December 2006

Transitions
Albany, NY-based Mechanical Technology, Inc. has appointed Peng Lim as its new chief executive officer. Lim will continue to serve as president and CEO of MTI subsidiary MTI MicroFuel Cells, Inc., and he will serve on the boards of both companies. Lim succeeds current CEO Steven N. Fischer who will become MTI’s executive chairman and will continue as board chairman of both MTI and MTI Micro........ Air Products, Lehigh Valley, PA has promoted three executives to new jobs: George G. Bitto is now the new vice president and treasurer after serving as vice president and controller for the ...
Events
The “2nd International Lithium Mobile Power Conference” will be held Dec. 4-6 at the Wyndham Resort & Conference Center in Miami Beach, FL, followed immediately by the “2nd Fuel Cells Durability & Performance Conference” in the same location Dec. 6-8. Details: The Knowledge Foundation, jmeyers@knowledgecomm.com. The “2nd Middle East Conference and Exhibition on Fuel Cells and Hydrogen (MEFH-2006)” will be held Dec.5-6 at the Moevenpick Hotel in Manama, Bahrain. Details: Middle East Forum on FC & H2 Economy, Dr. Homam Albaroudi, 734/434-9315, ...
Briefly Noted: New H2 Database
Washington, DC-based Fuel Cells 2000 together with the U.S. Energy Department’s Hydrogen Program has launched a new searchable database that documents fuel cell and hydrogen activity in the United States: stationary installations, vehicle demonstrations, fueling stations as well as policies, initiatives and legislation. The database is an extension of the recent report by the Breakthrough Technologies Institute report, “State Activities that Promote Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Infrastructure Development.” The database includes many advanced search options, such as fuel cell size ...
Briefly Noted: Ethanol vs. Fuel Threat
“Exploding U.S. Grain Demand For Automotive Fuel Threatens World Food Security And Political Stability,” headlines the Washington, DC-based Earth Policy Institute its Nov. 6 announcement. The institute, headed by Worldwatch Institute founder Lester Brown, says this year’s harvest of 1,967 million tons is falling short of estimated consumption by 73 million - a shortfall of almost 4% and one of the largest on record. Annual growth in grain to produce ethanol for cars in the United States alone averaged almost 7 million tons per year, achieving a high of 14 million so far this ...
Briefly Noted: EPRI/Brazil
The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) will manage the evaluation program for up to five public fuel cell transit buses in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in a four-year project that began in 1997. The Palo Alto, CA-based organization says it will conduct this effort in cooperation with Brazil’s Ministry of Mines and Energy, the Sao Paulo Metropolitan Urban Transport Company (EMTU), the United Nations Development Program and the Global Environment Facility. In this first phase, a prototype test bus will be built by Brazilian manufacturers that will be equipped with a German fuel cell system, ...
R&D Minnesota Team Devises Technique Turning Nonvolative Fuels Into Renewable Hydrogen
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - Soybean-based Crisco All Natural Pure Vegetable Oil, biodiesel and aqueous 35% glucose - all these have been successfully tried as sources for renewable hydrogen in a new study at the University of Minnesota here. As described in their article, “Renewable Hydrogen from Nonvolatile Fuels by Reactive Flash Volatilization” in the Nov. 3 issue of “Science,” four researchers in the university’s Chemical Engineering and Material Science department employed flash evaporation with catalytic partial oxidation to produce hydrogen in high yields from these ...
Experts Urge G8 Heads of State, U.N., to Place Hydrogen High on National Agendas
MIAMI, FL – A group of 20 international scientists long in the forefront of hydrogen energy work and advocacy sent a memorandum to the heads of state of the G8 countries last month, urging them to place hydrogen energy at the top of their respective countries’ agendas. The 20 signers, most of them members of the Miami-based International Association for Hydrogen Energy (IAHE), urged the heads of state of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russian, United Kingdom, and the United States, to “commit to hydrogen energy technologies as a permanent solution to the upcoming ...
Handover: Wolfgang Methling, at the time the environment minister for the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, hands over the new Proton Fuel Cell Bus to Barth Mayor Matthias Loettge (windbreaker with stripes) in early September. Since then, there have been elections in the state, and both men have been replaced in their jobs. New FC Midi-Bus, Renewables Plans for Estonian Island Presented at Conference
STRALSUND, GERMANY - First data about the power management regulating the interplay between fuel cell and battery and the resulting performance of a new hybrid midi-bus were presented at the 13th Symposium on Regenerative Energy Sources and Hydrogen Technology here last month. The Nov. 2-4 conference, organized by Stralsund University of Applied Science, is a fairly small event - some 25 papers were presented to around 100 participants - but is significant as a venue and platform for renewable energy work in northern and northeastern Europe. It coincided with the 2nd International Baltic ...
VW Announces Advanced 120 Deg. C. High-Temperature PEM Fuel Cell
WOLFSBURG, GERMANY - German carmaker Volkswagen has developed a new type of high-temperature fuel cell which it claims will be smaller, lighter and less expensive to manufacture. The new PEM type system can operate at temperatures of up to 120 deg C. with no loss of performance (a second, backgrounder said the maximum temperature was 130 deg. C.) and with no additional humidification, VW said in its Oct. 31 release; most conventional PEM fuel cells operate at around 80 deg. C., although higher-temperature fuel cell membranes are being developed by many companies in Europe, North America ...
The Future: BMW Considers LH2 Hybrids, Works on Lighter Tanks, Better Engines
BERLIN - Is there a hydrogen i.c. hybrid in BMW’s future? Hard to say at this stage. But there are some signs. BMW’s key executive for development and purchasing, management board member Klaus Draeger, referred to it as a distant possibility in his welcoming remarks (see main story, p. 1) during the premiere here of BMW’s new Hydrogen 7. And the topic came up again during the half-day series of five detailed briefings on the vehicle itself, its customers, infrastructure and future developments. In response to questions, a BMW executive allowed that “our engineers ...
Ford Introduces 350-Mile Range Fuel Cell Explorer SUV at Los Angeles Auto Show
LOS ANGELES - Ford Motor Co. entered the fuel cell sweepstakes big time this month with a new fuel cell-powered Explorer SUV prototype with what looks like a range unmatched by any other current fuel cell vehicle - 350 miles (560 km). The car, which also features electric all-wheel drive, was unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show Dec. 1-10 at the Los Angeles Convention Center here. It was made available to reporters for driving during two media days that preceded the official opening. The 2,560 kg SUV is powered by a 60 kW Ballard Power Systems fuel cell plus a 50 kW battery, making it a ...
30th Anniversary Fuel Cell Seminar Moves Offshore to Tropical Hawaii
HONOLULU, HI - The 30th anniversary of the Fuel Cell Seminar November 13-17 here on Oahu, one of the smaller of the Hawaiian islands, was a somewhat smaller event than in the past, mainly because the time and distance to get to a place somewhere in the mid-Pacific was clearly daunting for some. For anyone traveling from the US mainland the trip was stressful enough, but for the increasing number of international visitors the journey, both in time and cost, clearly put a substantial number of people off from attending. Because of these factors, the organizers fully expected attendance to be ...
Snake Charmer: H&FCL editor Hoffmann wrestles with a slightly recalcitrant liquid hydrogen hose and nozzle while refueling his BMW Hydrogen 7 during a pit stop. BMW Turns Reporters Loose with New Hydrogen-7 Bi-Fuel Luxury Sedans in Berlin
BERLIN - Journalists took to the streets and roads in and around the German capital last month for a first-hand taste of high-speed hydrogen motoring with the official premiere of the new limited-production bi-fuel BMW Hydrogen 7 luxury sedan (H&FCL Oct. 06). Paired in teams of two, the writers were handed the keys to ten pre-production cars (plus one in reserve) of what will ultimately be a fleet of 100; a map; some basic instructions, and told, “Go” - and with nobody riding shotgun in the backseat. The day’s agenda included a half-day of briefings and another half-day ...

November 2006

Transitions
DaimlerChrysler’s Vice President of the Research & Advanced Engineering Vehicle and Powertrain Group and the company’s chief environmental officer, Herbert Kohler, is the new chairman of the Advisory Council of the European Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Technology Platform (HFP). He took over from Shell Hydrogen’s Jeremy Bentham, who held that position until now, at the group’s annual meeting last month in Brussels.......Canada’s Dynetek Industries, Ltd., maker of compressed hydrogen on-board storage tanks, Calgary, Alberta, announced that Robb Thompson, president and CEO ...
Events
The “13th Symposium on Regenerative Energy Sources and Hydrogen Technology” will be held Nov. 2-4 at Stralsund University of Applied Sciences, Stralsund, Germany (conference language is German). Details: info@fh-stralsund.de; www.fh-stralsund.de. The second annual “Conference on Clean Energy: Financing and Partnering for Emerging Businesses” will be held Nov. 2 at the John B. Hynes Convention Center, Boston, MA. Details: Linda Plano, 617/287-7014, lplano@umassp.edu; www.mattcenter.org/CEConf06/CE-Conference.htm. The “International Youth Fuel Cell ...
Briefly Noted: New Jersey H2 House
And Finally, Free At Last - from the grid, that is: Two and a half years after starting to convert his home to grid-independent solar-with-hydrogen power (H&FCL Jan. 04, Sept. 06), New Jersey engineer and entrepreneur Mike Strizki did it. By flipping a switch Oct. 20, he disconnected from the local energy grid, relying solely on his array of solar panels, a geothermal system, an electrolyzer, 10 hydrogen tanks, a bank of batteries and other renewable energy equipment to run everything electric in his house in Hopewell - lighting, refrigerator, swimming pool, hot tub, a big-screen plasma TV, ...
Briefly Noted: UK Aviation CO2 Warning
Britain’s government must do more to curb the expected huge expansion in air travel, otherwise risk vastly exceeding its self-imposed goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 60% by 2050, reports the October 17 online Environmental News Service (ENN). Quoting a Reuters story, the report says CO2 emissions from aviation are likely to multiply between four and ten times of 1990 levels by the middle of the century. But instead of doing anything about it, the government is actively promoting airport expansion which could result in passenger totals more than double to 470 million a year ...
Briefly Noted: New BP H2 Stations
Two new BP hydrogen stations in Michigan: The energy company and its partner, Ford Motor Co., opened a new fueling station in mid-October in Taylor to service four Ford Focus Fuel Cell cars that this Detroit suburb, some 17 miles from downtown Detroit, is using as official city vehicles. Ford currently operates 30 Focus fuel cell cars in seven cities worldwide to test the technology, and so far the fleet has accumulated more than 300,000 miles. And a week later, Oct. 23, BP dedicated another hydrogen station at the NextEnergy Center in Detroit’s TechTown, near Wayne State University, ...
Briefly Noted: Saint-Gobain
In other French news, Saint-Gobain High Performance Materials, a part of French engineered materials conglomerate Compagnie de Saint-Gobain, has linked up with Germany’s Forschungszentrum Juelich national laboratory to jointly start developing solid oxide fuel cells. Details are sketchy so far, but the company said the intent is to leverage Juelich’s stack technology and Saint-Gobain’s ceramic manufacturing and ceramics expertise. The announcement from the company’s Northborough, MA-based research center said the new “global” SOFC deal complements ...
Briefly Noted: Alstom/EPRI/We Energies
France’s power and rail equipment maker Alstom is teaming with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and Wisconsin-based We Energies utility to demonstrate a novel carbon dioxide capture process. Alstom will design, build and operate a 5 MW pilot system, the first of its kind in the United States, that will capture CO2 from boiler flue gas generated by a e Energies power plant in Pleasant Prairie, WI. Commissioning is scheduled for the middle of next year, and the plant will operate at least one year. Alstom’s process uses chilled ammonia to capture CO2 and isolate it in a ...
Briefly Noted: Plug Power
Plug Power is firing on all cylinders: In mid-October, the Latham, NY-based fuel cell developer announced it had signed a strategic partner agreement with Russia’s national innovation company, New Energy Projects (NIC NEP), to collaborate on technology and market developments in Russia. That company is the offspring of Norilsk Nickel, one of two very large companies that injected $217 million into Plug Power earlier this year (H&FCL May 06), and of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the country’s premier scientific organization. Plug Power and NIC NEP have agreed to join forces in ...
Opinion Answering the Critics: Hydrogen is Best Remedy for Global Warming
I read the article in your 20th anniversary issue (H&FCL May 06), “German ‘MIT Technology Review’ Article Says Hydrogen Economy is a Non-Starter” and I felt compelled to respond to it. One reason for this stems from the fact that we recently wrote a paper (see reference at end) that presents the case for hydrogen. It answers the typical criticisms from Ulf Bossel and others who dismiss hydrogen as a fuel because of its low production and utilization efficiencies. The case for hydrogen is really very simple. If we want to control global warming, we’ll need to ...
The experimental fuel cell-powered commuter train on a siding at Japan's Railway Technical Research Institute. Japanese Research Institute Conducts First Ever Trials of Fuel Cell Rail Car
TOKYO - Japan’s Railway Technical Research Institute (RTRI) here has conducted the first ever operational test of a railway vehicle powered by a fuel cell, the institute announced last month. The tests involved the installation and operation of a 125 kW hydrogen-fueled “Forza” PEM fuel cell made by Nuvera, Cambridge, MA and Milan, Italy into a 33-ton Kuya R291-1 suburban train railway car, powered by two 95 kW motors. Gaseous hydrogen is stored in a 35 MPa (5000 psi) tank. Nuvera says smaller Forza versions have powered a 3.6 ton mining locomotive, and eight Forza ...
Major European Companies Sign On to $6.25 Billion 10–Year H2 Initiative
BRUSSELS - Some of Europe’s biggest industrial names in hydrogen and fuel cell development last month signed a declaration urging the creation of a multi-year Joint Technology Initiative (JTI) on hydrogen and fuel cells with a total funding target of Euro 5 billion ($6.25 billion) for the next decade. The 48 signers - from Air Liquide, Air Products and Ansaldo Fuel Cells, DaimlerChrysler, Gaz de France, General Motors Europe, Johnson Matthey, Linde, Shell Hydrogen to Total France, Vattenfall and Volkswagen – declared they are “ready to create the JTI Industry Grouping” ...
DoE News: DoE Awards $100 Million in Fuel Cell R&D; Releases Strategic Climate Change Plan
CHICAGO, IL – Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman late last month announced $100 million in new grants to fund 25 hydrogen research and development projects. And earlier, on Sept. 20, DoE released its Climate Change Technology Program (CCTP) Strategic Plan which details measures to speed up and lower the cost of new and advanced technologies to avoid, reduce or capture and store greenhouse gas emissions. "The Department of Energy is committed to breaking our addiction to oil by creating a diverse portfolio of clean, affordable and domestically produced energy choices,” Bodman ...
FTA Awards $49 Million for Fuel Cell Buses in California, Northeast, Atlanta Regions
THOUSAND PALMS, CA - Federal Transit Administrator James Simpson last month announced here a $49 million federal grants program for three non-profit groups to develop new fuel cell buses for California, the Northeast around Boston, and Atlanta, GA. Simpson made the announcement together with Rep. Mary Bono (R-CA) following a tour of SunLine Transit’s hydrogen fueling station. “Through this national program, we can consolidate - and accelerate - the process of making hydrogen buses commercially feasible as a cleaner, more efficient alternative,” Simpson said. The entire ...
Hydrogen & Renewables Communities Discuss Goals at NHA Renewable H2 Forum
ALBUQUERQUE, NM - The hydrogen and renewable energy sources communities, occasionally at odds in the past and jealous of each other over perceived government funding inequities and other slights, got together here last month in what hopefully will be fruitful collaboration in the future. The occasion was the National Hydrogen Association’s two-day “Renewables to Hydrogen Forum” here Oct. 4-5, with some 140 industry leaders debating how to mesh hydrogen with renewable sources such as solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, hydropower and others. In theory, utilizing renewables to ...
Ballard to Deliver 2,900 Mark 9 Fuel Cells to General Hydrogen for Fork Lift Trucks
VANCOUVER – In a landmark deal, Ballard Power Systems here has signed a contract with neighbor General Hydrogen Corp. to deliver 2,900 Mark 9 SSL ™ fuel cells worth about U.S. $22 million for fork lifts and similar materials handling equipment. The sale is seen by observers as another sign of viability of fuel cells in the commercial market place. In this application they would replace standard lead acid batteries, tripling run times, eliminating battery changing and charging and thereby increasing productivity. About one quarter of the total will be shipped next year to ...
A hint of StarTrek: Linde's new avant-garde hydrogen fueling-cum-research station and information center outside of Munich. Linde Unveils Showcase Hydrogen Center for Fueling, Tech Development, Outreach
MUNICH - The Linde Group, a global industrial gas industry leader long in the forefront of hydrogen energy technology development, last month inaugurated its new hydrogen center here. The Euro 3 million ($3.75 million) “Linde Hydrogen Center” in Lohhof, some 20 km (12 miles) north of Bavaria’s capital, combines the functions of a hydrogen fueling station with those of a technology test center and an education and presentation center. Its coolly functional design with a hint of futurism - three large flying saucer-like partially overlapping disks provide roof protection ...

October 2006

Transitions
Hydrogenics Corp.’s board of directors announced that president, CEO and co-founder of the company, Pierre Rivard, will be relinquishing these functions and will become executive chair as soon as the company has found a successor. The Mississauga, Ontario-based company has hired an executive search firm to find a replacement. Once the new CEO is in place, the current chair, Norman Seagram, will become the lead director...........San Jose, CA-based Fat Spaniel Technologies, Inc., a provider of data collection and delivery solutions for distributed energy generation systems, has named ...
Events
The National Hydrogen Association will hold its first “Renewables to Hydrogen Forum” Oct.4-5 at the Marriott Pyramid North Hotel, Albuquerque, NM. Details: www.hydrogenassociation.org/renewablesForum; phone, Emily Bryant, 202/223-5547 ext. 327, bryante@hydrogenassociation.org. The “3rd General Assembly of the European Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Technology Platform” is scheduled for Oct. 4-6 in Brussels, Belgium. Details: phone +32 27 749652, Secretariat@HFPeurope.org, www.hfpeurope.org. The “Power To Go - Fraunhofer Symposium Micro Energy Technology” is scheduled ...
Briefly Noted: Fuel Cell R&D at Chemical Society
Fuel Cell R&D advances at the American Chemical Society’s annual meeting in San Francisco: James McGrath, University Distinguished Professor of Chemistry with the Macromolecules and Interfaces Institute at Virginia Tech, described his research group’s development of a PEM membrane that retains conductivity during low humidity. The new material links blocks of two different short polymers in sequences: for example, a polymer that likes water with a polymer that is dry, but strong. This is in contrast to standard practice in which two kinds of reactive monomers are stirred together ...
Briefly Noted: Quantum/Synthesis Energy Systems
Irvine, CA-based Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide, Inc., and Synthesis Energy Systems, Inc., (SES) Houston, TX announced they have successfully operated what they claim is the world’s first engine generator running on synthesis gas - “syngas” - as fuel. The engine generator set converted to the fuel was a 125 kW Kohler engine, based on a General Motors 8.1 liter V-8 block, producing stable power. The gas was identical to syngas produced by the U-Gas coal gasification technology developed originally by the Gas Technology Institute and licensed to SES. Contacts: ...
Briefly Noted: Topsoe Fuel Cell
Denmark’s Topsoe Fuel Cell together with integrator Wärtsilä Corp. have been awarded a EUR 4.8 million grant from the EU LIFE Environment program to develop and demonstrate manufacturing and operating SOFC fuel cells. The three-year project, to start this month, includes construction of a manufacturing facility expected to produce 150,000-200,000 cells and 2,000 stacks per year, a 15 times increase over current capabilities. The facility will employ low-cost production techniques such as tape casting, screen printing and stamping. Both companies will also build and test a ...
Briefly Noted: Dutch Greenhouse Levels
Holland’s greenhouse gas emissions fell by about 2% in 2005 compared to 2004 and were at about the same level as in 1990, according to the Netherland’s Central Bureau for Statistics. A Sept. 5 AP story, reproduced on the Internet by Environmental News Network, said the decline was due to CO2 emissions saved by increased use of biomass fuel for electricity generation, by households using less energy for heating during a warm winter, and by increased import of electricity. A Greenpeace spokesman said while this was a good thing, the Netherlands “still have a way to go to meet ...
Briefly Noted: Hydrogen Engine Center/Ammonia
Growing Interest in Ammonia as Fuel: Algona, IA-based Hydrogen Engine Center (HEC) says it will work with a maker of irrigation pumps, Sawtelle & Rosprim, Inc., Corcoran, CA to design and build what it says will be the world’s first ammonia-fueled irrigation pump system. HEC says the new pump is designed to meet California’s new emission requirements scheduled to go into effect in 2010. The two companies plan to integrate HEC’s ammonia-powered engines with Sawtelle’s pump technologies, with a first prototype system capable of running 24 hours a day to be tested during the ...
Briefly Noted: Global Wind Power
More than a third of the world’s electricity - including industry requirements - can realistically be supplied by wind energy by mid-century, according to a new report by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) and Greenpeace. The report, “Global Wind Energy Outlook 2006,” provides an industry blueprint of how wind power could supply 34% of the world’s electricity by 2050. It also concludes that if wind turbine capacity were implemented on that scale, it would prevent 113 billion tons of global warming gases from being released into the atmosphere by that date. The report ...
Canada Roundup: BC Opens Fuel Cell R&D Lab; New SOFC Group; Nuclear Utility Joins H2 Group
VANCOUVER, BC/CALGARY, AB – Providing a home base for British Columbia’s developing Hydrogen Highway and for fuel cell vehicle r&d, Canada’s National Research Council in mid-September opened the doors of its new Institute for Fuel Cell Innovation (NRC-IFCI) in Vancouver. Two days later, Bruce Power, Ontario’s largest power generator with eight Candu nuclear reactors producing 6,224 Mwe (net), joined Canada’s industry group, Hydrogen & Fuel Cells Canada, said an association announcement. And a week after that, stakeholders from academia, government and industry ...
Opinion California’s Bold Plan to Protect the Planet:Global Warming Legislation That Could Revolutionize How The World Addresses Climate Change
Editor’s Note: This is another in a series of occasional columns intended as a forum for readers. Contributions are welcome. The editor reserves the right to reject suggestions and edit material to fit our format without, of course, changing the author’s basic views. This article is adapted from a Sept. 2 Op-Ed piece in the “Los Angeles Times” by Mr. Moore. As temperatures and sea levels rise, glaciers recede and snowpacks melt, the governments of the world have dithered over how to save the planet from global warming. Late last month, California showed them how when ...
Quantum Signs Preliminary Agreement with Norwegian Group to Build Electric Cars
STAVANGER, NORWAY/IRVINE, CA – Following up on its recent sale of a batch of hydrogen-fueled i.c. Priuses to Norway’s Hydrogen Highway, Irvine-based Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide, Inc., is now gearing up for more: In late September, Quantum said it had signed what it termed “a letter of understanding” with a Norwegian distributor of environmentally friendly cars, Miljo Innovasjon AS as a “basis of discussions” to set up a joint venture for the development and production of electric vehicles for markets in Norway and other parts of Europe and ...
The new bi-fuel BMW Hydrogen 7. The only visible difference between this and the standard gasoline model is the liquid hydrogen fueling port, directly above the rear wheel and beltline. BMW to Build, Deliver Production H2 Luxury Cars Next Year to Hand-Picked Customers
LOS ANGELES, CA/MUNICH – Following up on its promise first made five years ago, German carmaker BMW announced it will introduce a limited production version of what it calls the world’s first hydrogen-drive luxury performance car, the “BMW Hydrogen 7,” next year. Unlike the vehicles under development by most other carmakers which are developing fuel cells as power plants, BMW’s car will be powered by an internal combustion engine, in this case a super-smooth, and expensive, V-12. The only other major car manufacturer developing hydrogen i.c. engines is Ford Motor ...
European Vehicle Manufacturers & Energy Companies Announce Joint H2 Plans
BRUSSELS – On the eve of the Paris Motor Show, six European car and truck manufacturers and two energy companies last month declared their intent to cooperate in efforts to advance hydrogen as a transportation fuel. Shell Hydrogen B.V. and Total France together with vehicle manufacturers BMW Group, DaimlerChrysler AG, Ford Motor Company, General Motors Europe AG, MAN Nutzfahrzeuge AG and Volkswagen AG said in a press release issued here Sept. 29 they believed “that now is the time to move forward.” Their common position paper defines “a near and mid term action plan ...
Honda's new fuel cell FCX Concept speeds through a banked turn on the company's test track. H&FCL correspondent Roger Schreffler had it up to 92mph in a test drive at Honda's main research center. Honda Shows Off New Fuel Cell FCX Concept, Expects Customer Leases in 2008
HAGA, JAPAN - Honda Motor Co. has taken another step toward bringing a fuel cell car to market, and it looks like a winner. At a special ride-and-drive event held on Sept. 23 near the automaker’s main research center here in northeastern Japan, management unveiled its latest generation fuel cell car, the FCX Concept, and the results were impressive - so much so that Honda now plans to lease a limited - and unspecified - number of the cars in 2008. A mockup of the model was displayed last autumn at the Tokyo Motor Show. In developing the new stack, Honda has reduced stack size by 20% ...
Chevrolet executives brief reporters on the new Equinox Fuel Cell in a gazebo overlooking the Pacific. GM Announces 100-Plus Fuel Cell SUV Fleet, Rolls Out Driveable FC Sequel FC Vehicle
DANA POINT, CA - Letting it all - okay, almost all - hang out in a week-long press event, General Motors last month announced 2007 plans for producing and placing a fleet of 100-plus Equinox hydrogen fuel cell SUVs, and it let a bunch of reporters take a first crack at driving its million-dollar - give or take a few hundred thousand - concept Sequel fuel cell SUV. Both cars carry the Chevrolet brand label, a sign that GM intends to eventually mass-market fuel cell transportation to an audience as wide as possible. They also illustrate GM’s two-pronged approach of coming to grips ...

September 2006

Transitions
The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), Palo Alto, CA has appointed a senior energy advisor to President Bush, Bryan Hannegan, as its new managing director of the environment r&d sector. Hannegan, who until now served in the dual capacity as chief of staff of the White House Council on Environmental Quality and as an acting special assistant to President Bush for economic policy, will take up his new job this month. A climate scientist, Hannegan holds a Ph.D. in Earth System Science and an M.S. in Engineering, both from the University of California - Irvine. Before he joined the White ...
Events
STEP (Sustainable Transport Energy Perth) is organizing a “Hydrogen, Fuel Cells and Alternative Energies Conference” Sept. 10-13 at the Burswood International Resort, Western Australia. Details: STEP Conference Secretariat, PO Box 1248, West Perth, WA 6874; phone: 08/9322 6906, fax 08/9322 1734; e-mail STEP@congresswest.com.au. The “2006 Hydrogen Production & Storage Forum” will be held Sept. 11-13 at the Renaissance Vancouver Harbourside Hotel, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Details: 207/781-9603; dsanborn@intertechusa.com; www.intertechusa.com. An “Investing in ...
Fast Forward: California Highway Slippage?
Is the California Hydrogen Highway Slipping? California’s “San Mateo Daily Journal” said in an Aug. 21 story that the $2.5 million San Carlos hydrogen station is running a year behind schedule. It was supposed to open this month. The original plan called for it to open for vehicles operated by Pacific Gas and Electric at a PG&E service center in September. It’s fully funded, but construction won’t start until the end of the year, and it won’t be open to the public until December 2007. The site has sat empty since the groundbreaking hooplah last summer, according ...
Fast Forward: Solar Hydrogen Houses
America’s first, or second, solar-hydrogen house - depending on how you define it and when you start counting - has finally received all its permits, and its backers expect it to be completed this fall. Mike Strizki began retrofitting his energy-efficient, solar- and geothermal equipped 14-year-old house in Hopewell, NJ to solar and hydrogen two years ago but was apparently held up by permitting issues (H&FCL Jan 04, Aug. 04). Meanwhile, the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) opened what it said was really the first solar hydrogen home at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy on Long ...
Briefly Noted: Hydrogen Engine Center
Hydrogen Engine Center (HEC), the Algona, IA-based maker of hydrogen internal combustion engines, says it has started production and delivery of its new near-zero emission line of engines, completing what the company says it’s the first stage of its plans to fill its distribution pipeline with engines and generator sets. The company focuses on the industrial and power generation market. Separately, the company announced it has signed a memorandum of understanding with India’s Grasim Industries Ltd to bring its technology to the chemical industry. The Indian company has bought one ...
Briefly Noted: H2 ECOnomy Test Systems
Yerevan, Armenia-based H2 ECOnomy, a fuel cell technologies developer in the country’s Ararat Valley, says it is now offering new fuel cell test systems in its existing portfolio of fuel cell products. The new devices are gas control units and electronic load banks that can be used separately or as a complete system. Founded in 2000, the company has exhibited at the Hannover Hydrogen + Fuel Cell Joint Exhibit (H&FCL May 03). Contact/Source: www.h2economy.com.
Briefly Noted: HotModule for France
What seems to be one of the first multi-residential fuel cell cogeneration plants in France is scheduled to come on stream this fall in Paris: A “HotModule” 200 kW molten carbonate system will provide additional power and heat for 283 apartments in a housing development near the Porte de Versailles. For system designer MTU CFC Solutions, Ottobrunn, Germany, it is the first such order from France, placed by energy service provider Dalkia, a subsidiary of Veolia Environnement and French utility EDF. The heat will be used to heat the apartments owned by French housing association OPAC ...
Briefly Noted: Fuel Cell Energy
Three more projects for FuelCell Energy: The Danbury, CT maker of fuel cell power plants announced in early August it had completed installation of California’s first megawatt-class natural gas-powered fuel cell cogeneration powerplant at Alameda County’s Santa Rita jail in Dublin. The new plant was engineered and installed by Chevron Energy Solutions. By itself, it will provide half the facility’s annual power needs, and together with the jail’s previously installed 1.2 MW solar array plus energy efficiency upgrades, it is expected to reduce Santa Rita’s power ...
Briefly Noted: Mobile Refueler
Another more agile, mobile hydrogen refueler from Germany: following the recent unveiling of a tractor-trailer hydrogen station on wheels by industrial gas supplier Linde (H&FCL July 06), the Fraunhofer Institute for Transportation and Infrastructure Systems, Dresden, took the wraps off its HyTra, described as a mobile production, storage and fueling station. Designed and built in cooperation with TÜV Industrie Service GmbH, the 5.9 m, 2.8 ton trailer can be towed by pickup trucks or vans. Hydrogen is generated by a Proton Energy Systems PEM electrolyzer producing 1 Nm3/hour, and 600 ...
Briefly Noted: H2 in Aviation
More hydrogen in aviation: In the wake of the plans announced for unmanned hydrogen-i.c. powered long-duration, high-altitude planes by Aurora Flight Sciences and Boeing (H&FCL August 06), a group of German scientists are working on the concept of a fuel cell-powered glider. HYFLY 3000 is the brainchild of the folks who built HYSUN 3000, the tiny fuel cell-powered three-wheeler that two years ago covered the 3,000 km (1,875 miles) from Berlin to Barcelona with a mere 3.3 kg of hydrogen. The technical specs are still gestating, according to a report by the German group “Initiative ...
Briefly Noted: Giner/CERDEC
Giner Electrochemical Systems LLC (GES), a joint venture of Giner, Inc. and General Motors, has been awarded a $830,000 contract to develop a 250 W field ruggedized direct methanol fuel cell by the U.S. Army’s Communications Electronics Research Development & Engineering Center. The contract ensures continuation of GES’s 14-year, $7 million investment in developing direct methanol fuel cell systems. GES is committed to delivering fully ruggedized portable devices for field testing. The company, based in Newton, MA, is teaming with Teledyne Energy Systems, Inc. to provide expertise ...
Briefly Noted: Hydrogenics Hybrid Effort
Canadian fuel cell systems designer Hydrogenics Corp., Mississauga, ON has joined the Plug-In Hybrid Development Consortium with an eye of bringing fuel cells to plug-in vehicles. It is apparently the only fuel cell developer in the group of half a dozen battery makers, electric motor developers, energy companies and utilities. It was founded by two executives at San Francisco-based utility Pacific Gas & Electric, Brian Stokes, and at Provo, UT-based electric motor and controller technology developer Raser Technologies, Inc., David West. The consortium was organized to help reduce the r&d ...
Briefly Noted: Fuel Cell Phone Booth
Fuel cells powering phones aren’t exactly hot new concepts any more, but a fuel cell that powers a phone booth looks like a First. Germany’s T-Com phone company, the same that runs the T-Mobile cell phone system in the United States, put up a hydrogen-powered fuel cell into a phone booth - not really a booth but a free-standing column with a pay phone - in a public square in mid-town Cologne. Hydrogen, provided by Praxair, is stored in a 50 liter standard steel bottle providing power for a week. The system, designed by the ECG company in suburban Huerth, has been working without a ...
Briefly Noted: NHA Employment Site
The National Hydrogen Association (NHA) has set up a new employment website, the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Job Board: The new site, at www.hydrogenandfuelcelljobs.org, lists both jobs offered by industry and jobs sought. Apparently it’s not free of charge, but NHA says it’s cheaper than monster.com and careerbuilders.com. Contact: Rex Hazelton, hazeltonr@hydrogenassociation.org, phone 202/223-5547.
Briefly Noted: Shell/Ohio State
Shell Hydrogen, Houston, TX has awarded a $1 million research project to Ohio State University’s chemical and biomolecular engineering department to research carbon dioxide-hydrogen membrane separation. Shell says the work by a team headed by Prof. Winston Ho will work on a “novel approach” to membrane separation technology employed in producing hydrogen from fossil fuels, and the approach is expected to separate out CO2 at lower cost, essential for economical carbon capture and sequestration. Shell says Ohio State, in Columbus, has one of the country’s top chemical and ...
Briefly Noted: Wind Power Milestone
Wind power in the United States reached a new milestone with a grand total of more than 10,000 MW installed capacity, the American Wind Energy Association(AWEA) reported last month. This is equal to the electrical energy consumed by 2.5 million homes, according to AWEA. The association says the resource’s recent record growth is driven by demand, concerns over fuel price volatility and supply, and also by a timely renewal of the Federal production tax credit, part of the Energy Policy Act signed a year ago by Pres. Bush. Earlier in the month, AWEA reported Texas now leads all other ...
Briefly Noted: New Middle East Clean Energy Initiative
New Clean Energy Initiative in the Middle East: The Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company has formally launched its $250 million “Masdar Research Network,” described as a global research network bringing together researchers, research institutes and universities in Asia, Europe and North America. The aim is to develop advanced alternative energy and environment technologies under the umbrella of the “Masdar Initiative” initially launched in April, according to a release from Technical University Aachen, Germany, one of the partners. In addition to setting up the $250 million ...
New Hydrogen Association for North Atlantic Societies & Regions is Launched
NUUK, GREENLAND – A new hydrogen organization for societies and regions around the North Atlantic was launched early last month here, the capital of Greenland. The founding members of the North Atlantic Hydrogen Association (NAHA) come from Iceland, the Danish-owned but self-governing Faroe Islands and Greenland, with support from Norway. Others attending the kickoff meeting came from Norway, Denmark, from island societies off Scotland’s northern Coast and, in the West, from Canada’s Nunavut region. Chairman of the new group is Hjálmar Arnason, Member of Parliament in ...
Opportunities
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has published two Program Opportunities Notices (PONs), No. 1088 and No 1090. The first one, 1088, is for $10 million in available funding is for the state’s plug-hybrid electric vehicle initiative, and is intended to provide funding for a “first article” prototype and ultimately convert existing state-owned hybrids to plug-in operations. Proposal Due Date is Sept. 18, 2006, 5 p.m. The second notice, 1090, makes available $5 million in two rounds for advanced vehicle research and development. Proposal Due ...
Capitol Hill Roundup: The H Prize; a Hydrogen Commission; Earmarks; Planning for FY 2008
WASHINGTON, DC – As Congress returns after Labor Day before heading out again in mid-October to the hustings and electioneering, there are a few unfinished hydrogen and fuel cell items on the Congressional calendar. It’s unclear - and uncertain - whether any of these will be enacted or move forward, given the bigger priorities of rounding up this fall’s votes, the war in Iraq, terrorism, immigration, maybe another Katrina and other more pressing matters - but hey, you never know. One item that got quite bit of press play in recent months is the H Prize, modeled after the ...
U-Minnesota Launches Wind-to-Hydrogen-to-Fertilizer Project
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - The University of Minnesota expects to start work soon on a fertilizer-producing system that would convert wind energy via hydrogen into ammonia. The traditional way of making ammonia - NH3 - is to use hydrogen, produced from increasingly expensive natural gas, and react it with nitrogen extracted from the air. Now, the university’s West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC) near Morris, will scale up a system in which wind, plentiful in the Great Plains, will drive wind turbines that will generate electricity which in turn will be used to electrolyze water to ...
Mission Accomplished: Members of the Chewonki Foundation's Hydrogen Energy Center are beaming their approval as Maine Gov. John Baldacci signs the executive order creating the Maine Hydrogen and Energy Partnership. Left to right: John W. James IV, Sue Jones, Tomlin Coggeshall, Paul Faulstich, Chris Rial, Rick Smith, Kay Mann, David Dvorak, Calen Colby, Gary Higginbottom. (Photo courtesy of John Faulstich) Maine Gov. Baldacci Inaugurates Chewonki Foundation’s New Hydrogen System
WISCASSET, ME – Hydrogen and fuel cell energy came to Maine at the end of last month with the dedication and unveiling of a solar electrolytic system capable of providing four days worth of backup electric power for an 11,000 sq. foot building. The Chewonki Renewable Hydrogen Project is part of a visitor center built by the non-profit environmental Chewonki Foundation here on its 400-acre wooded campus along the Maine coast, about three hours north of Boston. A National First is the inclusion of a direct high-pressure hydrogen electrolyzer that is accessible to the public, ...
It doesn't look all that different, but it's likely to improve future compressed hydrogen storage: Linde r&d project manager Markus Mayer proudly demonstrates the company's first ionic compressor in its compressed natural gas version, shown here refueling a CNG car at Vienna gas utility WienEnergie. Storage: Linde Develops Ionic Compressor for More Efficient Compressed Hydrogen Storage
VIENNA – Large-volume storage of compressed hydrogen gas is likely to become simpler, cheaper, more efficient and less maintenance-intensive with the development of a so-called ionic compressor at an r&d center operated here by Linde Gas, the industrial gas company. So far three beta-phase versions of the device have been undergoing testing for natural gas applications at WienEnergie, a Vienna gas utility, and another one for hydrogen fuel delivery - at carmaker BMW in Germany, Robert Adler, an expert in thermodynamics and head of the development team at Linde’s Applications ...

August 2006

Transitions
Toshiba America Electronics Components, Inc., Irvine, CA, has named Sean Collins as vice president for business development and as vice president of its newly formed Advanced Technology Group. Prior to joining Toshiba in 1998, he managed OEM and consumer energy products for Maxell Corp., the U.S. subsidiary of Hitachi-Maxell. Collins will focus on expanding this group’s activities which include two new strategic product lines, direct methanol fuel cells and surface-conduction electron-emitter displays, both envisioned to play key roles in Toshiba’s future.........Los Angeles-based ...
Events
A NATO Advanced Research Workshop, “Assessment of Hydrogen Energy for Sustainable Development: Energy & Environmental Security” will be held Aug. 7-10 in Istanbul, Turkey. Details: Prof. John W. Sheffield, 129A Mechanical Engineering Bldg., University of Missouri-Rolla, Rolla, MO 65409-0050, 573/341-6073, e-mail SHEFFLD@UMR.edu; or Ramin Jomidava, Georgian National Agency for Black Sea, Tbilisi, Georgia, e-mail rjomidava@yahoo.com. The “2nd MEA Manufacturing Symposium” is scheduled for Aug. 22-24 at the Dayton Marriott Hotel in Dayton, OH. Details: Dr. Michael Martin, ...
Opportunities
* The Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) at the University of Central Florida (UCF), Cocoa, FL invites applications for two faculty positions in its Photovoltaics (PV) Division, for the PV Division Director and for a senior tenured faculty position. The PV Division Director is responsible for all PV-related programs and for providing leadership and supervision for approximately 20 employees and 20 externally funded projects in research and testing, education and training, and laboratory and field experiments. Minimum requirements for the PV Director position include a B.S. in engineering or ...
Briefly Noted: Selenium Fuel Cell
New Jersey engineer and inventor Phillip J. Petillo has designed what he says is new fuel cell that employs a membrane coated with selenium instead of the usual platinum. A patent has been issued to Petillo, No. 6,998,188. Petillo, of Ocean, NJ, says output with selenium is only about 60% of that of platinum but with more research he expects to improve that figure. Fuel cell parts are made of molded plastic, common electrical connections are external and connect via simple attachments. Each cell is independent and plugs into a manifold, permitting easy exchange or replacement. No bolts hold ...
Briefly Noted: Synthesis Energy Systems/Hai Hua
Synthesis Energy Systems, Inc. (SES), Houston, TX says it has signed a 50-year agreement with China’s Hai Hua Coal and Chemical Company, Ltd., Shandong, to form a joint venture for building a coal gasification and synthesis gas plant in one of the country’s major coal mining regions. According to the announcement, the 223 million Nm3.year U-Gas plant is scheduled to be operational in the first half of next year. The plant will produce synthesis gas, produced mainly from waste coal, and will sell it to Hai Hua which will use it to as chemical feedstock for its new methanol ...
Briefly Noted: Electro-Chem
ElectroChem, a pioneering supplier of fuel cell test equipment, says its product line is now available online at FuelCell.com. The company, headquartered in Woburn, MA has been in business for 20 years (same as H&FCL!), and its equipment has been used by NASA and other top-notch customers. For more information or to see the company’s catalog, go to http://www.FuelCell.com.
Briefly Noted: IdaTech Sale
In a back-to-basics move, Boise, ID-based Idacorp, Inc., a utilities-based group, has sold its fuel cell subsidiary Idacorp Technologies, Inc. to IdaTech UK which in turn is owned by a British specialty banking group, Investec Group Investments (UK) Limited, London and Johannesburg. Idacorp Technologies owns more than 99% of IdaTech LLC, Bend, OR, the global fuel cell solutions developer and manufacturer. J. Lamont Keen, president and CEO of Idacorp., said while his company has nurtured IdaTech for a number of years, “we are focused on the higher priority capital requirements of our ...
............and Delft University's "Fhybrid," also known as The Flying Dutchman, in full cry. Briefly Noted: Dutch Fuel Cell Car & Scooter
Two fuel cell vehicles from Holland: The Energy Research Center of the Netherlands (ECN), Petten, has unveiled the first car powered by a Dutch fuel cell system. The car is a modified version of DaimlerChrysler’s GEM (for Global Electric Motorcar) built in Fargo, ND. It is a golf-cart/neighborhood type of vehicle for planned communities, college campuses and resorts that gained some visibility recently at the G-8 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, as the vehicle of choice for the assembled heads of state. The Dutch hybrid version, renamed HydroGEM, employs a 5 kW fuel cell together ...
Briefly Noted: New NREL Facility
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) last month inaugurated a new Science and Technology facility in ribbon-cutting ceremonies attended by Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman. The 71,000 sq. ft. facility provides lab space and research capabilities in a variety of renewable energy fields, including hydrogen, photovoltaics, thin-film coatings, and nanotechnologies. NREL director Dan Arvizu said the building’s advanced features, including an 11,400 sq. ft. process development and integration laboratory plus nine distinct labs for advanced materials synthesis, characterization and ...
Briefly Noted: BP/GE H2 Power Plants
BP and General Electric plan to team up to build between 10 and 15 hydrogen-fueled power projects over the next decade. Executives from both companies signed the agreement in mid-July in London. Essentially, both companies will collaborate on power, carbon capture and carbon sequestration technologies in the expectation that the world will continue to make wide use of fossil fuels in the foreseeable future, but doing it more cleanly by extracting hydrogen that will be used to power turbines for electricity generation. No word on how much money the two companies expect to be spending on these ...
Briefly Noted: Shell Rotterdam Buses
Shell Hydrogen and two partners are planning to launch what they say will be the world’s largest hydrogen-fueled bus line system in Rotterdam before the end of the decade (unless Berlin gets there first - see Fast Forward). First, Shell Hydrogen, together with German bus builder MAN and Rotterdam’s Connexxion Holding public bus company, will spend a year or so studying the economics and technical aspects before making a go/no-go decision. If all goes according to plan, the three companies plan to deploy more than 20 hydrogen i.c.-engined buses. They will be fueled by a Shell ...
Briefly Noted: EC H2 Vehicle Draft Proposal
The European Commission has issued a preliminary draft proposal for a new regulation that would cover hydrogen-powered motor vehicles. The goal is create harmonized testing requirements for the type-approval of hydrogen-powered vehicles. The commission is especially interested in hearing from stakeholders whether this preliminary draft proposal would impose undue burdens on manufacturers or suppliers. Comments should be sent by Sept. 15, 2006 to entr-hydrogen@ec.europa.eu. Additional information and the the proposal text itself are at ...
Briefly Noted: Airplane Fuel Cartridge Rules
Permission to take sodium borohydride-fueled small fuel cell cartridges for laptops and cell phones aboard commercial aircraft has come a step closer with approval of new regulations along these lines by a United Nations commission. According to a mid-July announcement by Millennium Cell, Inc., Eatontown, a developer of this technology, the UN’s Subcommittee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods approved these rules at its semi-annual meeting last month in Geneva. The UN’s full committee of experts is scheduled to formally ratify the new rules in December. Absence of these ...
Ford's hydrogen i.c.-engined shuttle bus. Briefly Noted: Ford H2 Buses
Speaking of Ford’s buses: A couple of years in the making (H&FCL Oct. 04), Ford Motor company last month kicked off production of its dedicated hydrogen-fueled supercharged 6.8 liter V-10 engines that will power the modified E-450 12-passenger shuttle buses. The engines are being built at Ford’s Engine Manufacturing Development Operations in Dearborn Heights, MI. About 20 buses will be built this year in a first wave, most of them for Florida (H&FCL Feb. 05), a Ford spokesman told H&FCL, with more waves likely to follow later. Almost 30 kg of gaseous hydrogen is stored at 5,000 ...
Briefly Noted: New California H2 Stations
California’s Air Resources Board has selected three new proposals for building new hydrogen fueling stations in a competitive bidding process. The board also voted to help fund the leasing of seven hydrogen-powered vehicles to state agencies, according to the board’s July 24 announcement. The three new stations will be co-funded 50% by the state, the first instance of state money being spent on these projects made possible by legislation adopted last year. The three stations are at California State University, Los Angeles to be run 100% on wind power and with 60 kg hydrogen ...
Briefly Noted: Los Angeles Port Cleanup
Alternative fuels and fuel cell applications are expected to be eligible for solicitation bids under the large-scale San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan announced for the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The plan, unveiled at the end of June, is now open for public comment. Drawn up with the help of the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the California Air Resources Board and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, it calls for investing hundreds of millions of dollars by the ports themselves but also by state and regional government as well as port-related ...
R&D: Ball-Milling Coal Produces, Stores Hydrogen, Penn State Researchers Find
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA – It seemingly flies in the face of conventional assumptions, but researchers here at Pennsylvania State University have found that finely ground coal can both produce and store hydrogen. What’s more, at the end of the process the result was diamonds of a particular kind - Bucky diamonds, a nanocrystalline diamond surrounded by onion-like layers of graphite. The notion that coal ground to dust via so-called ball milling produces hydrogen puzzled the team of researchers headed by Angela D. Lueking, assistant professor energy and geoenvironmental engineering. ...
Vermont Gets Hydrogen Station to Fuel its First H2 Prius
BURLINGTON, VT – After a year and a half of preparation, Vermont’s first hydrogen fueling station opened for business here last month. The station, located at Burlington’s Department of Public Works near the city’s waterfront, pumped its first tank of gaseous hydrogen into another internal combustion-engined Toyota Prius converted by QUANTUM Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide, Irvine, CA. Quantum has converted almost three dozen of these cars to hydrogen for several Los Angeles-area cities and has a contract to provide another 15 to Norway (H&FCL June 06). Up to 12 ...
Ballard Signs With Chinese Group to Provide up to 20 Fuel Cells For Car Trials
VANCOUVER – In yet another sign that Ballard Power Systems seems to enjoy a pretty advantageous position when it comes to providing fuels cell to China, the company says it may provide as many as 20 85 kW fuel cell systems to a Chinese r&d company, Shanghai Fuel Cell Vehicle Powertrain Co., Ltd. for field trials. Ballard announced last month it signed a Memorandum of Understanding and fuel cell supply agreement with Powertrain, a company whose major shareholders are Shanghai’s Tongji University and Shanghai Automotive Corp. Tongji fielded the two Santana 3000s, built by Shanghai ...
The banner says it all: "America's First Solar Hydrogen Home" on the campus of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. First American Solar Hydrogen House is Open at U. S. Merchant Marine Academy
KINGS POINT, NY – What’s billed as America’s first solar hydrogen home is open for inspection and tours here on the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA)campus on Long Island Sound. The 800 sq. ft., two-story modular home powered by a Plug Power GenCore 5 kW PEM fuel cell was dedicated in mid-June in conjunction with the academy’s commencement ceremonies where President Bush delivered the keynote address. The grid-independent building, which will now serve as a renewable energy research and educational center for the academy’s alternative power program, was ...
Fast Forward: Berlin as H2 Bus Capital
Germany’s capital is looking to becoming Europe’s Hydrogen Bus Central - quickly: Berlin’s public transit agency BVG is promoting the idea of acquiring up to 250 hydrogen buses by 2009. BVG’s COO Thomas Necker told a Berlin daily, “Berliner Zeitung,” “we really want to pursue hydrogen technology.” Confirming Necker’s words, BVG spokesman Klaus Wazlak told H&FCL while nothing concrete has happened so far, the goal of BVG’s management was to “jump start the discussion in Berlin and in Germany about acquiring (these vehicles) and, ...
Fast Forward: Fuel Cells in GM/Renault? Nissan Jockeying?
Meanwhile, some people are quietly wondering whether the possible alliance between GM on one side and Renault and Nissan on the other promoted by Carlos Ghosn, the canny boss of both Renault and Nissan, doesn’t have a long-range fuel cell angle to it. The ostensible reasons for the cozying up, as reported in the media, include closer cooperation or integration of all three that would improve manufacturing, engineering and product development. On the other hand, Renault doesn’t seem to be very active in fuel cell development, a couple of hallways strategists said at the June World ...
Fast Forward: Driveable "Sequel"
The driveable version of General Motors’ latest fuel cell vehicle design, the “Sequel,” is expected to be unveiled next month, with reporters and others able to drive it in a series of media events. When the SUV was first unveiled at last year’s Detroit Auto Show it was basically a concept study incapable of being driven under fuel cell power (H&FCL Feb. 05). Later, GM said getting the car road ready would be delayed because of constraints on resources (H&FCL Oct.5). Now, the car is ready to go, and CNN anchor John King got first dibs last month when he was shown on a CNN ...
EDITOR’S MEMO:
RUN - DON’T WALK - TO SEE AL GORE’S HUGELY IMPRESSIVE, DEVASTATINGLY DISTURBING, CLIMATE CHANGE DOCUMENTARY, “AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH.” It doesn’t mention hydrogen or fuel cells, but it does talk graphically and in great detail and understandable lay language about the extremely urgent need to get carbon out of our fuels, our atmosphere and our lives. Even if you think you know all there is to know about global warming and climate change - go see it anyway whether you’re a left-, right- or middle winger. It’s a wake-up call for everybody with even minimum ...
UTC Power to Design, Build PEM Fuel Cell for New Spanish Submarine
SOUTH WINDSOR, CT – After conquering space with its alkaline fuel cells aboard the Space Shuttle, UTC Power is now targeting the undersea realm: The company announced its UTC Fuel Cells unit will design and build a 300 kW PEM fuel cell for the Spanish navy’s new S-80 submarine to be built by Spanish shipbuilder Navantia, S.A. The fuel cell will run on reformed ethanol and oxygen to provide underwater stealth capability for the 2,500 ton vessel. This is different from the world’s first fuel cell-powered submarine, the German 212/214 class which operates on hydride-stored ...
The engineering model of the Orion HALL outside Auirora Flight Sciences' manufacturing facilities in Mississippi. H2-Powered Stratospheric Long-Endurance Unmanned Airplane Designs Are Unveiled
COLUMBUS, MS – Aurora Flight Sciences, a designer of unmanned aerial vehicles, unveiled here last month the design of a hydrogen i.c.-powered high-altitude plane that will be able to stay aloft for days. Orion HALL (for High Altitude Long Loiter) is expected to be able to carry up to 500 lbs. of instruments and other equipment for weather research but also for military and intelligence work at costs that its builders say will be affordable for civilian agencies such as NOAA and NASA. The plane’s engineering model, which with its huge 110-foot wings, bulbous fuselage and big ...

July 2006

Transitions
In one of several appointments, Rochester Hill, MI-headquartered Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. has named Sanjeev Kumar as new vice president and chief financial officer of ECD Ovonics. Previously, he spent almost nine years with Occidental Petroleum, and he has been an entrepreneur in fuel cell technology. Also named to new posts were Jay B. Knoll as vice president and general counsel of ECD Ovonics; Stephan W. Zumsteg as vice president and chief financial officer of United Solar Ovonic; and Roger John Lesinski as vice president and chief legal officer of United Solar Ovonic........Power ...
Events
The "Lucerne Fuel Cell Forum" which includes two conferences, "Fuel Cells for a Sustainable World," and the "7th European Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Forum," will be held July 3-7 at the Kultur- und Kongresszentrum Luzern, Lucerne, Switzerland. Details: European Fuel Cell Forum, Oberrohrdorf, Switzerland, +41/56/496 7292, fax +41/56/496-4412; e-mail forum@efcf.com; www.efcf.com. The "6th International Symposium on New Materials for Electrochemical Systems" is planned for July 9-12 at the Holiday Inn Montreal-Midtown, Montreal, Canada. Details: New Materials Secretariat, 514/340-3215, e-mail ...
Briefly Noted: Hydrogenics/BOC
Hydrogenics Corp., Mississauga, Ontario, has signed an agreement with BOC to provide on-site hydrogen generation plants to the industrial gas company for five years for deployment at BOC customer sites as well as BOC facilities around the world. Until now, BOC has bought more than 15 of these on-site plants which provide high-purity hydrogen for a number of industrial applications, such as heat treating, annealing or float glass production, hydrogenation of edible and non-edible oils, and in semiconductor production. Typically, these plants are installed at remote locations where it is more ...
Briefly Noted: Chevron/Georgia Tech
Chevron Corp., San Ramon, CA has formed a strategic research alliance with Georgia Tech intended to develop cellulosic biofuels and hydrogen as transportation fuels. The energy company’s Chevron Technology Ventures will contribute up to $12 million over five years to the university’s Strategic Energy Institute for that purpose, Chevron said. The focus is to develop these fuels from renewable resources such as forest and agricultural waste and biomass such as switchgrass. Source/Contact: Chevron, www.chevron.com/news/press/2006/2006-06-15.asp.
Briefly Noted: Delphi SOFC milestone
Delphi Corp., Troy, MI, says it has reached an important milestone in its efforts to bring solid oxide fuel cell technology to market by 2011. A Delphi-led team working with the U.S. Energy Department’s Fossil Energy Office has achieved all Phase 1 goals set by the Solid State Energy Conversion Alliance (SECA), a Delphi release quoted DoE’s SECA program manager Wayne Surdoval as saying. The Phase I test, completed by Delphi in April and validated by DOE in May, included four key performance and cost goals, all of which were met by the company: 1) Peak Power Performance: ...
Briefly Noted: Intensys
A new Belgian company to develop alkaline fuel cell technology, IntensysTM, was launched last month, the result of a reorganization of E-Vision that has been working in this field for the last three years. Headquartered in Arendonk, the new company assumes ownership and operation of a Euro 2 million automated production line that starts with raw materials and turns out finished fuel cell stacks with integrated manifolds, according to Intensys CEO Jef Spaepen. The company expects to cooperate with two key strategic partners, the Russian company Independent Power Technologies, expected to ...
Briefly Noted: Quantum/Synthesis Energy Systems
Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide, Inc. has won a contract to develop modular stationary power generators for China. The Irvine, CA-based company says the contract came from Synthesis Energy System, Inc. (SES), Miami, FL. The generators are planned to run on hydrogen-rich synfuel that will be produced by co- and poly-generation facilities SES says it is developing in China for large international customers. Separately, Quantum said it had delivered another five hybrid Prius cars converted to hydrogen to the city of Santa Monica as part of the program by the South Coast Air Quality ...
Briefly Noted: Ansaldo U.S. plans
Italy’s Ansaldo Fuel Cells, a Genoa-based manufacturer of molten carbonate fuel cells, plans to launch its products in the United States. The company, a subsidiary of the Finmeccanica group, is seeking industrial and business partners to cooperate in specific applications. The company has just started operations of its newest plant, apparently a 500 kW unit, in Milan, joining two others already operating in Italy and in Spain. In a recent podcast interview available on the company’s website, Ansaldo Fuel Cell product planning director and sales manager Bartolomeo Marcenaro, said ...
Briefly Noted: 10 MW FuelCell Energy plant
They’re getting bigger: FuelCell Energy, Inc. says it has won the go-ahead for pre-development financing for a 10 MW fuel cell power plant. The Danbury, CT-based company says the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund has signed a loan agreement with Bridgeport Fuel Cell Park LLC for up to $500,000 for a fuel cell power plant to be located on a brownfield site in Bridgeport, CT. When completed, it would be the biggest in the country, consisting of five of FuelCell Energy’s 2 MW Direct FuelCell®) molten carbonate plants. Separately, FuelCell Energy announced it has sold a 250 kW Direct ...
Briefly Noted: BMW/TOTAL
German carmaker BMW and the French oil company TOTAL plan to cooperate more closely in launching hydrogen energy technology: In an agreement signed at the end of May the two companies said TOTAL will build and operate three hydrogen fueling stations in Europe by the end of next year to support the carmaker’s commercial launch of bi-fuel flagship 7 Series cars that run on both gasoline and hydrogen, within the next two years. TOTAL opened a station for both fuels in Berlin in March, taking over for a test station that the French company had been operating since 2002. It will also build ...
Briefly Noted: Solar electricity study
Solar-generated electricity - specifically, photovoltaics - is slowly overcoming material constraints and seems set to become a viable alternative as electricity distribution generation systems, says a new report by consultants Frost & Sullivan. The release says new improved modular, affordable systems based largely on new ribbon-type technology are expected to increase revenues in the global solar pv market from last year’s $6.49 billion to an estimated $16.49 billion in 2012, says Frost & Sullivan industry analyst Pramodh Panchanadam. New ribbon technology has led to reduced process ...
Briefly Noted: Alstom
Alstom, the French power generation and transportation conglomerate, is investigating the feasibility of fuel cell-powered streetcars. At the second international hydrogen rail “Hydrail” conference June 7 in Herning, Denmark, Alstom researcher Jean-Paul Moskowitz reported on the company’s “Fulltram” project saying that models, tools and simulations have been developed, including the use of a 100 kW fuel cell, flywheels and supercapacitors, assuming in one example a 30-meter tram operating on 18 lines in the so-called COPPACE fuel cell project. One of Moskowitz’s ...
Briefly Noted: Scandinavian Hydrogen Highway
If all goes well, the 15 hydrogen Priuses Norway is acquiring to accelerate its HyNor hydrogen highway (H&FCL June 06), will be able to roam across Scandinavian borders in a few years. In mid-June, representatives from HyNor met with their Danish counterparts from Hydrogen Link and Swedish colleagues from HyFuture in Copenhagen to announce the launch of a Scandinavia-wide system, the Scandinavian Hydrogen Highway Partnership (SHHP). “The time has come for Scandinavia to step up to the challenge of gradually introducing the zero-emission transport system of tomorrow,” said Ulf ...
Opportunities
The Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, is seeking candidates for three Assistant and Associate Professor positions in its Energy Systems Engineering program (www.ese.iitb.ac.in) to develop sustainable energy systems and solutions: Ph.D. in Engineering with proven research experience in energy-related areas, including, among others, electrical energy systems, grid connection of renewables; i.c. engines, alternate fuels, fuel cells, hydrogen storage, clean coal combustion; solar thermal, solar PV, wind, hybrid systems; Ph.D. in physics with proven research experience in areas such ...
New Linde Mobile Refueler, Hyundai SUVs, MAN Buses Give H2 Lifts to World Cup Fans
BERLIN/DUESSELDORF – Hydrogen transportation is lending a helping hand on the edges of the soccer World Cup events here in Germany, shuttling journalists and fans to and from various venues throughout the country. In Berlin, soccer aficionados wanting to go either to the big Olympic Stadium or arriving at Tegel airport could catch one of two new MAN i.c.-engined “Green Goal” hydrogen buses operated by the Berlin transit agency as part of the ongoing HyFleet/CUTE bus demonstration project sponsored by the European Union. The buses were fueled at a hydrogen fueling station ...
Fuel Cell Cars Do Well in Bibendum Rally, Two Chinese Entries Finish in Top 15
PARIS - Hydrogen-powered cars did pretty well in last month’s Michelin Bibendum Challenge, with fuel cell cars placing among the top ten of the of 34 vehicles that took part in the rally part of the Challenge. Some 80-odd vehicles were listed in the final tabulation of the technical tests. That grand total of entries was apparently way down compared to a couple of years ago when more than 150 vehicles were entered in the Shanghai Bibendum (H&FCL Nov. 04). DaimlerChrysler’s A Class-based F-Cell was second overall in the rally segment, followed by the Michelin/Paul Scherrer ...
Three generations of Ballard 1 kW fuel cells: the newest and smallest one is on the left. Ballard Ships First Prototypes of Latest 1kWResidential Fuel Cell Version to Japan
VANCOUVER – Ballard Power Systems here has delivered the first prototypes of its next-generation 1 kW residential fuel cell, dubbed the Mark 1030 V3 to EBARA BALLARD Corp. in Japan, the company’s joint venture there. The new fuel cell has been designed to meet Japanese government targets of 40,000 hours of operation, or 10 years, of system lifetime. The new device is 40% lighter than the previous generation and 26% smaller, the company said in its early-June announcement. It is fully compatible with both natural gas and kerosene fuel cell cogeneration systems. Ballard says ...
Fast Forward: NASCAR Goes Hydrogen?
Is NASCAR eyeing hydrogen for racing? That’s what some folks were saying at WHEC-16 last month. Scuttlebutt in Lyon had it that NASCAR has approached BMW with a suggestion for hydrogen-fueled racing, presumably in some new stock car category (Mazda is looking at the same idea - H&FCL June 06). Needless to say, it would be one hell of a great promotion for the clean fuel in the United States that would be seen by millions. But a BMW executive familiar with the ins and outs of hydrogen strategies was mystified, saying he hadn’t’ heard of it (A couple of BMW PR people said the ...
DoE News: Steve Chalk Moves to Solar (Temporarily); New H2/Fuel Cell Advisory Committee
WASHINGTON, DC - The Energy Department announced some hydrogen personnel realignments last month as well as the makeup of its new Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technical Advisory Committee (HTAC), successor to the previous Hydrogen Technical Advisory Panel (HTAP). In early June, Deputy Assistant Secretary Richard F. Moorer announced that Steve Chalk, the highly regarded Hydrogen Program Manager, has been reassigned temporarily for four months to head DoE’s solar program as Acting Program Manager, effective immediately until the department can recruit a new full-time program manager. Moorer ...
Cross sections of the "H2Oceanjet" catamaran. Fast LH2 Freighter, Solar Investment Highlight 16th World Hydrogen Conference
LYON, FRANCE – The concept of a 75 mph LH2-powered transatlantic cargo catamaran and a pitch for the huge investment potential of solar energy for hydrogen were, arguably, the highlights of the 16th World Hydrogen Energy Conference here last month. Some 1,000 participants descended on this lovely, hilly city at the confluence of the Rhone and Saone rivers - its historic center has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site - June 13-16 to listen to and see some 300-plus papers and posters and to view exhibits by companies and organizations in 36 exhibitor booths in the modern, ...

June 2006

Transitions
Changes at MTI MicroFuel Cell Inc.: Vice president and chief technology officer Shimshon Gottesfeld is transitioning from his current job to the title of senior technical advisor during the next 18 months and eventual retirement, the company announced. In a separate e-mail to friends and colleagues, Gottesfeld, 65, said he intends to use his new status to visit more with his family in Israel “and to leave time for some additional technical work in places where my interests best overlap with a need of contributions I can make.” Separately, the Albany, NY-based company announced the ...
Events
The “2nd International Hydrogen Train & HYDRAIL Conference” is scheduled for June 7 at the Herning College of Business and Engineering in Herning, Denmark. Details: www.hydrogentrain.eu. The "16th World Hydrogen Energy Conference, (WHEC 16)," organized by the French Hydrogen Association (AFH2), is planned for June 13-16, in Lyon, France. Details: www.whec.com. The "Fourth International ASME Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology" is scheduled for June 19-21 at the Hyatt Regency Irvine Hotel, Irvine, CA. Details: Raj Manchanda, ASME, 212/591-7789, ...
Briefly Noted: Hydrogen from Caramel
And finally, from our There-Will-Always-Be-An-England-Even-in-Fuel-Cells Dep’t: “Scientists build caramel-powered margarine-making fuel cell,” said the head scratch-inducing headline in “The Register,” a slightly wacky UK Internet publication (subhead: “Biting the hand that feeds IT”) The actually fairly interesting story says scientists from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council have found that waste from confectionary production can be used to make useful amounts of hydrogen for electricity production, using the sugar-rich waste from a ...
Briefly Noted: Baker Student Award Entries
The Fuel Cell Seminar organizers are once again looking for candidates for the Dr. Bernard S. Baker Student Award for Fuel Cell Research for currently enrolled graduate or undergraduate students. Deadline for application submissions by e-mail only is July 14. Details are at www.fuelcellseminar.com.
Briefly Noted: US Fuel Cell Council State Activities Report
Forty-seven states plus the District of Columbia have some sort of fuel cell or hydrogen legislation, demonstration or other activity taking place, says a new report released last month by the Washington, DC-based Breakthrough Technologies Institute, the parent organization of Fuel Cells 2000 and the U.S. Fuel Cell Council. The massive 233-page report details programs and incentives that specifically include hydrogen, fuel cells and zero emission vehicles, complete with contact links, names and addresses. Jennifer Gangi, Fuel Cells 2000 program director and co-author, says the report is a ...
Briefly Noted: Vespa/ECN Fuel Cell Scooter
Italy’s maker of the fabled “Vespa” scooter, Piaggio, has built and successfully tested a prototype low-emission “Fresco” fuel cell version together with the Energy Research Center of the Netherlands (ECN), the project’s coordinator headquartered in Petten. The project is co-funded by the European Commission. Based on Piaggio’s 250 cc X9 model, the scooter is powered by a 6 kWe (12 kW peak) PEM fuel cell stack designed by ECN. Some 300 grams of hydrogen are stored in a 525 bar (7,614 psi) carbon-reinforced aluminum lined tank under the rear seat, enough for ...
Briefly Noted: BIC Looks at Cartridges
An unlikely contender best known for making ball points, shavers and cigarette lighters is getting set to jump into the fuel cell fray: the French BIC Group says it is exploring the emerging micro fuel cell cartridge industry as a way to put to use its expertise in consumer products, manufacturing and global distribution. “We see an opportunity to offer consumers convenience with more ‘portable power’ to go to the next generation of consumer electronic devices,” BIC CEO Mario Guevara said last month, a couple of weeks before the company’s annual shareholders’ ...
Briefly Noted: Hydrogen Engine Center
The Hydrogen Engine Center, Inc. (HEC), makers of hydrogen-fueled internal combustion engines in Algona, IA, has received a $161,2100 order for an a 250 kW genset from Natural Resources Canada to be used in a wind/hydrogen demonstration on Ramea Island off the southern coast of Newfoundland. The 4+1TM genset consists of five 4.9 liter i.c. engines - four working together to produce electric power and one in reserve for high reliability and easy maintenance. Contact: HEC (media), Travis Whittington, 800/340-6434, travis@hanser.com; www.hydrogenenginecenter.com
Briefly Noted: New KTN Fuel Cell Portal
Four major players in Britain’s hydrogen and fuel cell community have launched a new Internet portal, the Low Carbon and Fuel Cell Technology Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN). The new venture got its official blessing via the participation of Sir David King, the UK government’s chief scientific adviser, at the London launch. King said KTN “will be of immense benefit to UK organisations active investing in this strategically important sector.” The four partners are Cenex, the UK’s first Centre of Excellence for low carbon and fuel cell technologies funded by the ...
Briefly Noted: Linde Expansion
German industrial gas manufacturer Linde AG is adding to its North American hydrogen business: in mid-May, Canada’s Hydrogenics Corp. announced it has signed a five-year preferred supplier agreement with the company’s Linde Gas Division under which Hydrogenics will be a preferred supplier of onsite hydrogen generators for Linde. And a couple of days later, Linde Gas LLC, the Cleveland-based U.S. subsidiary of Linde’s gas and engineering business segments, reported it will build and operate an on-site steam methane reformer at the Shell Chemical LP plant in Mobile, AL. The ...
Briefly Noted: Boeing/Airbus Fuel Cell Cooperation
Boeing and Airbus, the two fiercely warring 800-pound gorillas among the world’s airplane makers, may cooperate in the development of fuel cells for onboard auxiliary power units (APUs), an aviation industry publication says. A Boeing spokesman confirmed to H&FCL that the two companies are discussing this issue (Airbus didn’t return phone calls). “Flight International” said in its May 2 issue the two companies admitted at a late-April conference on aviation and the environment in Geneva, Switzerland, that they have started talks on “fast-tracking” early state ...
Briefly Noted: Colorado Fuel Cell Center
Colorado’s first fuel cell research center opened early last month in Golden, a joint project of Gov. Bill Owens’ Office of Energy Management and Conservation, which helped fund it, and the Gas Technology Institute, the Colorado School of Mines, Versa Power Systems, Inc., and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, also in Golden. Initially, the Colorado Fuel Cell Center (CFCC) will focus on developing new high-performance polymers for portable and transportation applications, fuel processing, and on high-temperature fuel cells and components. Contact: CFCC director Dr. Bob ...
Briefly Noted: New Nuclear Hydrogen Journal
The first issue of a new scholarly publication, “The International Journal of Nuclear Hydrogen Production and Applications,” has just been published by Inderscience, of Geneva, Switzerland. Editor-in-Chief of the quarterly journal is Prof. André Maïsseu, president of the World Council of Nuclear Workers (WONUC), Paris, France. Editorial board members include Dr. Thierry Alleau, chairman of the French Hydrogen Association; Dr. Frano Barbir, of the UNIDO-ICHET hydrogen research center in Istanbul, Turkey; Prof. Cesare Marchetti, of IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria; Prof. Andreas ...
Briefly Noted: FutureGen Sites
Twelve sites in seven states have applied to be selected as location for FutureGen, the design of a clean coal-burning power plant that will produce both electricity and hydrogen, with waste gas carbon dioxide to be stored underground. The twelve are Effingham, IL, Marshall, IL, Mattoon, IL, Tuscola, IL, Henderson County, KY, Bowman County, ND, Meigs County, OH, Tuscarawas County, OH, Odessa, TX, Jewett, TX, Point Pleasant, WV, and Gillette, WY. The FutureGen Alliance says it will pick a short list by late summer and will select a final site, expected to be larger than 200 acres, in ...
CORRECTION
CORRECTION: The names of two persons mentioned in our May issue were in error. In the Hannover Joint Exhibit story, the correct last name of Formula Zero’s events director is Eiso Vaandrager (not Vandrager, as printed). And in the ”Brief” item on the ARRC/H2 Alliance, the correct full name of the founder is Alan Eliot Goldberg (not Eliot Goldberg, as printed).
Anti-H2 Article in German “Technology Review” is Dismissed as Irrelevant
BERLIN - “Good-Bye, Hydrogen,” the recent, provocatively titled anti-hydrogen article in the German edition of MIT’s “Technology Review” magazine (H&FCL May 06), didn’t create much of a stir in the German hydrogen community which generally dismissed it as somewhere between uninformed, out of date, plain wrong and irrelevant. “On closer examination, this seemingly sensational text turns out to be a collection of out-of-date platitudes,” said a pretty acerbic commentary in the newsletter of the German Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association (DWV) published ...
Fast Forward: Mazda H2 Racing Plans
Hydrogen goes racing? It’s not certain, but Mazda confirms it is looking at the idea of entering a hydrogen-fueled rotary i.c.-engined competition vehicle in big-time motor sports events such as the American Le Mans Series. A Mazda spokesman says the idea is “barely off the drawing board.” He confirms reports that the company’s interest was piqued by Audi’s diesel-fueled sleek R-10 competition vehicle which garnered a lot of publicity for Audi - and for alternative fuels - by winning the Mobil 12-hour Sebring race in mid-March against formidable competition. Mazdas ...
Fast Forward: Cryo-Capable Tanks
Also at the DoE review, an advanced insulated pressure vessel that can store both liquid and/or pressurized hydrogen, is scheduled to be tested fairly soon in a real-world hydrogen-fueled Prius (See story p.1). Designer Salvador Aceves of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory believes his tank would offer genuine long-distance range of up to 500 miles. The “cryogenic capable” tank is an insulated pressure vessel would combine the best of both cryogenic and high-pressure hydrogen worlds over a whole range of different pressures and temperatures. It could hold 3.5 kg of hydrogen at ...
Fast Forward: I.C. Buses for CUTE
Heard on the sidelines of the DoE Review Meeting last month: The European Union’s CUTE project in which 27 fuel cell-powered buses were deployed in nine European cities, will be extended with the addition of internal combustion-engined buses, according to William Borthwick of the European Commission’s Directorate General for Research. Borthwick, who presented an update on Europe’s hydrogen and fuel cell research technology and demonstration programs at the DoE conclave, told H&FCL that new MAN i.c. buses will join the fleet under the expanded HyFLEET-CUTE program “fairly ...
DoE News: Big Knowledge Gaps, Misperceptions About Hydrogen Persist, DoE Survey Shows
CRYSTAL CITY, VA - It probably doesn’t come as a huge surprise to practitioners in the field, but a Department of Energy survey on knowledge and opinions on hydrogen and fuel cells shows disappointingly large gaps and shortcomings. “There is a general lack of knowledge about hydrogen and hydrogen fuel cell technologies” in all of the four categories - general public, students aged 12-17, state and local governments, and end users - interviewed, the survey summarized the findings. The findings were presented by Christy Cooper, DoE’s manager in charge of education and ...
DoE News: Storage R&D is Focus of Hydrogen Program Merit Review
CRYSTAL CITY, VA - Hydrogen storage, a main concern for the prospects of a future hydrogen economy, took center stage at the Energy Department’s Hydrogen Program’s Annual Merit Review May 16-19 here. Research into H2 storage, subject of a “Grand Challenge” announced by DoE three years ago (H&FCL July 03), accounted for a big chunk of the more than 250 papers and posters presented to the international audience of close to 900 - scientists, Washington policy people, business executives - who had turned out for the occasion, about the same as last year (H&FCL June 05). ...
A map of Norway's HyNor Hydrogen Highway Quantum Wins Contract for 15 Hydrogen Hybrid I.C. Prius Cars from Norway
IRVINE, CA - Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide, Inc. here has received a purchase order for 15 hydrogen-fueled, internal combustion-engined Toyota Prius hybrid vehicles from Norway, the company announced last month. It is Quantum’s second major group order for H2 Prius conversions. Earlier this year, Quantum delivered 30 hydrogen Priuses to municipal fleets in Southern California (H&FCL Feb., March 06). The new purchaser is Miljobil Grenland AS, a participant and vehicle provider to the Norwegian Hydrogen Highway (HyNor). These vehicles will be put in service in Norway ...

May 2006

Transitions
Fuel cell power plant manufacturer FuelCell Energy, Inc., Danbury, CT has named Bruce A. Ludemann as its new senior vice president for sales and marketing, with responsibilities for the companies business development activities for all its target markets in North America, Asia and Europe. Previously, Ludemann had been a sales vice president with Siemens in Orlando, FL and earlier he had been with ABB Power Transmission & Distribution, Inc., managing the company's North American equipment services organization.......The board of the European Hydrogen Association (EHA) has appointed Marieke ...
Events
The "greenT Forum" on green trading markets will be held May 1-2 at the McGraw-Hill Conference Center in New York, NY. Details: Marion Yuen at the MYA Group, 888/562-0080 (U.S. only), 718/230-5402, info@greentmarkets.com, www.greentmarkets.com. The "Commercializing Clean Coal 2006" conference is scheduled for May 10-12 at the Renaissance Vancouver Hotel Harbourside, Vancouver, BC. Details: Christine Groff, Intertech, 207/781-9800; contact@intertechusa.com, www.intertechusa.com. The "18th Annual Tour de Sol" green car show and competition will be held May 101-14 at New York's Saratoga ...
Briefly Noted: German DWV Innovation Prizes
The German Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association (DWV) has awarded two annual Innovation Prizes for studies on miniature PEM fuel cells and aircraft power systems. Dr. Andreas Schmitz was honored for his doctoral dissertation on "System Development of Miniaturised Planar Selfbreathing PEMFC" at Berlin Technical University. And Julika Bleil won her prize for her diploma study on "New Energy Systems for Future Airplanes," researched at Airbus in Hamburg and supported by Hamburg-Harburg Technical University. The awards will be presented at DW's annual meeting this month, May 18 in Hamburg. ...
Briefly Noted: LBST Name Change
L-B Systemtechnik, the German consultancy which does a great deal of work for the European Union, has reverted to its roots and has changed its name back to Ludwig-Bölkow-Systemtechnik (LBST). The group, headquartered in Ottobrunn near Munich, was founded in 1982 by the late German aerospace pioneer Ludwig Bölkow, an ardent supporter of hydrogen energy technology. Near the end of March, LBST published a preliminary report on the EU HyWays hydrogen roadmapping project, based on an analysis of the potential penetration of hydrogen in six countries. The 34-page report's Summary says, ...
Briefly Noted: Hydrogen Fueling Station Alliance
Shell Hydrogen and Hydrogenics are the first industry leaders to sign on to the newly established AARC/H2 Alliance to conceptually develop prototype hydrogen fueling stations/information centers. The alliance, which also includes design and lighting companies, was set up by Eliot Goldberg, principal of the AG/ENA architectural firm, New Canaan, CT (H&FCL Sept. 05). Details: www.arrch2alliance.com
Briefly Noted: Queensland Hypersonic Funding
Australia's Queensland state government has awarded $2 million (US. $1.46 million) to the University of Queensland for the institution's Centre for Hypersonic's hydrogen scramjet research program. The award was announced in early April in Chicago by Queensland's deputy premier and minister for innovation, Anna Bligh, after a meeting with Boeing top executives. Bligh said the money will permit the center to build "advanced scramjet prototypes and undertake prolonged flight tests at speeds over Mach 8 - more than eight times the speed of sound." The funding will provide part of the financial ...
Briefly Noted: Smart Fuel Cells Fundraiser
SFC Smart Fuel Cell AG, the German manufacturer of small DMFC fuel cells for portable applications, announced it has raised Euro 15 million ($18.4 million) from several well-known European investors. SFC managing director Jens Mueller says the fresh funds "will enable us to take our organization to the next level." The company has won various innovation awards (H&FCL Oct. 02, Sept. 04), and last year it became the first fuel cell manufacturer to provide a fuel cell as standard equipment in a German motor home, the "Hymer S Class," for onboard electricity. Contact: SFC, Ulrike ...
Briefly Noted: U-North Dakota H2 Center
Key U.S. Senate hydrogen supporter Sen. Byron Dorgan and his colleague, Sen. Kent Conrad, both North Dakota Democrats, helped break ground last month for the new $ 3million National Center for Hydrogen Technology at the University of North Dakota's Energy and Environmental Research Center in Grand Forks. The new 15,000 sq. foot facility owes its existence largely to Dorgan who, said the "Grand Forks Herald" in an Apr. 18 story on the opening, inserted language into an appropriations bill directing the U.S. Energy Department to designate EERC as a national hydrogen facility. The new center is ...
Briefly Noted: Unitel Reformer
Unitel Technologies, Mt. Prospect, IL says it has built a fully automated autothermal-reforming pilot plant for producing fuel cell-grade hydrogen from JP8, a military kerosene-based fuel suitable for turbines and used in aircraft. The company is shipping the pilot plant to the U.S. Army Communications Electronics Command at Fort Belvoir, VA for finetuning the process to convert a logistical fuel into hydrogen to run solid oxide fuel cell stacks, the company says. The pilot unit produces 20 standard liters of hydrogen/minute, enough to generate about 975 W of fuel cell power. Contact: ...
Briefly Noted: Daimler-Chrysler Fuel Cell Patrol Car
F-Cell cars (F as in Fuzz) for police patrol: The world's first fuel cell-powered police car, a Mercedes F-Cell, has been placed on duty in Detroit by its manufacturer, DaimlerChrysler. It's being operated by the Wayne State University's police department as a supervisor's vehicle to patrol the campus and its immediate neighborhood, complete with police radio, decals, lights and sirens. It will be refueled at NextEnergy's new refueling station in the city, and it will see double duty as a learning laboratory for students at Wayne State's College of Engineering Alternative Energy Technology, ...
Briefly Noted: U-Texas Anodes
Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have found that a solid oxide fuel cell's anode made of so-called double perovskites material, Sr2Mg1-xMnxMoO6-, offers superior performance with natural gas, plus tolerance to sulfur, compared to conventional NiO/electrolyte composite anodes. The four-member team, headed by Prof. John B. Goodenough, reported in the April 14 issue of "Science" that the material can be used with natural gas at temperatures between lower than 650 and 1,000 deg. C with good results and long-term stability, and with no need to add steam, the usual requirement for ...
Briefly Noted: Johnson Matthey/Polyfuel
Johnson Matthey has signed an agreement with PolyFuel, Inc., Mountain View, CA, a developer of engineered membranes for direct methanol fuel cells, under which the California company will provide Johnson Matthey as PolyFuel's "channel partner" with its hydrocarbon-based direct methanol fuel membrane for small fuel cells to power portable devices. The British company, a producer of catalyst materials and related products, will use the membranes in manufacturing catalyst coated membranes (CCMs) and membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) for a variety of products. Jonathan Frost, director of ...
German "MIT Technology Review" Article Says Hydrogen Economy is a Non-Starter
HANNOVER, GERMANY – "Good-Bye, Hydrogen" is the provocative headline of a front page article in the April issue of the German edition of MIT's respected "Technology Review" magazine. The summarizing lead paragraph of the 2,760-word article says the vision of emission-free car exhausts dripping only pure water is slowly giving way to what the author, Karsten Schaefer, claims is stark reality: "The celebrated gas is a future technology without a future." The article has not appeared in the American home edition of "Technology Review." Ironically, the German edition is published here ...
Primary Sources: Geothermal Energy Accelerates in U.S., Europe, Australia, New Zealand
WASHINGTON, DC/BERLIN, GERMANY/MOKAI, NEW ZEALAND – Suddenly, geothermal energy is hot: Reports of proliferating new projects are coming in from many parts of the globe: the United States, Germany, Australia and New Zealand, to name a few. One of the latest ones came in an April 12 story in Australia's national daily, "The Australian," which reported that for the first time, energy companies are planning to build geothermal power plants in the state of Victoria. Applications for 31 permits for geothermal exploration around Victoria have been opened and the paper says the state's ...
DoE News: Bodman Announces $52.5 Million for Storage, Catalysts & Membrane Research
DETROIT, MI – U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman last month announced an upcoming three-year $52.5 million solicitation to fund basic research in hydrogen storage, catalysts and membranes. Speaking at the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) world congress here, Bodman said this will help address the challenges that have been identified in the DoE report, "Basic Research Needs for the Hydrogen Economy," released last year. To help recover the country from its addiction to oil, Bodman said the administration had launched the Advanced Energy Initiative which calls for increasing ...
Two Russian Companies Plan $217 Million Cash Investment in Plug Power
LATHAM, NY - A group of Russian investors with strong interest in hydrogen and fuel cell development have agreed to make a very large investment in Plug Power, Inc. here, the company announced. The investment would give the Russian investors about one third ownership of Plug Power. Calling it a "transformational investment," Plug Power president and CEO Dr. Roger Saillant told analysts and others in a hurriedly arranged conference call last month that a major Russian investment firm, Interros, together with Norilsk Nickel, a company managed by Interros, have agreed to invest $217 million ...
Fast Forward: Danish Fuel Cell Commuter Train Plans
In Denmark, meanwhile, three research groups are investigating prospects for converting an existing two-car regional diesel-powered train in northwestern Denmark to hydrogen fuel cell power. If all goes as planned, Denmark's "Hydrogen Train" prototype could start operating over the 37 miles of track in Ringkoebing County, near the North Sea cost of Jutland province, by 2010. The kicker: Hydrogen would likely be produced from wind power, already abundantly in use in the country. Wind already provides more than 35% of electricity consumed in the county, and, say the organizers - The Hydrogen ...
A schematic drawing of components on board East Japan Railway Co.'s NE Train: Batteries are on the roof. Underneath the carriage, from left to right, hydrogen storage tanks, fuel cells, and an inverter. (Image courtesy of East Japan Railways, Co.) Fast Forward: Japanese Fuel Cell Train
A couple of months from now, Japan's biggest railroad company expects to start road-testing - make that rail-testing - the world's first fuel cell-powered commuter train. East Japan Railways Co., which serves the densely populated Tokyo area and which carries some 16 million passengers a day, will start operating its single-car hybrid fuel cell NE Train - for New Energy - in its Saitama City train yard and research and development center. If all goes well, Japan Railways will start test runs on regular tracks in April next year. So far there is no decision whether or when the train will ...
Fast Forward: Hydrogenics Mideast Office
Also heard: Canada's Hydrogenics Corp. plans to open a field office in the Middle East - Dubai and Bharain are being mentioned as potential sites - some time in the reasonably near future. Hydrogenics signed a basic memorandum of understanding with a Dubai-based energy company, the S.S. Lootah Group, last year (H&FCL Jan. 06).
Fast Forward: Nick Abson
Overheard at Hannover: Nick Abson, the irrepressible impresario of alkaline fuel cells, is reportedly developing somewhere in East London a large alkaline fuel cell via Synergy, the company he launched a couple of years ago (H&FCL June 02). Currently, Abson's team is said to be working on a 1 square foot cell with the intention of scaling it up to 1 square meter, producing 400 kW. The basic idea, if we understood it correctly, is to package six of these fuel cells generating a total of 2.4 MW into a 44-foot container to provide power for, among other things, the 2012 London Olympics which is ...
The Swiss-German model HyFish unmanned aircraft. The version shown on the German aerospace agency DLR stand has actually flown on battery power and if all goes well, will be converted to fuel cell energy this year. High Energy Costs, Oil Shock Memories Are Backdrop to Hydrogen + Fuel Cell Exhibit
HANNOVER, GERMANY – With skyrocketing oil prices and 1970s energy crises memories looming as ominous backdrop, the 12th annual Hydrogen + Fuel Cell Group Exhibit last month here took on, in the eyes of many participants, special gravitas. With 122 exhibitors, participants in the daily "Forum" sessions plus the 12 winners of the exhibit's "Hydrogen Ambassador" competition (H&FCL March 06), the number of exhibitors at the April 24-28 event was roughly the same as last year. But the number of countries represented - 32, from Argentina, Armenia and Austria to Samoa, the United Arab ...
Our Anniversary: 20 Years H&FCL
Time Flies When You're Having Fun, they say. Well, Maybe. Anyway, what you see below is the gestating Hydrogen Economy's equivalent of the Dead Sea Scrolls, complete with original stains, creases and scribbles: The front page of the very first issue of what was then "The Hydrogen Letter," published exactly 20 years ago, in May 1986 (The name and logo were changed to "The Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Letter" in early 1995). The stories don't look much different from what we might report today. The lead headlines said - in case you can't, like me, read this kind of small print any more - "Canada ...

April 2006

Transitions
Man on the Move: Dr. Alan C. Lloyd, who resigned his job as secretary of the California Protection Agency effective the last day of February (H&FCL Feb. 06), is off and running again in pursuit of a cleaner future. The next day, March 1, the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), San Francisco, announced that Lloyd has joined the group as its new president. The ICCT is a non-profit organization dedicated to improve the environmental performance and efficiency of cars, trucks, buses and transportation systems.......U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman has sworn in Alexander ...
Events
The "8th International Symposium Small Fuel Cells for Portable Applications" conference is scheduled for April 2-4 at the L'Enfant Plaza Hotel, Washington, DC. Details: Knowledge Foundation, Karin Broadhurst, kbroadhurst@knowledgefoundation.com, 617/232-7400, ext. 210. The "Portable Power Developer's Conference" will take place April 3-5 at the Richardson Hotel in Richardson, TX. Details: www.darnell.com/ppdc/. "The Wall Street Green Trading Summit" is scheduled for April 4-5 at Bloomberg Headquarters, 731 Lexington Ave., New York, NY. Details: Global Change Associates & Hedge ...
Briefly Noted: Amex/Wilderhill Index
The American Stock Exchange (Amex ®) has started publishing the WilderHill New Energy Global Innovation Index (ticker symbol: NEX). The index is made up of international companies with technologies and services centered on generation and use of renewable eergy, conservation and efficiency, and advancement of low-carbon energy solutions. The index was created by and is a trademark of WilderHill New Energy Finance, LLC. Contact: Amex, Renee E. Rossi, 212/306-8964; renee.ross@amex.com.
Briefly Noted: Hydrogenic's China Contracts
Mississauga, Ont.-based Hydrogenics Corp. says it has won orders for two electrolytic hydrogen generators from two of China’s largest energy companies. China Electric Power Energy Group and China National Power have each bought a HySTAT-A hydrogen plant capable of generating 10Nm3/hour high-purity hydrogen at 25 bar pressure. Both will be used to cool generators in coal-burning power plants, and delivery is expected later this year. Hydrogenics says it has sold 12 such generators to Chinese energy companies in the last four years. Contact: Hydrogenics, Jane Dalziel, 905/361-3639; ...
Briefly Noted: IEC Fuel Cell Safety Specs
The Swiss-based International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) has published a safety specification for small fuel cells for personal electronic devices such as cell phones, music players and similar devices, reports the U.S. Fuel Cell Council. The new rule advances the date when operation of fuel cells will be permitted on airplanes. The new spec ”IEC/PAS 62282-6-2 (2006-02) Fuel cell technologies - Part 6-1: Micro fuel cell power systems - Safety” is available at www.iec.ch. Contact: US Fuel Cell Council, Robert Wichert, USFCC technical director, 916/966-9060; ...
Briefly Noted: New Plug Power/Honda Agreement
Honda and Plug Power, Inc. Latham, NY have signed two new agreements extending their cooperation. The first covers the fourth phase of jointly developing their natural gas-based Home Energy Station which provides heat and electricity as well as hydrogen fuel for a fuel cell car. The second agreement covers unspecified, Honda-funded fundamental Plug Power r&d. Contact: Plug Power, Cynthia Mahoney White, 518/782-7700, ext. 1973; cynthia_mahoneywhite@plugpower.com.
Briefly Noted: New Ballard Service Contract
Vancouver’s Ballard Power Systems has been awarded a US $8.3 million contract to extend servicing 27 Ballard-powered Mercedes Citaro fuel cell buses running on European roads this year under the combined CUTE (Clean Urban Transport for Europe/ECTOS (Ecological City Transport System) program. The two-year demonstration began in 2003 (H&FCL June 03). Cities extending operations are Amsterdam, Barcelona, London, Luxemburg, Madrid and Reykjavik, with each city operating three buses. Hamburg will increase its fleet from three to nine, making it the world’s largest fuel cell bus fleet. ...
Briefly Noted: Members of Congress Urge Restoring Efficiency Accounts
Seventy-one Members of Congress are urging restoring the Energy Department’s geothermal, hydropower and other key energy efficiency accounts, slated for deep cuts or elimination in the White House FY 2007 budget request, reports the March 22 online Environmental News Service. In a letter to the House Appropriations Committee, the 71 - sixty-four Democrats and seven Republicans - wrote, “At a time when the price of gasoline is exceeding $2 per gallon, a barrel of oil is over $60, and natural gas is more than $6/mmBtu, we believe cutbacks in DoE’s core EERE programs are ...
Briefly Noted: Innovatek
And in yet another announcement in Long Beach, Innovatek, Inc., Richland, WA and Seattle BioFuels announced what they say is the first successful production of hydrogen from biodiesel in a microchannel steam reformer with 100% conversion, the first time a renewable fuel source has been utilized for hydrogen generation. Innovatek says it has also converted glycerol, a byproduct of biodiesel production, as well as biodiesel’s source, raw soybean oil, to make hydrogen. Contact: InnovaTek, 509/375-1093; mail@tekkie.com.
Briefly Noted: Columbia, SC Fuel Cell Challenge
Also at the NHA meeting, the University of South Carolina (USC) announced the launch of the Greater Columbia Fuel Cell Challenge, an effort to propel Columbia, SC, home to USC, into the forefront of fuel cell development by inviting other companies and institutions to come aboard. The group will be holding a first input conference April 26 at FuelCell South in Columbia. Contact: Neil McLean, 803/546-9223; www.fuelcellchallenge.com.
Briefly Noted: UTC/Van Hool
UTC and Van Hool to Offer Buses in Europe: UTC announced at the NHA meeting in Long Beach, CA last month it was teaming with Belgian busmaker Van Hool to market fuel cell buses in Europe. Initially, the two companies will deliver a bus to DeLijn, Belgium’s largest bus operator for a six-month trial, to be followed by leases to other European transit agencies. Contact: Peg Hashem (UTC Power), 860/727-2093.
Joint Ventures: New FC Cooperations: BASF/Tekion, Umicore/Solvay, Webasto/Vaillant
BURNABY/BRUSSELS/MUNICH - Six North American and European companies active in fuel cell development last month announced plans to pursue fuel cell and fuel cell-related activities in three new groupings: Tekion Inc., based in Burnaby, BC and Champaign, IL, is teaming with Germany’s leading chemical company BASF AG to jointly develop formic acid technology as fuel for Tekion’s micro fuel cells for portable applications. BASF says it is the world’s leading producer of formic acid, a non-flammable fuel. Tekion’s Formira Power Pack is a micro fuel cell/battery hybrid for ...
Gas Producer Linde Offers to Buy UK’s BOC Group, Anticipating H2 Fuel Growth
MUNICH – Linde AG’s friendly takeover offer for the UK’s BOC Group plc industrial gas company, based largely on Linde’s expectations for the hydrogen-as-fuel business, is expected to move forward and signed, sealed and delivered some time this fall. The German industrial gas and engineering company made the bid in early March, offering 1,600 Pence cash per share - a 39% premium. Linde said in its release it expected BOC’s board of directors to recommend that its shareholders accept the offer. With this merger, Linde would move up to a globally leading industrial ...
Hydrogen Storage: “Crystal Sponges” Adsorb 7.5 Weight % Hydrogen, UCLA/U-Mich. Team Reports
LOS ANGELES, CA - Responding to the U.S. Energy Department’s “Grand Challenge” for better hydrogen storage technologies (H&FCL July 03), researchers at the Universities of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and Michigan have developed a material that exceeds DoE current targets. Storing gaseous hydrogen efficiently onboard cars and trucks especially but also in small amounts in handheld electronic devices powered by small fuel cells is a key issue in and obstacle to the commercialization of hydrogen energy technology. UCLA chemistry professor Omar Yaghi and Michigan’s Adam ...
Production: GE Develops Plastic-Based Electrolyzer for Low-Cost Hydrogen Production
NISKAYUNA, NY - The hydrogen economy’s Holy Grail of economically splitting water may be moving closer with the development of a pre-fab electrolyzer stack made largely of a plastic developed by General Electric four decades ago. A team of scientists and engineers at GE Global Research Center here have built a lab-scale 500 W alkaline device producing about 10 grams hydrogen per hour, that, once scaled up to commercial dimensions, is expected to eventually produce hydrogen at $3 per kilogram. The basic rationale is to cut capital costs for the stack, heart of the electrolyzer ...
Research: Mimicking Nature: Texas Scientists Demonstrate H2-Fueled Artificial Muscles
RICHARDSON, TX – The term “muscle power” takes on a whole new high-tech alternative-energy connotation with the development of artificial muscles powered by hydrogen, methanol or other alcohol fuels at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD). In effect, these muscles represent a kind of deconstructed fuel cell technology, at least partially. Normally, a fuel cell is envisioned as a kind of black box, with fuel - hydrogen, methanol, natural gas, formic acid, whatever - and oxygen flowing in at one end, and electricity coming out at the other to power cars, buses, boats, ...
CORRECTION
The last names of two individuals were misspelled in the March and February issues of H&FCL. In the March article on Quantum’s plans, the CEO’s correct name is Richard Niedzwiecki (not Niedziecki, as printed - p.2). And in the February “Transitions” column, the correct last name for IdaTech’s former chief technical officer is David Edlund (not Eglund, as printed).
Fast Forward: Hexis Rescuer
A reclusive octogenarian Swiss real estate magnate and art collector is supposedly the mystery savior who stepped up to the plate and bought the Hexis SOFC fuel cell division of Switzerland’s Sulzer Corp., Winterthur, which was in imminent danger of going under (H&FCL Oct. 05, Jan. 06). The German online “Brennstoffzellen Newsletter” says the guardian angel is Bruno Stefanini, 81, or rather, his foundation for art, culture and history. The newsletter, citing reporting in a Winterthur newspaper, “Der Landbote,” in the Swiss news magazine “facts” plus its own ...
Fast Forward: BMW Launch Plans
Germany’s BMW, on the other hand, seems to be well on its way to launch limited production of a hydrogen-burning version of its 7-Series flagship sedan within a couple of years. Various recent media reports have said as much, and a mid-March Reuters story quoted an unidentified BMW spokesman in Munich as confirming them. Company officials, when asked, won’t confirm or deny these stories outright, but with a sort of wink and a nod hint, yes, where there’s smoke, there’s probably fire. The word is these first generation hydrogen Bimmers - aficionado talk for BMW cars - are ...
Fast Forward: Hyundai in China?
Is Hyundai going to build gasoline-electric hybrids and fuel cell vehicles soon in China? Maybe, but unlikely: Various media reported last month the Korean car manufacturer plans starting production of the hybrids in 2008 and fuel cell vehicles in 2010. Officially, it ain’t so: A Hyundai spokesman tells H&FCL by e-mail that the remark by a Hyundai official attending a China auto show “was apparently a quote taken out of context.” Seemingly, there is no validity to it, he added: “If there were news of that magnitude to share, I’d let you know.”
Infrastructure: Two More Hydrogen Fueling Stations on U.S. West Coast and in Germany
OAKLAND, CA/BERLIN - Serendipity was the name of the game last month when two new hydrogen fueling stations opened within a day of each other on two continents. In California, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger sent his congratulations via video link to the opening of the new “HyRoad” Chevron Technology Ventures hydrogen fueling station in Oakland, as well as to the NHA opening session (See NHA story). The new station will fuel AC Transit’s fleet of hybrid fuel cell buses and Hyundai and Kia fuel cell cars, all powered by UTC fuel cells and integrated by ISE Corp., San Diego, CA. ...
Gov. Schwarzenegger addresses the NHA conference opening session by video link, simultaneously shown in Oakland, CA at the opening of the new AC Transit fueling station (More images are on the NHA conference website at www.hydrogenconference.org/photos06.asp#null) Gov. Schwarzenegger, Addressing NHA Conference, Says “We’re Leading the Way”
LONG BEACH, CA - “While everyone else is talking about energy independence, California is actually doing something about it,” Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger told the opening session of the National Hydrogen Association’s annual conference here. “We create action, and I’m proud that we are leading the way to the hydrogen future,” Schwarzenegger said in his videotaped welcome message to the 1,100 participants of the NHA’s annual gathering March 12-16, shown on huge screens in the Long Beach Convention Center. Prior to the conference, Schwarzenegger had ...

March 2006

Transitions
Shell Hydrogen has named Duncan MacLeod as its new vice president. He replaces Jeremy Bentham who has been appointed vice president for global business environment in Shell International. MacLeod is a 30-year Shell veteran, most recently as general manager for strategy and European business development at Shell Hydrogen.......Hydrogenics Corp., Mississauga, Ontario, has appointed John Werderman as its new vice president of business development. Previously, Werderman was president of ReliOn Inc., a fuel cell systems developer, and he has also worked for IBUS/Phoenix, Inc, a subsidiary of ...
Events
The "Biofuel Marketplace" international workshop and stakeholder event, financed by the European Commission, will take place March 9 at the Hotel Gellert, Budapest, Hungary. Details: Attila Uderszky, +36/1/250 6703; info@biofuelmarketplace.com; www.biofuelmarketplace.com. The National Hydrogen Association (NHA) is holding its "Annual Hydrogen Conference and Hydrogen Expo US" March 12-16 at the Long Beach Convention Center and Hyatt Regency Long Beach, Long Beach, CA. Special workshops will be held March 15 & 16, including the "Third Annual Hydrogen Financing Forum" (March 16). Details: ...
Opportunities
Clean Fuel Generation LLC, a Southern California fuel cell technology r&d company, is looking for a person to fill the job of general manager to handle financial and administrative matters. Requirements include MBA degree, a science and engineering background, prior employment experience with a fuel cell company and/or business development and/or a startup company. Compensation is commensurate with market standards, with potential equity participation. Please fax resume to CFG, 310/471-2862. Contact: John Joannes, CEO, 310/440-4243.
Briefly Noted: HARC Fuel Cell Report
The Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC) has published a 2005 Fuel Cell Industry Report that profiles 110 international key fuel cell stack developers and system providers. A key finding: the industry treaded water in 2005, with revenues and market capitalization down. Companies such as FuelCell Energy, Medis Technologies and Hydrogenics drove an overall small growth of r&d spending, but most companies cut r&d expenses as well. Contact: HARC, Atul Kumar, 281/364-6009, akumar@harc.edu, www.harc.edu/fuelcells.
Briefly Noted: Hannover H2 Ambassadors
Sixteen-year-old Liz Youngblood is the youngest participant, member of one of 13 teams to show their winning entries in the 2006 Hydrogen Ambassador Competition during the Group Exhibit Hydrogen + Fuel Cells in Hannover, Germany, April 24-28, a new feature of the annual event. Liz will explain her ideas about a solar-powered gas station for hydrogen cars. The oldest is Kazimierz Holubowicz, 62, of Burnaby, BC, Canada, who will explains his concept of a radically different combustion engine design he calls a "gun engine" which he believes could be more efficient than a fuel cell. Other ...
Briefly Noted: New Mexico & Hawaii H2 Plans
More (Hydrogen) Power to the States - New Mexico and Hawaii launch initiatives: New Mexico's House of Representatives has unanimously passed a resolution directing the New Mexico Hydrogen Business Council (NMHBC) to convene a task force to develop legislation that would create a state-run liability insurance program for hydrogen energy systems. At present, many large insurance companies will not underwrite hydrogen energy projects because of limited actuariual data, the absence of codes and standards, and the fact that current potential volume is quite small. "Developing legislation to ...
Briefly Noted: FC DaimlerChryslers
More fuel cell cars for California: DaimlerChrysler delivered eight more fuel cell cars last month to California customers, bringing the grand total in the state to 25. Five F-Cell vehicles were turned over to Los Angeles International Airport for use in its airport fleet of alternative-fueled vehicles, claimed to be the largest in the country. The cars will be refueled at the airport hydrogen fueling station dedicated in September 2004, a joint project of BP, Praxair, Los Angeles World Airports, the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the California Energy Commission and the U.S. ...
Briefly Noted: Anglo American Future-Gen
Anglo American, a UK-based global mining company with operations in both platinum group metals and coal, has joined the FutureGen Alliance of global utilities and coal companies that plans to develop a clean coal-fueled, zero-emission power plant in cooperation with the U.S. Energy Department. Anglo American, headquartered in London, is the ninth member of the alliance. Contacts: Alliance, Frederick D. Palmer, 314/342-7624; Anglo American, +44/207 968 8619; www.futuregenalliance.org
Briefly Noted: Shell Plans
Royal Dutch Shell wants to develop "at least one" alternative energy field such as wind, hydrogen or advanced solar into a substantial business, the company said last month in an update of its alternative energy plans. The company plans to open at least two new hydrogen stations in the United States this year. Late last year, the company announced Shell Hydrogen, Shell China and Shanghai's Tongji University will jointly build China's first hydrogen fueling station. The station, to be built at Shanghai Automotive International City, is planned to be completed by the end of this year, Shell ...
Briefly Noted: Greenpeace Uranium Study
The world's uranium deposits, the source of nuclear power production, will be exhausted in 65 years at the latest, even with reduced demand. Thus, nuclear power cannot contribute significantly to German - and presumably the world's - long-term energy security, nor to a solution for global warming issues, a new report by the German section of "Greenpeace" says. The study, presented in early February in Berlin, is based on data from the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). At present, nuclear power covers only 7 % of global energy demand, and if that share becomes ...
Briefly Noted: FuelCell Energy Multi-MW SOFC Project
The U.S. Energy Department has selected Danbury, CT-based FuelCell Energy, Inc. as prime contractor of a third project team to develop a coal-based multi-megawatt solid oxide fuel cell system of 100 MW or larger, the company said. The total award for the 10-year program is about $85 million subject to negotiation of a final agreement. Separately, the company unveiled a new Direct FuelCell/Turbine combined cycle power plant. The hybrid system set an efficiency record with 56% electrical efficiency in the sub-megawatt class in an 800 hour continuous run. The system consisted of a 250 kW molten ...
Briefly Noted: Angstrom Approval
Angstrom Power, the Vancouver-based developer of hydrogen-powered micro fuel cells, has won approval from both the U.S. Transportation Department and Canada's equivalent, Transport Canada, to ship these systems by both air and ground in and between the two countries - the first and, so far, only company to be approved. The approvals cover prototypes and commercial devices for demonstration and evaluation purposes only. No word so far when full commercial deliveries will be allowed, nor when other countries will permit these shipments. The permits allow shipments of complete systems ready for ...
Briefly Noted: NREL Layoffs/Rehires
All's Well that Ends Well: As expected, the National Renewable Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, CO was forced to lay off 32 staffers in early February to help cover a $28 million budget shortfall occasioned by Congressionally mandated earmarks (Jan., Feb. 06). But a couple of weeks later, just before Pres. Bush visited NREL, the jobs were restored after Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman ordered $5 million transferred from other accounts to the Midwest Research Institute, NREL's operating contractor, specifically to pay for the laid-off staffers salaries, DoE said in a Feb. 22 release. "The ...
Briefly Noted: AAAS Meeting Papers
Noted at the AAAS Annual Meeting Feb. 16-20 in St. Louis: More energy research needed to stabilize CO2 levels, decarbonization of the U.S. energy mix, quantum dots and nano-enabled solar photons: Arguing that despite the calls by the Bush administration for energy research as a "high-priority national need," Daniel M. Kammen and Gregory F. Nemet say r&d spending by both the federal government and by industry is declining. Kammen, professor in the Energy and Resources Group and in the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and doctoral student Nemet ...
Briefly Noted: Toyota/GM FC Talks End
Toyota Motor Corp. and General Motors Corp. have ended their discussions about possible joint fuel cell development (H&FCL June, Sept. 05), according to various media reports from Tokyo in late February. One story, based on an account in Tokyo's Asahi Shimbun, said a lack of progress killed the talks. Another said the two carmakers couldn't agree on intellectual property issues. Neither company would comment by the time H&FCL went to press.
Ballard Makes Interim CEO John Sheridan's Job Permanent, Releases 2005 Results
VANCOUVER - John Sheridan, who stepped in as interim president of Ballard Power Systems last fall after Dennis Campbell's unexpected departure (H&FCL Nov. 05), has been appointed as Ballard's new president and CEO, effective immediately. Sheridan, retired president and CEO of Bell Canada, has relinquished his job as Ballard's board chairman. Ian Bourne, a director since 2003, has been named non-executive chairman. Bourne is executive vice president of TransAlta, a Calgary-based Canadian power generation company with assets in Canada, the United States, Mexico and Australia. The ...
Comparison of power density of passive DMFC cells with different nanostructured supports. The loading of the carbon support at anode was ~0.5 mg/cm2 and Pt-Ru catalyst was 0.2mg/cm2. The cathode had Pt loading of 1.5 mg/cm2 and 2.0 mg/cm2 carbon support. The electrolyte was Nafion 117, electrode area 5 cm2, temperature 25o C. Research: Single-Wall Nanotube Supports Are Best for DMFCs, Notre Dame Researchers Say
NOTRE DAME, IN - Single-wall carbon nanotubes apparently are turning out to be the support of choice for catalytic materials in direct methanol fuel cells, prodding the fuel cells into performing better than with other materials, a couple of papers by teams headed by a Notre Dame researcher say. One paper in the "Langmuir" journal of the American Chemical Society (ACS) says platinum particles deposited on single-wall carbon nanotubes "shows better electrocatalytic activity for the oxygen reduction reaction." The tests exhibited "a lower onset potential and a higher electron transfer rate ...
Hindenburg Fear Stymies GM Hydrogen Project in New York
TARRYTOWN, NY - The Hindenburg Syndrome is alive and well in affluent, and presumably well-educated, Westchester County. First announced just about a year ago (H&FCL Feb. 05), General Motors together with Shell Hydrogen planned to start the seeds of a New York state hydrogen corridor with a couple of stations similar to one the two companies had set up in Washington DC (H&FCL Dec. 04). GM wanted to set up its hydrogen base camp here at its existing 51-year old training center in this well-to-do suburban village north of Manhattan, with Shell setting up hydrogen fueling pumps at a station ...
Research: U-Texas Team Develops More Efficient H2/CO2 Separation Membrane for Steam Reforming
AUSTIN, TX - Aspirations of "green" hydrogen advocates notwithstanding who want to make the stuff simply by splitting water via electrolysis and clean, renewables-derived electricity, most hydrogen today is made industrially by breaking down natural gas - a fossil fuel - by steam-reforming it. Steam-reforming natural gas is so far the least expensive, most economical benchmark process for making the gas. But the product hydrogen is typically contaminated by carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide and water which for many uses have to be removed. Purification has been typically achieved by ...
Air Liquide to Run 5-Year EU Multi-State HYCHAIN-MINITRANS Demo Project
BRUSSELS - Air Liquide, the large French industrial gas producer, has gotten the jump on its international competition by winning management of another European Union major multi-national hydrogen demo project. At a late-January press conference and launch ceremony here, executives outlined how the company will coordinate the five-year, Euro 37.6 million ($44.7 million) HYCHAIN-MINITRANS niche applications project in which some 150 fuel cell vehicles - from wheelchairs to scooters, tricycles, small utility trucks and minibuses - will be deployed in four EU regions: The Rhône-Alpes ...
BP, Edison Utility Plans 500 MW Hydrogen-Fueled Power Plant for S. California
CARSON, CA - If all goes according to plan, a novel 500 MW power plant fueled by refinery byproducts converted to mostly hydrogen will start churning out electricity five years from now for Southern California. The $1 billion low carbon emission project, to be located here, some 20 miles south of Long Angeles, is a joint effort by energy company BP and Edison Mission Group (EMG), a subsidiary of Edison International, of Rosemead, CA. EMG operates about 9,000 MW of fossil- and renewable-fueled power plants in nine states. The basic idea is to locate the new power plant next to BP's Carson ...
CORRECTION
CORRECTION: The volume number directly underneath the front page logo in the February 2006 issue was wrong. It should be Vol. XXI (21), not XX as printed.
A Toyota Prius hybrid, converted to hydrogen by Quantum, awaits fueling at the new Air Products hydrogen pump in Riverside, CA, the second city in the greater Los Angeles area to receive these vehicles under the program by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (see H&FCL Feb. 06). Quantum Buys Specialty Car Maker, a Step Towards Limited H2 Vehicle Production
IRVINE, CA - Hydrogen-powered cars may move into the consumer mainstream initially not via mass assembly by a major carmaker, but because of the gumption of smaller specialty boutique manufacturers and outfitters. This, at least, is the theory here behind Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide, Inc.'s announcement last month that it has acquired Texas-based specialty vehicle manufacturer Regency Conversions via Quantum's Tecstar Automotive Group for $1.8 million in Quantum common stock shares and another $3.3 million in cash. Regency, said Quantum in its release, produces about ...
DoE News: DoE Requests $195.8 million for Hydrogen Technologies, up 20%, in New '07 Budget
WASHINGTON, DC - At $195.8 million, the U.S. Energy Department's Hydrogen Technology budget request last month for fiscal year 2007 is roughly 20% higher than what was actually appropriated in FY '06, $155.6 million. The total request for the Hydrogen Fuel Initiative by the Bush administration includes outlays for hydrogen-related projects in the Offices of Fossil Energy, Nuclear Energy, Science and also for relevant programs within the Transportation Department, is $289.5 million, said Steven G. Chalk, DoE's Hydrogen Program Manager, during his budget briefing. Chalk's presentation was ...

February 2006

Transitions
FuelCell Energy, Inc., the Danbury, CT-based developer of fuel cell power generation plants, has appointed R. Daniel Brdar as the company's new chief executive officer, replacing Jerry Leitman in that role. Brdar will also retain his position as president, as previously announced (H&FCL Nov. 05). Leitman, who has headed the company since 1997, will remain chairman of the board and will advise Brdar in the company's planned management succession. Brdar joined FuelCell Energy in 2000.........In another top-level realignment, Distributed Energy Systems Corp., Wallingford, CT, has named Ambrose ...
Events
The "Short Course on Fuel Cell Technology", will be held by the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSCEC) in Cocoa, FL Feb. 5-8. Details: JoAnn Stirling, 321/638-1014, e-mail joann@fsec.ucf.edu; www.fsec.ucf.edu/fuelcellcourse. The next meeting of the California Hydrogen Business Council is scheduled for Feb. 10, at the Cathedral Hill Hotel, San Francisco, CA hosted by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. Details: Catherine Rips, 760/341-2924; www.CaliforniaHydrogen.org. The "3rd International German Hydrogen Energy Congress" will be held Feb. 15-16 at the Essen, Germany, Fair Grounds ...
Briefly Noted: Fuel Cell Ice Resurfacer
And finally, a couple of items from our What-Will-They-Think-Of-Next? Dep't.: The $50,000 Aqueon Hydrogen Fireplace: Heat & Glo, Lakeville, MN offers the world's first hydrogen-burning fireplace. The Jan. 19 "New York Times" says the appliance stands about 6 feet tall, including a stylized flame-shaped sculpture, and stainless steel and copper carriage. Because hydrogen burns cleanly, it doesn't require venting. The item quotes spokesman Vince Bossany as saying, "as with plasma TVs, we're out of reach of the typical owner." Installed in a typical fireplace, the cost drops to about ...
Briefly Noted: Global Hydrogen Fueling Station Map
Germany's online HyWeb information service, maintained by L-B-Systemtechnik GmbH, has created a global map for hydrogen fueling stations at www.H2Stations.org. The site indicates current, planned stations as well as installations that have been shut down. For some sites, clicking on the map provides details and pictures at the bottom but for many others it merely indicates where the stations are located. Most stations today are in California, Western Europe and Japan. Surprise: a hydrogen station is planned for Cairo, but no details. Contact: info@lbst.de
Briefly Noted: Cabot's Dynalyst
Cabot Corp's fuel cell group, part of Cabot Superior MicroPowders, has launched four commercial grades of its DynalistTM high-performance platinum electrocatalysts for use in PEM and direct methanol fuel cell systems. The four grades range from 20% to 60%. Cabot is headquartered in Boston, MA, and Cabot is in Albuquerque, NM. Contact: Cabot, Deanna Ballard, deanna_ballard@cabot-corp.com; www.cabot-corp.com/fuelcells
Briefly Noted: Another hydrogen plant
And another hydrogen plant in Canada: Air Products Canada will construct a 105 million st. cu. ft./day hydrogen production plant in Alberta to serve several customers and the Petro-Canada refinery in Edmonton. The facility will be the first in Canada to provide hydrogen for upgrading Canadian oil sands. It is expected to go on stream in April 2008. Contact: Air Products, Art George, 610/481-1340; e-mail georgeaf@airproducts.com
Briefly Noted: New California Air Liquide Plant
Hydrogen for San Francisco: Air Liquide Large Industries U.S. LP has signed a letter of intent with ConocoPhillips to build a 120 million st. cu. ft./day steam reforming hydrogen plant to be built at ConocoPhillips' refinery in Rodeo, CA on the northeastern shore of San Francisco Bay. The company, a subsidiary of France's Air Liquide, says the new plant will supply current and future requirements of the refinery but adds, "it will also provide the foundation to support future hydrogen opportunities that are anticipated in the San Francisco area" - possibly a nod to future uses of hydrogen as ...
Briefly Noted: Hydrogenics/Basin Electric
Hydrogen for Wind Power Energy Storage: Mississauga, ON-based Hydrogenics Corp. reports it has been awarded a contract for an electrolyzer-based hydrogen refueling station by Basin Electric Power Cooperative, Bismarck, ND for installation at North Dakota State University's North Central Research Extension Center in Minot, ND. Electricity will be provided by wind power resources by Basin Electric. Installation is scheduled for later this year. In a second wind-related sale, Hydrogenics has been awarded a more than EUR 500,000 contract for a hydrogen station by Spain's Gas Natural SDG to ...
Briefly Noted: Virent's Sugar Power Demo
Virent Energy Systems, Inc., the Madison, Wi-based developer of renewable biomass fuels for power systems, reports it has successfully achieved startup of the first-ever demonstration system converting sugar and glycerin into electric power. The system is based on Virent's patented Aqueous Phase Reforming (APR) process, a carbon-neutral method for on-demand production of hydrogen and other fuel gases for distributed power systems from widely available renewable biomass (H&FCL July 03, Feb. 05). The system, bought by the Madison Gas & Electric (MGE) utility, consists of a generator set that ...
Briefly Noted: Viaspace Patents
Girding for Patent Issues in Direct Methanol Fuel Cells: Viaspace, Inc., Pasadena, CA says its Direct Methanol Fuel Cell Corp. subsidiary has signed two license agreements with Caltech and the University of Southern California (USC) for an extensive joint portfolio of 100 worldwide licenses - 50 issued and 50 pending - on direct organic fuel cell technology. Organic fuels include methanol, ethanol, formic acid, formaldehyde and others. Viaspace says these patents will be necessary for any company developing direct fuel cells using a polymer electrolyte membrane, the process, according to ...
Briefly Noted: FuelCell Energy 1 MW Plant/Sharp
FuelCell Energy, Danbury, CT reports its Asian distributor, Marubeni Corp., has sold its first 1 MW power plant to Japanese electronics manufacturer Sharp Corp. to provide heat and power for the company's Kameyama, Mie prefecture, manufacturing facility that turns out advanced flat-screen TVs. FuelCell Energy says this is its first international MW-class installation, showing growing acceptance in Japan of these larger ultra-clean Direct FuelCell (DFC®) power plants. It will be part of a green onsite generation power system in which the fuel cells will provide base load power, and a PV ...
Briefly Noted: China Renewable Energy Law
China phases in landmark renewable energy law: the new law came into effect Jan. 1, reports the Washington, DC-based Worldwatch Institute. Zijun Li, of the institute's China Watch project, a cooperative effort with the Beijing-based Global Environment Institute, reports the government has issued a number of new rules and technical criteria. Among them are financial subsidies and tax incentives for the development of renewable energy sources including wind power, solar energy, biomass, and others which are now being enacted. Based on so-called "feed-in laws" successful in advancing renewables ...
Briefly Noted: Plug Power/Ballard
Two major fuel cell developers, Plug Power Inc., Latham, NY and Ballard Power Systems, Vancouver, are teaming up in a $2 million contract by the U.S. Defense Department. The two companies will jointly develop what's billed as an advanced prototype PEM fuel cell system to support Defense Continuity of Operations (COOP) programs, a next-generation fuel cell power solution for backup power applications. Plug Power will be the systems integrator using a Ballard stack for evaluation and potential use in COOP programs for the Defense and Homeland Security Departments. COOP is an acronym for plans ...
Briefly Noted: General Hydrogen/Maxwell
Cause for optimism: Richmond, BC-based General Hydrogen Corp. has placed a purchase order for 200,000 BOOSTCAP ultracapacitors, with Maxwell Technologies, Inc., San Diego, to be delivered over three years, to improve performance and energy management for its drop-in Hydricity Pack fuel cell systems for forklifts. Depending on size and voltage, each hydricity system uses between 30 and 120 ultracapacitors, so the number of packs General Hydrogen expects to sell would fall anywhere between a minimum of 1,666 and a maximum of 6,666 packs. The deal is part of a strategic supply arrangement ...
Fast Forward: More Pork-Induced Cutbacks
More Pork-Powered Cutbacks: Following reports that the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will have to cut staff because of Energy Department (DoE) budget cuts, partly due to metastasizing Congressional earmarks (H&FCL Jan. 06), at least two companies with DoE-funded fuel cell contracts had their DoE funds cut for the same reason. IdaTech, LLC, Bend, OR, a developer of fuel processors and a fuel cell integrator, had to let go 17 staffers, about 20% of its work force, because DoE suspended two of the company's projects, reported the Bend Bulletin online Dec. 10. CEO Claude Duss told ...
Educational Fuel Cell Developer Heliocentris Sells Systems Package to Bharain University
BERLIN/VANCOUVER BC - More hydrogen stirrings in the Middle East: Following on the heels of the Memorandum of Understanding among the Dubai-based S.S. Lootah Group and its subsidiary International Energy Group on one side and Canada's Hydrogenics and Sacre-Davey on the other (H&FCL Jan. 06), a third company, Germany's Heliocentris GmbH, scored a potentially significant breakthrough: The first sale of hydrogen and fuel cell teaching equipment to a Mideastern educational institution, the University of Bahrain. The company sold five complete fuel cell systems for various training levels ...
Fuel Cell Developers, Makers Show Wares, Prototypes at Consumer Electronics Show
LAS VEGAS, NV - As if more proof was still needed, fuel cells are worming their way into the market place, as evidenced by the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2006) here last month. No longer satisfied with showing up merely at fuel cell conferences, about half a dozen developers and manufacturers of small portable fuel cells for handheld devices showed their products, albeit vastly overshadowed by the thousands of electronic entertainment and business gizmos on display Jan. 5-8 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. None of the fuel cells are ready for commercial production ...
DoE News DoE Announces $119 Million in Fuel Cell Funding, Wants Production R&D Input
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Energy Department plans to make available a grand total of $119 million for automotive fuel cell research over the next five years, and it is seeking comment on a new "roadmap" document intended to identify and solving technical issues in manufacturing fuel cells. "Investments in fuel cell and hydrogen research today will enable America to lead the world in developing clean, hydrogen-powered automobiles that will reduce our dependence on imported oil," Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman declared in announcing the new initiatives at the opening of the ...
Autos: Fuel Cells Have Image Problems - and That's a Problem, Says Auto Writer Warren Brown
WASHINGTON, DC/DETROIT - Fuel cells are no longer sexy. And that's a big worry. The obstacles facing fuel cells, created by hype and less-than-savvy media types, were wonderfully highlighted by "Washington Post" automotive writer Warren Brown in a funnily sad, perceptive Jan. 15 sidebar piece on the Detroit Auto Show headlined, "Amid Hybrid Hype, A Lonely Advocate of Fuel Cells." Brown described the outsider travails of Ballard Power Systems' marketing vice president Noordin Nanji as he walked around Detroit's sprawling Cobo Center, venue of the North American International Auto show as ...
Ford's brawny hydrogen-i.c. powered F-250 Super Chief pickup truck. Autos: Ford's Big Tri-Fuel Super Chief Truck is Only New H2 Vehicle at Detroit Auto Show
DETROIT, MI - With most of the alternative-power attention focused on hybrids and flex fuel systems at this year's Detroit Auto Show last month, hydrogen- and fuel cell-based vehicles were only faint blips in the radar screen. The only brand-new vehicle was the concept of a humongous flex fuel pickup, the Ford F-250 Super Chief, that can run on gasoline, ethanol or hydrogen. Two others that were previously shown at last fall's Tokyo Motor Show (H&FCL Nov 05) were Toyota's stubbily boxy Fine-T hybrid fuel cell concept - it was called the Fine-X then - and Honda's extreme cab-forward design, ...
The States: Hydrogen Advances Modestly in Calif., NY Governors' Budget Proposals
SACRAMENTO, CA/ALBANY, NY - Funding for three new hydrogen fueling stations and five hydrogen-fueled buses is included in the 2006/2007 $125.6 billion California state budget that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger presented last month. For now, the total of $6.5 million slated for the California Hydrogen Highway Network is only a tiny fraction of other proposed outlays. For "Business, Transportation and Housing," for example, the Schwarzenegger administration proposes to spend $2.719 billion in the new fiscal year compared to $1.7 billion the previous fiscal year. And for "Resources/Environmental ...
Flanked by a hydrogen Prius, Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido addresses participants during the dedication ceremonies of the city's new hydrogen fueling station, in background. S. California City Gets First of 30 H2 Priuses to Jump Start Hydrogen Fueling Network
SANTA ANA, CA - Two years in the making, the first of a fleet of 30 Toyota Priuses converted to hydrogen rolled up to a hydrogen pump here for a refill in a program in which five Los Angeles Basin cities will deploy these cars (H&FCL March 04, Nov. 05). Santa Ana mayor Miguel Pulido, a governing board member of the South Coast Air Quality Management District which launched the $7 million-plus program, manned the Air Products-made hydrogen pump during dedication ceremonies at the city's vehicle maintenance yard. "Santa Ana is eager to demonstrate this innovative clean air technology to ...
Alan Lloyd Retires from California EPA
SACRAMENTO, CA - In a startling development, California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) Secretary Alan C. Lloyd, one of the nation's prime movers on the hydrogen energy scene, announced he will retire from state service for personal reasons, effective the last day of this month. "I am honored to have served Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and the people of California as Secretary of Cal/EPA, but I felt it was time to retire from state service so I could spend more time with my family," said Dr. Lloyd last month in a statement released by his office. "Over the past two years ...

January 2006

Transitions
MTI MicroFuel Cells, Inc., the Albany, NY developer of direct methanol micro fuel cells, reports that CEO and company co-founder William P. Acker plans to step down from his post. The company has launched a search for a successor, and Acker will stay onboard until one is found. After that, Acker will stay on as a consultant. The company quotes him as saying that his focus has always been on technology development, but as the company is turning into a producer of fuel cells, it needs a new CEO with expertise in commercializing products ..... Fuel cell industry veteran Jeff Bentley has joined ...
Events
The "European Biomass CHP Conference" will be held January 23 at the Brussels Marriott Hotel, Brussels, Belgium. Details: Laurence van Hoorebeke, laurence.vanhoorebeke@cogen.org; Anna Limbrey, marketing manager, COGEN Europe, phone +32/2/772 82 90; fax +32/2/772 50 44; www.cogen.org. An "IMAPS Advanced Technology Workshop on Fuel Cell Electronic Packaging" will be held Jan. 24-26 at the Chaparral Suites Resort, Scottsdale, AZ. Details: Keith Easler, Kyocera America, Inc., (General Chair), 858/614-2574, keith.easler@kyocera.com; www.imaps.org/fuelcell. The 2nd International Hydrogen & ...
Opportunities
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) in collaboration with the New York Power Authority (NYPA) invite proposals to advance the hydrogen economy in New York State via Program Opportunity Notice 957 (A total of $1.5 million is available under this program). The primary goals are to address near-term technical and institutional barriers to the use of hydrogen as an energy carrier, like electricity, in New York. Requested are proposals consistent with the New York State Hydrogen Roadmap, completed in September 2005 and released at the end of October (H&FCL Jan. ...
Briefly Noted: Green Coast Foundation Blog
The Green Coast Foundation, a non-profit group seeking to accelerate clean, renewable energy in California, has launched the Green Coast Post, the state's first online blog-type forum for what it hopes will be constructive debate on green energy. The moderator is Henry (Hank) Wedaa, chairman of the California Hydrogen Business Council and former chairman of the South Coast Air Quality Management District. Contact: www.greencoastpost.org/blog; contributors are asked to e-mail post@greencoast.org.
Briefly Noted: Hypersonic Scramjet
A hypersonic scramjet-powered small test vehicle made a successful test flight zooming along at more than five times the speed of sound before dawn in early December, the craft's designer and builder, Alliant Techsystems, Minneapolis, MN announced. Unlike a previous scramjet dubbed X-43A, also built by Alliant and powered by liquid hydrogen that flew just about twice as fast for a near-Mach 10 run (H&FCL Dec. 04), this craft, the Freeflight Atmospheric Scramjet Test Technique (FASTT) vehicle, used conventional liquid hydrocarbon JP-10 jet fuel. The flight from the Wallops Island, VA flight ...
Briefly Noted: S. Korea-U.S. Nuclear Center
A joint South Korea-U.S. Nuclear Hydrogen Joint Development Center in Daejeon, South Korea, was formally opened in early December, according to the Korean news agency Yonhap in a Dec. 7 report. Daejeon is South Korea's science equivalent of Silicon Valley, located about 100 miles south of Seoul. The American counterpart already opened in September. The two centers will be jointly run by General Atomics, San Diego, Korea's government-run Atomic Energy Research Institute, and Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction, a South Korean manufacturer of power generation equipment, the agency said. ...
Briefly Noted: Ballard-Ebara Kerosene Fuel Cells
Vancouver-headquartered Ballard Power Systems reports that its Japanese partner, EBARA BALLARD Corp. (EBC), Tokyo, plans to deliver up to 100 1 kW kerosene-fueled fuel cell cogeneration units for homes in the Tokyo, Hokkaido, Tohoku and Hokuriku regions. The actual installations starting in March 2006 will be handled by Nippon Oil Corp. (NOC). The units incorporate Ballard's 1030 fuel cell stacks in systems developed by EBC, using fuel cell processing technology by NOC. More than 30% of Japanese households use kerosene, popular in areas where natural gas is not readily available. The ...
Briefly Noted: Hydrogen Utility Group
Electrical utilities move towards hydrogen: nine electrical utilities together with the Energy Department (DoE), DoE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the National Hydrogen Association (NHA) last month set up the Hydrogen Utility Group (HUG), to advance utility involvement in creation of the hydrogen-electric economy infrastructure. The founding utilities include Arizona Public Service, DTE Energy, Entergy, Fort Collins Utilities, Nebraska Public Power District, New York Power Authority, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, ...
Briefly Noted: ITM's Composite Membranes
A small UK-based fuel cell developer, ITM Power, says it has developed two entirely new fuel cell technologies that "may be fundamental" to advancing fuel cell commercialization. In its Nov. 30 "Research Update" the company says it has developed so-called composite membranes in which one side is made of acidic polymer and the other of an alkaline polymer, a more expensive approach but one that permits choosing different catalysts on either side of the cell. For example, the fuel side may be using a catalyst best suited for an acid environment, while the catalyst for the oxidant may be chosen ...
Briefly Noted: Angstrom Micro Fuel Cell Record
Vancouver, BC-based Angstrom Power Inc. claims it has achieved a record in energy density and power for a micro hydrogen fuel cell. Angstrom's system provides 3 W peak power and 1 W average power with an energy density of more than 300 Whr/liter, all wrapped in a 25 cubic centimeter device - smaller than an AA battery fourpack. The tiny package includes the fuel cell, fuel storage (via hydrides), power conditioning and peak power energy storage, according to Angstrom's mid-December release. Contact: Brian Hall, 604/980-9936, ext. 245, bhall@angstrompower.com; www.angstrompower.com.
Briefly Noted: Polyfuel Membrane
PolyFuel Inc., the Mountain View, CA-based developer of advanced fuel cell membranes, says it has developed a new 45-micron-thin membrane that delivers the highest power levels yet for passive direct methanol fuel cells. The company also, for the first time, disclosed the names of two major companies working with PolyFuel: not totally unexpectedly, both are major developers of hand-held consumer electronic devices, NEC and Sanyo Electric. Lurking in the wings are four more Japanese companies that haven't had the heart yet to let it all hang out. The new hydrocarbon membrane delivers 33% more ...
Briefly Noted: European Young Investigators Award
A 29-year-old Irishman, Angelos Michaelides, is one of 25 winners of the 2005 European Young Investigators Awards for his investigation of how water interacts with solid surfaces. Now a staff scientist at the Fritz-Haber Institute in Berlin, Germany, Michaelides is a former Goinville and Caius College Research Fellow in Cambridge University's Chemistry Department. He will use his EUR 986,000 ($1.168 million) award, to be paid out over five years, to develop the necessary theoretical tools to better understand these processes, according to the November announcement by the European Science ...
Briefly Noted: Hythane Co. in China
The Denver, CO-based Hythane Co. LLC says it has signed Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with five major Chinese cities to begin demonstrating low-emission i.c. engine technologies using Hythane™, a trademarked blend of 15% hydrogen by volume and 85% compressed natural gas (The Hydrogen Letter, Feb. 91, H&FCL Jan. 95). The company, founded by hydrogen pioneer and Hythane co-inventor Frank Lynch, will begin testing during the coming 6-9 months and hopes to convert ultimately as many as 10,000 diesel buses to Hythane. The fuel reduces carbonaceous emissions by up to 50% compared to ...
Briefly Noted: RPI's PBI Membrane Advances
Researchers at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), Troy, NY have launched a research project to develop a better high-temperature PEM-type membrane based on polybenzimidzole (PBI). PBI membranes, which operate reliably at temperatures of up to 200 deg. C and for long periods of time, were derived from a type of fire-resistant polymer developed originally for fire protection gear by Celanese. At the time the material was modified at RPI and offered for fuel cell testing by Germany' PEMEAS Fuel Cell Technologies, an offshoot of Celanese, in cooperation with Plug Power, Albany, NY and ...
Briefly Noted: Penn State Subsurface Hydride Sites
A team of scientists at Pennsylvania State University have, for the first time, manipulated hydrogen atoms underneath the surface of a palladium crystal, creating subsurface hydride sites that are believed to play important roles in catalysis, metal embrittlement, hydrogen storage and fuel cells. The existence of these sites had previously been predicted, but they had never been observed directly. Now, the team of six researchers headed by Prof. Paul S. Weiss, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Physics at Penn State, have created these sites by moving individual hydrogen atoms into ...
Briefly Noted: World Renewable Energy Assembly
Following its late-November meeting in Bonn, Germany, the World Renewable Energy Assembly (AREA) last month adopted its final communique, "The Human Right to Renewable Energy." The 450 representatives from politics, industry, NGOs and other groups said that "Energy is the fundamental prerequisite of every life ..... It is an experience of the 20th century that the established systems of energy supply, mainly based on fossil and nuclear energy, are not in a position to provide this human right to everybody. It is violated billionfold ..... There is no more time to waste for the mobilisation ...
Briefly Noted: EC Bio-Energy Action Plan
The European Commission has released what's described as a detailed action plan to increase the use of energy from biological materials, according to a Dec. 8 report by the online Environmental News Service. The plan calls for increased use of energy derived from forestry, agriculture and waste materials mainly in three areas: heating, electricity generation and transportation. The story quotes EC commissioner Andris Piebalgs as saying, "this plan will reduce Europe's dependence on imported energy, cut greenhouse gas emissions, protect jobs in rural areas and extend the EU's (European ...
Fiat's new Panda Hydrogen, shown outside the company's Orbassano research center. Nuvera Signs Fuel Cell Development Pact with 2 Fiat Divisions, Targets Other OEMs
MILAN/CAMBRIDGE, MA - After years of collaboration, Nuvera Fuel Cells, the American-Italian fuel cell developer and manufacturer, last month signed a multi-year agreement with two Fiat divisions, Fiat Powertrain Technologies and Centro Ricerche Fiat, to develop a hydrogen fuel cell power system for vehicles. The first result of the new pact was unveiled at the Bologna Motor Show last month with a fuel cell version of Fiat's latest Panda model, the Panda Hydrogen, the first car to feature this engine. The new power plant is based on Nuvera's recently announced (August 05) Andromeda II ...
Simon Starling's "Tabernas Run 2004" installation at the Tate. The wooden structure at right, "Shedboatshed (Mobile Architecture No. 2) 2005," is another work, a shed dismantled by Starling, turned into a boat, paddled down the Rhine and reassembled into a shed in Basel. Inset: The artist. Photo: Stefan Korte; Courtesy of the artist & The Modern Institute, Glasgow. ..... And Fuel Cell Bike Helps Artist Simon Starling Win Prestigious Turner Prize
LONDON - High-tech fuel cell technology is part and parcel of an avant-garde architectural installation by English artist Simon Starling that, together with other works, last month won him Britain's prestigious - and in some people's view, controversial - £25,000 Turner Prize. Starling's "Tabernas Desert Run 2004" includes his hybrid fuel cell-powered bicycle - the Associated Press referred to it as a "moped" - a vitrine, and a watercolor painting of a cactus. The artist rode the bike last year across the Tabernas desert in Almeria province in southeastern Spain, collected the ...
The Masterflex "BZ-Pedelec" fuel cell bicycle. Tourism Officials Order World's First Fuel Cell Bike Fleet .....
HERTEN, GERMANY - Springtime, a Bike and Thou - what could be lovelier? A fuel cell-powered bike in spring, that's what. That at least is what city fathers as well as tourism officials in the rust belt Ruhr region are betting on in placing an order for ten fuel cell-powered electric bikes from a hometown company, Masterflex AG, based in Herten. The fleet of ten bikes is the first such fleet anywhere in the world, according to Masterflex which has been developing PEM fuel cell-powered bikes and three-wheelers since 2001 (H&FCL March 05). The bikes were ordered by the Herten city ...
India Interest in H2 Energy Grows; U.S. Cooperation, A Road Map, Fueling Station
NEW DELHI - In the latest indication of growing hydrogen interest and activity in India, the country is likely to participate in the American FutureGen Project to make hydrogen plus electricity in a coal-fired power plant. The mid-December report, carried in the finance section of India's Sify Internet service portal, cited the recent visit by a high-level team from India's Ministry of Coal to the United States apparently to discuss the project, the second meeting of the Coal Working Group, one of five working groups established last May as part of the "India-US Energy Dialogue," according ...
Swiss Mystery Foundation Buys Sulzer's Hexis SOFC Division, Assuring Survival
WINTERTHUR, SWITZERLAND - There is a Santa Claus after all, even for unlucky fuel cell developers: Just before Christmas, an unidentified Swiss foundation stepped up to the plate and bought Sulzer Corp.'s solid oxide fuel cell division Hexis that had been destined for shut down in early 2006 (H&FCL Oct. 05). According to reports by the Swiss news agency Schweizerische Depeschen Agentur (SDA) and the online version of Agence France-Presse AFX News, the unnamed mystery purchaser has agreed to underwrite the fuel cell division for at least one year. SDA quoted Sulzer spokesman Cordin ...
Opinion The 'Green' Hydrogen Economy: Can The Energy Policy Act Get Us There?
Editor's Note: This is another in a series of occasional columns intended as a forum for readers. Contributions are welcome. The editor reserves the right to reject suggestions and edit material to fit our format without, of course, changing the author's basic views. This essay appeared first in a longer version Nov. 21, 2005 in the InsideEPA.com newsletter. To understand the hydrogen economy debate it is important to recognize a basic divide in the community of hydrogen energy proponents. Some hydrogen economy advocates want a carbon-free hydrogen economy that does not rely on coal or ...
Fast Forward: NREL Layoffs?
Layoffs at NREL? That's what local media in Denver report. The Dec. 20 Rocky Mountain News says the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in nearby Golden, CO plans to lay off as many as 100 scientists and researchers, about 11 % of its staff, starting this month. The reason are drastic fiscal 2006 budget cuts for NREL estimated at more than $20 million, or 10% of its budget. The reason, says the paper, has to do with Congressional earmarks or diversions of large chunks of federal funds to other projects. "We are going to face a very difficult year at NREL," the paper quotes NREL's deputy ...
Fast Forward: H2 Prius for Vermont
Another Prius conversion to hydrogen: In addition to the 30 H2-fueled i.c.-engined hybrid Priuses to be let loose any day now on the roads of the Los Angeles Basin under the auspices of the South Coast Air Quality Management District (H&FCL Nov. 05), another one is expected to debut on the other side of the country in January or thereabouts. This Prius is part of the DoE-funded EVermont hydrogen electrolyzer project in Burlington, VT involving construction of a PEM electrolyzer and its integration with an existing wind turbine and a new hydrogen fueling station now under construction to make ...
Fast Forward: Europe's 1st "Lighthouse"?
It looks as if Europe's, so far rather nebulous, large "Lighthouse" projects to advance hydrogen and fuel cell technology are beginning to take on more concrete contours. Case in point is the German port city of Hamburg where, according to media reports, various elements for such an integrated effort are coming together in the so-called "HafenCity," an urban redevelopment project similar to the revival of London's docklands (H&FCL May 04). Early this year, Vattenfall, the large European energy group which owns Hamburg's utility, will start operating a 220 kW high-temperature fuel cell in a ...
Fast Forward: NHA Education Campaign
Buoyed by the prospect of massive Federal dollars for hydrogen and fuel cells under the new Energy Policy Act (H&FCL September 05), but also concerned about persistent anti-hydrogen sentiments among parts of the clean energy community, the National Hydrogen Association (NHA) is gearing up for a national public information and education campaign on hydrogen and energy technology in the new year. As a first step, NHA is developing a planning fund from special contributions from its members. Next, the association will work on financing a much more ambitious multi-year national outreach ...
Plug Power to Deliver 400 Fuel Cells to S. Africa, Aided by World Bank Funding
LATHAM, NY - Fuel cell manufacturer Plug Power Inc., here has won a major order for 80 of its GenCore® backup fuel cells from South Africa - the largest purchase to date from one of its international distributors and the first such project anywhere part-financed by a World Bank arm. The 80 systems are only the tip of the iceberg and the first installment of the purchase of what ultimately are expected to be 400 systems to be installed during the next three years in remote locations under a $3 million financing initiative from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in Washington, ...
Hydrogenics' fuel cell/battery-powered hybrid "Midi Bus." Hydrogenics Sets Mideast Links, Starts "Midi Bus" Marketing, Wins Big Military Order
MISSISSAUGA, ON/DUBAI, UAE - Fuel cell developer Hydrogenics Corp. here is expanding its reach to the oil-producing Middle East. It has signed what appears to be the first, so far low-key, cautious business link with an energy company in the United Arab Emirates, the International Energy Group (IEG). And in Europe, Hydrogenics is launching marketing efforts for a cute little fuel cell hybrid "Midi Bus" primarily intended for campuses and congested urban city centers. In Dubai, Hydrogenics CEO Pierre Rivard signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the S.S. Lootah Group and its ...