’s duties as an Energy Department official during the Clinton administration included supervising the hydrogen program.

Without an adequate refueling infrastructure, few consumers are going to buy hydrogen vehicles, he said. Without knowing whether the autos will be a success, there’s little incentive to build stations.

The U.S. has 58 hydrogen fueling stations, according to the Energy Department.

Germany, Japan

In 2009, Germany announced plans for 1,000 hydrogen stations. In January, Japan said it will have 100 hydrogen stations in place by 2015, and South Korea may have 50 by the end of next year and more than 100 by the end of the decade.

Electric vehicles can plug directly into wall outlets. They have the highest “bang for the buck,” Romm said.

Making hydrogen from natural gas costs $3 to $4 per kilogram, or the equivalent of a gallon of gasoline, Shaw said in a March letter to Chu, and fuel-cell vehicles are twice as efficient as gasoline autos.

Air Products & Chemicals Inc. (APD), the second-biggest U.S. industrial-gas producer, estimates it can sell hydrogen from natural gas for about $5 per kilogram, Ed Kiczek, the company’s senior business development manager, said in an interview.

The company, based in Allentown, Pennsylvania, plans to install hydrogen fuel pumps at 10 or more Southern California gasoline stations in the next two years, he said.

California expects automakers to sell at least 53,000 hydrogen vehicles in the state to comply with emissions rules in 2015 through 2017, Nichols, head of the state air board, said, citing her agency’s surveys of automakers. Those saying hydrogen vehicles won’t be ready haven’t been keeping pace with advances made by automakers, she said.

“The conventional view is always a few years out of date, unfortunately,” Nichols said. “There’s also just a wrong premise that these different fuels have to compete with other, and one has to be a winner. We need all of them.”


June 14, 2011
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Nissan's Ghosn on the Future of the Zero-Emission Car

I attended a media roundtable and a lecture with Nissan-Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn at Stanford University's Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR) on Monday. Forbes called Ghosn "the hardest-working man in the brutally competitive global car business." Ghosn was on the Stanford campus to attend his daughter's graduation.

Ghosn wouldn't say anything negative about the Tesla or Chevy (GM) Volt -- but he did have a lot to say.

  • In 2010, there were 73 million cars built globally. Only 20,000 were EVs.
  • In 2020, 85 million cars will be sold and 10 percent or 8.5 million will be electric, according to the auto exec.

The reason this market won't grow faster, according to Ghosn, is because there is not enough investment. Only one group has decided to make a massive investment and that's Nissan -- with an investment of $5 billion so far in zero-emission vehicles. Ghosn said that the car industry is part of the global warming problem and now needs to be part of the solution. No major car company is investing in EVs like Nissan is, he added.

Ghosn noted that in the U.S there are 800 cars for every thousand inhabitants and 600 cars for every thousand Europeans, while China is at 50, India at 15, Indonesia at 35 and Russia at 300.

He asked, "Does anyone think that these countries are going to accept a lower standard of living than the average European country?"

With that number of cars soon to be on the road, driven by the developing world, the only breakthrough that can reduce the carbon footprint of transportation is zero-emission technology.

Fuel Cells, Batteries, and Range Anxiety


We can't get there with little five percent improvements, said Ghosn. Zero emissions will not come with hybrids -- they will be fueled initially by batteries and eventually by batteries and fuel cells. The CEO predicted that fuel cells will be part of the automotive picture "within the next ten years."

Ghosn's optimism on fuel cells is not shared by all, including Steven Chu and the U.S. DOE, which has curtailed much of the flow of research dollars going into fuel cells. Still, Ghosn remains committed to a fuel cell vehicle.

Still, for Nissan, the main problem is not attracting customers but satisfying demand. Nissan has orders for 22,000 units of the Leaf, but will only deliver 1,500 this month.


Andy Palmer, Senior Vice President of Nissan, in an article from April, said the company had produced 10,000 Leafs as of March, and more importantly, it’s sold every car that’s been built. “The question is, as we ramp up the factories in the U.K. and the U.S.," he said, “how can we get the pragmatists to adopt?”

One way to get wider uptake of EVs is to talk pragmatism (although car buying and pragmatism do not always go hand in hand). He noted that one-third of European customers never drive more than 100 miles a day. “If everyone bought rationally, then there’s a huge customer base.” Palmer also noted that the distribution of chargers today was more about reducing range anxiety than actually answering a need. Right now, no one knows if destination charging will really be used. Michael Kanellos covered range anxiety in the Leaf here -- and what looks like a definite need for destination charging.

Ghosn suggested these techniques for dealing with range anxiety:

  • Innovation in better batteries
  • Developing quick intervention systems. In Japan, if you have a charge problem, a service truck, currently in tests, delivers a fast charge.
  • More chargers -- a mandate or incentive that ensures that every gas station, parking lot, government building, or supermarket must have a quick charger.

Ghosn suggested that people are not worried about range, but rather about accessibility to chargers.

Ghosn also said, "We'll see more revolutionary EVs coming in the future," noting that seating position, long determined by the existence of a large internal combustion engine, could change drastically.

He predicted that in 2011, Nissan will probably be the largest seller of EVs, with a capacity of 500,000 cars by 2013, in eight different body styles. Ghosn also predicted that young people will drive the growth of EVs.

The CEO wants to produce enough cars for the early adopters, saying, "We want to keep this audience happy." Japan has experienced some unexpected hurdles with natural disasters, but the 1,500 units shipping to the U.S. in June "should restart the enthusiasm. People want zero-emission cars and our duty is to make it a pleasant experience."


June 15, 2011
(view original report)

New Catalyst Will Allow Commercialization of Revolutionary Fuel Cells

Cheap, much lighter than before and allowing for continuous operation -- what traditional batteries cannot offer -- direct formic acid fuel cells can revolutionize the portable electronics market. A new catalyst developed at the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences will enable a widespread use of fuel cells, researchers say.

You can hardly find a consumer electronics user who would not be irritated by problems with power supply. The batteries run out quickly and require continuous replacements or take a long time charging. Fuel cells could significantly improve the comfort of using electronic devices. Their commercialization, however, is hampered by many technological problems. A new catalyst developed at the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw represents a substantial milestone on the way to dissemination of cheap, durable, light and environment friendly fuel cells powered by formic acid.

Fuel cell is a device converting chemical energy into electric power. The current is generated directly due to fuel combustion in the presence of catalysts used on the anode and the cathode of the fuel cell. "Theoretical efficiency of conversion of chemical energy into electric power in the cells can reach even one hundred percent. The best present fuel cells, powered by hydrogen, reach up to 60% in real life. For comparison, the efficiency of low-compression engines is as low as 20%," says Dr Andrzej Borodziński from the IPC PAS.

The biggest obstacle to dissemination of hydrogen fuels is the storage of hydrogen. The issue turned out to be extremely technologically challenging and still is waiting for satisfactory solutions. An alternative to fuel cells powered by pure hydrogen is the methanol fuel cell technology. Methanol, however, is toxic and the methanol powered fuel cells must be produced with expensive platinum based catalysts. Moreover, methanol fuel cells have low power and are operated at a relatively high and so potentially hazardous temperature (approximately 90°C).

An alternative solution is formic acid fuel cells. In this case, the reactions occur at room temperature, and the efficiency and power of these fuel cells are clearly higher than those for methanol ones. In addition, formic acid is easy to store and transport. To have, however, formic acid fuel cell stable in operation you need an efficient and durable catalyst.

"The catalyst developed by us has initially lower activity then the existing catalysts made of pure palladium. The difference disappears, however, already after two hours of operation. And further it is only better. Our catalyst is stable in operation, whereas the activity of a pure palladium-based catalyst decreases in time," says Dr Borodziński.

An advantage of the catalyst developed in the IPC PAS, particularly important from the economic point of view, is that it preserves its properties while operated in formic acid of low purity. Such formic acid can be easily produced in large quantities, also from biomass, so the fuel for new fuel cells would be very cheap.

Formic acid produced from biomass would be a fully environment friendly fuel. The reactions involving formic acid in fuel cells generate as products water and carbon dioxide. The latter is, as a matter of fact, a greenhouse gas, but the biomass is obtained from plants which use carbon dioxide for their growth. As a result, formic acid produced from biomass and consumed in fuel cells would not change the content of carbon dioxide in atmospheric air. The risk of natural environment contamination by formic acid is also low.

Formic acid fuel cells would find numerous applications. They would be particularly suitable in portable electronic devices -- mobile phones, laptops or GPS-based devices. They could also be installed as power supply sources in vehicles, from wheelchairs through electric bicycles up to yachts.

At the IPC PAS the research is being undertaken on the first batteries based on formic acid fuel cells. The researchers expect that a prototype of a commercial device should be ready within a couple of years.


June 16, 2011
(view original report)

Fuel cells for buildings provide both power and heat

A grocery store, greenhouse, hotel and community college will be among a diverse group of West Coast organizations testing the next generation of fuel cells that produce both electric power and heat while saving energy, thanks to a $2.8 million combined industry and government award announced today by the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. The federal portion of funding for this award was provided by DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy - Fuel Cell Technologies Program.

ClearEdge Power of Hillsboro, Ore., will install its ClearEdge5 combined heat and power fuel cell system at 10 different businesses in California and Oregon, while PNNL will monitor the systems and measure the energy savings the systems are expected to provide.

"Combined heat and power fuel cell systems can help smaller commercial buildings with high energy demands reap significant savings in energy cost and use," said Mike Rinker, the research program manager at PNNL. "We anticipate that this type of a system could reduce the fuel costs and carbon footprint of a commercial building by approximately 40 percent, compared with conventional electricity and heat use."

The ClearEdge5 system is compact -- a little larger than a typical home's refrigerator. It is fueled by natural gas from existing, conventional pipelines. Inside the fuel cell system, natural gas is chemically broken down into a hydrogen-rich gas that reacts with oxygen in air to form energy, producing electricity with heat as a byproduct. The electricity produced by the fuel cell is used to power the building.

The excess heat generated by the fuel cell is released into the facility's heating, ventilation and air conditioning system to provide space heating to the building. Alternatively, the energy can be used for hot water or other needs for the facility. Excess electricity produced, but not consumed by the building, is then sold back to a local utility company. While the ClearEdge5 is not currently grid independent, future systems are being designed to operate during a grid outage, giving companies a continuous power advantage.

"ClearEdge Power employs more than 200 American citizens to design, manufacture and market our ClearEdge5 fuel cell system, an alternative energy power source that businesses and other organizations can take advantage of right now to both reduce their impact on the grid and to cut carbon dioxide emissions by more than one-third," said ClearEdge Power President and CEO Russell Ford.  "We are pleased that the DOE has taken a leading role with this initiative to help bring fuel cell technology to American businesses."

Each ClearEdge5 unit will have a high-speed internet data feed, allowing researchers at PNNL continuous access to analyze each installation's performance. PNNL will independently verify and analyze the engineering, economic and environmental performance and carbon footprint of these systems during the next five years. Then PNNL will provide its analysis in a report to DOE's Fuel Cell Technologies Program.


June 16, 2011
(view original report)

Solar generator splits water to make hydrogen

BOSTON--One of the barriers to the long-hoped-for hydrogen economy is a non-polluting energy source for hydrogen. Nanoptek is one company that's tapping the sun's energy.

The Maynard, Mass., company this week said it is taking orders for a commercial solar hydrogen generator, which is now in pilot production. The company showed a smaller version of its product at the TechConnect conference here.

A concept fuel cell car from Toyota
A prototype solar hydrogen generator

Nanoptek envisions creating a system for storing energy from solar at large scale, making hydrogen for vehicles, and even home fueling. In the nearer term, though, the company is seeking to sell solar generators to businesses that now buy tanks of hydrogen for industrial use.

The company's product, called the Solar Hydrogen Generator 300, is slightly bigger than a typical solar photovoltaic panel, measuring two meters wide and one meter high. Like a traditional electrolyzer, it applies a voltage to a liquid electrolyte to break apart the hydrogen and oxygen atoms in water. The hydrogen is stored in tanks and used in a fuel cell to make electricity.

What's different is that Nanoptek's device can produce hydrogen from water using about one-third the electricity of a typical electrolyzer, said CEO John Guerra. The key is a titanium dioxide coating that is activated by both ultraviolet and visible blue light, he explained.

Its photocatalyst material is a titanium dioxide that's baked onto strips of titanium metal, which is "stressed" with a nanostructure before coating. The surface treatment allows electrons to be released with the lower energy available from visible blue light, Guerra explained. The flow of electrons into the water causes the hydrogen and oxygen atoms in water to split apart.

Because the photo catalyst reacts well to this type of light, the solar hydrogen generator can work well on cloudy days, he added. The company calls it a hybrid device because the generator can operate as a traditional electrolyzer from grid power when there is no sunlight available.

The company's panel includes both strips of titanium and an optional row of photovoltaic cells, which provide voltage for the water splitting to occur and make the process more efficient. As water is pumped in, the hydrogen gas captured.

The idea of making hydrogen as an energy carrier for vehicles and grid storage has been around for years, but there are a number of technical barriers, such storing hydrogen in a small footprint for vehicles and finding inexpensive catalyst materials. Also, there isn't a distribution infrastructure for transporting hydrogen apart from transporting tanks.

Still, with growing interest in cleaner energy, there remains a lot of research and development work. SunCatalytix, which was spun out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is working on what it calls an "artificial leaf" also designed to make hydrogen from water using a solar photovoltaic cell. In addition to technical challenges, finding customers willing to try out the new technology is also a challenge.

Nanoptek will first target the industrial gas market with an eye toward grid storage and off-grid applications over time, Guerra said.


June 17, 2011
(view original article)

Global fuel cell market test fleet reaches two million test miles

Rüsselsheim/Detroit. June 17, 2011 - An Opel HydroGen4 fuel cell demonstration vehicle covered the two millionth mile of GM’s global fuel cell market test fleet. The car has been used since early 2009 by ADAC, the biggest roadside assistance organization in Europe. GM and Opel have accumulated more miles with their fuel cell passenger car fleet than any other auto manufacturer.

"This milestone is a significant landmark on our road to making hydrogen fuel cells a reality. We will take the knowledge gained through our global fleets to help improve the affordability and reliability of our hydrogen fuel cell technology as we continue to weigh potential commercial applications in the future" says Charlie Freese, executive director of GM’s global fuel cell engineering activities.

The Opel HydroGen4 fleet is part of the „Clean Energy Partnership“ (CEP), an European lighthouse project funded by the German ministry of transport. Since 2008 ten HydroGen4 cars driven by partners like ADAC, Allianz, Bild/Axel Springer AG, Coca-Cola, Enertrag, Hilton, IKEA, Linde, Pace and Total in the Berlin region are testing the fuel cell technology and the hydrogen re-fueling and infrastructure on a daily basis, while providing many different usage profiles.

The CEP project was extended in 2010 and 2011 to include the Hamburg, Baden-Württemberg, North Rhine-Westphalia and Hesse regions. Opel will support this deployment by strengthening its market test fleet in Germany.


June 17, 2011
(view original article)

Latest Batmobile Goes Green With Hydrogen Fuel Cell

Just the Facts:

  • The latest Batmobile, a Gordon Murray creation, goes green with a hydrogen fuel cell and lithium-ion batteries — but it still spews fire from a carbon-ceramic afterburner.

  • The Caped Crusader's ride was revealed ahead of the Batman Live World Arena Tour, set to kick off in Manchester, England, on July 19.

  • The F1-inspired Batmobile is controversial, with one critic calling it "awful."

LONDON — The latest version of the Batmobile is a politically correct green machine equipped with a hydrogen fuel cell that one critic described as "the Jetsons-obsessed afternoon scrawling of an elementary student."

The Caped Crusader's ride — little more than a prop for a theatrical production — was revealed ahead of the Batman Live World Arena Tour, set to kick off in Manchester, England, on July 19.

The F1-inspired Batmobile is the work of auto designer Gordon Murray, the man behind the McLaren F1 and the T.27 city car. In one interview, Murray said the Batmobile "could be a real car of the future." He added: "It's quite green."

Details include carbon-fiber trim that "breathes" and "virtual wheels" ringed by LED lights. The Batmobile also has a carbon-ceramic afterburner that seems incongruous, given the hydrogen fuel cell and lithium-ion batteries.

A concept fuel cell car from Toyota


June 17, 2011
(view original article)

Camp Pendleton Continues to Help Pave the Way for Hydrogen-Powered Vehicles

Marines have driven some 30,000 miles on hydrogen-powered vehicles over the past two to three years and could help bring affordable alternative-fuel vehicles to market.

As the southernmost stop on California’s “hydrogen highway,” Camp Pendleton is contributing to the pool of scientific knowledge that could bring affordable hydrogen-powered vehicles to the general public in the next few years.

Under a program funded by the federal Department of Energy, the base has partnered with three private companies—General Motors, Ford and Quantum Technologies—to test hydrogen-powered vehicles. Currently, the base has four vehicles, including a 10-passenger mini-bus, two Chevrolet Equinoxes and a Ford Escape, that use hydrogen instead of gasoline.

The base also has a hydrogen filling station set up next to Interstate 5, which could one day be used by the public to refuel hydrogen vehicles.

“Part of it is to develop the refueling infrastructure and the other part is to get us away from petroleum fuel and our dependence on oil,” said Jim Seaman, fleet manager for Camp Pendleton, of the test program.

Data collected by the vehicles’ onboard computers is sent wirelessly to engineers at the three partner companies, who analyze the information and use it to refine the designs of their own hydrogen-powered vehicles.

Scott Brierley, a General Motors official based in Carlsbad, said data gathered from the Camp Pendleton demonstration project, as well as from Project Driveway, in which volunteer members of the public drove hydrogen-powered vehicles for two months, is valuable as the company works to create alternative-fuel vehicles for the commercial market.

Currently, the auto industry is targeting 2015 to have the first hydrogen-powered vehicles available for purchase by consumers, Brierley said.

Camp Pendleton has logged some 30,000 miles on hydrogen-powered vehicles over the past two to three years, officials said.

The base is testing two types of hydrogen vehicles. One type is operated by hydrogen fuel cells, which convert compressed hydrogen gas and oxygen to electricity, powering an electric motor. The only emission from the hydrogen fuel cell vehicles is a fine water vapor from vents in the rear bumper.

The other type of vehicle has an internal combustion engine modified to burn hydrogen gas.

The Chevy Equinoxes on base use hydrogen fuel cells. The prototype vehicle is much quieter than a gasoline-powered automobile, accelerating smoothly without gear changes.

“They’re pretty much used the same as a gasoline vehicle as far as operations go,” said Seaman. The vehicles may be used by base personnel to get around for appointments or meetings, or to make deliveries of mail or other items.

Seaman oversees a fleet of 1,400 cars, trucks, SUVs and vans, which are used for all purposes other than military training or operations. The purpose of the fleet, he said, is to free up military vehicles for their primary tasks. The base vehicle fleet also includes vehicles that run on compressed natural gas.

The range of the Equinox is about 200 miles when fully fueled with hydrogen under a pressure of 10,000 pounds per square inch, said Brierley, less than the 300-400 mile range of gasoline-powered vehicles.

“The vehicles are remarkably reliable and well-suited for what Camp Pendleton uses them for,” Brierley said.

Brierley said hydrogen-powered vehicles are safe, both because of the strength of the reinforced cylinders holding the pressurized gas, which are built to withstand a crash, and because hydrogen gas dissipates quickly if the fuel tanks are punctured, rather than pooling up around the vehicle like gasoline.

The Marine Corps is looking at ways to expand its hydrogen fuel technology in such areas as powering forklifts, using a hydrogen fuel cell to extend the range of electric vehicles and using stationary generators powered by hydrogen fuel cells to provide electrical power for buildings, Seaman said. 

The main challenge to using the hydrogen-powered vehicles, said Seaman, is access to fuel. Currently, hydrogen gas is trucked to the base in pressurized cylinders.

The closest hydrogen refueling stations are in Orange County, said Seaman. “Going north is not a problem [but] going south and east is where we have to plan.”

In 2004, then Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed an executive order laying out an ambitious plan for California to establish a network of hydrogen refueling stations dubbed the hydrogen highway. According the website of the state Air Resources Board, by the end of 2011 there will be eight public hydrogen stations in operation across the state, with others planned.

But significant technological challenges remain before hydrogen fuel cells replace gasoline-powered engines, said Laurance Beauvais, assistant professor of chemistry at San Diego State University.

Beauvais, who has conducted research on hydrogen storage, said hydrogen-powered vehicles do offer advantages, such as zero carbon emissions and a higher rate of energy efficiency than their internal combustion cousins.

Before hydrogen vehicles can flourish, however, the industry has to find a more environmentally friendly way to produce hydrogen fuel. Currently, he said, it is most commonly extracted from natural gas, a process which generates greenhouse gases.  Research is ongoing into other methods of producing hydrogen fuel, such as nuclear power and solar energy, Beauvais said.

Other issues include reducing the amount of platinum—a costly and rare metal—needed to make hydrogen fuel cells, increasing the number of hydrogen fueling stations, and increasing the capacity for hydrogen storage in vehicles, Beauvais said.

“I don’t think hydrogen will be mass-adopted any time soon,” Beauvais said.


June 17, 2011
(view original article)

Green GT Hydrogen Racer Heading to Le Mans in 2012

With another 24 Hours of Le Mans race in the history books, it is time to look to the future, again. A unique, hydrogen-powered racer from Green GT will make its 2012 track debut. Is this the future of Le Mans?

As part of an attempt to “green” its image, the world’s premier endurance racing event has started a new tradition called “Le Mans ver le future,” or, Le Mans Into the Future. It is a showcase for would-be, could-be future Le Mans racers, and Green GT was there this year with its Twenty-4 300kw electric racing prototype. There’s even some nice racing footage (posted below) from the car included with the press released. For next year though, they will be ditching the batteries in favor of a hydrogen fueling setup.

A concept fuel cell car from Toyota

Called the LMP H2, Green GT will use an in-house hydrogen fuel station to provide 300kw (or more) of power to their Le Mans racer. I imagine that one of the advantages of going hydrogen power versus batteries is weight and power density. 150 grams of hydrogen can replace one liter of fuel according to Green GT, which means their 12kg high pressure storage tanks will displace about 80 liters of racing fuel, or about 21 us gallons. Pit stops play a major role in endurance racing, and the less refueling you have to do, the more laps you can complete.

Consider also the fact that the winning Audi Diesel racer from last weekend’s Le Mans only had a 13 gallon fuel tank, and it would appear that the Green GT LMP H2 may have a significant endurance advantage. Factor the 400 horsepower+ and tons ‘o’ torque on tap from its electric motors, and the LMP H2 is shaping up to be a serious contender for future Le Mans races. All of that that only matters if it works, and as promising as hydrogen-powered endurance racing sounds, proving one’s self on the race track with such a new technology is a monumental undertaking. Do they have the gusto to do it?

I certainly hope so. A new age of motorsports is dawning, and it looks like hydrogen may have a place at the table after all.


June 20, 2011
(view original article)

Researchers create world’s smallest bacteria-powered fuel cell

Carnegie Mellon University’s Kelvin B. Gregory and Philip R. LeDuc have created the world’s smallest fuel cell powered by bacteria.

Future versions of the biology-powered fuel cell could be used for self-powered sensing devices in remote locations where batteries are impractical, such as deep ocean or geological environments.

“We have developed a biological fuel cell which uses microbial electricity generation enabled by microfluidic flow control to produce power,” said Gregory, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Carnegie Mellon.

The new device, the size of a single strand of human hair, generates energy from the metabolism of bacteria on thin gold plates in micro-manufactured channels.

The fuel cell recruits necessary bacteria to create a biofilm that utilizes natural organic compounds as fuel to generate power.

Future versions of this tiny bacteria-powered fuel cell could replace batteries in microelectronic devices. While batteries are used to do that today, fuel cells are able to store more energy in the same space.

“Our biology-powered fuel cell could be less costly to make and more easily deployed in remote areas than conventional batteries that require invasive maintenance,” said LeDuc, an associate professor of mechanical engineering with courtesy appointments in Biomedical Engineering, Biological Sciences and Computational Biology departments.

Both researchers report that the evolution of microbial electricity generation is motivated by the potential for renewable energy sources and waste biomass to serve as a fuel for large-scale electricity generation.

“Our work also is prompted by increased interest in improved battery technology for small scale electronic devices and sensors,” Gregory said.

Carnegie Mellon is a private, internationally ranked research university with its main campus in the United States in Pittsburgh, Pa.


June 20, 2011
(view original article)

Shell opens hydrogen service station with Linde technology in Germany

Berlin – Shell Deutschland Oil GmbH opened their first demonstration hydrogen station in Germany today. It is located on the premises of Shell’s Sachsendamm service station in Berlin. The installation is equipped with innovative refuelling technology from Linde. The hydrogen to be dispensed there comes from a Linde pilot plant in Leuna which uses crude glycerol as feedstock.

Olaf Reckenhofer, responsible for Linde’s gases business in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, said: "The highly efficient cryo-pump system developed by Linde makes this installation the top performing hydrogen refuelling station in the world. Together with the certified green hydrogen supplied by us, this is a trailblazing fuelling concept that will bring us forward on the road to sustainable transportation"

The demonstration station is part of Shell’s research and development programme for hydrogen technology and was established within the scope of the "Clean Energy Partnership" (CEP). The objective is to evaluate the technology and learn valuable lessons about costs, consumer behaviour, how to store hydrogen safely and dispense it efficiently to different vehicles – such as passenger cars and buses.

“We’re proud to play an active role in the research and development of hydrogen technologies in the transport sector. Hydrogen-fuelled transportation can make a long-term contribution towards lowering road transport emissions,” said Peter Blauwhoff, Country Chair of Deutsche Shell Holding when the demonstration station was officially opened in Berlin.

The demonstration station in Berlin has the capacity to fill about 250 hydrogen-fuelled vehicles per day. However, the service station will predominantly be used for demonstration and research purposes, and for the time being an average of about 20 vehicles are to be filled there per day.

"Our aim is to improve the vehicles in terms of their efficiency, performance and reliability, to boost the production and distribution of hydrogen and to continually expand the network of service stations. This demonstration station is a further milestone en route to the hydrogen society" said Patrick Schnell, Chair of the CEP.

The Linde Group is a world-leading gases and engineering company with around 48,700 employees working in more than 100 countries worldwide. In the 2010 financial year, it achieved sales of EUR 12.868 bn. The strategy of The Linde Group is geared towards sustainable earnings-based 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.


June 21, 2011
(view original article)

Coca-Cola Consolidated Pioneering Green Power Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology in Charlotte Plant

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Forklifts in Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated's (CCBCC) Charlotte production center are now being run on green power hydrogen fuel cells. Further enhancing its environmental sustainability efforts, the company is pioneering hydrogen fuel cell technology for its materials handling equipment.

Beginning in June, the nation's largest independent Coca-Cola bottler began using forklift trucks that run on green hydrogen. CCBCC is the first in the beverage industry to use hydrogen fuel cell technology. The fleet of 35 Crown and five Yale counterbalanced class one lift trucks are powered by hydrogen fuel cells from Plug Power and are being refueled at three indoor fueling stations with hydrogen from Linde North America.

"This is another major step in making our production and warehouse operations world-class examples of environmental sustainability," said CCBCC VP Lauren Steele. "The hydrogen fuel cell technology follows major strides in environmental stewardship, including aggressive recycling programs, high-efficiency lighting and one of the best water usage ratios in the world at our Charlotte plant."

"The hydrogen fuel cell solution has allowed us to achieve the high level of environmental sustainability that we've been looking for in our operations," said Bo Calloway, director of fleet operations at CCBCC. "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 costs and our productivity. This innovative solution may serve as a model for industries seeking to improve productivity and environmental sustainability."

The hydrogen technology requires only a three minute fuel time and allows for six to eight hours of use. Unlike the standard battery powered electric trucks, the fuel cell powered equipment will operate at 100 percent power through the entire fill of hydrogen.

Charlotte-based Coca-Cola Consolidated is the nation's largest independent Coca-Cola bottler with franchise territories in 11 Southeastern states.


June 21, 2011
(view original article)

Opel HydroGen4 Helps Set New GM Fuel Cell Milestone

A concept fuel cell car from Toyota

GM has been testing its fuel cell technology for several years and in several markets around the globe. Assisting in the cause is an Opel HydroGen4 fuel cell demonstration vehicle that recently helped the global fleet achieve its combined 2 millionth mile. That’s right the vehicle in question, which has been in service since early 2009, hasn’t traveled 2 million miles itself, but it was a team effort.

At first that doesn’t sound as impressive as the 2.9 million mile Volvo P1800 or the 980,000 mile Honda Accord we recently covered, but the claim it fame is 2 million miles driven in cars powered by fuel cell technology. Fuel cell technology has lost favor recently as electrics have grabbed most of the limelight recently. Hybrid, plug-in hybrid and EV vehicles seem to be arriving from every manufacturer but among the major automotive manufacturers, Honda and GM have remained committed to fuel cell research.

“This milestone is a significant landmark on our road to making hydrogen fuel cells a reality,” said Charlie Freese, executive director of GM’s global fuel cell engineering activities. “We will take the knowledge gained through our global fleets to help improve the affordability and reliability of our hydrogen fuel cell technology as we continue to weigh potential commercial applications in the future.”

The Europe fleet is part of the “Clean Energy Partnership“(CEP), a European lighthouse project funded by the German ministry of transport. Since 2008 ten HydroGen4 cars have been driven on a daily basis in the Berlin region to test fuel cell technology and the hydrogen re-fueling and infrastructure. The cars have been driven by partners such as ADAC, Allianz, Bild/Axel Springer AG, Coca-Cola, Enertrag, Hilton, IKEA, Linde, Pace and Total to test the possible uses for fuel cell vehicles.

Opel will add more vehicles to German roads now that the CEP project has been extended to include the Hamburg, Baden-Württemberg, North Rhine-Westphalia and Hesse regions.


June 21, 2011
(view original article)

Mercedes-Benz Fuel-Cell Car Ready for Market in 2014

Just the Facts:

  • Mercedes-Benz is rushing a fuel-cell car to market, saying on Tuesday that it is moving up the target for volume production from 2015 to 2014.

  • Mercedes says the fuel cell will have a range of 250 miles.

  • The price of a Mercedes-Benz fuel-cell car — most likely based on the B-Class — has not been set yet, said Dr. Dieter Zetsche, head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, in a media roundtable discussion.

A concept fuel cell car from Toyota

NEW YORK — Mercedes-Benz is rushing a fuel-cell car to market, saying on Tuesday that it is moving up the target for volume production from 2015 to 2014.

"The product is ready for the market technically," said Dr. Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the board of management of Daimler and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, during a media roundtable discussion here on Tuesday morning. "We have proven that by sending three vehicles with a fuel cell around the globe without any relevant problems. The issue is infrastructure. We made this trip to prove technology is ready and we need partners to take care of infrastructure.

"We intended to go for volume production in 2015, but because of the experience of the world tour we have pulled forward."

He said volume production would begin in 2014. Mercedes says the fuel cell will have a range of 250 miles.

Three Mercedes-Benz B-Class Fuel Cell cars recently made a global trip to prove "the everyday usability of fuel-cell technology," according to Daimler.

Zetsche said that Mercedes-Benz has "not defined prices yet" for the production version of the fuel-cell car.

"The target is to be cost-wise by the middle of the decade at the level of the diesel hybrid, which is not cheap, but marketable today," he said. "That would be our first target. It's a challenging target, but a realistic target."

He did not say what the fuel-cell vehicle would be called or what he was referring to when he spoke of a "diesel hybrid."

The Honda FCX Clarity, a hydrogen fuel-cell sedan, is available on a limited retail basis in Southern California.

Inside Line says: A Mercedes-Benz fuel-cell car may be in your driveway before too long.


June 21, 2011
(view original article)

Missouri S&T EcoCAR finishes fifth

Rolla, Mo. — The sport-utility vehicle reengineered by students at Missouri University of Science and Technology may not have won the top honor at the EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge Competition Finals, but it was judged as one of the most environmentally friendly cars in the event.

The Missouri S&T team finished fifth out of 16 teams in EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge, a three-year vehicle engineering competition focused on developing more environmentally friendly cars.

The Missouri S&T team also won the award for most improved team in the competition. The team also was recognized for its efforts to minimize the environmental impact of the S&T vehicle.

The EcoCAR competition was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and General Motors Co. The teams spent the past three years re-engineering a car to use less fuel and reduce emissions, while retaining its performance, safety and consumer appeal.

The EcoCAR finals were held June 5-12 in Milford, Mich., and June 12-16 in Washington, D.C. Competition results were announced Thursday, June 16, in Washington, D.C.

Missouri S&T’s EcoCAR, a re-engineered 2009 Chevrolet SUV, is powered by hydrogen fuel cell and lithium ion batteries. “Our car and one other team’s are the only hydrogen cars,” said Michelle Y. Taylor, a graduate student from Rolla who is working on her MBA at Missouri S&T. A member of the EcoCAR Outreach Team, she earned her bachelor's degree in business and management systems from the university in 2009.

In addition to receiving recognition as the most improved team, the Missouri S&T group took top honors for lowest tailpipe emissions and lowest petroleum energy usage. S&T also finished second for lowest well-to-wheel greenhouse emissions.

A team from Virginia Tech won the competition by designing an extended-range electric vehicle using E85 (ethanol).

For Missouri S&T students, the big win from their three-year experience was the opportunity to draw attention to hydrogen power as an alternative energy source.

"A large part of our role is spreading the word about hydrogen power," Taylor said. "We spend a lot of time educating youth and the general public."

Missouri S&T has had significant success with several of its hydrogen-powered projects. A team of S&T students recently finished fourth in the 2011 Hydrogen Student Design Contest with its design of a residential hydrogen fueling system. Missouri S&T teams won the competition in 2010 and 2008.


June 22, 2011
(view original article)

Coke installs UTC fuel cell in East Hartford

Soda maker Coca-Cola installed two 400-kilowatt fuel cells from South Windsor energy manufacturer UTC Power at its bottling facility in East Hartford.

The PureCell System fuel cells from UTC Power - a subsidiary of Hartford-based United Technologies Corp. - will provide 100 percent of the electrical and 50 percent of the heating demand at the East Hartford bottling facility. The system was unveiled on June 17.

"These UTC fuel cells have the potential to become a real game-changer in the way businesses power and heat their facilities," said Congressman John Larson, D-CT, who attended the event. "This is a great investment by Coca-Cola. They're now poised to see real energy savings while doing their part to reduce the burden on our power grid and help fight global warming."

The two fuel cells were wrapped in artwork created by East Hartford High School junior Julia Steele, who won a contest sponsored by Coke.

The Connecticut fuel cell industry grew by 28 percent over the past five years, according to the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology.


June 23, 2011
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Paris 2011: Airbus and Parker Collaborate on Fuel Cells

Airbus is cooperating with Parker Aerospace to explore ways to improve the efficiency of fuel cells for aviation applications such as on-board power generation. The objective is to develop a technology demonstrator, which will be followed by a flight-test campaign around the middle of the decade.

Airbus will be responsible for the overall aircraft system architecture and technology integration into the aircraft, while Parker will supply the fuel-cell system.

The airframer and other industrial partners tested a fuel-cell system on an aircraft in 2008, an activity that has led to Airbus exploring the possibility of replacing and aircraft’s auxiliary power unit with a multifunctional fuel cell. This could provide aircraft electrical consumers, such as cabin lighting, when the engines are not running.

Airbus believes that this will enable “the replacement of ground power units leading to an emission-free ground operation and significantly reduced mission fuel consumption.”


June 26, 2011
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Hydrogen fuel: backseat to electric vehicles?


Obama focus on EVs cuts off Bush initiative

Obama Administration programs push electric vehicles (EVs), although the jury is out on consumer uptake. It's worth asking: what happened to hydrogen-powered cars, purportedly the cleanest possible alternative?
 
Not only is the idea still around, major car makers say they are almost ready to introduce such vehicles. Toyota reportedly expects to have its hydrogen-powered vehicle on the road by 2015; price tag: $50,000. Daimler, Ford and Hyundai have made similar comments.
 
Global demand for oil is expected to rise in the next two decades, while "peak oil" projections remind us that oil is a finite, fossil fuel with adverse environmental consequences—two drivers  behind initiatives to develop alternatives.

Hydrogen is abundant, renewable and non-polluting. The trick to its economic use is several-fold. To name two: an efficient method of extracting it from water, where it resides most abundantly; and an infrastructure that can deliver it for, say, transportation purposes.

To be useful in energy applications such as fuel cells, for instance, a pure hydrogen source is required. If the "hydrogen economy" is to become a reality, then cheaper and more efficient methods of stripping the hydrogen from water must be developed. Today's technologies—which include electrolysis—tend to be costly and inefficient. However, work at the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) shows promise in achieving cost targets.

To catch up on current work on hydrogen as a fuel and converting wind energy to hydrogen, see NREL's website on the topic and my colleague, Intelligent Utility Daily Editor Phil Carson's recent column on the wind-to-hydrogen work at NREL. And according to NREL, hydrogen has nearly three times the energy content of gasoline, which compensates for efficiency losses.

Hydrogen has other advantages. When used in a fuel cell, hydrogen produces electricity and its only byproduct is water vapor. With current technology, hydrogen-fueled vehicles have more than twice the range of current EV technology, powered by electro-chemical batteries.

"People understand the appeal," says Susan Hock, director of electric and hydrogen technology systems for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in a previous conversation with this reporter at her Golden, Co. office. "We could wean ourselves from fossil fuels and become more energy independent to power cars and homes—and the only emission would be distilled water. But you have to produce, distribute and store hydrogen."
One major drawback: the energy used to create pure hydrogen, store it and transport it may outweigh its benefits. For now.

According to Hock, those hurdles will be overcome and EVs will bridge the gap to hydrogen-powered transportation and other applications.

Right now, however, electric vehicles are being pushed by the Obama Administration, which has allocated $11 billion to the research and development of EVs while challenging Americans to put 1 million such cars on the road by 2015. The current administration's budget would cut funds next year for work on hydrogen cars by $70 million.

Back in 2003, however, President George W. Bush announced a $1.2 billion hydrogen fuel initiative. This was reversed by President Obama in 2009.


June 27, 2011
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GS Caltex shifting main focus to green energy

GS Caltex, the nation’s second largest oil refiner, had a storybook year in 2010 after rolling up gaudy numbers in its balance sheet thanks to soaring crude prices. And it has stretched its stellar performance to this year with its best quarterly record in the first three months of 2011.

However, the company, the flagship unit of GS Group, is making efforts to accelerate the development of new growth engines in fuel cells, plasma-based waste recycling and thin-film batteries under the direct control of its Chairman Hur Dong-soo to stay in line with Seoul’s drive for low-carbon and green growth policy.

GS Caltex tallied 33.40 trillion won ($30.96 billion) in sales last year, up 71.1 percent from a year ago, while its operating profit and net income reached 1.46 trillion won and 716.1 billion won, respectively.

In the first quarter of this year, its sales posted a record 11.5 trillion won, with 827 billion won in operating profit and 618.3 billion won in net earnings.

GS Caltex, founded in 1967 as the first private oil company in Korea, began its fuel cell research more than two decades ago in preparation for the hydrogen era when such energy systems will call for near-zero carbon dioxide emissions.

Fuel cells, seen as an emission-free energy source, are a sustainable form of energy created through electrochemical processes between oxygen and hydrogen, which generates power efficiently without harmful pollutants.

GS FuelCell, the oil refiner’s subsidiary, has developed 1-kilowatt fuel cell systems for residences using natural gas and 5-kilowatt fuel cells combining heat and power. Both were successfully commercialized in 2010.

“The cells are sufficiently efficient compared to existing electricity and heat generators, and are good enough to meet the state target of expanding home fuel cells to 10,000 households by 2012,” said a GS FuelCell official.

GS Caltex, which has been delving into hydrogen, also introduced the country’s first hydrogen station in September 2007.

GS Caltex has also entered the promising energy-from-waste business on the strength of the cutting-edge plasma technology of GS Platech, another subsidiary. The sector is touted as one of the most viable renewable businesses.

According to the firm, the plasma technology can convert waste into energy using cost-efficient and eco-friendly methods by taking advantage of the characteristics of plasma.

“Traditional incinerators produce heavy metals and dioxins. With plasma, however, the amount of such toxic substances is reduced by 90 percent,” a GS Platech official said.

“In addition, the plasma format creates synthesis gases, which can be recycled to generate electricity.”

Another area that GS Caltex has been focusing on is rechargeable and thin-film batteries behind GS NanoTech. The batteries, which are seen as a next-generation cash cow for GS Caltex, are eco-friendly and less likely to explode.

Since its establishment in 2000, the company has stepped up efforts in research and development (R&D) to become the world’s top-tier player that specializes in manufacturing all-solid thin-film batteries and micro-array slides that are used in genetic disease research.

The manufacturer, the only entity for thin-film secondary batteries in Korea, has been preparing for mass production.


June 29, 2011
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Plug Power to Provide Kroger Co. With GenDrive Fuel Cell Solution

LATHAM, N.Y. -- Plug Power Inc. , a leader in providing clean, reliable energy solutions, today announces it has added Kroger Co. to its growing list of GenDrive(R) customers. Plug Power will supply 161 GenDrive fuel cells to Kroger's food distribution center in Compton, CA. The order includes 4 class-1 units for sit down counterbalanced trucks, 42 class-2 units for reach trucks and 115 class-3 units for pallet trucks.

With this partnership, Kroger will power its fleet of electric lift trucks with GenDrive fuel cells. Because GenDrive is fueled with hydrogen, the only byproducts created through the electrochemical energy-conversion process are heat and water.

Plug Power and Kroger have developed a hydrogen fueling infrastructure, placing compact dispensers strategically throughout the facility. Lift truck operators can fuel the GenDrive units themselves in as little as sixty seconds. Once fueled, trucks resume activity on the facility floor, moving products. Productivity improvements can be expected as the electric lift truck operates at full power as long as fuel is supplied.

"Kroger tested our GenDrive product and saw clear benefits to its operations which led them to engage with Plug Power on a full conversion of their facility," said Andy Marsh. "Plug Power's customers are leaders in the industry; forward-thinkers working toward building better, more efficient and more sustainable businesses for its customers, employees and communities. Kroger fits that mold perfectly."

Environmentally conscious business operations with a positive economic impact are at the forefront of decision-making in the material handling industry. And, Plug Power's GenDrive product is helping sustainably-progressive customers, such as Kroger, take charge of its greenhouse gas emission footprint.


June 30, 2011
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CommScope to Supply Hydrogen Fuel Cell Solution to SCTE

HICKORY, N.C - CommScope, Inc., a global leader in infrastructure solutions for communications networks, will supply its hydrogen fuel cell solution to the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) as a backup power solution.

“By incorporating fuel cell technology into our infrastructure, CommScope is helping SCTE to take a leadership role in demonstrating how cable can power hardened business- and enterprise-class services in an environmentally-friendly manner.”

CommScope’s hydrogen fuel cell solution will provide 64 hours of backup power to the data center in SCTE’s headquarters in Exton, PA. This will mark the first time a leading cable industry organization is scheduled to deploy CommScope’s alternative-energy solution. The hydrogen fuel cell solution is the second alternative-energy project the SCTE has invested in since 48 solar panels were installed on the headquarters’ roof in August 2010.

“The trend is underway within the cable industry to find innovative ways to improve the reliability and environmental impact of backup power solutions,” said Jim Hughes, senior vice president, Broadband Sales, CommScope. “The SCTE is showing the industry that cost-effective ‘green’ energy can be a reliable solution. This will be the first time that solar technology will link with CommScope’s hydrogen fuel cell solution. We are honored that this solution will be used to provide the SCTE with backup power that it will need in the case of an emergency.”

CommScope’s hydrogen fuel cell solution uses hydrogen-powered fuel cells to provide an environmentally-friendly DC backup power solution for cable network head-ends and hub equipment. Unlike diesel generators, the only by-products of hydrogen fuel cells are heat and water. The proton exchange membrane hydrogen fuel cells are housed inside an environmentally secure cabinet for outdoor deployment, and offer a smaller footprint and more dense power backup than what is on the market today.

“Our Smart Energy Management Initiative is focused on the twin goals of sustainable energy management and power availability,” said Mark Dzuban, president and chief executive officer, SCTE. “By incorporating fuel cell technology into our infrastructure, CommScope is helping SCTE to take a leadership role in demonstrating how cable can power hardened business- and enterprise-class services in an environmentally-friendly manner.”

CommScope’s hydrogen fuel cell solution is currently being installed at the SCTE’s headquarters and is expected to be operational next month. The SCTE also plans to unveil its newest alternative energy investment during its annual board meeting on Monday, July 18, 2011.

About CommScope

CommScope (www.commscope.com) has played a role in virtually all the world’s best communication networks. We create the infrastructure that connects people and technologies through every evolution. Our portfolio of end-to-end solutions includes critical infrastructure our customers need to build high-performing wired and wireless networks. As much as technology changes, our goal remains the same: to help our customers create, innovate, design, and build faster and better. We’ll never stop connecting and evolving networks for the business of life at home, at work, and on the go.


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