Fuel Cell and Hydrogen

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

Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Industry News


Senators Relaunch the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Caucus: Host Briefing on Industry Technologies


On Wednesday, July 18th, the bipartisan Senate Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Caucus was officially relaunched with an industry briefing in the Russell Senate Office Building. Co-Chaired by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chris Coons (D-DE), and John Hoeven (R-ND) the Caucus aims to promote the commercialization of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies in the U.S.  In addition, at the briefing four inaugural members of the Caucus were announced, Senators Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

Senate Co-Chairs Blumenthal, Hoeven, and Coons Spoke at the Briefing

Senators Blumenthal, Hoeven, and Coons attended and spoke at the briefing to a packed room of over 80 representatives from both government and industry. This included representation from 22 Senate offices and 10 House offices.


In addition to the Co-Chairs, Dr. David Danielson, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy within the Department of Energy (DOE) also spoke at the event. Dr. Danielson used his speech to reaffirm the administration's support for hydrogen and fuel cell energy, and also announced $2.4 million in DOE funding for advancements in hydrogen infrastructure and fueling technology (details on the announcement are available here).


 Other industry speakers included: 

  • Dr. Shannon Baxter-Clemmons, Executive Director, South Carolina Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Alliance
  • Andy Marsh, President and CEO, Plug Power
  • Joe Guzzo, Director of Advanced Technology, Federal Affairs General Motors
  • Catherine Dunwoody, Executive Director, California Fuel Cell Partnership
  • Michael E. Zolandz, Bloom Energy (SNR Denton)
  • Katrina Fritz Intwala, Manager, Business Development & Public Relations, UTC Power
  • Mike McGowan, Head of Government Affairs, Linde North America  
  • Dr. Scott Samuelsen, Director, National Fuel Cell Research Center

The Senate Caucus members published a press release on Wednesday with statements from the four Co-Chairs and four inaugural members. 

Senator Coons also published a separate press release on Wednesday which is available here.


Toyota and BMW Expand Agreement to Collaborate on Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles


On June 29, automotive manufacturers BMW and Toyota signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) aimed at a long-term strategic collaboration in four fields, including the joint development of a fuel cell system.  This expands on an existing cooperation initiated in December last year




The announcement of this collaboration on fuel cell electric vehicles was done over a joint live webcast with Akio Toyoda, President of Toyota, and Dr. Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG.  During the press webcast Akio Toyoda stated, "Toyota is strong in environment-friendly hybrids and fuel cells ... I believe BMW's strength is developing sports cars.  I get so excited thinking about the cars that will result from this relationship."


The live webcast can be found online here.  The accompanying press release can be found here.


Plug Power to Supply 72 Fuel Cell Forklifts to Mercedes-Benz US International, Inc.


On July 18th, Plug Power announced the sale of 72 GenDrive hydrogen fuel cell fork lift trucks to Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, Inc. for operation at a Mercedes-Benz automotive plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Fueling stations for the forklifts will be provided by Air Products.


Andy Marsh, CEO of Plug Power stated in a press release, "Mercedes-Benz is an exciting customer to add to Plug Power's growing list of fuel cell adopters.  We intend to prove the value of GenDrive fuel cells in Tuscaloosa in order to reinforce the benefits experienced in auto-manufacturing facilities across North America."


The Plug Power press release is available online here.


UTC Power to Supply South Korean Firm with 14 PureCell Systems


On July 18th, UTC Power announced the sale of 14 PureCell Model 400 fuel cell systems to Pyeongtaek Energy Service, a wholly owned subsidiary of SK E&S. The South Korean company will use the systems to provide over 6MW of electricity to the metropolitan Seoul area.


Joe Triompo, Vice President and General Manager of UTC Power stated in a press release, "Our PureCell systems will be putting power into the grid to provide clean energy to the growing Seoul metropolitan area. The environmental benefits offered by these highly efficient PureCell systems are a great match for South Korea's progressive  environmental standards. We're pleased to be a part of their green solution."


The 14 fuel cells will be deployed in two phases. The first seven are to be operational in fall 2012 with the last seven coming online in 2013.


The UTC Power press release is available online here.


Bloom Energy to Install 1MW System at Life Technologies Headquarters


On July 18th, Life Technologies Corporation announced the planned installation of 1MW worth of Bloom Energy fuel cells. Bloom has a history of supplying the power needs of high profile customers like Google, Apple, and Walmart, but Life Technologies represents the first use of their technology by a company in the life sciences industry. 


The 1500 square foot installation will provide nearly 60% of the energy required at the Carlsbad, CA campus. In addition to reducing carbon emissions by 30%, Life Technologies looks to benefit from greater grid independence.


The Life Technologies press release is available online here.


Boeing Trials Fuel Cell Auxilliary Power Unit and other Environmentally Sound Technologies on its 2012 737-800


A regenerative hydrogen fuel cell, meaning a fuel cell capable of running in reverse, has been added to an American Airlines 737 by Boeing to provide electricity for airplane systems, as well as providing energy storage during periods of low electrical demand. Along with the fuel cell, other technologies and products are being applied, such as adaptive trailing wing edges, a variable area fan nozzle, flight trajectory optimization, modular carpeting made from recyclable materials, and the use of biofuels for test flights. These technologies are all being applied as part of a three month demonstration (ecoDemonstator) to validate environmentally progressive technologies.



The ecoDemonstrator program is to be an annual collaboration between Boeing, American Airlines and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA); its goal is to provide a test bed for technologies that can help aircraft lessen their environmental impact by reducing fuel consumption and lowering noise for passengers and nearby communities.


More information can be found here.


Air Products' London Fuel Cell Bus Hydrogen Refueling Station Surpasses 1,000 Refuels and 100,000 Miles of Service


Air Products reported on July 6 that London's RV1 riverside route fleet of fuel cell buses has completed 1,000 hydrogen refueling events or approximately 100,000 miles of travel.  The buses are operated by First Group for Transport for London and feature Ballard Power's fuel cell systems and a Wrightbus chassis integrated by ISE Corporation.



Diana Raine, European Business Manager Hydrogen Energy Systems at Air Products explains, "The Transport for London hydrogen bus fleet is a ground-breaking first for Europe and has been a great success to date. The fleet has shown Londoners that hydrogen transport offers a low carbon solution that not only offers zero emissions, but also delivers a real and practical alternative to the diesel powered bus."


The Air Products press release can be found here.


CBS Studios to Install Six UTC Power PureCell Systems


On July 2, UTC Power joined with CBS Studios to announce the deployment of 6 PureCell stationary fuel cell generators at two studio locations later this year. Each system generates 400kW of electricity for a total of 2.4MW of clean energy.  Three units will be deployed at both CBS Studio Center and CBS Television City where they will supply 40% and 60% of the power respectively.



"Fuel cells are a great fit for our business and sustainability goals," said Michael Klausman, President, CBS Studio Center & Senior VP Operations, CBS Television City. "With the installation of these PureCell systems, we will substantially increase our energy security by being able to continue operations in the event of a grid outage and, equally important, the installation is projected to reduce our impact on the environment and provide significant energy cost savings for our business."


The reduction of more than 2,370 metric tons of CO2 equates to planting roughly 550 acres of trees. Further reductions in NOx and water usage will also decrease the environmental footprint of some of America's most watched programming.


More information on these installations is available online here.


FuelCell Energy Awarded Navy Contract to Develop Unmanned Underwater Vehicle Power System


FuelCell Energy announced this week that it has been awarded a U.S. Navy contract to develop a power system for unmanned underwater applications. The contract is worth $3.8 million and will fund the development and testing of a hybrid SOFC-battery system for large displacement unmanned underwater vehicles (LDUUVs). The SOFC-battery system will be able to generate 1,800 kwh over the course of a 70 day mission, and will operate solely on on-board fuel and oxygen.


"This is a challenging and exciting project due to the unique installation and we expect to apply knowledge gained from this project into a range of other applications including maritime applications of fuel cells and auxiliary power units," said Tony Leo, Vice President Application Engineering & Advanced Technology Development, FuelCell Energy, Inc.


The SOFC fuel cell stack is based on technology developed by Versa Power Systems.  Other partners on the project include NASA and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), among others.


More information on this projectis available online here.

REI Begins Sale of Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies' Portable Micro-Fuel Cell Products


Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies announced on Tuesday, July 24 that they have begun selling their micro-fuel cell products through Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI), the largest retail chain for recreational outdoor gear in North America. 




REI has begun selling Horizon's MINIPAK, a portable fuel cell charger fueled by Horizon's HYDROSTIKs, refillable metal hydride fuel cartridges. Also available is Horizon's HYDROFILL personal hydrogen station.  The HYDROFILL is an electrolyzer which refills the HYDROSTIK cartridges for reuse.


More information on this announcement is available online here.


International Fuel Cell Bus Collaborative Launches New Website


Fuel cell bus supporters gained another resource recently when the International Fuel Cell Bus Collaborative's new website went online. The Collaborative is a loose organization of industry, transit, government, and research enterprises sharing the common goal of advancing the commercialization of fuel cell buses. In addition to a comprehensive database of all active fuel cell buses, the website features pictures, videos, and news updates on this exciting technological application.


Image via Fuel Cell Today


The website will be managed by the Center for Transportation and the Environment, a nonprofit striving to bridge research and development with the commercialization of advanced transportation technologies, on behalf of the FTA's National Fuel Cell Bus Technology Development Program (NFCBP).


You can visit the website at http://gofuelcellbus.com/.


Federal Program News


Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu Expresses Change in Opinion on Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy in Autoline Interview


On June 22nd, Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu appeared on the web program Autoline, to discuss hydrogen as a transportation fuel. In the interview, Sec. Chu said he had "changed [his] mind," on fuel cells and hydrogen, due largely to the abundance and low cost of natural gas, as well as some technological developments. He also praised the faster fueling time of fuel cell electric vehicles, compared to battery electrics.


Transcript of Remarks


"I think that when I first came in you were right. I was not as high on hydrogen fuel cells. But several things changed my mind. The most important thing that changed my mind was the fact that we have now natural gas in abundance. Hydrogen is reformed from natural gas. That's point number one. So you have an off load of that."


"Point number two is that you can take natural gas and when you reform it, you are actually making a lot of carbon dioxide. You are losing a lot of the heat content. You make it up it the efficiency of the electric motor. But now we also have an emerging technology where you can take natural gas, you can burn it in a partial oxygen atmosphere-a little starved,-generate the electricity, capture a lot of the heat energy. You also get hydrogen and carbon monoxide. You take the carbon monoxide, pass it over in a steam process-its call a shift process-you get a stream of hydrogen. You get a pure stream of carbon dioxide, and you get electricity. That will change things. The pure stream most."


"The major source of hydrogen is used in oil refineries. You want to tip the balance and shift from the heavy oils fuels-bunker fuels-to use gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. They use hydrogen to do that. You have natural gas to supply then. You have carbon dioxide, which is making money in enhanced oil recovery. So now the economics are looking good. The carbon footprint looks much better."


The interview can be found here.  Secretary Chu's segment begins at about 1:18 into the program.


Department of Energy Invests in Fueling Technologies for a Hydrogen Infrastructure 


On July 18th, the U.S. Department of Energy announced a $2.4 million investment in projects to assess the performance and progress of hydrogen fueling stations in the hope of improving efficiency and lowering costs.  California State University and Los Angeles Auxiliary Services, Inc., the Gas Technology Institute, and Proton Energy Systems will receive grants of $400,000 while the California Air Resources Board receives an award of $150,000. The awards demonstrate the Energy Department's commitment to promoting hydrogen energy as part of our nation's energy portfolio.


"As part of an all-of-the-above strategy to deploy every available source of American energy, the Energy Department is committed to advancing fuel cell technologies and supporting innovative technologies that diversify our nation's transportation sector and reduce our dependence on imported oil," said Dr. David Danielson, DOE Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.


Proton Energy Systems will receive an additional $1 million in funding to lead a second project to deploy an advanced high-pressure electrolyzer at an existing hydrogen fuelling station.


More information can be found here.


Department of Energy Awards Small Business Research and Development Grants to Proton OnSite and Arbsource for Hydrogen Production Projets

Proton OnSite and Arbsource, LLC were recently selected to receive Department of Energy funding for hydrogen production projects. The grants were made available through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. 


Proton OnSite will use the funds to reduce the cost of Proton's hydrogen generation systems.  Proton OnSite manufactures electrolysis systems which utilizes renewable energy sources.

Arbsource uses biotechnology to generate hydrogen gas during wastewater treatment processes.  The hydrogen generated will be used as a fuel to help lower the costs of plant operation.


More information is available online here.

Department of Energy Fuel Cell Technologies Project Wins R&D 100 Award for 2012


R&D Magazine has awarded one of its 100 awards to Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL's) this year for their work on platinum monolayer electrocatalysts for fuel cell cathodes. Platinum is the most efficient electrocatalyst for fuel cells, but conventional platinum-based catalysts are expensive and durability is a major challenge. The new electrocatalysts have high activity, stability, and durability, while containing only about one-tenth the platinum of conventional catalysts used in fuel cells, significantly reducing overall costs. BNL's work was funded by the Department of Energy's Fuel Cell Technologies Program.


More information on the award can be found here. 

RFP / Solicitation News


Department of Commerce Announces Reestablishment of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Advisory Committee, Seeks Nominations


The Department of Commerce has announced the reestablishment of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Advisory Committee. The Committee will advise the Secretary of Commerce regarding programs and policies to expand the export of domestically manufactured renewable energy and energy efficiency goods and services. 


Nominations are open to U.S. citizens representing U.S. companies, trade organizations, or private sector organizations engaging in the international trade of renewable energy or energy efficiency products and services.


The deadline to submit a nomination for Committee membership is August 1, 2012. 


For information on the Committee and how to apply for nomination please view the Federal Register posting 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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