Fuel Cell and Hydrogen

Energy Connection
January 2012
Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Industry News
FCHEA Updates
Federal Program News
RFP/Solicitation News
About the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Connection

Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Industry News


Department of Energy Secretary Chu Meets with Automakers to Discuss Fuel Cells and Hydrogen at NAIAS (Detroit Auto Show)


At the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit this week, the Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu had a face-to-face meeting with several automakers to discuss advanced technology vehicles.  Several of FCHEA's members were in attendance, and reports from the meeting indicated that discussion of fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) and hydrogen energy dominated the conversation.


Acknowledging the sustained interest in FCEVs and hydrogen infrastructure in the room, Secretary Chu closed the meeting by suggesting that a consortium of automakers and fuel suppliers convene to work together on FCEV infrastructure. 


This meeting would not have been possible without the efforts of Mary Beth Stanek of General Motors, and she is due many thanks. We also thank our automotive members for using their valuable time with the Secretary to focus so unwaveringly on FCEVs and hydrogen infrastructure. This was a real success for all involved.


Walmart Canada Projects Major Savings through Fuel Cell Forklifts


In a recent article by Forkliftaction.com, Walmart Canada Corp. stated that it is projecting major productivity savings through investing in a fleet of Crown Equipment Corp PC45000 pallet trucks powered by Plug Power GenDrive fuel cells.

Andrew Ellis, Walmart Canada Senior Vice President of Supply Chain and Logistics, stated that in one instance, investing in the fuel cell pallet trucks were at a cost of $693,000 more than than battery power systems, but that annual operational savings of USD269,000 are anticipated. 

The full Forkliftaction.com story can be viewed here.


Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Energy Gaining Traction with Major Media


Fuel cells and hydrogen energy technologies are gaining increasing traction in the news.  Over the past month, fuel cells have had extensive articles in the January 2012 issues of Car and Driver and Automobile magazines, two of the nation's leading automotive publications, as well as two articles in Forbes, and a fuel cell electric vehicle review in the UK's Telegraph newspaper.


Car and Driver has an extensive three page article titled "What the H," which quotes two of FCHEA's members,  Steve Ellis, American Honda Motor Corp.'s Manager of Fuel Cell Vehicle Sales and Vice-Chairman of FCHEA, as well as Dr. Herbert Kohler, Daimler's Vice President of Future Mobility.  James Warner, FCHEA's Director of Policy and External Affairs, is also quoted extensively.  The article is available online here.


The Automobile magazine article covers the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Superlight.  The article explains that the sole initial source of propulsion for the E Superlight is a fuel cell powertrain and is available online here.


Forbes has posted two articles online recently regarding fuel cells.  The first article, titled "Never Mind Solyndra: Fuel Cell Industry Growing with Government Support" highlights the positive impact government support for the fuel cell industry has had on commercialization and moving the market forward.   Never Mind Solyndra is available online here.


The second article published by Forbes, "CES Preview: Fuel Cells Coming to Gadgets, Finally," showcases the growing interest in fuel cell technology applications for portable electronic devices.  The article covers recent patent applications by Apple for development of fuel cells to power their electronics, as well as myFC and SiGNa Chemistry's soon-to-be-released portable charger, Powertrekk.   The Forbes CES Preview article is available online here.


Finally, fuel cell electric vehicles were also covered in The Telegraph's Car Reviews section this week with a review of the Hyundai ix35 fuel-cell.  The review can be viewed online here.


These articles demonstrate that our industry is gaining increased attention and respectability from the media, and is further proof of success. 


Automakers Stand up for Fuel Cell Vehicles and Hydrogen at Policy Summit in Washington


The National Journal held a policy summit this week underwritten by The Washington Auto Show titled, "Driving Innovation: The Role of the Auto Industry in the Green Economy."  The event featured two panels which discussed a range of topics including the current and futures roles of government and industry in creating jobs, reducing emissions and oil dependence and some of the challenges and opportunities that exist in expanding the market for low-emission and alternative fuel vehicles.  Fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) were discussed a number of times, and industry leaders seemed to believe that FCEVs need to be an alternative fuel option and are ready for commercialization.


James Wiseman, group vice president and chief communications officer for Toyota Motor North America, , insisted that consumers need to be able to choose what types of fuel systems they want to buy and that having the government or industry choose one by guessing where the consumer market will be in the future is unrealistic.  In line with this, Toyota will be offering a range of alternative fuel vehicles and hybrids, including an FCEV which is still planned to be available by the middle of this decade.


Fuel cell electric vehicles were also discussed by Mike Stanton, president of Global Automakers, whose members account for 40% of the cars built and sold in the U.S.  Stanton claimed that he is "bullish on fuel cells," and that their members believe that the technology is ready, and still advancing rapidly.  Wiseman and Stanton both mentioned that infrastructure for hydrogen is an important next step and that it will require a hand from the government, as well as collaboration with all parts of the industry.


Another article recapping the fuel cell content of the event can be found here, and the National Journal page for the event is here.


UKH2Mobility Launches to Support Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Deployment in the UK


UKH2Mobility is a new initiative in the United Kingdom that will develop an evaluation of the potential of hydrogen as a transport fuel by the end of 2012. If the results are positive, an action plan will detail the steps needed to prepare the UK for commercial deployment of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles in 2014/2015.


FCHEA would like to congratulate its members who have joined UKH2Mobility:


Air Liquide Hydrogen Energy, SA

Air Products PLC

Daimler AG

Intelligent Energy Limited


Johnson Matthey PLC


For more information, you can view an article by BBC Business on the UKH2Mobility here.


FCHEA Updates


Expressions of Interest in SOFC Gasket Report Sought


In 2011, the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association (FCHEA) published a report addressing gasket issues for PEM fuel cells. This report is available online at: http://www.fchea.org/core/import/PDFs/FCHEA_Gasket_Report_2011.pdf 


Following completion of this activity, the FCHEA Gasket Task Force - a task group within the Materials and Components Working Group - is exploring interest in developing a similar report for Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) gaskets. If sufficient member interest is found, the Gasket Task Force will be reconstituted, ideally containing 5-6 FCHEA members involved in SOFC manufacturing or materials. Members of the Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Working Group are especially encouraged to participate. Test laboratories and materials research organizations will also be invited to contribute, as appropriate test procedures will need to be identified.


Task Group meetings would be conducted on-line. The frequency of meetings is envisaged to be flexible to achieve the work, with an initial schedule of every 6 weeks.


The report is anticipated to address issues such as the following:


Validate that the function of SOFC Gasket is to

  1. Prevent mixing of fuel and oxidant with the cell stack
  2. Prevent leaking of fuel and oxidant from the stack
  3. Electrically isolate cells in the stack
  4. Provide mechanical bonding of cell components

Determine if there are other functions required of the gasket.


Validate and identify industry standard operating parameters

  • Operating Temperatures 1000C
  • Life Stationary and Mobile
  • Stability over what range of operating parameters - Oxygen-Fuel-Air
  • Thermal Stress - Compressive Stress - Mechanical Stress

Identify and publish baseline industry testing standards for SOFC

  • Fuel Cell Types
  • Gasket Types - Materials

Gasket Types under consideration

  • Rigid, i.e., Glass and Ceramic
  • Compressive, i.e., Composites - Graphites - Alumina Fibers

Publish Testing Results similar to those in the PEM Report.


The task group will seek to work with gasket manufacturers and ask them to participate in task force meetings to facilitate

  • Obtaining data such as Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), Technical Data Sheets (TDS), etc.
  • Partnering on performance testing
  • Gaining better understanding of materials and functional issues
The next meeting of the Gasket Task Force is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, February 23rd at 3pm. Expressions of interest in participating in this effort are therefore requested no later than February 15th to ensure there is sufficient member interest to move ahead with this activity. Interested parties who are not members of FCHEA are also invited to express interest. Please e-mail Karen Hall at khall@fchea.org if you are interested in participating in the development of this report.  
FCHEA Partners with FC Expo 2012 in Tokyo


FCHEA has partnered with the FC Expo 2012 for this year's event in Tokyo, Japan from February 29th - March 2nd.    FC Expo is the largest Fuel Cell exhibition in the world with over 57 countries represented and over 90,000 attendees expected.  FC Expo 2012 and FCHEA have established an MOU of mutual support to continue advancement of the industry. 


A U.S. Pavilion, endorsed by Fuel Cells 2000, is being created for the Expo to feature U.S. companies in the fuel cell industry.  Any American company interested will be allowed to join.  If you are interested in joining the U.S. Pavilion, please email Wayne Kakos at Reed Exhibitions at wkakos@reedexpo.com for more details on the pricing packages available to exhibit in the U.S. Pavilion.


For information about attendance to the FC Expo 2012, please click here. 


To request information on setting up an exhibit click here, to speak to the U.S. representative for the show organizer, you can email Wayne Kakos at wkakos@reedexpo.com


Federal Program News 


NETL News Release: Pyrochlore Catalyst: Helping the Trucking Industry Meet Anti-idling Regulations 


The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has announced that their new pyrochlore catalyst for Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) can solve one of the biggest problems facing the long-haul trucking industry: truck idling.


As the trucking industry is facing national regulations requiring truckers to rest after extended periods of driving, as well as state regulations preventing trucks from idling their engine to power their cabin due to noise and pollutant emissions, SOFCs have the opportunity to transform the industry.  


Using the new pyrochlore catalyst developed by NETL, truckers can use the diesel fuel they already have on board to generate electricity through a fuel cell for all of their auxiliary power needs.  Using SOFCs to power the lights, heating, and other hoteling needs of a truck will use half of the fuel from other power sources, while dramatically reducing noise and air emissions.


NETL's press release can be viewed online here.


Closing Date Extended for RFI on Total Costs of Ownership of Future Light-Duty Vehicles


The Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) has issued a Request for Information (RFI) requesting stakeholder feedback on a proposed methodology and basis for assumptions to be used to estimate the total cost of ownership of various advanced vehicle technologies. This RFI is a joint effort of the Fuel Cell Technologies Program (FCTP), Vehicle Technologies Program (VTP), and Biomass Program (OBP) within DOE-EERE.


DOE has been estimating the potential for advanced light-duty vehicle (LDV) technologies and alternative fuels technologies to significantly reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions and petroleum consumption. One of the quantification measures is the total cost of ownership per mile driven, including vehicle and fuel costs.


DOE is requesting stakeholder input regarding the proposed methodology and basis for assumptions when calculating this cost. Comments on the validity of the methodology and the assumptions and on the various levels (aggressive, moderate, and conservative) of success assumed for the different advanced technologies are requested.


For details see th RFI (PDF) and  Attachment (Excell Doc Download) for DE-FOA-0000592 or email questions concerning the RFI. All responses must be provided no later than 11:59 p.m. ET on January 30, 2012. Responses to this RFI need to be provided as an attachment to an email message addressed to  TCORFI@go.doe.gov.


RFP / Solicitation News


California Air Resources Board Soliciting Research Concepts for Annual Research Plan


The Air Resources Board (ARB) is soliciting research concepts for the Board's 2012-2013 Annual Research Plan.  General areas of research include: Sustainable Communities; Behavior and Technology Adoption; Health and Air Pollution Exposures; Air Pollution Science; and Greenhouse Gas Targets.


To see the program announcement and/or submit a research concept please visit the ARB website here.


The deadline for submitting research concepts is January 31, 2012.


Additional information about the Board's Research Program can be found at: http://www.arb.ca.gov/research/apr/apr.htm.


U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) Broad Agency Announcement


The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) is responsible for conducting research in the broad fields of hydraulics, dredging, coastal engineering, instrumentation, oceanography, remote sensing, geotechnical engineering, earthquake engineering, soil effects, vehicle mobility, self-contained munitions, military engineering, geophysics, pavements, protective structures, aquatic plants, water quality, dredged material, treatment of hazardous waste, wetlands, physical/mechanical/ chemical properties of snow and other frozen precipitation, infrastructure and environmental issues for installations, computer science, telecommunications management, energy, facilities maintenance, materials and structures, engineering processes, environmental processes, land and heritage conservation, and ecological processes.


To accomplish this task, ERDC has solicited proposals for basic and applied research through a general Broad Agency Announcement (BAA).   The BAA solicits proposals for fuel cells and hydrogen energy under the topics of Innovative Energy Efficiency and Energy Security Initiatives (CERL-4), Fuel Cell Technology Advancements (CERL-5), Microgrid Field-Scale Demonstration (CERL-8), and Photosynthesis at the Mircoscale (CERL-30).  The deadline for proposals is January 31, 2012.


More information regarding the ERDC BAA is available online here.


Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking Launched 5th Annual Call for Proposals


€150 million's worth have been allocated for the support of fuel cells and hydrogen technologies through research and demonstration projects, with €77.5 million from the European Commission matched by in-kind contributions from industry and research organizations.


The 2012 call covers 31 topics divided into 5 application areas: transportation and refueling infrastructure; hydrogen production and distribution; stationary power generation, early markets and cross-cutting issues. 


The call for proposals FCH JU- 2012-1 is published on the participant portal,



The deadline for submission of applications is May 24, 2012. 


A public information session and a brokerage event co-organized by the Industry and Research Groupings of the Joint Undertaking will take place on 9 February in Brussels, in the premises of the FCH-JU. To get more information and to register, please contact events@fchindustry-jti.eu


U.S. Naval Research Laboratory Broad Agency Announcement


The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) is the Navy's corporate laboratory. ONRL conducts basic and applied research for the Navy in a variety of scientific and technical disciplines. The basic research program is driven by perceptions about future requirements of the Navy. 


To accomplish this task, NRL has issued a general Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) soliciting proposals ranging from theoretical studies to proof-of-concept to include fabrication and delivery of a prototype.  Fuel cells and hydrogen are included in this BAA under the topics of Power/Energy Source Materials and Systems (61-11-01) and Corrosion Processes, Control, Mitigation, and Technology (61-11-02).  The deadline for proposals is June 16, 2012.


More information regarding the NRL BAA is available online here.

U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research Broad Agency Announcement

The Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) manages the basic research investment for the U.S. Air Force (USAF). As a part of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), AFOSR's technical experts foster and fund research within the Air Force Research Laboratory, universities, and industry laboratories to ensure the transition of research results to support USAF needs. Using a carefully balanced research portfolio, research managers seek to create revolutionary scientific breakthroughs, enabling the Air Force and U.S. industry to produce world-class, militarily significant, and commercially valuable products.


To accomplish this task, AFOSR has solicited proposals for basic research through a general Broad Agency Announcement (BAA). This BAA outlines the Air Force Defense Research Sciences Program. AFOSR invites proposals for research in many broad areas. Fuel cells and hydrogen energy are included in the request under the section Bioenergy.  A deadline has not been set at this time.


More information regarding the AFOSR BAA is available online here.


About the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Connection




Press releases and story ideas may be forwarded to Connor Dolan and Karen Hall for consideration at  cdolan@fchea.org and  khall@fchea.org respectively.


The Sponsors
Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association --  The Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association (FCHEA) is the world's premier advocacy organization dedicated to the commercialization of fuel cells and hydrogen energy technologies.  Its membership represents the full spectrum of the supply chain from universities, government laboratories and agencies, fuel cell materials, component and system manufacturers, hydrogen producers and fuel distributors, utilities and other end users. (http://www.fchea.org/)


National Energy Technology Laboratory --  The National Energy Technology Laboratory is federally owned and operated.  Its mission is "We Solve National Energy and Environmental Problems."  NETL performs, procures, and partners in technical research, development, and demonstration to advance technology into the commercial marketplace, thereby benefiting the environment, contributing to U.S. employment, and advancing the position of U.S. industries in the global market. (http://www.netl.doe.gov)
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