5.3.2011 Air Products to Build Hydrogen Fueling Station for Flint, Michigan Mass Transportation Authority
5.3.2011 MarketsandMarkets: Global Fuel Cell Market Will Reach $1.6 Billion With Annual Shipment of 10 Million Fuel Cell Units by 2016
5.3.2011 FuelCell Energy Team Awarded $11.7 Million Contract to Further Develop Clean-Coal Fuel Cell Power Plant
5.3.2011 Linde builds large hydrogen and synthesis gas plant in China
5.3.2011 Could Fuel Cells Power Clean Coal?
5.3.2011 Breakthrough Direct Methanol Fuel Cell (DMFC) Technology Portfolio Licensed from USC/Caltech by SFC Energy, Inc.
5.3.2011 Cheaper Hydrogen Fuel Cells on the Horizon
5.5.2011 14 Senators urge Secretary Chu to uphold 2010 level of fuel cell funding
5.5.2011 Fuel Cell To Heat And Power Toyota HQ
5.6.2011 Green power in forklift fuel cell technology
5.9.2011 Global Fuel Cell Shipments Doubled Between 2008 and 2010, According to Pike Research
5.9.2011 Forklift Trucks That Run on a Green Charge
5.11.2011 Swedish Group Invents Electrolyte-Free Fuel Cell
5.11.2011 Kettering University offers high schoolers classes on biogas, fuel cells and sustainable energy
5.11.2011 Torrance Shell station adds hydrogen fuel pump
5.12.2011 Connecting building fuel cells to fire equipment
5.12.2011 BOC launches 200W portable fuel cell generator
5.12.2011 Fuel cell markets grow 10x in 3 years
5.13.2011 Innovative Fuel Cell Power Generators by Tropical
5.16.2011 Market grows for distributed generation
5.16.2011 UTC Power to Install Fuel Cell Power Generation Facility at Hamden High School
5.19.2011 Audi Q5 HFC Hybrid Fuel Cell Revealed
5.20.2011 Audi launches e-gas initiative
5.20.2011 UOIT researcher awarded funding to develop fuel cell-based ethanol sensors
5.23.2011 AlumiFuel Power, Inc. Announces Development of a Breakthrough Portable Power Source for the Fuel Cell Applications Market
5.24.2011 Fuel Cell Powered Snowmobile Concept Sleek
5.26.2011 U.S. scientists develop new clean energy technology
5.27.2011 Fuel Cell Car Momentum Carried by High Gas Prices
5.28.2011 Electric blue: Hydrogen takes on electricity
5.31.2011 FuelCell Energy Inc. announces its biggest deal ever
5.31.2011 First Fuel Cell to Power Residential Building in New York Installed in Roosevelt Island
Air Products to Build Hydrogen Fueling Station for Flint, Michigan Mass Transportation Authority
Air Products (NYSE: APD), the leader in hydrogen fueling technology, today announced it has signed a contract with Sorensen Gross Construction Services to build a hydrogen fueling station in Flint, Michigan to fuel a hydrogen fuel cell bus owned by Flint’s Mass Transportation Authority (MTA). The station, which will be part of the MTA’s alternative fuels test program, is to be onstream in April 2012.
“This agreement continues to reinforce our leadership in the evolution of mass transit,” said Bob Kelly, business development manager for Hydrogen Energy Systems at Air Products. “Air Products has a proven record of working with the mass transit industry and is selected for these types of projects because of its technical capabilities in design and, specifically, its record of executing major projects in a safe and timely manner.”
“Sorensen Gross is excited to be part of a team that will bring the future of transportation fuel to our community. We are particularly pleased to be collaborating with Air Products, the MTA, and other team members in this endeavor as they are all leaders in their fields who will bring great expertise to this project,” said Ghassan Saab, CEO at Sorensen Gross.
Air Products will supply its hydrogen compression, storage and dispensing technology to fuel the bus with hydrogen produced from an electrolyzer provided by Proton OnSite. Details on Air Products’ portfolio of hydrogen fueling station technologies are provided at www.airproducts.com/h2energy.
“Proton OnSite is pleased to be working with Air Products and the MTA in Flint, Michigan to showcase our industry leading, onsite hydrogen generation fueling product,” said Robert Friedland, president and CEO of Proton OnSite. “This kind of joint public and private enterprise involving global leaders in industrial gases and onsite hydrogen generation, coupled with a forward-thinking transit agency like Flint’s MTA, is crucial in helping the United States move beyond fossil fuels. We want to help enable more fueling options, those that are affordable, clean and reliable. When commuters start riding this bus next spring, they will be supporting a big step for Flint and this country overall in terms of the available fuel options.”
Air Products has been involved in several recent mass transit fueling projects. These include: fueling five new hydrogen fuel cell powered buses that transport riders daily on the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit) bus system in the San Francisco Bay Area in California (2010); commissioning its fueling station in London to fuel a fleet of five hydrogen buses as part of the Transport for London Project (2010), and the same station will fuel the first fleet of London hydrogen taxis planned for 2012; and fueling a fleet of more than 50 hydrogen fuel cell shuttle vehicles that transported athletes and government officials at the Asian Games and Asian Para Games in Guangzhou City, China (2010). The China project was similar to Air Products filling hydrogen buses at a fueling station in the Beijing Hydrogen Park during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, which marked the first demonstration project for new-energy vehicles in China.
Air Products, the leading supplier of hydrogen to refineries to assist in the production of cleaner burning transportation fuels, has unique experience in the hydrogen fueling industry. These varied fueling applications provide an opportunity to assess consumer experiences, evaluate product performance and advance product improvements. In fact, in certain market applications, fueling rates at several individual sites of over 15,000 refills per year are occurring. The company has placed over 120 hydrogen fueling stations in the United States and 19 countries worldwide. Cars, trucks, vans, buses, scooters, forklifts, locomotives, planes, cell towers, material handling equipment, and even submarines have been fueled with trend-setting technologies that involve Air Products’ know-how, equipment and hydrogen. Use of the company’s technology is increasing and is currently over 350,000 hydrogen fills per year.
Air Products has more than 50 years of hydrogen experience and is on the forefront of hydrogen energy technology development. Air Products has an extensive patent portfolio with over 50 patents in hydrogen dispensing technology. Air Products provides liquid and gaseous hydrogen, and HCNG (hydrogen/compressed natural gas) fueling, and has developed a variety of enabling devices and protocols for fuel dispensing at varied pressures. Hydrogen for these stations can be delivered to a site via truck, produced by natural gas reformation, biomass conversion, or by electrolysis, including electrolysis that is solar and wind driven.
Air Products (NYSE:APD) serves customers in industrial, energy, technology and healthcare markets worldwide with a unique portfolio of atmospheric gases, process and specialty gases, performance materials, and equipment and services. Founded in 1940, Air Products has built leading positions in key growth markets such as semiconductor materials, refinery hydrogen, home healthcare services, natural gas liquefaction, and advanced coatings and adhesives. The company is recognized for its innovative culture, operational excellence and commitment to safety and the environment. In fiscal 2010, Air Products had revenues of $9 billion, operations in over 40 countries, and 18,300 employees around the globe. For more information, visit www.airproducts.com.
NOTE: This release may contain forward-looking statements within the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are based on management’s reasonable expectations and assumptions as of the date of this release regarding important risk factors. Actual performance and financial results may differ materially from projections and estimates expressed in the forward-looking statements because of many factors not anticipated by management, including risk factors described in the Company’s Form 10K for its fiscal year ended September 30, 2010.
MarketsandMarkets: Global Fuel Cell Market Will Reach $1.6 Billion With Annual Shipment of 10 Million Fuel Cell Units by 2016
DALLAS, Texas - According to a new market research report, "Global Fuel Cell Market by Technology, Application, Component, Installation, Cost, Geography, Trends and Forecasts (2011 - 2016)", published by MarketsandMarkets ( http://www.markets andmarkets.com), global fuel cell market will reach to $1.6 billion from estimated $240 million in 2010 with CAGR of 17.6% during 2011 - 2016.
By 2016, annual fuel cell shipments will reach 10 million units from 0.14 million units in 2010 with a CAGR of 115% during 2011 - 2016. In terms of MW capacity, those 10 million units will be equivalent to 3,760 MW compared to mere 240 MW in 2010.
Private equity & venture capital investments and subsidies provided by government are the main drivers to take the industry from research to demonstration and finally commercialization phase. Advantage over other backup power options, higher energy density compared to batteries, and capacity to store energy from intermittent sources like wind and sun are the other factors currently driving the fuel cell industry.
In 2016, North America will be the largest market with $594 million; i.e. 37% market share due to development of fuel cell vehicles market in California, U.S. North America will grow by 32.3% CAGR from 2011 to 2016 followed by Europe, which will grow by 26.6% during the same period. Among countries, currently U.S. is the largest market with estimated 45% market share; i.e. $225 million in 2009. Japan is the fastest growing market and will grow its market share from 14% in 2009 to 26% in 2016.
In 2008, the industry started commercialization with few segments such as telecom towers' fuel cell backup power systems and fuel cell forklifts. By 2010, some more segments like residential cogeneration and heat production (CHP) units and auxiliary power units (APUs) were commercialized. The next big market, which is still in demonstration phase and waiting for commercialization is fuel cell vehicles. Automakers have planned to start production line by the year 2015. However, this is only feasible when desired manufacturing cost and durability are achieved. Companies are investing heavily in research and development activities and trying to attain 39.5% cost reduction during 2011 - 2016 which is required for fuel cell systems to be competitive with IC Engines.
Scope of the report
This report breaks the global fuel cell market into four major segments: i.e. geographies, applications, technologies/types, and fuel used. Each market is analyzed in terms of unit shipments, MW capacity and value, and is forecasted for 2011-2016.
- Geography: North America, Europe, and Asia and major countries in those regions such as U.S., Canada, Germany, UK, Japan, and South Korea
- Application: Stationary, transportation, and portable
- Technology/Type: Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC), Direct Methanol Fuel Cell (DMFC), Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC), Molten Carbonate Fuel Cell (MCFC), Phosphoric Acid Fuel Cell (PAFC), etc.
- Fuel Used: Hydrogen, Methanol, Natural Gas/Methane, Anaerobic Digester Gas/Biogas, etc.
MarketsandMarkets (M&M) is a global market research and consulting company based in the U.S. We publish strategically analyzed market research reports and serve as a business intelligence partner to Fortune 500 companies across the world. MarketsandMarkets also provides multi-client reports, company profiles, databases, and custom research services.
M&M covers thirteen industry verticals, including advanced materials, automotives and transportation, banking and financial services, biotechnology, chemicals, consumer goods, energy and power, food and beverages, industrial automation, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, semiconductor and electronics, and telecommunications and IT.
We at MarketsandMarkets are inspired to help our clients grow by providing apt business insight with our huge market intelligence repository. To know more about us and our reports, please visit our website http://www.marketsandmarkets.com
FuelCell Energy Team Awarded $11.7 Million Contract to Further Develop Clean-Coal Fuel Cell Power Plant
DANBURY, Conn. - FuelCell Energy, Inc. (Nasdaq: FCEL) a leading manufacturer of ultra-clean, efficient and reliable power plants using renewable and other fuels for commercial, industrial, government, and utility customers, today announced an $11.7 million cost share award from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for Phase III of the Solid State Energy Conversion Alliance (SECA) coal-based systems program. The SECA program is a collaboration among the Federal Government, private industry, and academia to develop megawatt-class solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) power plants that use coal syngas to generate electricity. Power generation from coal syngas advances the nation's energy security while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The total Phase III program cost is $11.7 million, of which $8.2 million will be funded by the DOE.
The objective for this Phase III award is to build and operate an SOFC module with output of 60 kilowatts (kW) utilizing the cell and stack designs of Versa Power Systems, Inc., the technology partner of FuelCell Energy. The design of the 60 kW SOFC module is scalable, allowing a building block approach to create 250 kW modules or larger. The SOFC module is fuel flexible, capable of operating on many fuels including natural gas, coal syngas or renewable biogas. This award will help to accelerate the development of affordable SOFC modules with enhanced performance and endurance.
"Clean power generated from coal addresses both environmental and domestic energy security concerns," said Chris Bentley, Executive Vice President, Government R&D Operations, Strategic Manufacturing Development, FuelCell Energy, Inc. "The ability to continue development, although on a limited scale, is vital for achieving the goal of providing the nation with clean power from an abundant domestic resource."
The USA has approximately one quarter of the world's recoverable coal deposits, the largest of any nation. Almost half of the power generated in the USA is from coal and this coal generated power contributes over one quarter of the nation's total greenhouse gas emissions. Fuel cells operating on coal syngas can generate clean power with virtually zero pollutants and significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
The 60 kW SOFC module is expected to begin operating in the summer of 2012 at the Company's facility in Danbury, CT and the award concludes in the fall of 2012. FuelCell Energy will continue to partner with Versa Power Systems, Inc., managing the project and developing and testing the stack module and power plant designs. Versa Power Systems will continue to develop the core SOFC technology.
Versa Power Systems, Inc. is a leading developer of environmentally friendly solid oxide fuel cells, a clean-tech source of power to generate electricity for a range of applications. Headquartered in Littleton, Colorado, the Company has built systems integral to research projects conducted by partners including Fortune 500 industrial manufacturers, government agencies and associations focused on energy research. FuelCell Energy, Inc. owns approximately 39 percent of Versa Power Systems, Inc.
About FuelCell Energy
DFC® fuel cells are generating power at over 60 locations worldwide. The Company's power plants have generated over 700 million kWh of power using a variety of fuels including renewable wastewater gas, biogas from beer and food processing, as well as natural gas and other hydrocarbon fuels. FuelCell Energy has partnerships with major power plant developers and power companies around the world. The Company also receives funding from the U.S. Department of Energy and other government agencies for the development of leading edge technologies such as fuel cells. For more information please visit our website at www.fuelcellenergy.com
This news release contains forward-looking statements, including statements regarding the Company's plans and expectations regarding the continuing development, commercialization and financing of its fuel cell technology and business plans. All forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. Factors that could cause such a difference include, without limitation, general risks associated with product development, manufacturing, changes in the regulatory environment, customer strategies, potential volatility of energy prices, rapid technological change, competition, and the Company's ability to achieve its sales plans and cost reduction targets, as well as other risks set forth in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The forward-looking statements contained herein speak only as of the date of this press release. The Company expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any such statement to reflect any change in the Company's expectations or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.
Linde builds large hydrogen and synthesis gas plant in China
Munich - The technology company The Linde Group will build and operate a large hydrogen and synthesis gas plant in the Chongqing Chemical Park in Western China in a joint enterprise with Chongqing Chemical & Pharmaceutical Holding Company (CCPHC). The project has a total investment value of around EUR 200 million. Linde holds 60 percent of the shares in the joint enterprise with CCPHC.
In future, the new on-site plant will provide the production facilities of BASF and CCPHC based in Chongqing with carbon monoxide, hydrogen and synthesis gas.
"We look forward to jointly supporting the expansion of the developing chemical cluster Chongqing with our partner CCPHC," said Sanjiv Lamba, member of the Executive Board of Linde AG and responsible for the company's business in Asia." As a result of this project, we will further strengthen our position as the leading gases and engineering company in the growth market China."
The new plant, which will be supplied by Linde's Engineering Division, is expected to come on stream in the third quarter of 2014.
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
Could Fuel Cells Power Clean Coal?
FuelCell Energy (Nasdaq: FCEL) is benefiting from the Obama Administration's search for a viable clean coal technology.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) awarded the company $11.7 million as a cost share to continue development of using fuel cells that run on coal syngas to generate electricity.
The award is for the third phase of the Solid State Energy Conversion Alliance coal-based systems program. The program is a collaboration among the Federal Government, private industry, and academia to develop megawatt-class solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) power plants that use coal syngas to generate electricity.
The objective is to build and operate a 60 kW SOFC module using the cell and stack designs of Versa Power Systems, Inc., a FuelCell Energy technology partner. The goal is for the design to be scalable and modular. It would be able to accommodate many fuels, including coal syngas, natural gas, or renewable biogas.
Since the US has about 25% of the world's recoverable coal deposits - the largest of any nation - and almost half our power comes from it, the search is on to find a way to use this abundant resource without creating emissions.
Fuel cells operating on coal syngas can generate clean power with virtually zero pollutants and significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
The 60 kW SOFC module is expected to begin operating in the summer of 2012 at company headquarters in Connecticut.
FuelCell Energy's fuel cells are currently generating power at over 60 locations worldwide using a variety of fuels including renewable wastewater gas, biogas from beer and food processing, as well as natural gas and other hydrocarbon fuels.
Breakthrough Direct Methanol Fuel Cell (DMFC) Technology Portfolio Licensed from USC/Caltech by SFC Energy, Inc.
LOS ANGELES - The University of Southern California, the California Institute of Technology, and SFC Energy, Inc. today announced the execution of a license to an extensive portfolio of U.S. patents for direct methanol fuel cell technology (DMFC). The nonexclusive license to the universities' patents will facilitate SFC Energy, Inc.'s expansion of its methanol fuel cell products into the U.S. market.
Direct methanol fuel cells hold promise as a clean and efficient technology for generating grid-independent electricity directly from methanol, a liquid fuel that is ubiquitously available. DMFC technology does not require an external fuel reformer, and is an excellent candidate for very small to mid-sized applications, such as portable consumer electronics and vehicle power plants. SFC Energy Inc.'s product line ranges from portable fuel cells used to power equipment for field personnel, to systems that supply auxiliary power for electrical systems on boats, motor homes, and special-purpose vehicles.
The licensed technology was invented by a USC Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute team led by G. K. Surya Prakash and Nobel laureate George Olah, and by S. Surampudi, S. R. Narayanan, E. Vamos, H. Frank, and G. Halpert at Caltech/JPL. It includes fundamental patents covering the direct conversion of liquid fuels to electricity by specially designed fuel cells. The universities had previously licensed the patent portfolio to other companies, but those licenses have terminated.
SFC Energy, Inc. is the U.S. affiliate of SFC Energy AG. USC, Caltech, and SFC Energy AG are in discussions regarding a license to the patents that the universities hold in countries outside of the United States.
"We are very excited to see this disruptive technology moving into commercial use," said Krisztina 'Z' Holly, Vice Provost for Innovation at USC and Executive Director of the USC Stevens Institute for Innovation, which manages licensing of the DMFC patent portfolio on behalf of USC and Caltech. "We now look forward to continuing our efforts to move this technology into the market, through additional licenses with other companies, both in the U.S. and abroad."
"SFC Energy AG is a leader in the application of DMFC technology, and we are very pleased to be working with their U.S. affiliate," said Fred Farina, Caltech's Chief Innovation Officer.
Dr. Peter Podesser, CEO of SFC Energy AG, characterized the license agreement as "a key element of our strategic plan for growing the company. With this license in place, we are well positioned to bring our reliable alternative energy sources to U.S. consumers."
About SFC Energy Inc. and SFC Energy AG
SFC Energy, Inc. is the U.S. affiliate of SFC Energy AG, a market leader in fuel cell technologies for mobile and off-grid power applications serving the consumer, professional, and defense/security markets. SFC Energy AG has alliances with leading companies in a wide range of industries. Unlike most other fuel cell manufacturers, who are in the research and development phase or run subsidized demonstration projects, SFC Energy AG has, outside the U.S. market, already shipped more than 20,000 fully commercial systems to industrial and private end users for more than six years, and has created a convenient fuel cartridge supply infrastructure.
Cheaper Hydrogen Fuel Cells on the Horizon
LOS ALAMOS, New Mexico - Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory have found a way to avoid the use of expensive platinum in hydrogen fuel cells, the environmentally-friendly devices used to power automobiles. The researchers have developed catalysts that use carbon and inexpensive iron and cobalt instead of platinum for the part of the fuel cell that reacts with oxygen.
Eliminating platinum, a precious metal more expensive than gold, solves an economic challenge that has thwarted widespread use of hydrogen fuel cell systems.
Any increase in the demand for platinum-based catalysts could drive up the cost of platinum even higher than its current value of nearly $1,800 an ounce.
In a paper published April 22 in the journal "Science," Los Alamos researchers Gang Wu, Christina Johnston, and Piotr Zelenay, joined by researcher Karren More of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, describe the use of a platinum-free catalyst in the cathode of a hydrogen fuel cell.
Scientists Piotr Zelenay and Gang Wu at Los Alamos National Laboratory (Photo courtesy LANL)
The researchers found that fuel cells containing the carbon-iron-cobalt catalyst synthesized by Wu not only generated currents comparable to the output of precious metal catalyst fuel cells, but held up favorably when cycled on and off. This use can quickly damage inferior catalysts.
"The encouraging point is that we have found a catalyst with a good durability and life cycle relative to platinum-based catalysts," said Zelenay, corresponding author for the paper.
Hydrogen fuel cells convert hydrogen and oxygen into electricity. The cells can be enlarged and combined in series for high-power applications such as cars and trucks. Hydrogen fuel cells produce only water as a waste product and do not emit greenhouse gases.
The carbon-iron-cobalt catalyst fuel cells effectively completed the conversion of hydrogen and oxygen into water, rather than producing large amounts of undesirable hydrogen peroxide.
Inefficient conversion of the fuels, which generates hydrogen peroxide, can reduce power output by up to 50 percent, and also can destroy fuel cell membranes.
The new catalysts showed high power output, good efficiency, and promising longevity, the researchers said.
Zelenay said, "For all intents and purposes, this is a zero-cost catalyst in comparison to platinum, so it directly addresses one of the main barriers to hydrogen fuel cells."
Because of the successful performance of the new catalyst, the Los Alamos researchers have filed a patent for it.
The next step in the team's research will be to better understand the mechanism underlying the carbon-iron-cobalt catalyst.
Micrographic images of portions of the catalyst by researcher More have provided some insight into how it functions, but further work must be done to confirm theories by the research team.
Such an understanding could lead to improvements in non-precious-metal catalysts, further increasing their efficiency and lifespan.
Project funding for the Los Alamos research came from the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office as well as from Los Alamos National Laboratory's Laboratory-Directed Research and Development program. Microscopy research was done at Oak Ridge National Laboratory's SHaRE user facility with support from the Department of Energy's Office of Basic Energy Sciences.
14 Senators urge Secretary Chu to uphold 2010 level of fuel cell funding
By Eric Loveday
U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and 12 others have called upon Energy Secretary Steven Chu to reinstate the Department of Energy's (DOE) 2010 level of funding for fuel cell and hydrogen energy programs. Brown asserts that, "Fuel cell and hydrogen technologies are on the cusp of revolutionizing the way we use energy" and, as such, believes that governments (both state and federal) should "allocate all possible resources" to "encourage ... manufacturers, private sector investors, suppliers, and potential customers to embrace this promising new technology."
The Senators wrote a bipartisan letter that says, in part:
We are concerned... that further cuts to these two programs would inhibit the long-term diversification of our nation's energy portfolio and stunt the development of American engineered and domestically-produced energy systems powered by hydrogen and fuel cells.
...we believe domestic manufacturers are on the verge of the full scale commercialization of fuel cell systems and hydrogen energy technologies in stationary, backup power and material handling equipment applications. In the case of mobile fuel cells, several auto manufacturers are planning for commercial fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) launches beginning in 2014-2015.
With the enactment of the Fiscal Year 2011 (FY11) Continuing Resolution, funding for DOE programs has been slashed by five percent for the remainder of the current fiscal year.
The bipartisan letter in its entirety:
Dear Secretary Chu:
We write today in support of the fuel cell and hydrogen energy programs within the Department of Energy (DOE). With the enactment of the Fiscal Year 2011 (FY11) Continuing Resolution, funding for DOE programs have been reduced by five percent for the remainder of the current fiscal year compared to the amount provided by Congress in FY10. We are concerned, however, that further cuts to these two programs would inhibit the long-term diversification of our nation's energy portfolio and stunt the development of American engineered and domestically-produced energy systems powered by hydrogen and fuel cells.
We share your belief that reasonable investments in clean energy technology can spur job creation through the growth of new and emerging American industries. However, funding reductions to fuel cell and hydrogen programs would discourage manufacturers, private sector investors, suppliers, and potential customers from fully embracing this promising new technology.
As you know, the fuel cell and hydrogen energy programs within DOE are among its most successful. Within the Office of Fossil Energy (OFE), the Solid-State Energy Conversion Alliance (SECA) has met or exceeded every benchmark established by Congress and DOE since its creation. This public-private partnership, in which industry has contributed three dollars for every dollar of government funding, has helped decrease the cost of solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) tenfold, while dramatically increasing their efficiency and durability.
Additionally, we believe domestic manufacturers are on the verge of the full scale commercialization of fuel cell systems and hydrogen energy technologies in stationary, backup power and material handling equipment applications, thanks in part to the success of the Fuel Cell Technologies Program within the Office of Energy Efficient and Renewable Energy (EERE). In the case of mobile fuel cells, several auto manufacturers are planning for commercial fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) launches beginning in 2014-2015. This program is helping drive down the cost of fuel cell systems and hydrogen infrastructure, while familiarizing Americans with these new clean energy technologies.
Fuel cells and hydrogen energy systems must continue to play an important role in our nation's energy diversification. From new clean vehicle technology to stand-alone power generation for military installations, universities, and hospitals, fuel cell and hydrogen technologies are on the cusp of revolutionizing the way we use energy in the United States. While the Senate considers the Fiscal Year 2012 appropriations for your agency, we urge you to resist repurposing or cutting these programs that support true energy diversification.
We look forward to working with you on this critical issue.
Sherrod Brown, Lindsey Graham, Joseph I. Lieberman, Ron Wyden, Max Baucus, Patty Murray, Charles Schumer, Jon Tester, Debbie Stabenow, Kirsten Gillibrand, Richard Blumenthal, Amy Klobuchar, Maria Cantwell, Robert P. Casey, Jr.
Fuel Cell To Heat And Power Toyota HQ
By Caleb Denison
Toyota’s sales and marketing headquarters campus in Torrance, California is set to start drawing power and heat from a 1 megawatt fuel system soon. According to Vancouver, Canada based Ballard Power Systems, it will be providing Toyota with one of its CLEARgen fuel cell systems, which will reportedly run on biogas captured from a local landfill.
Ballard says its 1 megawatt fuel cell will be used to provide power to several locations on the 15 building, 125 acre campus, including the Toyota and Lexus headquarters building, a data center building and the employee fitness center. Ballard estimates the use of the fuel cell will result in lower use of peak grid power and help avoid the generation of up to 10,00 tons of CO2 emissions anually.
Power isn’t the only energy the fuel cell will be providing, either. Heat generated by the fuel cell will also be used to provide hot water and space heating in the Toyota employee activity center and in the Lexus headquarter building. The heat will effectively offset natural gas use and isestimated to help avoid up to an additional 28 tons of CO2 emissions annually.
Presently, Ballard expects the system to be commissioned at Toyota’s campus, which houses some 5,000 employees, sometime in 2012. The effort builds on other “think green” efforts by the car company, including a zero waste to landfill effort commissioned in 2007.
Green power in forklift fuel cell technology
For the local materials handling and lift truck market, alternatives to traditional forklift power have provided newer and greener options for manufacturers who rely on these technologies, especially ahead of a carbon tax which could be rolled-out mid next year.
According to Crown Equipment general manager for markets, Craig Kenchington, manufacturing companies that realised their negative impact on the environment as a key issue a decade or more ago will be the ones that will feel the least impact of any tax on carbon.
"We don't know yet just how the tax will be applied or administered, but the fact remains that those companies that are already embracing cleaner energy options will be in a position of competitive advantage regardless of what the final carbon tax outcome may be," he says.
Kenchington says there are a number of options available to companies engaged in materials handling to help mitigate future business risks related to the price on carbon. These options include electric forklifts which can be charged using renewable energy and alternative fuel sources, such as hydrogen fuel cell technology.
Electric forklift models are the most popular alternative source of clean power for the local market. This is largely due to their cost efficiency and also Australia's comparatively relaxed environmental laws and regulations compared to its European counterparts, who favour fuel cell power as the more carbon-efficient solution.
However, fuel cell power's limited take-up in Australia reportedly has more to do with lack of awareness rather than price. It's a new type of power which the market knows little about, explains Kenchington.
"Fuel cell power offers companies which use forklifts the cleanest and arguably, the cheapest form of power in the history of the materials handling industry," he says.
"This is because the process involves basically little more than hydrogen and water, both of which are naturally occurring."
In fact, Kenchington says many companies in food manufacturing, for example, are already using hydrogen onsite for production, but are unaware that that same source of hydrogen can power their forklift fleet.
In the US market, Crown is already supplying companies, such as Wal-Mart, with vehicles designed and manufactured for fuel cell power packs. The adoption of the technology followed a 24-month trial of 20 Crown Fuel Cell Qualified Trucks at the Warner Robins Air Force Base in Georgia, USA by Crown Research & Development division dedicated Fuel Cell Project Centre, which was established in 2008.
Locally, the next step in Crown's fuel cell power R&D is working with relevant Government authorities and suitable customers to trial the technology. The company is currently in contact with a number of applicable Government departments and is in the process of shortlisting suitable customers for Australian Fuel Cell technology trials.
Global Fuel Cell Shipments Doubled Between 2008 and 2010, According to Pike Research
BOULDER, Colo. -- Adoption of fuel cell powered products is gathering increasing momentum in a wide variety of application areas. The shift from an R&D based industry to a fully commercial one is well underway, though it has not been without its setbacks. Fuel cells are now being deployed for applications as diverse as residential power, off-grid mobile communications sites in Africa, low-carbon transportation, and electrical grid reliability. According to a new report from Pike Research, released today at the annual member meeting of the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association, global fuel cell shipments doubled between 2008 and 2010, from approximately 7,500 units to more than 15,000 units annually during that period.
“The reasons for the groundswell of interest in fuel cells are as varied as the sectors that are implementing the technology,” says research director Kerry-Ann Adamson. “Industry and government leaders are finding that fuel cells are a highly effective tool for deploying reliable, clean power for stationary, portable, and transport applications.”
Adamson adds that the largest fuel cell unit growth has been in the stationary power sector, which represented approximately 60% of shipments during 2010. Demand for stationary fuel cells is being driven by a number of early adopter sectors including the Japanese market for residential units, power for grid-tied and off-grid mobile base stations globally, and combined heat and power (CHP) plants for a variety of markets, including hospitals and hotels. Portable fuel cells have had their ups and downs over the past two years, with a temporary spike in shipments created by the sale of 3,000 Toshiba Dynario external battery rechargers in 2009, followed by a sharp decline in total sales in 2010.
Significant volumes for transportation fuel cells in cars and buses are still several years away as automakers gear up for fuel cell vehicle (FCV) launches in 2015, though shipments from the auxiliary power unit (APU) sector continue to increase year-on-year.
In the midst of this period of market evolution, the fuel cell competitive landscape is coming into clearer focus. With literally scores of companies having active development programs, Pike Research’s analysis indicates that a handful of market leaders and fast followers are beginning to emerge. The analysis shows that in 2010 less than a dozen companies accounted for the vast majority of global shipments. “The next few years will determine which of the current fuel cell companies will survive and thrive, and which will fall by the wayside,” says Adamson, “but this is also a time when barriers to entry for new companies are decreasing. With the start of product standardization, the creation of new business models, and the increasing focus on product shipments, we fully anticipate the market opening up to many new entrants over the next 5 years.”
Pike Research’s first annual “Fuel Cells Annual Report” analyzes the state of the global fuel cell industry, its key barriers and drivers, where the industry could be in 2017, and why 2015 is shaping up to be such a crucial point for the industry. This report is produced from extensive industry interviews as well as the Pike Research fuel cell forecast model. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the firm’s website.
Pike Research is a market research and consulting firm that provides in-depth analysis of global clean technology markets. The company’s research methodology combines supply-side industry analysis, end-user primary research and demand assessment, and deep examination of technology trends to provide a comprehensive view of the Smart Energy, Smart Grid, Smart Transportation, Smart Industry, and Smart Buildings sectors. For more information, visit www.pikeresearch.com or call +1.303.997.7609.
Forklift Trucks That Run on a Green Charge
The first forklift trucks in Europe that will run on fuel cells and with hydrogen in their tanks are on the way to the market. No fewer than 30 demonstration units are to be tested, and Norway is among the countries potentially involved in the trials.
Risavika harbour just outside Stavanger is among the candidates for trials of ten of the 30 forklift trucks, says SINTEF's Steffen Møller-Holst.
SINTEF is a participant in the project's development phase, which will bring the green European truck to its final goal. Under its bodywork, the truck houses a miniature power station in the shape of a fuel cell that runs on hydrogen, and which delivers power to its electric motor. All that the truck emits in operation is water vapour!
The best of both worlds
"A hydrogen-driven forklift truck running on fuel cells combines the advantages of diesel and battery-driven vehicles. The hydrogen-based technology means rapid refuelling, just like diesel, while it is also energy-efficient and every bit as environmentally friendly as a battery truck," says Møller-Holst.
The SINTEF scientist points out that a forklift truck fitted with fuel cells and operating two eight-hour shifts a day reduces CO2 emissions by the equivalent of eight private cars.
Developed under the European Union's auspices
The truck's power system has been developed in the course of a joint European effort run by the European Union.
SINTEF is to perform laboratory tests that will explore how much fuel cell performance falls by over time. At the same time, SINTEF will systematise and analyse feedback from the trials of the 30 demonstration trucks. The knowledge gained in this process will be used to improve the control system and optimise operation, which will ensure that the fuel cell will have a life-cycle that meets the commercial requirements of the market.
The Danish company H2 Logic AS has been responsible for developing the trucks' fuel-cell technology. The solution is a development of a fuel cell that the company had previous developed with Scandinavian backing; its partners included SINTEF and Statoil.
These large forklift trucks in the joint European project have been designed to carry heavy loads. They are manufactured by the Danish company Dantruck, which is showing them off this week at the enormous CeMAT trade fair in Hanover.
Swedish Group Invents Electrolyte-Free Fuel Cell
It is difficult to predict whether the hydrocarbon economy will be ousted by the cleaner hydrogen economy…or by something else. But one thing is sure; it will all come down to cost.
Hydrogen fuel cells are currently expensive to produce, generally consisting of three components, cathode, anode, and electrolyte – and with all the ensuing complexities.
Now, however, Dr. Bin Zhu and his team in Stockholm have achieved a breakthrough in fuel cell technology by developing a radical electrolyte-free single-layer fuel cell. The device consists of a homogenous composite layer of a metal oxide and an ionic conductor. This layer works as a bicatalyst. When H2 is supplied to one side of the device, it is ionized to H+, releasing electrons. The side exposed to O2 then acts as a cathode, receiving the electrons and producing 02-. During this process, a cell potential is generated and energy can be taken out of the device, with water being the only side-product.
Kettering University offers high schoolers classes on biogas, fuel cells and sustainable energy
FLINT, Michigan — Kettering University is offering high schoolers a chance to learn about one of the fastest growing industries in the country.
Kettering’s pre-college ‘Get Energized!’ program will teach students in grades 9-12 on all topics related to sustainable energy.
Among the subjects: How biogas and nuclear power are produced. How fuel cells work and can be used to power homes, cars and buses. How to build a fuel cell car and wind turbine from a kit. How solar, hydro and wind power can be used.
The program will have two sessions. One will be offered to 9th and 10th graders June 13-17. A second session will be offered to 11th and 12th graders June 20-24.
Students will get hands-on experience in Kettering's labs, go on a field trip and learn from the university's faculty and staff.
Torrance Shell station adds hydrogen fuel pump
Vehicles powered by hydrogen won't be sold to the public until 2015, but consumers' willingness to buy them is largely dependent on what's happening right now: the build-out of hydrogen stations to fuel them.
On Tuesday, a Shell station in Torrance became the sixth hydrogen station to open in Southern California. It is the first to tap into an existing hydrogen pipeline. It is also the first to accommodate different auto manufacturers' filling protocols, some of which require more high-pressure fuel. And it's the first station capable of simultaneously refueling four vehicles at once from two dispensers.
"This station represents the next step. It's more accessible and higher capacity. It's easily expandable to accommodate a larger fleet," said Steve Hoffman, a hydrogen energy systems engineer with Pennsylvania-based Air Products, the world's largest supplier of hydrogen to oil refineries. Air Products was part of a collaboration among Shell, Toyota, the South Coast Air Quality Management District and the U.S. Department of Energy to build the station.
Air Products runs a hydrogen pipeline between its Southern California production facilities in Wilmington and Carson, along which many refineries are based. It was able to tap into its pipeline to feed the pumps at the Torrance station because the station was situated along an already existing line carrying the fuel.
Twelve additional hydrogen fueling stations have been funded for the Southern California area and will be built by the end of 2012. By 2015, most of the major automakers — General Motors Co., Honda Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. among them — have said they will go into volume production of hydrogen-fuel-cell vehicles.
Connecting building fuel cells to fire equipment
UK alkaline fuel cell company AFC Energy is developing ways to use exhaust air from its fuel cell for use in fire protection.
Exhaust air from fuel cells is low in oxygen (because the oxygen has combined with hydrogen in the fuel cell to make water). So it can be used in fire protection - because a burning fire needs oxygen.
By reducing the oxygen concentration in a room from normal 21 per cent to 15 per cent, people can breathe the air but an open fire cannot spread.
AFC Energy has signed a "Heads of Terms" with German fire protection company N2telligence GmbH to explore this.
Under the agreement, AFC Energy will only supply exhaust air from its systems to N2telligence for fire protection and N2telligence will only source alkaline fuel cell exhaust air from AFC Energy.
N2telligence has a license for patents owned by Airbus, to develop fire protection systems using exhaust air from fuel cell systems.
There are many buildings which might want both fuel cell energy and fire protection, including data centres, hazardous material stores, telecoms equipment rooms, vaults, museums and boiler rooms.
Because fuel cells are very reliable, the supply of low oxygen air is also reliable, making the fire protection systems more reliable.
BOC launches 200W portable fuel cell generator
BOC has launched a portable fuel cell generator called Hymera, which can generate 200W peak power and 150W continuous power from hydrogen. It can supply electricity at 230 V or 110 V alternating current.
BOC suggests that it might be used for temporary lighting, traffic management systems, power tool charging, instrumentation, illuminated signage, environmental monitoring, and be used for military, emergency services, rail repair, construction, security & surveillance, marine and local authorities.
It runs nearly silently, with very few moving parts, and no risk of spills, and does not need lubricating oil - so has advantages over conventional diesel generators.
BOC supplies hydrogen in high pressure cylinders, which can be used with the generator.
Fuel cell markets grow 10x in 3 years
US market research company MarketResearch.com has calculated that the global fuel cell market was 140,000 shipments in 2010, an increase from 11,000 units in 2007. The compound annual growth rate in shipments was 132 per cent.
Growth is expected to continue over the next 5 years at a compound annual growth rate of 115 per cent, and the total value of the fuel cell market will grow from USD 650m in 2010 to USD 1.6bn in 2016
The study analyses the fuel cell market by technology, application, component, installation, cost, geography, looking at market trends, opportunities and inhibitors.
It includes in-depth regional analysis for U.S., Canada, Germany, UK, Japan, and South Korea.
Another research company, Pike Research, calculated that fuel cell shipments only doubled between 2008 to 2010, from 7,500 units annually to over 15,000 units. 60 per cent of shipments in 2010 went to the stationary power sector, including for Japanese residences, mobile phone base stations around the world, and combined heat&power plants.
Innovative Fuel Cell Power Generators by Tropical
ATHENS, Greece - Tropical, a fast-growing enterprise manufacturing fuel cell systems (power generators), announced the TB-1000 and TB-5000, two portable fuel cell power generators, providing 1000W and 5000W electric power respectively at 12/24/48V DC and at 110/230V AC. Tropical's fuel cell systems are light-weighted, small-sized, zero-emission and require minimal maintenance.
Tropical's fuel cell systems can be used as back-up power systems for telecom systems, seismographs and meteo stations, as power chargers for caravans, motor yachts and boats, in military applications, demonstration projects, renewable energy hybrid systems, as well as for educational purposes at universities, research centers and schools.
TB-1000 and TB-5000 are powered with stacks provided by Ballard Power Systems, the FCgen 1020ACS (air cooled systems) and the FCgen 1300 (water cooled systems), that provide high power efficiency, reliability, increased runtime operation and are noiseless.
Tropical's new product line has been recently presented at the 17th Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Fair in Hannover, Germany, the world's largest annual industrial fair that attracts 6,000 exhibitors and 200,000 visitors and raised strong interest. The Hannover Fair puts a major spotlight on product innovations, industry trends and the latest advances in R&D.
Mr. George Kaplanis, CTO of Tropical, said: "Tropical looks into the future of power production, in cooperation with Ballard Power Systems, providing to the world market a product line of fuel cell power generators for a wide range of applications. The intelligent controller, developed by our R&D team, is behaving tremendously well in all field trials. Our new product line is on the right time for this growing market."
About Tropical (http://www.tropical.gr): Tropical S.A. owns a product portfolio of more than one hundred products integrating its own technology in two main product lines: a) the A/C units, refrigeration units and cooling boxes for buses, vans, trucks, trains, army vehicles and various customized vehicles and b) the fuel cell power systems operating with hydrogen, methanol, natural gas, lpg or biofuels for scooters, cars, boats, buses, etc. Tropical is certified by TUV HELLAS for the design and production of fuel cell systems and is a member of the mi-Cluster, the first and largest innovation cluster in Greece, supported by Corallia (http://www.corallia.org) and exceeding today 140 organizations.
Market grows for distributed generation
United Technologies Corp. wants to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 27 percent by 2015.
The corporation also wants to control its energy costs.
To achieve both these goals, UTC is installing onsite power generation at all six Connecticut facilities of its subsidiaries — putting in natural gas co-generation plants, solar arrays and fuel cells.
What UTC started with Pratt & Whitney’s East Hartford facility in 1995 and will finish with Sikorsky Aircraft’s Stratford facility later this year is rapidly expanding to other companies in Connecticut and throughout the world.
The concept of installing a power plant onsite at your own facility — called distributed generation — instead of relying on the electrical grid is growing in both the local and international business communities, especially as energy prices increase and become more volatile.
“It was really a cost savings measure to look at getting our power from somewhere off the grid,” said Sean West, UTC environmental health and safety manager.
Installing generation onsite is really about hard-core business decisions, said Andy Konigsberg, Northeast power and resources leader for Deloitte LLP. Companies want to better control their bottom lines, increase competitiveness and lower business risk. Managing power production achieves all these goals.
Companies using distributed generation — especially those with green power such as solar, fuel cells and co-generation — get the added bonus of being seen as eco-friendly, which builds brand awareness and customer loyalty, Konigsberg said.
“It is a step toward broader resource management,” Konigsberg said.
Connecticut Light & Power is seeing a record interest from installers wanting to learn about distributed generation. The utility held a training session in late March for companies wanting to learn how to install and service onsite systems, and the turnout was more than double previous years.
“There is a general interest in renewable power and being able to produce power at your own facility,” said David Ferrante, CL&P supervisor of distributed resources.
In 2003, CL&P had fewer than 30 residential and commercial customers with distributed generation. By this year, that number has grown to 2,000 customers, with the bulk coming in the past two to three years.
The utility predicts another 500 customers will have distributed generation by the end of 2011. The most popular sources of power are co-generation plants and solar arrays.
“A lot of the customers are receiving state and federal incentives to do these projects,” Ferrante said.
CL&P hosts training session because the utility wants its customers to safely install these systems. Even though onsite generation takes power off the grid, it doesn’t cost the utility money because they don’t make a profit on electric generation, just on their transmission infrastructure.
The Connecticut Clean Energy Fund first saw the spike in interest for commercial distributed generation five years ago, said acting president Dale Hedman. The interest is particularly focused on large-scale fuel cells, a clean technology that — like natural gas co-generation — creates both electricity and heat.
Legislation proposed in this year’s General Assembly provides extra funding for commercial solar and fuel cell projects, particularly Senate Bill 1, the omnibus energy policy legislation.
“That will match a lot of demand for onsite generation,” Hedman said.
With state and federal incentives, companies can reduce their payback period on the projects by a number of years. The CCEF awarded $2 million in April to 14 onsite generation projects around the state, all of them solar. The agency is preparing another round of funding in order to give $13 million total by July 2012.
“For companies, a lot of it is about cost,” Hedman said. “Having onsite generation hedges you against future rate increases.”
UTC uses fuel cells at its UTC Power facility in South Windsor and co-generation plants at its other five Connecticut facilities. The onsite generation allows UTC to stabilize its expenses by eliminating some of the question marks that come with buying power off the grid, West said. Since co-generation also captures the heat produced by the electric processes, the company saves on heating costs, too.
Despite the large upfront costs, the payback period for each of the UTC co-generation plants is between 30 months and five years.
“Two and a half years is pretty quick,” West said.
The company would install more co-generation plants at its Connecticut facilities, but UTC already maxed out its capacity, as any new installations would produce more heat than the facilities’ need. When the co-generation plant at Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. in Stratford is complete, UTC is finished with its Connecticut distributed generation.
However, the corporation has more than 300 facilities across the globe, and the locations in Illinois, Florida and Poland might be ripe for their own onsite power plants, West said.
FuelCell Energy Inc. of Danbury — specializing in onsite power plants using eco-friendly technology — has seen a 60 percent increase this year in clients’ need for distributed generation. The company’s biggest clients are wastewater treatment plants and manufacturing company, including Carla’s Pasta in South Windsor.
The demand for distributed generation has increased to the point where FuelCell is increasing its Torrington production workforce by 20 percent. The company’s two largest markets are California and South Korea, with Connecticut circled as a potential major market.
And it’s not just onsite power that companies are looking for. Proton Energy Systems in Wallingford saw huge increases in 2010 from companies wanting to produce their own hydrogen, said Mark Schiller, Proton vice president of business development. The power plant industry was a huge market for Proton last year and expects to be so again in 2011.
Companies that produce their own hydrogen don’t have to store all the gas onsite, saving on shipping and storage costs, as well as increasing safety. Interest in Proton productions comes particularly from the international market, although the domestic market is up, too, Schiller said.
“These companies like more control over what goes on at their facilities, and onsite generation certainly does that,” Schiller said.
This comes down to the bigger picture of resource management, said Konigsberg. Larger companies see inefficiencies in their supply chain and at their own facilities, and they want to start doing more with less. Smaller companies are then following suit.
Energy portfolio management is the start of that control, as it can take up 5-20 percent of a company’s expenses, Konigsberg said. The first step is companies need to be more aware of their energy use and how all decisions effect that use.
“Somebody inside the company needs to stand up and ask the tough questions,” Konigsberg said.
At UTC, the push for distributed generation started with the corporation’s desire to reduce its environmental footprint, West said. The corporation conserves through measures such as upgrades to lighting, use of compressed air and overall energy management.
“The co-generation systems are just one way we reduce our energy costs,” West said. “Conservation is a big part of our energy strategy in general.”
UTC Power to Install Fuel Cell Power Generation Facility at Hamden High School
The Town of Hamden, Conn and Hamden Board of Education have entered into a 10 year Energy Services Agreement (ESA) to erect and operate a fuel cell facility supplied by UTC Power, a company owned by United Technologies at Hamden High School.
The proposed PureCell System Model 400 comprises the current technology and design expertise of UTC Power to provide 400 kW output to meet nearly 90% of the yearly power requirement of the school. The spin-off thermal energy derived from the facility will be utilized to provide heat to the school premises in winter months and to heat the pool water all through the year. The Model 400 with a product life period of 20 years has 10 years of cell stack strength and achieves 90% system efficiency.
The 400 kW PureCell System during the contracted period of 10 years will allow the school to save around $800,000 on its energy spending. The onsite power generation facility will allow the school to cut down over 809 metric tons of carbon dioxide discharges every year, which can be compared to planting of new trees over 187 acres of land area. The technology will also allow the school to save over 3.8 million gallons of water when equated to other fuel technologies or central power generation facility.
Audi Q5 HFC Hybrid Fuel Cell Revealed
Audi’s vision in terms of future mobility is being presented these days in Berlin, as the brand is participating at the 11th Michelin Challenge Bibendum. The automaker has entered no less than five different vehicles with alternative drivetrains. in the event’s rally races and test drives, including the Q5 HFC (short for Hybrid Fuel Cell).
This is, in fact, a technical study the brand with four rings is using to examine the potential offered by fuel-cell power systems technology on board the Audi Q5.
The concept car relies on synergies and consequently uses many technical components from the future hybrid models. The automaker says there are two high-pressure cylinders store hydrogen at a pressure of 700 bar.
The polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell outputs 98 kW (133 hp). The lithium-ion battery has an energy content of 1.3 kWh. The drive is provided by two electric motors close to the wheels; together the motors produce a combined peak output of 90 kW and up to 420 Nm (309.78 lb-ft) of torque.
The Audi Q5 HFC with a fuel-cell power system participated in the InterCity Rally yesterday, an event that covers 300 km (186 miles) in the German state of Brandenburg. This is a long-distance competition for passenger vehicles and also includes safety tests. There have been three other Audi vehicles joining the Q5 HFC in this quest, namely the A3 TCNG powered by natural gas, the Q5 hybrid quattro and the Audi A8, which features the new 3.0 TDI generating 150 kW (204 hp).
“The brand is establishing a portfolio of sustainable sources of energy – starting with wind power. This portfolio will be rounded out by electricity, hydrogen and methane. Tomorrow’s electric, fuel-cell and methane vehicles will thus be made mobile and clean. The dual electricity/gas principle can aid the energy-supply industry in solving the problem of how to store electricity generated via renewable energy,” the company explains.
Audi launches e-gas initiative
When it comes to future transportation, most manufacturers are keying in on one form of electric propulsion or another. Nissan envisions the pure electric car as the future (the Leaf), while General Motors favours the extended-range electric car as is typified by the Chevrolet Volt. Ultimately, it will be the fuel cell-powered vehicle that will solve the environmental headache caused by the consumption of fossil fuels. Audi believes the electrification of the automobile is the right route, but only as long as the power needed to recharge the main battery or create the hydrogen that will feed the fuel cell comes from a sustainable, renewable resource.
The Audi Balanced Mobility initiative includes an indepth lifecycle assessment that looks at not only the power consumed in the production of a new car but also the fuel consumed over its 200,000kilometre life and the environmental cost of recycling the vehicle when its day is done. It is a logical way of determining the size of the environmental footprint (smog and acid rain) and the greenhouse gas emissions the modern automobile emits on a cradle-to-grave basis. The production and subsequent use of any form of future transportation must use clean energy sources and ensure that the power consumed throughout the lifecycle is used as efficiently as possible.
Consider the new A6. The balanced approach comes together in a number of ways. Mass reduction (the new A6 is 80 kilograms lighter than its outgoing counterpart) allows a smaller, more fuel-efficient engine and a smaller gas tank without affecting either performance or the per-tank driving range.
Throw in aerodynamic improvements and you end up with much better fuel economy -the new A6's average fuel consumption drops from the outgoing car's 7.1 litres per 100 kilometres to 6.0 L/100 km. This work touches one side of the Balanced Mobility philosophy. The other part of the initiative is both clever and points to the way future fuels will reduce the environmental burden caused by transportation.
The problem with the electrification of the automobile is that not all electricity is created equal. The environmental toll it takes depends very much on how the electricity that's needed to recharge the main battery is produced. Sadly, it becomes patently obvious that, while the electric car is emissions-free at its tailpipe, it can be anything but if the power it consumes is not produced in an environmentally friendly manner.
To put things into perspective, it helps to compare the environmental footprint of a regular gasoline-powered family sedan with the footprint of a similarly sized electric car and the electricity it consumes on a well-to-wheel basis.
In Norway, for example, the electric car would leave a significantly smaller environmental footprint than its gasoline-powered counterpart because 99% of the country's electric supply is clean, hydroelectric power. The same electric car driven in China, however, would leave a considerably larger environmental footprint in its wake than its gas-powered cousin because 77% of the country's electricity is produced by coal-fired gen-eration. Obviously, the ultimate electric solution lies in the use of clean energy.
Audi's clean energy solution is to make hay when the sun shines -or, more accurately, when the wind blows. The company has invested in four wind turbines that are part of a wind farm in the North Sea off the German coast. On an annual basis, the four turbines produce enough electricity to satisfy the needs of a town of 35,000 people.
If all goes as envisioned, the electricity created when the wind blows, a plentiful and renewable resource, will be used in one of two ways -down the road it will satisfy the need to recharge an electric car such as the mighty R8-inspired e-tron or the electricity will be used to power an electrolyzer. The latter splits water into its constituent parts -the oxygen is bled off to the atmosphere while the hydrogen is stored for future use.
Again, the hydrogen has two potential uses. When the fuel cell finally comes of age, the hydrogen will provide the fuel required to produce the electricity consumed by the car and its electric motor. In the near term, however, it will be mixed with carbon dioxide, which is harvested from the atmosphere, to create synthetic natural gas (methane). Audi calls it e-gas. The conversion of electricity into a readily storable medium allows it to heat homes or be used as a source of automotive fuel. To this end, Audi will launch a turbocharged natural gas-powered (TCNG) version of its nextgeneration A3, which will hit the road in 2013. It will be joined by a TCNG version of the A4 a little later.
The use of wind or solar power to create an automotive fuel, be it the electricity needed to recharge a battery or the e-gas that will fuel compressed natural gas-powered vehicles, is an ingenious way of making the best of a bad situation.
Sure, there is a compromise when electricity is converted into hydrogen (the process is around 60% efficient and so there is some power consumption in the conversion process), but it is this sort of thinking that will solve a moral dilemma and pave the way to a greener automobile.
UOIT researcher awarded funding to develop fuel cell-based ethanol sensors
OSHAWA – Dr. Brad Easton, assistant professor, Chemistry in the University of Ontario Institute of Technology’s Faculty of Science has received $905,600 in funding for his ongoing research to develop next-generation materials for fuel-based ethanol sensors. Dr. Easton’s ultimate findings are expected to have important economic and industrial consequences in the area of road safety.
Dr. Easton’s research award comes from two sources. The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada is providing $393,000 through its Collaborative Research and Development grant program, with the remaining $512,600 provided by Toronto, Ontario-based Alcohol Countermeasures Systems in cash and in-kind support.
“Fast, reliable and cost-effective fuel cell-based sensors for ethanol detection are critical when it comes to increasing road safety in Canada, but current systems employ technology that dates back to the 1970s,” said Dr. Easton. “While significant enhancements have been made since then in fuel cell technology for power generating devices, they have not been investigated and validated in breath alcohol sensors. One of our major goals is to reduce cost with new sensors that employ lower loadings of platinum alloys.”
More durable membrane materials, such as those targeted for high-temperature fuel cell applications developed in Dr. Easton’s lab will also be investigated.
AlumiFuel Power, Inc. Announces Development of a Breakthrough Portable Power Source for the Fuel Cell Applications Market
PHILADELPHIA, PA--(Marketwire - May 23, 2011) - Early production stage hydrogen generation company AlumiFuel Power, Inc. ("API"), the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based wholly owned operating subsidiary of AlumiFuel Power Corporation (OTCBB: AFPW), (the "Company"), announced today that it has developed a portable power system for military and commercial applications worldwide based on its proprietary aluminum/water reaction.
The overall global market for man portable power (generator and battery replacement) is nearly $8 billion annually, including $4.75 billion for portable systems (100W-500W) and $3.13 billion for mobile systems (25W-100W). The bulk of this market is in the U.S., encompassing military applications powering battlefield electronics and munitions, first responder/emergency preparedness applications powering radios and other electronic and medical devices for Homeland Security & Disaster Relief, and commercial applications such as shoulder-mounted video cameras.
API and its portable power partner, Ingenium Technologies of Rockford, Illinois, have successfully built a hydrogen generator capable of powering a 200W fuel cell. The system uses a modified PBIS-1000 cartridge with a different powder chemistry allowing for a very long continuous reaction with yields above 90%. The generator has demonstrated eight hours of continuous operation, a very rapid start up time (less than two minutes), and the ability to stop and restart. Furthermore, canisters that are partially reacted can be stopped and restarted over long periods of time. The generator/cartridge system has shown great scalability and is able to generate hydrogen flow rates suitable for fuel cells ranging from 1W to over 10kW. The generated hydrogen has been analyzed by a third party New Jersey-based laboratory, which has certified that the hydrogen gas is 99.99+% pure, making it suitable for PEM fuel cells according to SAE standards. API and Ingenium are in active discussions with potential fuel cell company partners.
Perhaps most importantly, the enormous amount of hydrogen that can be generated from a single cartridge means high energy densities (long run-times). The U.S. Department of Energy's goals for gravimetric and volumetric hydrogen storage are 5.5 wt% and 40 g/L, respectively, by 2015. Based on current testing, API has already exceeded these numbers. The next step is development of an integrated system (including fuel cell) with an energy density above 1 kWhr/kg and 1 kWh/L, far in excess of even the most advanced batteries. The high energy density and scalability of the system allow it to be used for applications such as soldier-carried portable power systems (20-300W), man-transportable backup power systems (500W-2kW), and small sensors for oceanographic equipment (1-10W).
API's Director of Engineering, Mr. Sean McIntosh, said: "As a direct result of the portable hydrogen generation work we have done for the U.S. Navy and for our military Portable Balloon Inflation System customer, we have made some truly groundbreaking discoveries that we have been able to very quickly adapt to man-portable power systems. Given our advantages in hydrogen storage densities, ease of use, cost, safety, use of non-toxic chemicals, scalability, recyclability and renewability, we are poised to aggressively enter the market with what essentially is the world's first commercially viable portable 'hydrogen genset.' In addition to commercial applications, there are other Department of Defense funding opportunities for portable power/hydrogen generation that we are now perfectly positioned to address and win."
Fuel Cell Powered Snowmobile Concept Sleek
Jessica Covi, an industrial design student graduating from the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, has designed a hydrogen fuel snowmobile fit for a Bond villain, if said villain were also eco-friendly. Called the Nanuq, the snowmobile has caught some attention online for its motor system.
Comprised of a hydrogen fuel cell system that powers a battery pack and electric engines, the Nanuq seeks to curb CO2 and noise pollution. The vehicle is almost a miniature car-on-ice, featuring side-view cameras, a dashboard complete with GPS navigation, and a variety of safety mechanisms, including a harness seatbelt, airbag, and rollbar.
According to an emission survey of Yellowstone Nation Park noted in the design portfolio, snowmobiles account for 50% of CO2 emissions during the winter months; a somewhat surprising figure, but an important point for why electric vehicles of all types can help reduce environmental impact.
As stated above, the Nanuq also cuts down on noise pollution, which may not be as important as harmful gas emissions, but in places like Yellowstone, or other wildlife areas where snowmobiles are used, disturbing the local habitat with loud sounds can have negative consequences for animals.
U.S. scientists develop new clean energy technology
LOS ANGELES, May 26 -- U.S. scientists have developed a new clean energy known as Direct Methanol Fuel Cell for future Pentagon and commercial applications, it was announced on Thursday.
This novel fuel cell technology uses liquid methanol as a fuel to produce electrical energy, and does not require any fuel processing, according to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), which partnered with the University of Southern California (USC) in developing the technology.
Pure water and carbon dioxide are the only byproducts of the fuel cell, and no pollutants are emitted, said JPL in Pasadena, Los Angeles.
Direct Methanol Fuel Cells offer several advantages over other current fuel cell systems, especially with regard to simplicity of design and higher energy density, JPL said.
Current systems rely on hydrogen gas, a substance that is more difficult to transport and store.
"JPL invented the Direct Methanol Fuel Cell concept and also made significant contributions to all the facets of the technology. These contributions include: development of advanced catalyst materials, high-performance fuel cell membrane electrode assemblies, compact fuel cell stacks, and system designs," said JPL Power Technology Program Manager Rao Surampudi.
He said USC worked with JPL in the development and advancement of this technology for defense and commercial applications.
Over the years, those applications have expanded from the original defense applications to include such uses as battery chargers for consumer electronics, electric vehicles, stand-alone power systems, and uninterrupted/emergency power supplies.
"We are looking forward to working closely with the fuel cell industry to further develop this technology to meet future market needs," said Erik Brandon, current Electrochemical Technologies group supervisor at JPL.
From 1989 to 1998, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) funded JPL and USC to develop direct methanol fuel cells for future defense applications.
"This fuel cell may well become the power source of choice for energy-efficient, non-polluting military and consumer applications," said Gerald Halpert, former Electrochemical Technologies group supervisor at JPL.
Recently, USC and the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, which manages JPL for NASA, awarded a license to SFC Energy, Inc., the U.S. affiliate of SFC Energy AG, according to JPL.
The non-exclusive license for the technology will facilitate the expansion of the company's methanol fuel cell products into the U.S. market, JPL said.
Fuel Cell Car Momentum Carried by High Gas Prices
Americans have short-term memories. When gas prices surpassed $4.00 a gallon across the country in the months following Hurricane Katrina, both we consumers and the automakers swore we'd drive (and produce) more fuel-efficient cars. A few people traded in their giant SUVs in favor of smaller cars. Some even bought Toyota's Prius hybrid car. But fast-forward a year from that time, with gas prices down again, we all returned to (wasteful) business as usual.
Maybe this time, everyone will stop believing it's a temporary fluke. As surging oil prices begin to stall the global economic recovery, consumers, automakers and investors are getting serious about alternative technologies. Investors are hopeful that the fuel cell vehicle sector will get a boost from the new drive (no pun intended) toward alternative fuels. Fuel cells can be used not only for vehicles, of course, but also heating and cooling systems and backup power for cell phone towers.
The Bedford Report, a new analyst paper, examines the outlook for fuel cells for cars and provides research reports on two prominent fuel cell companies: FuelCell Energy, Inc. and Plug Power, Inc.
Fuel cells can convert the stored energy in fuels like natural gas or hydrogen gas into electricity without combustion. They are somewhat similar to batteries, although fuel must be fed continuously to them. Fuel cells can operate on a variety of fuels, including natural gas and renewable fuels such as landfill gas.
Ford and Toyota are now both stressing the importance of breaking the dependence on foreign oil, and both companies say they could be mass producing fuel cell cars by 2015. Executives at Toyota say the company aims to slash the cost of hydrogen fuel cell technology before it starts selling its fuel cell sedan. Shinzo Kobuki, senior managing director in charge of Toyota's battery technology, says the goal is to bring the cost of the fuel stack and high-pressure hydrogen tank to one-twentieth of 2008 levels.
Electric blue: Hydrogen takes on electricity
Are electric cars losing their spark as hydrogen-powered vehicles make a late charge in the race to zero emissions?
The car industry’s well-publicised love affair with electric vehicles could be losing its spark before it’s properly consummated.
For the past few years car makers have been spruiking a future where the family car is hooked up to a powerpoint in the garage, and where the car industry stops being the most celebrated scapegoat for global warming.
The show car de jour at global motor shows for the past few years has had a cord protruding from where the petrol pump used to go.
British firm Intelligent Energy, has developed a fuel-cell version of the London cab.
But in recent months, it seems that the car industry is beginning to realise the limitations of a plug-in future. There’s just no way around the fact that battery vehicles simply aren’t up to the task of replacing the family car.
Even their staunchest advocates admit they are likely to be a second car for affluent families for the foreseeable future. The bottom line is that no-one can build a battery-powered car that can be both affordable and able to cover sufficient kilometres to overcome buyer anxiety about their car limping to a stop several kilometres short of its destination.
They may work as city runabouts, but as a replacement for the trusty Commodore, they fall short.
With the initial warm glow of infatuation with EVs beginning to fade, an old flame has begun to take on a new attraction for the big makers.
As electric vehicles hogged the limelight, fuel-cell vehicles seemed destined to remain pie-in-the-sky projects tackled by eccentric misfits in white jackets who had been pensioned off to “future projects” by young, ambitious executives on the way up the corporate ladder.
If you ask the US Government they still are. While the Bush administration committed $US2.5 billion over five years (2004 to 2009) to fuel-cell research, the current Obama government first slashed the funding to less than $50 million a year, then cut it altogether in favour of the quick fix promised by plug-in electrics.
But while the US is no longer a fan of fuel-cell cars, the car industry most definitely is.
The world’s leading car companies are talking about fuel-cell vehicles being commercially available within four years and the technology is back in the limelight.
If they can get it right, the attractions of the fuel-cell vehicle are immense. Electricity generated on-board via a chemical reaction between two of the world’s most abundant elements, hydrogen and oxygen, with only water vapour coming out of the tailpipe.
At this month’s Michelin Challenge Bibendum in Berlin - an annual show and tell for sustainable motoring – the fuel-cell was well and truly back.
The chairman of the event, Dr Patrick Oliva, says he noticed the trend as soon as the Challenge opened its gates, with fuel-cell vehicles making up roughly 30 of the 280 vehicles on display at the event.
“Fuel cells are definitely back on the agenda, absolutely,” he says.
Of plug-in electric vehicles, he says: “They are going to continue to be heavy and they will continue to be limited in their energy density.”
He says it is “unthinkable” to believe electric vehicles will be able to deliver conventional car-like range at a reasonable price.
“If you’re looking for 400km of range there is no way you have a solution that is competitive. Don’t expect high mileage and a reasonable price.”
General Motors subsidiary Opel says that in order to achieve a 500km driving range, an electric vehicle would need to carry around a battery that weighed 800kg, not much less than a Mazda2. That compares with 125kg for a hydrogen tank and 43kg for a diesel tank.
More importantly it would also be prohibitively expensive. Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV - a city runabout - would be likely to cost $80,000 if it were offered to private buyers in Australia.
With those figures in mind, Opel is taking a three-pronged strategy that involves small battery powered cars for city commuting, hybrids that operate as electric vehicles over short distances and use small petrol engines to extend their range, and fuel-cell vehicles.
The company’s manager of hydrogen and fuel-cell deployment strategy, Dr Lars Peter Thiesen, says the limitations of battery powered EVs make other strategies a necessity.
“In order to cover mid to long-range distances with a pure battery-driven car, you’d have to install batteries that are heavy, bulky and need charging for many hours,” he says.
He says the future lies in electric cars “powered by fuel cells, with hydrogen as the fuel”.
Opel chief executive, Karl-Friedrich Strache, says fuel-cells appeal to a wider range of drivers because they perform in much the same way as a conventional car.
“With hydrogen you can store energy in a much more compact form than a battery. It is therefore much closer to what we’ve come to expect from diesel or gasoline. So the answer to the question: ‘do we need fuel cells?’ is a definite yes,” he says.
“They provide long range without limitations in vehicle size or functionality. They are zero-emissions vehicles all the time and they can refuel in just three minutes.”
Opel and GM have been working on fuel-cell technology since the 1960s and the company says it will reach “production maturity” by 2015. GM is not alone – Toyota is also predicting it will start production of fuel-cell vehicles in 2015, while the Hyundai-Kia group is aiming at a 2012 launch date.
Honda is looking at 2018 for its Clarity fuel-cell vehicle, while China’s Shanghai Automotive says it will be ready for limited sales in 2015. Even the Volkswagen Group – a vocal critic of hybrids and electric vehicles in the past, has come to the party.
The group had a fuel-cell Audi Q5 At the Challenge Bibendum, joining fuel-cells from mainstream companies including Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, Toyota and Opel.
Audi engineer Friedrich Wilhelm expects fuel-cell vehicles to appear in the Audi range five years from now “in some cities”.
“They should be widespread in 10 years. At the moment, the technology is ready, but the cost is still too high,” he says.
That cost has a lot to do with the fact that fuel-cell vehicles don’t enjoy the economies of scale that full-scale manufacturing provides. The cost of materials for the fuel-cell stack itself is still high as well.
“There are hurdles. We are working to reduce the platinum content in fuel stacks, which makes them expensive,” he says.
How expensive? None of the leading players has quantified that yet, but Chinese car maker Shanghai Automotive (SAIC) has.
It is developing a fuel-cell vehicle that is also a plug-in. The innovative approach is done to keep costs down – by using grid electricity as well as onboard electricity via the fuel cell, it can make the expensive fuel stack smaller and lighter.
“We can then bring it in at a reasonable cost,” the general manager of SAIC’s new electric vehicle division, Pin Gan, says.
That cost is still likely to be prohibitive, though, with Gan estimating the will cost roughly $80,000, although subsidies from the Chinese government would halve the cost to the motorist.
Apart from the cost, the main enemy to fuel-cell acceptance is lack of infrastructure, but Gan says the car is likely to launch in five Chinese cities that will build the refuelling stations necessary.
British firm Intelligent Energy, which has developed a fuel-cell version of the London cab, is equally bullish about the prospects of hydrogen power.
The company’s director of communications, Dr Jon Moore, says concerns about refuelling infrastructure have been overstated.
“The cost of developing hydrogen infrastructure is substantially less than the cost of maintaining existing petrol infrastructure,” he says.
He believes the overall running costs of fuel-cell vehicles will rival petrol cars within a few years.
“There is nothing inherently expensive about fuel-cell technology. It’s only expensive now because the cars are made in smaller numbers,” he says.
He says fuel-cell vehicles are far more practical as a long-term solution than electric vehicles powered by the grid.
“Anyone who buys a battery electric vehicle as their family car is going to have to change their lifestyle because of the limited range,” he says.
Fuel-cell vehicles would be able to match the range of petrol-powered cars in the near future.
A recent study commissioned by some of the world’s leading car makers also paints a positive picture of the future of fuel-cell vehicles.
The report, prepared by consultants McKinsey and Company for several carmakers, says that recent breakthroughs in fuel-cell technology have “increased their efficiency and cost-competitiveness significantly”.
The report, released late last year, used confidential data supplied by car makers to map out a range of scenarios covering all types of electric vehicles. Companies that supplied data to the study included Toyota, Ford, General Motors, Volkswagen, Hyundai, Honda, BMW, Nissan and Daimler AG.
The report found that limited battery capacity and driving range, as well as long recharging times, would confine plug-in battery vehicles to urban driving.
It concluded that fuel-cell vehicles, with range and performance comparable to conventional petrol-engined cars, were the best solution for family cars covering longer distances.
“These segments account for 50 per cent of all cars and 75 per cent of CO2 emissions... FCEVs are therefore an effective low-carbon solution for a large proportion of the car fleet,” it said.
The report found that after 2030, fuel-cell vehicles would provide the lowest total cost of ownership of any electric vehicles and comparable costs to petrol cars, depending on the regulatory environment. It also dismissed concerns about infrastructure, finding that the cost of building a hydrogen refuelling infrastructure would be just 5 per cent of the overall cost of a fuel-cell vehicle.
“The cost of infrastructure (5 per cent of the total cost of ownership) will not be prohibitive to its roll-out.”
The cost of ownership advantage of petrol-powered cars is likely to be eroded by legislation, particularly in Europe where more governments are imposing financial burdens on conventional cars.
The UK sales manager for electric car maker Mia, Richard Deslandes , says government subsidies and EV-friendly legislation will make them a more attractive financial proposition.
“In Britain, once you add up the London congestion tax exemption, free parking, free charging, reduced insurance premiums and other peripheral savings you could be looking at annual running cost savings of 3500 Euros a year,” he says.
Audi’s Wilhelm says both electric vehicles and fuel-cells have their place, with EVs offering the convenience of recharging from a household plug at home and fuel-cells offering fast refill and better range.
Bernhard Gruenwald, Toyota’s senior manager for external affairs in Europe, says fuel-cells have more potential to make an impact on the world’s CO2 output because they will replace larger cars that typically drive more kilometres (fleet cars and taxis for instance).
“If you really want to make an impact, do you focus on small cars that already have low fuel consumption and low mileage, or do you look at large cars that cover lots of miles,” he says.
“Electric vehicles are good for getting noise and pollution out of cities, but how much primary energy do they replace?”
He says that EVs also produce varied CO2 outcomes depending on how their energy is provided.
“A badly managed EV is not as good as a diesel for CO2,” he says.
Electric vehicles that are hooked up to coal-powered grids create almost as much CO2 as conventional internal combustion vehicles.
That point was proved by a fuel efficiency rally around the streets of Berlin as part of the Bibendum Challenge, where EVs hooked up to the German electricity grid emitted the equivalent roughly 80 grams of CO2 per kilometre, compared with just 90g/km for the conventional internal combustion engines.
If the rally had been held in France, which uses wind and nuclear energy to power its grid, orgainsers say the EVs would have put out roughly 20g/km.
Those figures match up with a recent study done by Audi that found its A1 e-Tron electric car produced 171 grams of CO2 per kilometre in China, 84g/km in the Europe Union and just 7g/km in Norway, which uses hydroelectricity almost exclusively for power generation.
Closer to home, your electric vehicle could emit little or no CO2 if you lived in Tasmania, and more than a conventional petrol or diesel if you lived in Victoria.
But hydrogen power is not without its problems either. At the moment the most common way of producing hydrogen is to extract it from fossil fuels, mainly natural gas, which means that, in what experts call the “well to wheel” cycle, fuel-cell vehicles produce significant CO2.
Electric vehicles also have a huge infrastructure advantage over fuel cells, as every home can be easily and inexpensively transformed into a service station, while shopping malls and corporate carparks can offer fast charging.
Experts believe it will also be relatively simple to set up a network of Induction charging outlets, whereby an electric car can be charged by a plate in a parking spot without the need for cables and plugs.
In contrast, finding a hydrogen refuelling station anywhere in the wolrd is like searching for the proverbial needle in the haystack. Air Liquide, one of the world’s leading hydrogen supply companies, has just 50 refuelling stations worldwide. There’d be more Caltex outlets in Sydney.
Then there’s the matter of on-board storage. Hydrogen tanks are bigger and bulkier than petrol tanks, and the public still has to be sold on the concept of carrying hydrogen in a moving vehicle (the older generation, the people who will be able to afford fuel-cell vehicles first, associate the fuel with atomic bombs and burning airships).
The chairman and chief executive of Air Liquide, Benoit Potier, says the barriers to fuel cells are significant but not insurmountable.
He says the company couldn’t provide the full solution for hydrogen supply at a competitive cost, but it was well advanced in several areas.
“Production is not an issue. We can produce hydrogen in large amounts at a competitive price. We do it regularly. Storage, in particular in vehicles, is improving very fast. We are testing high pressures, we have special technologies to really make hydrogen viable in terms of quantities stored onboard for giving 700 kilometres range,” he says.
He says the main obstacle is refuelling infrastructure.
“We are working with a team of companies to assess whether we have a road-map between now and 2020/2050 to accompany the introduction of hydrogen as an alternative fuel for cars,” he says.
Potier’s dates for commercialisation of fuel cells are significantly less bullish than some car companies. Even the makers themselves can’t agree; Opel says 20 per cent of the world’s fleet will be electrified by 2020, while the Peugeot-Citroen group says 5 per cent.
The only thing certain about the future of alternative fuels, it seems, is the uncertainty.
Hyundai ix35 FCEV
Based on Hyundai’s popular compact SUV, this fuel-cell will be the first to market.
The Hyundai-Kia group developed its first fuel-cell vehicle in 2000 and has pilot programs in the US and Korea with an 80kW version of the Tucson (the ix35’s predecessor).
Hyundai says the car’s driving range is “comparable” to the petrol-powered ix35. The SUV has a top speed of 160km/h and completes the 0-100km/h sprint in a whisker under 13 seconds.
The current F-CELL prototypes are based on the current generation A-Class, but when the F-CELL is launched in 2015, it will have the new, sleeker hatch styling of Mercedes’ next generation A and B-Class.
The F-CELL’s batteries are fitted under the car’s floor and the hydrogen tanks – which add 300kg to the car’s weight, are over the rear wheels.
The F-CELL puts out 100kW and 290Nm of torque available from zero rpm. That combines to produce a 0-100km/h time of 11 seconds, which is average to slow for a small hatch.
Honda FCX Clarity
The first FCX prototype was unveiled more than a decade ago, and loaned out to customers on a trial basis from 2002. In 2008, it released a new version with bespoke styling.
Honda says the Clarity is now a production vehicle, although it only plans to build 200 units, and you can’t buy one – only lease it.
The Clarity has a 100kW motor and a claimed range of more than 600km. The 0-100km/h sprint takes a claimed 10 seconds.
As the name suggests, the Opel is an evolution of a theme. The latest version, which is based on the Chevrolet Equinox SUV, hit the road in 2008.
The peak power output of the Gen4 is 94kW and Opel says it will complete the 0-100km/h sprint in 12 seconds on its way to a top speed of 160km/h. Range is 340km.
It goes into production in 2015, but Opel isn’t saying what type of body the technology will wear. The Equinox was chosen simply because it had space for all the necessary hardware. A purpose-built chassis will be more effectively packaged, creating the potential for a sedan or compact SUV.
Toyota first started leasing a fuel-cell version of the Highlander (called the Kluger here) in California and Japan in 2002. The company has been refining the system since and in 2008 released the FCHV-adv.
The new model still has the old Kluger body, but underneath is a revised fuel cell that produces 90kW of power and 260Nm of torque. The car reaches 100km/h in 12 seconds on its way to a top speed of 155km/h. The company claims range is roughly 750km.
Audi Q5 HFC
Audi is a latecomer to the fuel-cell party. It calls the Q5 HFC a “technical study”, although engineers say the vehicle could be production-ready within five years.
Two electric motors drive the car’s front wheels, developing a combined output of 90kW of power and 420Nm of torque.
Despite all that torque, the Q5 accelerates to 100km/h in a leisurely 14 seconds. Audi engineers say that the SUV could easily achieve a sub-10-second time with extra motors powering the rear wheels. They are targeting range comparable to the petrol version of the SUV.
FuelCell Energy Inc. announces its biggest deal ever
DANBURY, Conn. - FuelCell Energy Inc. said Tuesday it received its biggest order ever, a two-year deal worth at least $129 million from a South Korean company.
The power-plant maker's shares jumped 44 cents, or 30.1 percent, to $1.90.
FuelCell also said it will take a second-quarter charge against earnings of $9 million to cover repairs and upgrades for some fuel cell modules built between 2007 and early 2009.
The company said the problem occurred with the type of sealant and the design of 16 modules totaling 19.2 megawatts. Of those, 14 are in South Korea and two in the U.S.
The big order was placed by South Korea's Posco Power for 70 megawatts of fuel cell kits. Terms include a down payment and periodic payments, with about 40 percent of the contract value received by October.
First Fuel Cell to Power Residential Building in New York Installed in Roosevelt Island
The Octagon, a LEED Silver 500-unit apartment community on Roosevelt Island, made green history by becoming the first residential building in the State of New York to be powered and heated by a 400 kW fuel cell from UTC Power.
The project was supported by $1.2 million in financial incentives from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). The fuel cell arrived on Roosevelt Island this winter and is now operating at full capacity.
"Roosevelt Island is a place where progressive green initiatives are at the forefront of our smart growth plans. We are proud of our island partners, including Becker + Becker, who are contributing to a greener Island and a cleaner City," said Leslie Torres, president and CEO of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, the New York State Public Benefit Corporation responsible for the development and operation of Roosevelt Island.
The fuel cell, a PureCell System Model 400, is a combined heat and power (CHP) system that converts natural gas to electricity and heat through a combustion-free, electrochemical process to provide power and heat to meet the majority of the apartment building's energy demand. The energy-efficiency achieved by the fuel cell is significantly higher than the energy received from the grid and emissions are negligible. Additionally, the fuel cell's process heat is captured to satisfy the building's space heating and domestic water requirements.
"On-site fuel cell technology represents the future of electricity generation in this country," said Bruce Becker, president of Becker + Becker, the building's developer and architect. "Traditionally, large-capacity fuel cells are utilized at schools, hospitals, and other energy-intensive facilities, but multifamily residential buildings represent a perfect -- heretofore uncultivated -- opportunity for fuel cell technology because of their ability to continually utilize the fuel cell's process heat in the form of hot water and space heating demand." The application of the fuel cell at The Octagon is estimated to reduce the carbon emissions of the site by 790 metric tons annually.
NYSERDA's award-winning CHP Demonstration Program helps showcase pioneering fuel cell projects, such as The Octagon. To encourage others to adopt fuel cell technology, NYSERDA's $21.6 million Customer-Sited Tier Fuel Cell Program provides an incentive toward the cost of fuel cell installations, plus payments over the first three years of operation based on power produced. Funding is awarded to applications received on a first-come, first-served basis.
"Fuel cells present a promising technology that NYSERDA strongly supports," said Francis J. Murray Jr., president and CEO of NYSERDA. "I commend The Octagon for the innovative energy and environmental investments throughout its facility for which all residents can be proud, and look forward to partnering on future clean energy projects."
In addition to The Octagon, a variety of facilities around the state are installing or operating fuel cells funded partially by NYSERDA, including a Price Chopper store (Colonie), a Coca-Cola Refreshments bottling facility (Elmsford), and the East Rochester Central School District.
With its breakthrough utilization of fuel cell power and range of other efficiency measures, such as a 50 kW solar photovoltaic array, The Octagon has become a nationally recognized model for green building. It is a certified LEED Silver community, consuming approximately 35 percent less energy than required by code.
The Octagon fuel cell required a significant upfront investment by the building’s primary investor, MEPT, a Union Pension fund committed to responsible property investing. The project received a grant from NYSERDA to cover approximately half the cost of the fuel cell unit. Additionally, through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the project will qualify for a federal refundable tax credit to cover approximately 30 percent of the installation cost. This assistance, in addition to the annual energy savings the fuel cell will produce, create a payback of approximately five years.