November 2010

11.03.2010
Fuel Cell 2000 Notes High Profile Companies Deploying Technology
(view article)

11.09.2010
Public-Private Effort Hopes to make Fort Sumter Energy Independent
(view article)

11.09.2010
Hydrogen Fuel Still Looking for Traction
(view article)

11.09.2010
Leading US Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Organization Applauds New Study on Commercial Viability of Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles
(view article)

11.09.2010
3 Hydrogen Buses for London
(view article)

11.10.2010
New Report Champions Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles
(view article)

11.10.2010
Fuel Cell to Turn California Sewage Gas into Renewable Energy
(view article)

11.12.2010
Horizon's AEROPAK Powers RUSSIA's First Hydrogen Fuel Cell UAV Flight
(view article)

11.26.2010
Harvard Researchers Create Platinum-Free Fuel Cells
(view article)


11.03.2010

Fuel Cell 2000 Notes High Profile Companies Deploying Technology

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In recent days, several big name companies have purchased, installed and deployed fuel cells at facilities around the United States, bolstering the impressive list of leading businesses already utilizing the technology, according to a press release from Fuel Cells 2000, a non-profit education and outreach organization that promotes fuel cells and hydrogen.

Fuel cells are making an impact in every stage of the industrial process – providing reliable and green electricity to manufacturing, processing and production facilities and headquarters, powering the forklifts used at distribution and storage warehouses, and providing electricity, heating and cooling to the retail and grocery stores selling the finished product. Whatever the application, businesses are finding that fuel cells not only reduce their carbon footprint, but help boost their bottom line. And the companies that are using them, like them and are buying more.

Most recently:

  • Federal Express (FedEx) held a ribbon-cutting at its Springfield, Mo., facility to celebrate the converting of all its battery-powered forklifts to hydrogen fuel cells, 35 in all. FedEx plans to convert five propane-powered forklifts in the near future. The company also has a Bloom Energy unit at its Oakland, Calif., hub.
  • Coca-Cola Refreshments (CCR) installed two UTC Power PureCell® Model 400 fuel cell systems to provide 35 percent of the electricity and heat at its Elmsford, N.Y.,  production facility. The fuel cells will eliminate 2,635 metric tons of carbon dioxide and more than 4 metric tons of nitrogen oxide emissions and save millions of gallons of water. CCR recently signed a contract to install two more units at a bottling plant in East Hartford, Conn., and has 40 fuel cell forklifts at a Charlotte, N.C., production plant.
  • Adobe Systems installed 12 Bloom Energy Servers equaling 1.2 MW of power on the 5th floor of Adobe’s West Tower in San Jose, Calif.
  • BMW purchased 86 fuel cell-powered forklifts, tuggers and stackers and is installing six Linde hydrogen dispensers at its Spartanburg, S.C., manufacturing plant. The hydrogen is a byproduct of a sodium chlorate plant which is purified, compressed and liquefied by using electricity produced from renewable hydropower.
  • A new Albertsons supermarket in San Diego, has installed a 400-kW fuel cell from UTC Power to generate nearly 90 percent of its electricity. SUPERVALU, Albertsons parent company, has a fuel cell system installed at Chestnut Hill, Mass., Star Market.

These new announcements confirm the trend chronicled in the new report, “The Business Case for Fuel Cells: Why Top Companies Are Purchasing Fuel Cells Today” by Fuel Cells 2000.

The report profiles 38 companies and corporations, including 11 Fortune 500 companies, that are purchasing and deploying fuel cells in various capacities, highlighting the attractive benefits and savings of fuel cells over competing technologies. The companies profiled in the report, cumulatively, have ordered, installed or deployed more than 1,000 fuel cell forklifts; 58 stationary fuel cell systems totaling almost 15 MW of power; and more than 600 fuel cell units at telecom sites.

The free report can be downloaded at www.fuelcells.org/.

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11.09.2010

Public-Private Effort Hopes to make Fort Sumter Energy Independent

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By Daniel Brock
dbrock@scbiznews.com
Published Nov. 9, 2010

A group of federal, state and local agencies are teaming up in hopes of making the Fort Sumter National Monument energy efficient and free from the electric utility grid.

Ultimately, the team aims to power the fort through on-site solar energy generation that would be supported by a hydrogen-fuel cell backup power system. Before that can happen, a feasibility study and cost estimate for the project will have to be conducted.

“This solar to hydrogen project at Fort Sumter demonstrates an innovative solution that will generate clean power while relieving the grid,” SCRA CEO Bill Mahoney said in a news release.
Collaborators in the effort include: the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Interior, the National Park Service, Fort Sumter National Monument, SCRA and the Center for Hydrogen Research, a research subsidiary of the Aiken-based Economic Development Partnership of South Carolina.

The monument, located on a small island near the entrance of the Charleston Harbor, currently receives power from an electric line. Its backup energy supply is provided by a diesel-electric generator on-site.

The Fort Sumter project has its roots in a federal program called Energy SmartPARKS, which was established by the National Park Service, DOE and Department of the Interior in late 2008. The initiative is aimed at implementing and highlighting sustainable energy practices in national parks as a way to promote green energy across the U.S.

The program also works to develop and expand partnerships with the private sector, nonprofit organizations and educational institutions. The Fort Sumter agreement is being funded jointly by the DOE and the National Park Service.

“This project allows the state of South Carolina to showcase the many opportunities to address national energy requirements,” said Fred Humes, the Center for Hydrogen Research director. “South Carolina’s work force has the talent, the know-how and the creativity to help advance the nation’s solutions to pressing energy needs.”

Project officials hope the equipment is up and running in time for the year-long sesquicentennial events planned around the April 1861 attack on Fort Sumter when the first shots of the Civil War were fired.

Reach Daniel Brock at 843-849-3144. 

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11.09.2010

Hydrogen Fuel Still Looking for Traction

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Future vision: unlike other electric vehicles the FCX Clarity generates its own electricity

While all eyes are on electric cars, the hydrogen fuel cell is still being championed by brands like Honda. Kyle Fortune looks at whether hydrogen still has a place in our motoring future
THE INNOCUOUS looking car I’m driving is one of the reasons that Honda no longer competes in Formula One. It may also be why Honda has yet to produce a replacement for its NSX supercar.

The strangely-named FCX Clarity doesn’t look that special, but it is one of just 35 built – so far at least, as there are plans for 300. Nobody is prepared to say how much the example we’re driving is worth, but it’s sure to include six zeros.

Why? It’s a hydrogen fuel cell car – or in Honda’s opinion, the future. Honda has invested heavily in fuel cell vehicles, and is the first to create a genuine production model. Until very recently the standard industry line has been that fuel cells are still 20 years away.

Honda has beaten that, though calling the FCX a production car is stretching the point, as it’s handbuilt on a dedicated assembly line. That the assembly line exists at all though is credit to Honda’s commitment to fuel cell vehicles.

The Japanese firm is not alone. Honda, along with Daimler AG, Ford, General Motors, Hyundai, Kia, Renault, Nissan and Toyota all signed a letter of understanding last August on electric and fuel cell vehicle development. Within it, 2015 is the intended date for commercialisation of fuel cell cars. Honda’s already done this, albeit on a tiny scale.

John Kingston, a Honda government affairs and environmental manager, describes the FCX Clarity as an “electric vehicle”. Which it is. But unlike other electric vehicles the FCX Clarity generates its own electricity. There’s no cable to plug it in, no big heavy battery pack, and – these are the crucial bits – no range anxiety and no need for long overnight charges. This electric vehicle runs on hydrogen and generates its power via a fuel cell. Emissions? Only water.

If it all sounds too good to be true then you’d be right. Hydrogen might be abundant, but the same isn’t true of filling stations stocking it. Preparing hydrogen for use is very CO2 intensive too. Around 96 per cent of the hydrogen is currently sourced from fossil fuels, so without sustainable sources all it does is bump CO2 production up the supply chain.

Kingston admits that there are issues with hydrogen, but doesn’t see them as insurmountable. He points to sustainable forms of production, via wind, solar and hydro energy, claiming too that hydrogen is a good and relatively easy means of storing energy.

It’s not the only solution though, Kingston says, admitting that the fuel cell vehicle is merely one part of Honda’s suite of green technologies. Naturally these include hybrids and plug-in electric cars as well, with conventional electric cars suited to short, city use, and hybrids – and eventually fuel cells – covering greater distances.

Kingston states: “our future commercial success will be based on Honda’s ability to meet both customer expectations and environmental regulations.”

That’s undeniable, but Honda, and any manufacturer of fuel cells, is faced with the reality of a lack of fuelling infrastructure. There’s certainly talk of a hydrogen fuelling network, but aside from a few notable exceptions (such as a slowly expanding network of hydrogen fuel stations in Germany and California’s hydrogen highway), filling up with hydrogen is all but impossible. It’s a classic Catch 22: a fuelling network required to power the vehicles, yet not enough vehicles to justify a fuelling network. There’s no denying that the FCX Clarity represents an impressive glimpse at a potential future for clean motoring.

However, the cost of production, the need for clean creation of hydrogen and the issue of providing a refuelling network remain huge hurdles that need addressing. The fuel-cell car might be here now, but it seems the infrastructure is the part that’s 20 years away.

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11.09.2010

Leading US Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Organization Applauds New Study on Commercial Viability of Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles

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WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - November 9, 2010) -  A comprehensive new study entitled "A Portfolio of Power-trains: A Fact Based Analysis" concludes fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) are ready for commercial scale-up, and essential to meeting our energy security and environmental needs. The report was released in Brussels Monday, November 8.

The analysis by the respected international consulting firm McKinsey & Company -- sponsored by a 31-member public-private coalition -- states that significant penetration of both fuel cell and battery electric vehicles (BEVs) will be needed to build a sustainable transportation system by 2050 -- and that FCEVs and BEVs could be cost-competitive with internal combustion engines (ICEs) as early as 2020.

The study also concludes that costs for a hydrogen infrastructure are comparable to installing a charging infrastructure for battery-electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. The report finds that a dedicated hydrogen infrastructure is "justified and doable." McKinsey called the initial infrastructure investment "relatively low." 
The study is available at http://www.europeanclimate.org/documents/Power_trains_for_Europe.pdf
"This highly detailed analysis confirms the value of fuel cell EVs in our national clean energy portfolio," said Ruth Cox, president and executive director of the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association. "Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles are ready for commercial scale-up. FCEVs are the best EV option for longer trips, and for medium size and larger vehicles, where they can be cost-competitive with ICEs. Compared to BEVs, they have inherent advantages in price-performance and range; refueling time is measured in minutes rather than hours."

FCEVs received high marks in all three categories analysed in the report: performance, economics and environment. In terms of infrastructure, the study said higher risk investments by first-movers can be greatly reduced when several companies invest, coordinated by governments, and supported by dedicated funding and legislation.

"The data are fresh, the evidence is abundant and the conclusions are emphatic," said Cox. "It is time for a shift in U.S. Energy Policy to align the U.S. with the rest of the world in pursuing the full portfolio of electric vehicles. The portfolio approach is the fastest, cheapest and smartest way to achieve energy independence and respond to climate change."

The study warns that government action and investment must begin now, "as a matter of urgency," if G8 policy goals are to be met by 2050.

"While the analysis focuses on Europe, the technology and cost assessment is applicable worldwide," Cox said. "The policy conclusions are relevant to the United States as the U.S. has even more medium and large vehicles than Europe, and we drive our cars longer distances. The study's findings reinforce the conclusions of our members who are committed to the commercial rollout of these vital technologies."

Similar analyses done in the U.S. by the National Academies of Science and other groups over the past few years also back up the McKinsey findings.

About the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association
The FCHEA is the world's premier advocacy organization dedicated to the commercialization of fuel cells and hydrogen energy technologies. More information can be found at www.fchea.org.

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11.09.2010

3 Hydrogen Buses for London

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- Transport for London has secured Euro 5.67m funding from the European Union' "Cleaner Hydrogen in Cities" project, which it will use to buy three hybrid fuel cell buses.

The buses will run on the RV1 route along the river Thames in central London.

There are already plans to install 5 fuel cell buses on the RV1 route later in 2010. The additional 3 buses will be added at the end of 2011, which means that the entire route will be serviced by hydrogen fuel cell buses.

The demonstration project will be extended from 3 years to 4 years.

The fuel cells will be provided by Ballard and the hydrogen will be supplied by Air Products.

EU investment in hydrogen technology is also going to Oslo, Milan, Bolzano (Italy), and Aargau / St Gallen (Switzerland).
The buses will be refuelled and maintained at Lea Interchange bus garage, Leyton.

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11.10.2010

New Report Champions Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles

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honda-fcx-clarity_production_fs.jpg (0.0bytes)

A new study released on Monday (8th November) has suggested that both fuel cell and battery electric vehicles are commercially viable.

International consulting firm McKinsey & Co claimed that the two innovations could be cost-competitive with their internal combustion engine counterparts as early as 2020.

In addition, the report, entitled 'A Portfolio of Power-trains: A Fact-Based Analysis', suggested that both will be required for sustainable transport networks to be achieved by 2050.

The company also concluded that a dedicated hydrogen infrastructure is "justified and doable", with similar costs to setting up widespread charging facilities for battery-electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

Ruth Cox, President and Executive Director of the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association (FCHEA), welcomed the findings of the study, which was sponsored by a 31-member public-private coalition.

She described the conclusions as "emphatic" and urged US lawmakers to make the necessary shift in its energy policy to help the technology reach the full market.

"This highly detailed analysis confirms the value of fuel cell electric vehicles in our national clean energy portfolio," said Ms Cox.

"Fuel cell electric vehicles are ready for commercial scale-up. [They] are the best electric vehicle option for longer trips, and for medium size and larger vehicles, where they can be cost-competitive with internal combustion engines."

The FCHEA was recently formed through a merger of the US Fuel Cell Council and the National Hydrogen Association.

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11.10.2010

Fuel Cell to Turn California Sewage Gas Into Renewable Energy

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A wastewater treatment plant in Chino, Southern California, is set to turn its biogas byproduct into renewable energy, using a high-tech fuel cell system. The 2.8 megawatt project is being developed by biomass power project developer UTS Bioenergy LLC on behalf of the Inland Empire Utilities Agency.

UTS Bioenergy is purchasing a DFC3000 fuel cell system from Connecticut-based manufacturer FuelCell Energy, Inc., and will operate the facility, selling power to the IEUA under a 20-year power purchase agreement.

FuelCell Energy will service the power plant, also under a long-term deal, once it is operational from early 2012.

Terry Catlin, Board President of the Inland Empire Utilities Agency, said the fuel cell project was an “important component” of the Agency’s renewable energy generation strategy. The Agency is currently working to generate all of its power needs on-site using renewable energy sources.

Mr Catlin said: “The clean electrical generation process and the reliable 24/7 operating nature of the fuel cell will help us attain the objectives of our strategic energy plan and position us to meet ever more stringent clean air emission requirements.”

Fuel cells
Fuel cells are electrochemical engines that generate electricity from a fuel – usually a constant supply of hydrogen, methane or methanol – between two electrodes, a little like a large battery. Without any form of combustion, the process can produce power with virtually no pollution.

The Chino project will see its fuel cell system running on methane produced from the sewage treatment process.

FuelCell Energy said the facility would have the environmental benefits equivalent to taking “at least” 353 cars off the road.
UTS BioEnergy LLC, which has its head office in Encinitas, California, said it intended to follow the Chino project with other fuel cell facilities for customers seeking a constant supply of renewable power. The company licenses its technology from Germany’s UTS BioGasTechnik.

As well as waste water treatment plants, the technology can be used with anaerobic digestion plants making methane from waste materials, and even with energy-from-waste gasification projects.

“Fuel cells represent an economically and environmentally compelling solution for converting renewable waste streams into clean electricity,” said Arun Sharma, Vice President Business Development, UTS BioEnergy LLC.

“We believe fuel cells are a critical component of improving the reliability and efficiency of power supplies and expect to replicate this fuel cell business model with other power users that have baseload 24/7 energy requirements.”

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11.12.2010

Horizon's AEROPAK powers RUSSIA's first hydrogen fuel cell UAV flight

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http://www.shephard.co.uk/files/news/190x190/horizon.jpgIn a pioneering success by the P.I. Baranov Central Institute of Aviation Motors (CIAM) in Russia, the first hydrogen fuel cell powered CIAM-80 unmanned aircraft took off last week at a test flight facility near Moscow.


The CIAM-80 mini-UAV was powered by the ultra-light AEROPAK hydrogen fuel cell system designed by Horizon Energy Systems of Singapore. According to the CIAM specialists, "although the test flight only lasted several minutes, it opened a new era in the evolution of aviation power-plants, reviving research which had been interrupted in the 1990s. In the long term, this type of innovation could double the efficiency of aviation engines while simultaneously eliminating harmful emissions.

Horizon's AEROPAK proton exchange membrane electrochemical system is specifically designed for mini-UAV propulsion, and was enough to power the electric motor on-board the CIAM-80 UAV. Designers used compressed hydrogen storage as a first step, and were successful in integrating the fuel cell power system cooling and complex control systems. Further tests of a UAV demonstrator aircraft are expected in order to confirm the efficiency of fuel cells for use in aviation.

"The AEROPAK fuel cell system from Horizon Energy Systems is currently enabling a number of electric-powered flight pioneers around the world. Small 5-10kg class electric powered unmanned reconnaissance aircraft which are already in use today are the first real-world commercial application for this technology," said Gareth Tang, Managing Director of HES. "Due to the energy density advantage, electric powered aircraft could potentially fly much further using our hydrogen fuel cell solutions."

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11.26.2010

Harvard Researchers Create Platinum-Free Fuel Cells

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a thin film solid oxide fuel cell
Eco Factor: Low-cost fuel cells developed by replacing platinum with cheaper materials.

Researchers at Harvard University’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have created all-ceramic thin-film solid-oxide fuel cells that don’t contain any platinum. If the development could make its way into production, the world could be seeing fuel cells that use more abundant and less expensive fuels and materials.

Traditionally SOFCs need platinum-coated electrodes, which can be both expensive and unreliable. The all-ceramic fuel cells are most cost effective and can be used as a reliable power source. The Harvard team has also created a micro-SOFC that draws its power from methane rather than hydrogen.

Traditionally, hydrogen has been the medium of choice for SOFCs, but methane is more abundant, cheaper and needs less processing. The micro-SOFC developed by the team has an operating temperature of less than 500 degrees Celsius, which conventionally is about 800 degrees Celsius. The research team wants to even reduce the operating temperature to about 300C, at which the cells can be used in transportation vehicles.

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