Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Industry News
President Obama Announces $2 Billion Energy Trust Plan for Advanced Vehicle Development - Features Hydrogen Fuel Cells
On March 15, President Obama announced his plan for an Energy Security Trust to fund transportation technology research over the next 10 years. The proposed $2 billion trust would be funded by federal oil and gas revenues for investment in advanced vehicle development and real-world deployment tests.
The White House published a graphic depicting hydrogen fuel cell investment, in addition to other transportation fuels, as a mechanism to shift US vehicles away from oil dependence and stimulate new jobs and technology breakthroughs.
The White House blog post can be found here.
The full fact sheet from the White House can be found here.
Ballard Power Announces Agreement with Volkswagen
On March 6, Ballard Power Systems announced an agreement with Volkswagen Group to advance the development of fuel cells to power demonstration cars in Volkswagen's fuel cell and automotive research program.
Ballard will be involved in the design and development of a next-generation fuel cell for use in the Volkswagen HyMotion demonstration car. Ballard engineers will lead the way in the fuel cell product design, including the membrane electrode assembly, and plate and stack components. The value of the expected contract is C$60-100 million and has an option for a 2-year extension to the 4-year original contract term.
Ballard Power's press release is available here.
BMW Converts Production Facility Forklift Fleet Completely to Fuel Cell Power - Working with SCRA on Landfill Gas to Hydrogen Project
On March 13, BMW Manufacturing announced that it has converted its entire forklift fleet at its 4 million square foot production facility in Spartanburg, South Carolina is converting to fuel cell power. In 2010, BMW installed a hydrogen storage and distribution area to support 100 fuel cell materials handling units and has since converted a total of 230 forklifts to fuel cells from battery power.
Two higher capacity compressors, new storage tubes and distribution piping, and eight new hydrogen dispensers were installed to support the increase in fleet size. The system will deliver 400 kg of hydrogen per day and will avoid using 4.1 million kw/hours per year.
BMW is also working on a landfill gas-to-hydrogen project with the South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) to use locally sourced fuel for the forklift fleet. The project is targeted for completion in late 2013.
The BMW press release is avilable here.
Target Testing Bloom Energy Fuel Cells
On February 27, Target announced it would be installing Bloom Energy fuel cells at stores in San Francisco and Pasadena, California, to provide on-site grid independent power. These installations are part of a larger move by Target towards on-site power generation. The company hopes to expand the program, if the trials are successful, Target hopes to expand the project to East Coast stores more prone to power outages.
Target's press release is available here.
FuelCell Energy to Demonstrate Tri-Generation Plant in Vancouver
On February 28, FuelCell Energy announced a contract with Quadrogen Power Systems Inc. to demonstrate a tri-generation stationary fuel cell power plant at the City of Vancouver's landfill in early 2014. This will be FuelCell Energy's second tri-generation plant; the first has been operating in Fountain Valley, California since August 2011.
This plant will be fueled by methane gas generated at the landfill and will generate renewable electricity, hydrogen, and heat, providing multiple revenue streams for the landfill's biogas, which had previously been flared. The heat has been designated for use by a hydroponic greenhouse operator (Village Farms International, Inc), while the hydrogen will be exported for vehicle fueling or industrial applications.
The press release from FuelCell Energy can be found here.
Air Liquide to Install Three Hydrogen Filling Stations in Europe as part of the European Union FCH-JU SWARM Project
On March 12, Air Liquide announced it will install three high-capacity (40 fillings per day) hydrogen filling stations in Bremen (DE), Birmingham (GB) and Brussels (BE). The stations will be developed as part of the European Union Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH-JU) project, SWARM, a demonstration of small fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) in regional and municipal transport.
The stations will support the roll-out of 90 FCEVs that will provide three years of data on real world usage in the European market. The project is supported by 17 partners including businesses, universities, local governments, as well as the FCH-JU, and is working to create a hydrogen highway across Northern Europe.
Air Liquide's announcement can be found here.
ITM Power Makes First Commercial Sale in Germany & Russia
On March 13, ITM Power announced its first commercial sale of a large hydrogen production unit. ITM Power won a competitive tender process to supply a 360 kW power-to-gas energy storage plant for a Thüga Group Project, an energy utility group. The unit will produce 125 kg/day of hydrogen and will be installed in Schielestraße, Frankfurt at Mainova AG, one of Germany's largest energy suppliers.
ITM Power also recently announced that it sold its first reference plant based on the HPac platform to a company in Russia.
For full press release, click here and here.
Hyundai Celebrates World's First Assembly Line Production of Zero-Emissions Fuel Cell Vehicles
On February 26, Hyundai Motor Company reported it was the world's first automaker to begin assembly-line production of hydrogen-powered vehicles for fleet use after rolling its first ix35 Fuel Cell vehicle off the line at its Ulsan, South Korea manufacturing complex.
|Source: Hyundai Motor Co.|
The ix35 Fuel Cell unveiled at the ceremony will be one of 17 destined for fleet customers in Copenhagen, Denmark and Skåne, Sweden. By 2015 Hyundai plans to build 1,000 ix35 Fuel Cell vehicles for lease to public and private fleets, primarily in Europe.
Hyundai's press release is available here.
California Fuel Cell Partnership Releases Road Map for Fuel Cell Electric Buses
On March 20, the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP) released its Road Map for Fuel Cell Electric Buses in California, which outlined the current state of fuel cell bus deployment in California and the steps to move fuel cell electric buses (FCEBs) to large-scale distribution in certain California locations. Currently,
FCEB lines are in operation by AC Transit, in the San Francisco Bay Area, and SunLine Transit, in Coachella Valley.
CaFCP proposes that California establish two Centers of Excellence, one in Northern California and one in Southern California, with 40 FCEBs per location to facilitate economically competitive deployment of the buses. CaFCP anticipates a cost for each center of $50.2 million over a 12 year operating period, and calls for significant funding to come from MAP 21 funding.
A summary of the report is available here. The full report is available here.
Clean Energy Patent Growth Index Shows Fuel Cells Continue to Lead in Clean Energy Patents
On March 15, the Clean Energy Patent Growth Index (CEPGI) released its 2012 Year in Review showing the fuel cell sector's continued lead in clean energy patent filings.
The CEPGI tracks U.S. patents for fuel cells, solar, wind, hybrid/electric vehicles, hydroelectric, tidal/wave, geothermal, biomass/biofuels, and other renewable forms of energy.
As the graph below demonstrates, fuel cells continued to hold the lead in clean energy patents in 2012 with 1,024 patents granted. The solar industry held the next highest number of patents at 862. United States clean energy patents were at an all-time high in 2012 with a total of 3,061 patents, an increase of 30% from 2011.
The full 2012 Year in Review report is available here.
Ballard Announces Delivery of 10 Fuel Cell Buses to Aberdeen, Scotland
On March 13, Ballard Power Systems announced an agreement with Van Hool NV and the Transit Authority in Aberdeen, Scotland for delivery of 10 buses that will be powered by Ballard's 150 kilowatt FCvelocityTM-HD6 fuel cell. When deployed, the 10 bus fleet will be the largest fuel cell bus fleet in Europe. By 2014, Ballard plans to deploy 40 fuel cell buses in the European market.
The Ballard Power press release is available here.
Intelligent Energy Announces CE certification for its Combined Heat and Power Fuel Cell Unit.
On March 20, Intelligent Energy and Scottish & Southern Energy announced it received CE certification for its 10 kW combined heat and power (CHP) fuel cell unit. CE certification confirms that the unit satisfies all regulatory and safety and conformity assessment procedures covering the design, manufacture and testing of fuel cell CHP systems.
The 10kW unit is designed for light commercial applications or residential properties where a high and constant base load is required. The unit can also be used as a backup power system to maintain essential services in the event of a power outage.
The Intelligent Energy press release is available here.
Fuel Cells 2000 Releases 2012 Policy Wrap Up
On March 19, Fuel Cells 2000 released its 2012 Policy Activity Wrap-up, a report detailing the state and national legislation and policies enacted in 2012 relating to fuel cell and hydrogen energy technologies.
On the national level, the report discusses the inclusion of fuel cell electric vehicles in the new fuel economy standards. On the state level, the report digs into various policies and legislation enacted which will have an impact on the industry in California, Connecticut, New Hampshire and New Jersey.
The full report from Fuel Cells 2000 can be found here.
HyTrust Reports 63% of Germans have Favorable View of Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles
On March 19, HyTrust, a socio-scientific research project associated with the German Federal Government's National Innovation Program for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies, found that that 63% of Germans had a favorable view of fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs).
The Independent Institute for Environmental Issues, in conjunction with HyTrust, surveyed more than 2,500 German citizens for their opinion on hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. The survey found Germans have a great deal of enthusiasm regarding FCEVs and most expressed no safety concerns.
Three out of four respondents expect FCEVs to be available for purchase within the next ten years.
The full presentation and survey results can be found here.
HGAC Awarded $3.4 million for Fuel Cell Truck Demonstration
On March 4, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) announced that the U.S. Department of Energy recently awarded the Houston Galveston Area Council (HGAC) $3.4 million to demonstrate a project involving heavy-duty hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric trucks in a collaborative project including the EDF, Vision Industries Corporation, Total Transportation Services, Inc. (TTSI), and Air Products.
The project will measure the cost-effectiveness and commercial viability of 20 Vision Industries TYRANO hydrogen fuel cell electric trucks. The project hopes to accelerate the deployment of clean technologies in cargo transportation.
The hydrogen will be produced through locally sourced natural gas and the trucks are expected to be operational by the end of 2013.
The EDF press release is available here.
Ballard Power Announces $4 Million Investment from Anglo American Platinum
On March 4, Ballard Power Systems announced that it will receive a $4 million investment from Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) in Ballard's PGM Development Fund to support the commercial advancement of Ballard's fuel cell products in target markets. Amplats believes that fuel cells can have a major impact on the economy of South Africa.
This announcement builds on Ballard and Anglo American's previous fuel cell technology collaborations. In November of 2012, Ballard and Amplats announced an agreement to fund and develop a home generator product to provide primary power to rural communities in South Africa that do not have access to the electrical grid. The Home Generator was built to run on methanol fuel, using an integrated fuel reformer.
Ballard Power's press release is available here.
Ceramic Fuel Cells Ltd Partners with Alliander AG to Install 600 BlueGEN Fuel Cells Across Germany
On March 13, fuel cell manufacturer Ceramic Fuel Cells Ltd announced a partnership with with Alliander AG, a Germany subsidiary of a Dutch energy company, to install 600 BlueGen micro-combined heat and power (micro-CHP) fuel cells across Germany. Installation of the fuel cells throughout Alliander's regional grids in Germany is anticipated for completion by 2015.
This is the second deployment phase for Alliander, after an initial successful three year deployment in the Heinsenberg, Germany area. BlueGEN systems are solid oxide fuel cells, and will help Alliander increase its decentralized electricity production.
Ceramic Fuel Cells' press release can be found here.
Government Fleets Reviews Honda FCX Clarity
On March 14, Government Fleets reviewed the Honda FCX Clarity and interviewed Honda's Fuel Cell Marketing Manager and FCHEA Chairman, Steve Ellis.
|Honda's Fuel Cell Marketing Manager Steve Ellis with the 2012 model FCX Clarity at the Shell hydrogen fueling facility in Torrance. (source: Government Fleets)|
Government Fleets' Thi Dao found few operational differences between the FCX Clarity and conventional sedans and reported that "any driver could easily get accustomed" to fueling the vehicle.
The full review is available here
Ballard Power to Supply Fuel Cell System for Connecticut Bus
On March 11, Ballard Power Systems announced it will be supplying a fuel cell bus to CTTransit in Hartford, CT, in partnership with the Center for Transportation and the Environment, with expected delivery in 2015. The bus uses the same 150 kilowatt FCvelocityTM-HD6 fuel cell hybrid configuration featured on a simillar bus operated by SunLine Transit Agency in Thousand Palms, CA. Ballard has three additional buses using this configuration planned for deployment by 2015.
Ballard's press release can be found here.
Hydrogenics wins Best in Class Award at CleanEquity Monaco 2013
On March 13, Hydrogenics Corporation announced that a panel of judges at CleanEquity Monaco 2013 selected Hydrogenics as best in class for Excellence in the Field of Environmental Technology Commercialization. CleanEquity Monaco is one of the leading emerging clean technology conferences and was hosted by Innovator Capital, a London specialist Investment bank.
Hydrogenics press release is available here.
Ballard ClearGen Fuel Cell System to Operate Using Biomass-Generated Hydrogen in California
On February 28, Ballard Power Systems announced the sale of a 175 kilowatt biomass-to-fuel cell system to the Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe of Humboldt County, California. The plant will provide base load power for the Tribe's commercial enterprises and by-product heat will be used to warm the swimming pool in an adjacent hotel.
Ballard reports that the system is the first of its kind to incorporate a biomass gasifier and syngas purification unit to form an integrated biomass-to-fuel cell power solution.
Ballard Power's press release is available here.
Intelligent Energy to Collaborate with Cable & Wireless Communications on Portable Fuel Cell Systems
On February 27, Intelligent Energy announced an agreement to collaborate with UK telecommunications company, Cable & Wireless Communications, to test electronic devices powered by Intelligent Energy's fuel cell technology. The companies will start a user trial of an Intelligent Energy portable device during the summer of 2013.
Intelligent Energy plans to offer a durable and cost-effective solution that can be integrated into a wide range of consumer applications.
Intelligent Energy's press release is available here.
Air Products Launches New Hydrogen Microsite
On March 13, Air Products announced the development of a microsite to help hydrogen users improve efficiency and lower overall costs. The website, www.airproducts.com/H2support, has tools to figure out the most cost-effective gas supply option, how to increase process efficiency, optimize gas usage and improve safety.
The website also contains contact information of Air Products engineers who can recommend the most efficient and cost-effective supply mode for a user's particular situation. There is also a mobile app to convert weight and volume measures for hydrogen and other industrial gases.
Air Products press release on this website is available here.
Tanaka Precious Metals Constructing Dedicated Fuel Cell Catalysts Manufacturing Plant
On February 26, Tanaka Precious Metals, a Japanese precious metals company, announced an investment of approximately 1 billion yen to build a plant dedicated to fuel cell catalyst development and production in anticipation of growing future catalyst demand.
The plant is scheduled for completion in March 2013, with full operations expected by October 2013.
Tanaka's press release can be found here.
Federal Program News
Department of Energy Releases Study on Path to Low-Carbon and Low-Petroleum Future in Transportation
On March 14, DOE, NREL and the Argonne National Laboratory released a study that outlines a path towards a low-carbon and low-petroleum future in the transportation sector. The study finds that the U.S. is capable of achieving 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050.
The Transportation Energy Futures report talks about the role of fuel cell vehicles and hydrogen energy in terms of deployment, infrastructure and potential barriers.
The full report is available here.
Department of Energy Issues Hydrogen and Natural Gas Pipeline Blending Report
On March 14, The Fuel Cell Technologies Office at the Department of Energy issued a report on blending hydrogen into natural gas pipeline networks. The report was authored by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and focuses on using hydrogen as a fuel and as an energy storage tool.
Hydrogen delivery remains a barrier for full market integration; blending hydrogen into natural gas pipelines can reduce the overall cost of delivery and avoid having to build dedicated pipelines. Blending hydrogen has also been a way to increase the output of wind farms in that, excess wind energy can be stored as hydrogen.
The full report can be downloaded here.
Department of Energy Announces SBIR/STTR Awards
On March 6, The U.S. Department of Energy announced the FY 2012 Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) Phase I awards, three of which were fuel cell and hydrogen energy projects.
Composite Technology Development, of Lafayette, Colorado was one of the award winners; they will look to optimize the cost and performance of composite cylinder for hydrogen storage. Nextgen Aeronautics, of Torrance, California will incorporate low-cost nanoreinforcement into high-pressure, all-composite tank designs to improve performance and lower costs. And lastly, Treadstone Technologies of Princeton, New Jersey will develop bipolar plate technology to help reduce the cost of PEM fuel cells.
The Department of Energy's press release is available here.
quests 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.
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.
About the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Connection
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Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association -- The Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association (FCHEA) is the trade association for the fuel cell and hydrogen energy industry, and is dedicated to the commercialization of fuel cells and hydrogen energy technologies. Fuel cells and hydrogen energy technologies deliver clean, reliable power to leading edge corporate, academic and public sector users, and FCHEA members are helping to transform the our energy future. FCHEA represents the full global supply chain, including universities, government laboratories and agencies, trade associations, fuel cell materials, components and systems manufacturers, hydrogen producers and fuel distributors, utilities and other end users.
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