Fuel Cell and Hydrogen

Energy Connection
February 2013
Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Industry News
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About the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Connection

Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Industry News


Intelligent Energy and Suzuki Motor Corporation Announce Completion of Ready-to-Scale Fuel Cell Production Line in Japan


On February 20, Intelligent Energy and Suzuki Motor Corporation announced that their joint venture, SMILE FC System Corporation, has successfully established a ready-to-scale production plant for its fuel cell systems in Yokohama, Japan. 


SMILE FC was created in February 2012 to develop and manufacture fuel cell systems for use in Suzuki motorcycles and passenger vehicles. The joint venture provides Suzuki with access to Intelligent Energy's technology through a non-exclusive license. 


SMILE FC is headquartered at Suzuki HQ in Hamamatsu City, Shizuoka Japan.


Intelligent Energy's press release is available here.

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Commissions UTC Power Fuel Cell


On January 30, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne (PWR), the California Rocket maker, commissioned  UTC Power's first operational 400kW fuel cell in the San Fernando Valley. The Pure Fuel Cell System will reduce PWRs emissions equivalent to removing 120 cars from the highway.


The Pure Cell System is the first of several UTC Power fuel cell systems planned for installation this year in the San Fernando Valley, including three at CBS Studio Center and three at CBS Television City in Los Angeles.


More information is available on AOL Energy here.


London Hydrogen Network Expansion Project to Deliver Five Publicly Accessible Fueling Stations


On January 30, Renewable Energy Focus reported that Air Products, working with the UK government's Technology Strategy Board, is in the process of building a network of five 700 bar renewable hydrogen fueling stations to facilitate deployment of new fuel cell electric vehicles around London.  


The London Hydrogen Network Expansion (LHNE) project features a consortium of companies including Air Products, Cenex (the Centre of Excellence for low carbon and fuel cell technologies), Commercial Group, Element Energy, Heathrow Airport, and Revolve Technologies, in partnership with the Technology Strategy Board, the Mayor of London's office and the Greater London Authority.

More information is available on Renewable Energy Focus 


Toyota Unveils Fuel Cell Forklift

On February 7, Toyota unveiled a new fuel cell forklift co-developed 

with Toyoda Gosei Co., Ltd. Two of the fuel cell forklifts will be 

deployed to Toyoda Gosei's Kitakyushu site for demonstration through 

March 2014.  


Toyota previously developed a prototype fuel cell fork lift in 2005, and since then has been working on a commercial model.

Further information can be found on Fuel Cell Today 


Boeing Hydrogen-Powered Phantom Eye Completes Taxi Tests, Prepares for First Autonomous Flight


On February 8, Boeing announced that taxi tests have been completed for the Phantom Eye, a hydrogen-powered unmanned aircraft, and that Boeing is preparing for the aircraft's second autonomous flight.



The Phantom Eye completed its first flight on June 1, 2012 at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Since then, The Phantom Eye has had hardware and software updates which will allow it to fly at a higher altitude. During recent testing, the aircraft was able to reach speeds of up to 40 knots atop its launch cart.


Boeing's feature story and video update on the Phantom Eye are available online here.


Western Hydrogen Receives Grant for New Hydrogen Production Technology    


On February 15, Western Hydrogen Ltd. announced it has obtained a $1.45 million grant from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), a non-profit clean energy research, development and demonstration foundation financed by the Canadian government.  


The grant will go towards the commercialization of Western Hydrogen's Molten Salt Gasification (MSG) process, which can produce hydrogen from a variety of carbon feedstock sources including petroleum coke, natural gas and biomass.  The technology is expected to have a application in oil sands production and a strong potential for reducing the energy demands and emissions of the oil sands process.

Western Hydrogen is currently constructing and commissioning a pilot plant near Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta to demonstrate the MSG process.


Western Hydrogen's press release is available here.


Interview with Colorado Energy Partners CEO Reveals Plans to Incorporate Delphi SOFC in Oil Sands Recovery


On February 6, Alan K. Forbes, President and CEO of Independent Energy Partners (IEP) explained in an interview with Driving Force Radio how IEP is working with Delphi to develop solid fuel oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology to help improve the extraction of oil sands.


Currently, oil sands are either mined and then refined above ground, or the ground is heated using ceramic heating cartridges, after which the oil can be pumped out.  IEP hopes to replace the ceramic heating cartridges with SOFCs, using their byproduct to heat the ground.  The SOFCs can be run on natural gas and the electricity that is produced can be used on-site.


IEP is also partnering with TOTAL, as well as Pacific Northwest and Idaho National Laboratories on this project.


More information, as well as a link to the radio interviews are available on Fuel Cell Today here.


NREL Receives Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicles from Toyota


On January 28, the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) announced that it had received four fuel cell hybrid vehicles - advanced (FCHV-adv) from Toyota Motor Corp. to support research in hydrogen infrastructure, renewable hydrogen production, and vehicle performance.  The vehicles were loaned to NREL for two years as part of a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement.


The vehicles are being fueled with hydrogen produced from renewable wind and solar energy sources.  NREL will also use the vehicles to educate the public about advanced vehicle technologies and will raise awareness through a student contest to design graphic decals designs for the vehicles.


NREL's press release is available here.


CE Marking for Infintium Material Handling Fuel Cell System - ITM Power Sole European Distributor


On January 31, ITM Power announced the achievement of CE certification of the Infintium Fuel Cell System for materials handling vehicles.  This follows a previous announcement on June 22 by ITM Power of an agreement with Infintium Fuel Cell Systems Inc. to be the exclusive European distributor of Infintium's materials handling equipment fuel cells. 


A CE mark is mandatory for products placed on the market in the European Economic Area and signifies that a product has met EU consumer safety, health and environmental requirements. ITM can now offer customers both an integrated fuel cell, and refueling solution that are CE certified.


ITM Power's press release is available here.


AC Transit Honored by California Governor for Fuel Cell Bus Program


On January 23, Alameda-Contra Costa Transit Authority (AC Transit) was awarded the Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA) by California Governor Jerry Brown for the successful implementation of AC Transit's fuel cell bus program. 


The award, which was established in 1993, is considered the highest environmental achievement award in California and honors individuals, companies and organizations that make significant contributions to the state by developing environmentally-friendly practices.


In addition to the fuel cell bus program, AC Transit is in the process of installing a 400-kilowatt stationary solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) system manufactured in California.


AC Transit's press release is available here.


Nectar Mobile Power System Wins Several Awards at the International Consumer Electronics Show


On January 23, Lilliputian Systems announced that their portable fuel cell charger, Nectar, won 3 awards at the annual International Consumer Electronics Show, including, the CES Innovations Award for Engineering & DesignPopular Science Product of the Future Award; and the Gotta be Mobile Best of CES award.


The Nectar is a portable fuel cell charger that can charge any USB device. The Nectar Mobile Power System and its butane fuel source, Nectar Pods, have been approved for carry-on and use aboard commercial aircraft by the UN International Civil Aviation Organization and the U.S. Department of Transportation.  The Nectar is available for pre-order at nectarpower.com and brookstone.com/nectar. The product is set to ship this summer.


Lilliputian's press release is available here.


Phase 1 of UKH2Mobility completed, Government-Industry Report Claims Over 1.5 Million FCEVs Could be on the Road by 2030


In a press conference on February 4, members of UKH2Mobility, the UK's public-private partnership for the deployment of fuel cell electric vehicles and the development of hydrogen infrastructure, announced that Phase 1 of the project is complete.  UKH2Mobility has published an interim report for Phase 1 of the initiative, a joint Government-Industry evaluation and road-map for the roll-out of hydrogen infrastructure and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) in the UK through 2030.


The report claims that over 1.5 million hydrogen powered vehicles could be on UK roads by 2030 and that as FCEV deployments increase, they will be supported by up to 1,150 hydrogen refueling stations. UKH2Mobility estimates that UK annual total vehicles CO2 emissions would be reduced by 3 million tons in that time span. 


The final report for Phase 1 is due to be published in March. Phase 2 will then develop a detailed business case and specific actions for participants to commit to.


ITM Power's press release is available here.  The UK's Department for Business Innovation & Skills press release is available online here.


California's Governor Brown Releases 2013 ZEV Action Plan - Calls for 1.5 Million ZEVs on the Road by 2025


On February 5, the Office of California Governor Edmund Brown released its 2013 ZEV Action Plan, a Californian road-map to put 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) on its roads by 2025.  By 2015, California metro areas are required to be "ZEV ready", which includes planning for a hydrogen refueling network. Current projections suggest that 68 hydrogen refueling stations are needed by the end of 2015 for initial vehicle launch, and ultimately 100 stations for full commercial launch.


The plan also calls for the California Energy Commission to ensure that all state funded hydrogen stations are open to FCEV drivers and the public, for the state to enact necessary standards to ensure hydrogen can be sold on a per kilogram basis and to streamline permitting for hydrogen stations.  The state will also explore purchasing or leasing FCEVs for state fleets located near retail hydrogen stations, especially as FCEVs become commercially available, and support grant funding for FCEV coordinating councils.


The full report can be found here.


Bloomberg Releases 2013 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook


On January 31, the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) in partnership with Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) released The Sustainable Energy in America 2013 Factbook which highlights significant advancements in new renewable energy technologies in America.  


The Factbook highlights how these advancements are significantly boosting investment and interest in fuel cell and hydrogen energy technologies along with other renewable and clean energy technologies. 


The Business Council's press release is available here.


Federal Program News


Secretary of Energy Steven Chu to Resign from Office


On February 1, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced his intent to resign once a successor has been named.


The White House has released a statement on the Secretary's resignation which is available here.


Fuel Cell Industry Leaders Appointed to Department of Commerce RE&EE Advisory Committee


On February 21, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank announced the appointment of 37 private sector representatives to the newly re-charted Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (RE&EE) Advisory Committee, including fuel cell industry leaders Frank Wolak of Fuel Cell Energy Inc. and Bob Rose of Breakthrough Technologies Institute.


The committee will be responsible for expanding on the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Export Initiative (RE4I), with the main focus on increasing export competitiveness in this sector.


The Department of Commerce press release is available here.


Fuel Cells used for Soldier Power Highlighted at the DOE's Energy All Stars Inauguration Event

Guest Article by Department of Energy Fuel Cell Technologies Program


On January 19, 2013, America's top energy leaders participated in the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Energy All-Stars event.  The DOE's Energy All Star event had over 400 attendees including CEOs of major corporations and dignitaries from state and local governments, who had the opportunity to hear about various energy topics from experts from the public and private sectors.  Speakers included former Former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, and former Assistant Secretary of Energy Dr. Susan Tierney.  


Video of the presentations are available here..


During the event, former Michigan Governor and clean energy advocate Jennifer Granholm posed with the Director of DOE's Fuel Cell Technologies Office Sunita Satyapal and the multiple fuel cells on display, including AMI and UltraCell units provided by the U.S. Department of Defense's (DOD) Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center's (CERDEC) Power division.  Fuel cells like the one she is examining have been sent overseas to obtain soldier feedback on their usefulness as silent, portable power sources.  Governor Granholm was happy to learn that AMI plans to manufacture their units in her home state of Michigan.


DOE-funded research efforts have led to significant achievements in the hydrogen and fuel cell industry - reduced the amount of platinum needed by more than a factor of five, doubled fuel cell durability, and reduced the cost of automotive fuel cells by more than 35% since 2008 and more than 80% since 2002.  Many of these innovations have contributed to the success of the fuel cells.   CERDEC's  Power division has invested significant resources to develop fuel cells for soldier power applications since early 2000.  Portable fuel cell systems developed by CERDEC help reduce the weight burden on the soldier by offering a weight savings of ~ 60% over conventional power sources like batteries for a 72 hour mission.


"CERDEC's objective is to develop portable fuel cells that will support the Soldier's power needs, but there are significant opportunities for collaboration and leveraging of each other's work.  Our common goal is to develop high density solutions that are safe, cost-effective and environmentally friendly," said Shailesh Shah, Fuel Cell Technology team lead for CERDEC's Command, Power & Integration directorate.     


In addition to developing clean energy technologies, this collaboration between the DOE and the DOD serves to strengthen American energy security and reduce our dependency on foreign oil. 

Jennifer Kurtz of NREL's Hydrogen Technologies Program Discusses FCEVs on NPR's Science Friday


On February 8, Jennifer Kurtz, leader of the Technology Validation Group at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), was interviewed about the current state of fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) on National Public Radio's (NPR) Science Friday. Kurtz discussed safety, cost and infrastructure issues associated with wide-scale deployment of FCEVs.


NREL's Jennifer Kurtz on the phone with NPR's Science Friday host Ira Flatow 
(Source: Keith Wipke)

During the interview, Kurtz noted the similarities in driving experience to conventional vehicles, minus tailpipe emissions.  She also highlighted the rapid refueling time for FCEVs and safety measures in place to avoid hydrogen combustion in the event of an accident.  In addition, Kurtz discussed the variety of methods available to produce hydrogen and the cost and infrastructure hurdles that must be met in order to achieve commercial viability.


A recording of the program and full transcript of the interview are available here.


DOE Announces $10.5 Million for Small Business Clean Energy Projects - Includes Three Fuel Cell Projects

On February 20, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy announced disbursement for 70 grants totaling $10.5 million to small businesses investing in clean energy projects with potential for commercialization and job creation.  Three fuel cell companies were selected as award winners.

Treadstone Technologies, a developer of fuel cell and hydrogen technologies, will receive funding to develop low cost novel structured metal bipolar plate technology to be applied to low temperature PEM fuel cells with transportation applications.  


Composite Technology Development, Inc. and Nextgen Aeronautics, Inc. also received funding to develop low cost, high pressure composite tanks for hydrogen storage.


The grants are funded by the DOE's Small Business and Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs and are intended for small businesses to explore the feasibility of prototype development for innovative technologies.


The Department of Energy press release is available here.     

Energy Department Announces New Investment to Advance Cost-Competitive Hydrogen Fuel


On February 14, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced a $1 million investment to analyze and evaluate cost-competitive pathways to producing and transporting hydrogen fuel.  The project will conduct thorough cost analyses of hydrogen pathways to identify the most economical hydrogen production and delivery methods and highlight remaining research and development challenges.


DOE's press release is available here.  

Requests for Information, Proposals, and Papers


Energy Department and Treasury Announce Availability of $150 Million in 48C Tax Credit for Clean Energy Manufacturing


On February 7, the Department of Energy and Treasury announced that $150 million is available in 48C Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credits for clean energy and energy efficiency manufacturing projects in the United States.  This initiative includes fuel cell manufacturing facilities as a qualifying facility. 


The criteria for projects being considered is:


  • Greatest domestic job creation (direct and indirect)
  • Greatest net impact in avoiding or reducing air pollutants or emissions of greenhouse gases
  • Lowest levelized cost of energy
  • Greatest potential for technological innovation and commercial deployment
  • Shortest project time from certification to completion


A concept paper for DOE consideration must be submitted by April 9, 2013. If after the concept paper is submitted, DOE invites the applicant to submit an application for DOE recommendation, it must be submitted by July 23, 2013. The IRS will accept or reject the taxpayer's application for certification by November 15, 2013. 


The Department of Energy press release is available here.


The Full IRS notice can be downloaded here and the Applicant User Guide can be downloaded here.


$1.5 Million Available to Establish Combined Heat and Power Technical Assistance Partnerships


On Monday February 11, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) of $1.5 million for the selection of up to 8 awards in Fiscal Year 2013 to establish Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Technical Assistance Partnerships (TAPs).  The DOE plans to make an additional $9.5 million available over the next four years subject to congressional appropriations.


DOE plans for these CHP TAPs to accelerate deployment of 40 gigawatts of new, cost effective combined heat and power by helping remove market and non-market barriers.


The closing date for applications is March 22, 2013.


DOE's press release is available here.  The full FOA is available online here.


DOE Issues Request for Information on Automotive Fuel Cell Cost


On February 4, the Department of Enegy (DOE) issues a request for information (RFI) requesting feedback on proposed cost and durability targets for fuel cells designed for automotive applications.  The proposed cost targets are $40/kW for automotive fuel cell system cost, and the proposed durability target is 5,000 hours corresponding to approximately 150,000 miles.


For details, see the RFI announcement for DE-FOA-0000855. Comments must be provided by no later than 11:59 PM EDT on April 1, 2013.  


GSA Request for Information on Medium-Heavy Duty Emerging Technology Vehicles


On February 5, the General Services Administration issued a request for information on medium and heavy duty emerging technology vehicles. 


GSA is attempting to lead the way in promoting a sustainable environment by setting greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, increasing energy efficiency and reducing fleet petroleum consumption by 30% by 2020. 


"Emerging Technology" vehicles include: Dedicated Electric Power, Battery-Electric Power, Turbine/Electric Hybrid, as well as Hydrogen Fueled and Fuel Cell Powered vehicles.


The full RFI is available 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.


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