Fuel Cell and Hydrogen

Energy Connection
July 2013
Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Industry News
Federal Program News
Technical/Regulatory Affairs Update
Request for Papers, Proposals, and Information
About the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Connection

Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Industry News


GM and Honda Announce Fuel Cell Vehicle Partnership 
On July 2, General Motors and Honda Motor Co. announced that they had formed a partnership to collaborate on a system for the next generation of fuel cell vehicles.  The two automakers aim to have vehicles in the showroom by 2020. 


Stephen Girsky of GM and Tetsuo Iwamura of Honda

The partnership will focus on cutting costs by consolidating suppliers as well as expanding hydrogen refueling infrastructure. Current fuel cell vehicle technologies will also be shared, including that of Honda's next-generation FCX Clarity, set to launch in 2015. 


A link to the full article can be found here.
Honda's full press release can be found here.


Nuvera Fuel Cells to Provide Hydrogen for ACE Hardware to Fuel Plug Power Fuel Cell Forklifts


On July 9, ACE Hardware Corporation selected Nuvera Fuel Cells to be the hydrogen provider for its fuel cell powered lift truck fleet at its new retail support center.


Nuvera will install and maintain its PowerTap on-site hydrogen generation and refueling solution at the facility, which can produce up to 50 kg of hydrogen per day.  The fuel cells for the lift trucks are being provided by Plug Power.


Nuvera's press release can be found here 


MyFC's PowerTrekk Now Available at REI
On July 4, Swedish company MyFC announced that their portable fuel cell charger is now available for purchase at REI.  The PowerTrekk device runs on water and is designed for use with small electronics, like cameras and phones.  The hydrogen delivery system for the PowerTrekk was developed by SiGNa Chemistry.


The PowerTrekk has a removable cover, can hold approximately one tablespoon of water, and comes with an indicator light and USB port.  Its one-time-use charging "pucks" are disposed of after they're depleted.


The estimated retail price for the PowerTrekk is $229.


MyFC's press release can be found here


ITM Power Announces the Ground Breaking for the Thüga Group Power-to-Gas Pilot Plant


On July 9, Thüga Group began construction on its power-to-gas pilot plant in Frankfurt, Germany.  At the core of the plant is a proton exchange membrane electrolyser produced by ITM Power.  Over the course of a three-year operation 13 Thüga partners will test power-to-gas storage technology using the gas distribution network.


ITM Power's press release can be found here.


Bloom Energy Forms Joint Venture with SoftBank to Provide Fuel Cell Systems to Japan

On July 17, California-based fuel cell manufacturer Bloom Energy and SoftBank, a Japanese telecommunications and internet company which acquired a majority ownership of Sprint last week, announced a new 50/50 joint venture, Bloom Energy Japan Limited.  This new company will deploy its 200 kW Bloom Energy Servers to customers seeking clean, reliable, distributed energy, the first of which will be installed at one of SoftBank's buildings in Fukuoka. 


Following the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 and the incident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, Japan has been closing nuclear plants and increasingly turning to distributed generation and alternative energy technologies.  The deployment of fuel cell systems through Bloom Energy Japan will  reduce the country's carbon and water footprint, lower energy costs, lessen reliance on nuclear power, and mitigate power outage risks.


Bloom's press release can be found here


Ballard Signs Agreement with Azure Hydrogen for 220 Telecom Backup Fuel Cells in China


On July 26, Ballard Power Systems announced that it signed a supply agreement with Azure Hydrogen in China for 220 ElectraGen Telecom Backup Power fuel cells. This announcement is the most recent of a series of agreements between Ballard and Azure.  Earlier this year, the two companies signed an Memorandum of Agreement (MOU) to deploy fuel cell powered buses in China. 


The supply agreement includes 120 direct hydrogen fuel cells, and 100 methanol-fueled systems, which will be installed later this year.  Recently, telecoms have been increasingly turning to fuel cell backup systems to provide reliable grid up-time during severe weather and outages.


A link to the full press release can be found here


BASF Develops New Green Hydrogen Production Method


On July 23, the MIT Technology Review reported that chemical company BASF is developing a new method of producing hydrogen which would cut greenhouse gas emissions in half.  95% of hydrogen produced in the United States is from steam methane reformation (SMR); this process requires a large amount of heat and energy, resulting in CO2 emissions.  However, this new process in the works from BASF would recycle the heat produced back into the system, decreasing the total amount of energy needed.  


BASF is working on a $30 million pilot hydrogen plant, financed in part by the German government, to demonstrate the new production method.


A link to the full article can be found here.


Plug Power Reports GenDrive Success with Advent of Low-Cost Hydrogen Production


On July 11, fuel cell manufacturer, Plug Power, reported that its GenDrive  product was experiencing growth among smaller consumer markets following the recent success hydrogen production from on-site reformers.  


On-site reformers allow a plant or distribution facility to generate, compress, and store hydrogen from natural gas at a lower cost than other hydrogen delivery systems.  


Plug Power reported that  its GenDrive fuel cells were previously marketed specifically towards facilities with fleets of 100 forklifts or more as cost-effective replacements for lead-acid batteries.  However, now with the growth of on-site production, Plug Power reports that its GenDrive units are being installed cost-effectively in fleets as small as 20 forklifts.


As previously reported, companies like Ace Hardware have already taken advantage of this development.  Ace Hardware will be deploying 65 Plug Power fuel cell forklift units at its retail support center in Wilmer, Texas, with Nuvera Fuel Cells supplying on-site hydrogen production.


Plug Power's press release can be found here


UK Releases Automotive Growth Strategy Policy Paper - Includes Creation of £1 Billion Advanced Propulsion Centre



On July 12, the UK Department of Business, Innovation, and Skills released a policy paper titledDriving Success: UK Automotive Strategy for Growth and Sustainability.  Among other things, the paper outlines the creation of a new Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) to support new technology and supply chains for low carbon vehicles.  The center will receive £1 billion in joint government and industry funding over the next 10 years.


Following the release, Intelligent Energy issued a press release voicing their support of the APC.


The UK Government full report can be found here.  Intelligent Energy's press release can be found here


Fuel Cell Today Releases Updated FCEV Report


On July 16, Fuel Cell Today updated the addendum to its Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles: The Road Ahead report to include developments from the first half of 2013. The report documents the announcements related to market introduction of fuel cell electric vehicles from countries around the world. 


This update includes the launch of two national hydrogen infrastructure feasibility programs, proposed legislation to aid hydrogen fueling construction, and the delivery of the first series-produced FCEV's to the market.


A link to the full report can be found here


Federal Program News


DOE Hosted H2USA Analysis Webinar on July 24 


The Department of Energy (DOE) Fuel Cell Technologies Office hosted a webinar on July 24 on models, tools, and various analyses related to H2USA.


Staff from the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and Fuel Cell Technologies Office-funded researchers provided an informational briefing on models, tools, and various analyses relevant to H2USA.  


H2USA is focused on advancing cost-effective hydrogen infrastructure that can support clean transportation options for U.S. consumers, including fuel cell electric vehicles.  The new public private partnership brings together automakers, government agencies, gas suppliers, and the hydrogen and fuel cell industries to coordinate research and advance hydrogen infrastructure. 


Sandia National Labs Study Findings Show Benefits of Fuel Cells in Shipping Ports


On June 27, Sandia National Laboratories published a report on the emissions and cost-savings benefits of using fuel cells on ships at berth. 


The report, commissioned by the Department of Energy, evaluated a barge-mounted fuel cell system that provided 1.4 MW of power to a docked ship.  The barges used multiple on-board PEM fuel cells combined with hydrogen storage units inside shipping containers.


Sandia National Labs' press release is available here.  A link to the full report can be found here


National Energy Technology Laboratory Published Solid Oxide Fuel Cells Studies


On July 23, the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) published a comprehensive report of cathode research conducted under the Office of Fossil Energy's Solid Oxide Fuel Cells Program. The report, Recent Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Cathode Studies, is a compilation of recent studies on cathodes for solid oxide fuel cells and can be found on the Department of Energy's NETL website.

The announcement can be found here.  The report can be found here


Energy Department Announced New Awards to Small Businesses to Accelerate Commercialization of Clean Energy Technologies - Including Proton OnSite 


On July 24, the Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy announced $11 million in new awards to help small businesses in nine states develop innovative ideas that could cut carbon pollution, reduce our reliance on imported oil, and increase energy efficiency.

The projects will focus on clean energy technologies with a strong potential for commercialization. One of the awards announced went to Proton OnSite for its project to reduce the cost and improve the efficiency of systems that produce hydrogen fuel from renewable energy sources.

The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's press release can be found here

Technical/Regulatory Affairs Update


California Proposed New Hydrogen Fuel Regulation


On July 17, The California Department of Food and Agriculture proposed a change to the California Code of Regulations, which would adopt the Society of Automotive Engineer's J2719 fuel standard for hydrogen.  This standard aims to create universal rules for all industry use of hydrogen in combustion engines and fuel cells.


This rule would replace the interim fuel standard California adopted in 2008 for hydrogen testing and development.


A link to the official notice of proposed regulation can be found here


Request for Papers, Proposals, and Information


Connecticut Issues Request for Proposals for Renewable Energy Projects


On July 17, The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) issued a request for proposals (RFP) for a wide range of class 1 renewable energy projects.  Under the state of Connecticut's renewable portfolio standard, hydrogen produced from methane-gas is certified as a class 1 renewable.  


Up to 4%, about 175 Megawatts, of the state's companies' distributed load could be provided by these projects. 


The proposals are due by August 5. The DEEP will evaluate and potentially enter into a 20-year power purchase agreement with qualifying companies.


A link to the full RFP can be found here


Deadline Extended for RFI on Rotating Disk Electrode Diagnostics for PEMFC Electrocatalyst Screening


The Department of Energy (DOE) has extended the deadline for thisRequest for Information (RFI).  Responses must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on August 12, 2013.


The DOE Fuel Cell Technologies Office issued a request for information on the use of Rotating Disk Electrode (RDE) diagnostics for PEM FC electrocatalyst screening.  The DOE has determined that intricacies tests of the durability of proton exchange membrane fuel cell oxygen reduction reaction electrocatalysts activity have not been systematically cataloged, and seeks to establish standard procedures and measurement parameters for RDE techniques.


The DOE RFI can be found here.


Department of Labor Seeking Input on Fuel Cell Technicians


The US Department of Labor's Occupational Information Network (O*NET) is seeking assistance from expert fuel cell technicians, with at least 5 years experience, to complete a series of occupational questionnaires for a national database. This database is a service to employers, human resource professionals, job counselors and labor market analysts across the country, providing information about the skills, abilities, activities and work context for about 900 occupations nationwide. 


Technicians will be asked to complete several O*NET questionnaires to provide information on their field of expertise. These take about 90 minutes to complete. 


Interested applicants should contact Jim Rose Business Liaison O*NET Operations Center, RTI International at 877-233-7348, Ext. 121 or by email jrose@onet.rti.org


Further information about this initiative can be found at www.doleta.gov/programs/onet.


EERE Announced Technical Topics for SBIR/STTR Phase 1 Funding


On July 19, The Department of Energy issued the technical topics for an upcoming funding opportunity announcement (FOA) for the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.  Included in the FOA are fuel cell and hydrogen topics such as, non-platinum catalysts; membranes; durable sealing materials. The DOE aims to reduce the cost of delivering hydrogen to between $2 and $4 per gallon of gas equivalent (GGE), and to reduce fuel cell costs to $30 per kilowatt and improve durability to 5,000 hours by 2017.


The full FOA will be issued on August 12, and will close October 15, 2013.


A link to the full FOA can be found 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 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.


National Energy Technology Laboratory --  The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), part of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratory system is owned and operated by the DOE.  Its mission is "Advancing energy options to fuel our economy, strengthen our security, and improve our environment".  NETL performs, procures, and partners with universities and the private sector.  Together, these efforts focus a wealth of scientific and engineering talent on creating commercially viable solutions to national energy and environmental problems.  NETL has expertise in coal, natural gas, and oil technologies, contract and project management, analysis of energy systems, and international energy issues.   NETL supports DOE's mission to advance the national, economic, and energy security of the United States.  
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