December 2008

Transitions
The University of Connecticut’s Global Fuel Cell Center has named Prabhakar Singh as its new director, following a global search. Previously Singh was a researcher at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, WA. Singh who will begin at UConn on Jan. 1, will also hold a faculty appointment as the UTC Chair Professor of Fuel Cell Technology in the Department of Chemical, Materials, & Biomolecular Engineering. Currently, Singh directors advanced solid oxide fuel cell development activities at Pacific Northwest...........Mechanical Technology, Inc.’s interim chief ...
Events
The “Lithium Mobile Power 2008 - Advances in Lithium Battery Technologies for Mobile Applications” conference will be held Dec. 8-9 at the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel, Las Vegas, NV. Details: Serge Pann, span@knowledgefoundation.com; www.knowledgefoundation.com The next “General Meeting on Hydrogen Infrastructure” of the California Hydrogen Business Council will be held Dec. 11 at the offices of the South Coast Air Quality Management District, Diamond Bar, CA. Details: 760/341-2924, www.CaliforniaHydrogen.org. The “4th Annual International Fuel Cells Durability & ...
Briefly Noted: Hydrogen Improves Memory, Japanese Researchers Say
And finally, from our Hydrogen-is-Good-For-You-in-Unexpected-Ways Dep’t: A team of researchers at Nippon Medical School, Kawasaki, Japan reports that drinking water with a high volume of dissolved hydrogen in it aids memory. As reported June 18 in the online version of the Neuropsychopharmacology journal (http://www.nature.com/npp/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/npp200895a.html ) and summarized in Japans’ Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper, Prof. Shigeo Ota and colleagues found that stressed mice that drank hydrogenated water maintained noticeably better memory function than those that did not. ...
Briefly Noted: James Bond Goes Hydrogen
James Bond goes hydrogen: according to various Internet and fan websites, four Ford Edge SUVs spiffed up as hydrogen fuel cell vehicles - they aren’t really, natch - are used by James as getaway car, or cars, in the latest Bond epic “Quantum of Solace.” Maybe we’ll go see it, after all.
Briefly Noted: Australia’s RMIT U and German Ingolstadt Technical U to Build H2 Racing Car
Australia’s RMIT University in Melbourne is teaming up with a German technical university to build a hydrogen-fueled small Le Mans-style racing car powered by a modified motorcycle engine in an evolving category, Formula H. The German partner is Fachhochschule Ingolstadt, a technical university. The goal, announced in Melbourne early last month, is to break the Guinness World Records mark in its class early next year with speeds approaching 170 kmh (106 mph). RMIT website, www.rmit.edu.au.
Briefly Noted: Hungarian T-Mobile Installs PEM Base Station
The Hungarian subsidiary of international telecomm provider T-Mobile has commissioned the first base station in the country to be operated with a hydrogen-fueled PEM fuel cell. According to a Nov. 11 Internet item on cellular-news, T-Mobile Hungary (Magyar Telekom) claims the only other trials of PEM fuel cells in this application have taken place in Sweden. The story said an American company provided the 5 kW fuel cell but didn’t identify it. Source: www.cellular-news.com.
Briefly Noted: Real-Time Nanoscale Catalyst Observation at Lawrence Berkeley
Scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have for the first time ever visually observed nanoscale catalysts in action via a state-of-the art spectroscopy system at Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source division. Gabor Somorjai, a renowned surface science and catalysis expert, and Miquel Salmeron, a spectroscopy pioneer, observed nanoparticles composed of two catalytic metals as they changed their composition in the presence of different reactants. Previously, scientists had to rely on snapshots of catalysts before and after a reaction, but never during the catalytic process. ...
Briefly Noted: UK Climatologists Call for Aviation Cutbacks
A British climate scientist is urging to halt airport expansion in Britain to meet carbon dioxide targets. Kevin Anderson, of the University of Manchester’s Tyndall Centre, was quoted in the Nov. 18 issue of the “Guardian” that there should be a moratorium on the expansion of all UK airports if the government’s ambitious targets of cutting CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050 are to have any chance of success. Anderson says that technology advances won’t arrive quickly enough to offset the projected increases in air passengers, and the only practical way to cut aircraft ...
Briefly Noted: Lower Global Warming Estimates due to Black Carbon in Soil Study
But another study of black carbon - the residue of burned organic matter - in computer climate models suggests that these models may be overestimating global warming. The new study, published online in “Nature Geosciences,” was led by Cornell University biochemistry professor Johannes Lehmann. It quantified the amount of black carbon in Australian soils and found that there was much more than expected. In global warming, soils are expected to release more carbon dioxide which in turn creates more global warming. Climate models attempt to incorporate these increases but the results ...
Briefly Noted: Water Vapor Contribution to Global Warming Study
A second study by scientists from Texas A&M University using recent NASA satellite data has estimated more precisely the extent of water vapor’s contribution to global warming in the atmosphere. Water vapor has long been known to act as a feedback amplifier of heat trapped in the atmosphere by carbon dioxide, but the extent of amplification has been subject to debate. Now, the team led by Andrew Dessler at Texas A&M has confirmed that water vapor’s contribution is strong enough to double climate warming caused by carbon dioxide. New data from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder ...
Briefly Noted: Gloomy CO2 Hansen Report
Two more gloomy climate reports, and a more upbeat one: A group of ten leading climate scientists warns the level of carbon dioxide in the air has probably reached a point where the globe’s climate will change disastrously unless these levels can be reduced in the decades ahead. The team is led by James E. Hansen, director of the Goddard Institute of Space Studies, part of Columbia University’s Earth Institute, in New York. The paper, in the current issue of the “Open Atmospheric Science Journal,” is a revision and a departure from other recent estimates which said that ...
Briefly Noted: UTC, FuelCell Energy Power Plants in Korea, Connecticut
One of the largest fuel cell power plant installations in the world today is getting underway in Korea where a major energy provider, Samsung Everland, has bought 12 400 kW UTC fuel cell power systems. The systems will be installed in the town of Anyang, just outside of the capital of Seoul, where they will generate electricity at a power plant operated by GS Power, a provider of electricity and district heating in the area. The entire 4.8 MW power plant is expected to be operational in September of next year and with an expected output of 40,000 MW hours per year, will provide power for ...
Briefly Noted: Proton Energy/TARDEC Award, Nuvera/Kuester Zima Linkup
But a couple of more upbeat news items here in the United States: Proton Energy Systems, the Wallingford, CT-based developer of higher-pressure PEM electrolyzers, has been awarded a $1.8 million contract by the U.S. Army’s Tank-Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC), Warren, MI to develop an advanced hydrogen fueling system capable of sustaining a military fleet of hydrogen-powered vehicles - the second military contract in the last two months: In October, the U.S. Army’s Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) awarded a $2.62 million contract to ...
Briefly Noted: Voller Energy Halts Business
Another fuel cell company, Britain’s Voller Energy, is throwing in the towel because of the drying up of funding in the global economic crisis: The company says after exploring “all routes available to it” to obtain additional funding to exploit the market for its Emerald range of fuel cells, its Board has “reluctantly concluded” that “not all of the strategic objectives of designing, developing, manufacturing and marketing fuel cell systems can be achieved.” In a Nov. 17 announcement on its website, the company says the Board therefore believes “that ...
NIST/School of Mines Team Develops H2-in-Steel Sensor to Fight Embrittlement
BOULDER, CO - Shipping energy in form of hydrogen through steel pipelines like natural gas has long been a vision of hydrogen energy advocates, but the problem of hydrogen-caused steel embrittlement has been one of the factors holding back progress. Methods addressing the problem include heat-treating the steel to drive out the hydrogen, but also more esoteric ideas such as adding tiny amounts of impurities or other gases such as oxygen, carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide to the hydrogen have been suggested with apparently relatively little success. Now, a team of researchers at the ...
New RPI Anti-Reflective Coating Increases Solar Cell Light Absorption to Near-100%
TROY, NY – Solar electricity production has received a potentially huge efficiency boost with the development of a new, radically different type of antireflective coating for solar panels that permits absorption of just about all incoming sunlight. The new complex, seven-layer coating developed by a research team at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) here bumps up the amount of light converted to electricity from around 67.4 % in the case of an untreated silicon solar cell to an astonishing 96.21 %, the institute said in a release. The new coating absorbs solar radiation across ...
Fast Forward: New Renewables Agency IRENA
Long under discussion, an international agency to promote the more rapid phasing in of renewable energy will be formally launched next month in Bonn, Germany. Following preparatory conferences in Berlin (H&FCL May 08) and Madrid, representatives from some 51 countries are expected to show up Jan. 26 in the former German capital to sign the statute that will establish IRENA, which stands for International Renewable Energy Agency. Media reports said that signatories will include most European countries, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, India, Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates (Notably ...
Intelligent Energy's automotive fuel cell stack on display at the Fuel Cell Seminar. 	 (Photo by Vicki McConnell) FC Seminar (Cont’d): CEOs See Rough Near Term, But Real Fuel Cell Viability Ahead
PHOENIX, AZ – High on the agenda and coming early in this year’s Oct. 27-30 Fuel Cell Seminar here, the CEO Roundtable provided a useful glimpse into the thinking and expectations of the guys on the front line, moderated by EnergyBiz Insider’s Ken Silverstein. This roundtable, in its second year at the Seminar, brought together Gary Flood of ReliOn, Harol Koyama of IdaTech LLC, Henri Winand of Intelligent Energy, and Andy Marsh of Plug Power in the lively hour-and-a-half exchange. Some key points: Winand suggested the time it takes to successfully bring new technology to ...
VW's fuel cell HyMotion Touran minivan in a file photo. Honda, Kia, VW Show H2 Fuel Cell Prototypes, Studies at LA Auto Show
LOS ANGELES – While America’s automotive bigwigs got a chilly reception last month in Washington, DC in their quest for taxpayer money to help keep the industry afloat, things looked a lot brighter for clean energy transport at the Los Angeles Auto Show here. Once more the Nov. 21-30 exhibit cemented its reputation as showcase of alternative, energy-efficient cars and vehicles that’s been growing in recent years, eclipsing in some measure traditional launch venues like Detroit, Geneva and Frankfurt. In addition to the predictable array of hybrids, plug-in hybrids and ...

November 2008

Transitions
Former House Science Committee Chairman Robert S. Walker (R-PA) and chairman of the Washington lobbying group Wexler & Walker has been named as new chairman of the Energy Department’s Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technical Advisory Committee (HTAC). Robert Shaw, president of the venture capital firm Arete Corp., has been named as the new vice chair.......... Alexander “Andy” Karsner has resigned from his job as the Energy Department’s assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy (EERE) and has returned to private life. Karsner’s departure became effective ...
Events
The 15th symposium on “Utilizing Regenerative Energy Sources and Hydrogen Technology” (in English and German) is scheduled for Nov. 6-8 at Stralsund University of Applied Sciences, Stralsund, Germany. Details: Ilona Noster, +49/3831 4567 13, Ilona.Noster@fh-stralsund.de; www.fh-stralsund.de. The fourth “International Conference on Automotive Technologies - ICAT 2008" addressing alternative technologies for reducing CO2 emissions is scheduled for Nov. 13-14 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Istanbul, Turkey. Details: Irmak Kockan, 0090/262 315 67 63, ikockan@ford.com.tr; ...
Briefly Noted: Tognum Rebranding
The Tognum Group, Friedrichshafen, Germany, has launched a new brand, “MTU Onsite Energy”, for its decentralized energy generation products, including cogeneration plants (CHP) based on gas engines, fuel cells and gas turbines. MTU Onsite Energy products are built in Germany, the United States and China. Tognum was formed a couple of years ago after EQT Partners, a private Swedish investment firm, took over several divisions of the former DaimlerChrysler group. Contact: Tognum, Mirko Gutemann, +49 7541 90-4741 mirko.gutemann@tognum.com.
Briefly Noted: DoE Hydrogen Storage Center of Excellence
The U.S. Energy Department has selected a team of ten organizations and laboratories as a virtual Hydrogen Storage Center of Excellence to address engineering challenges posed by developing low-pressure hydrogen storage systems. The center is expected to run for about 5 years, and DoE expects to provide up to $6 million in fiscal year 2009. The team is led by Savannah River National Laboratory, Aiken, SC. The others: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA; United Technologies Research Center, East Hartford, CT; Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM; NASA Jet Propulsion ...
Briefly Noted: Greenpeace Report
A new report by Greenpeace says that aggressive investment in renewable power and energy efficiency can create a $360 billion/year industry, provide half of the world’s electricity, cut $18 trillion from future fuel costs and help protect the climate. “Energy (R)evolution: A Sustainable World Energy Outlook” was written by the European Renewable Energy Council and Greenpeace International with input from the Institute of Technical Thermodynamics of the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), the Dutch Ecofys Institute and scientists and engineers from universities, institutes and the ...
.............and the first small working model of the fuel cell tube train built and studied by Vehicle Projects. Vehicle Projects’ Miller Proposes Futuristic Supersonic Fuel Cell-Powered Tube Train
DENVER, CO - “Taking the tube” may at some future time take on a radically different meaning than the conventional one of riding London’s subway. It would still mean riding in a train inside a tube tunnel. But if Dr. Arnold Miller’s concept is realized, it would mean whisking from, say, New York to Los Angeles in less than three hours in a bullet-shaped articulated vehicle train powered by fuel cells that spin huge counter-rotating sets of propellers front and aft. Miller is the guiding spirit behind the fuel cell mining locomotive, fuel cell hybrid mine loader and ...
DoE News: Study Projects 675,000 Fuel Cell Jobs; House Votes, Bush Signs Renewables Tax Credit Law
WASHINGTON, DC - As many as 675,000 new jobs could be generated during the next 25 years with a substantial shift to fuel cells and replacing gasoline with hydrogen, concludes a new study released last month by the U.S. Energy Department. Two days after the study was sent to Congress Oct. 1, the House passed, and President Bush signed, a law to extend tax credits for energy efficiency and renewable energies. It covers wind, solar and geothermal energies as well as fuel cells, providing close to $1.8 billion in incentives. Among other provisions, it extends the 30% investment tax credit for ...
IdaTech, Ballard Sign Large Fuel Cell Deal with Indian Telecomm Supplier
BEND, OR/VANCOUVER, BC - With global business and finance on a steep downward slide, a very big fuel cell deal announced last month by IdaTech in Bend and Vancouver-based Ballard Power Systems provided a very welcome bright spot and relief. The two companies announced that they have signed a supply agreement with India’s ACME Group, a major supplier of telecommunications infrastructure equipment, to deliver a minimum of 10,000 and possibly as many as 30,000 5kW fuel cell systems over the next five years for, mostly, cell phones as backup power sources in thousands of base stations ...
Fast Forward: Iceland Stays on Track, HydroGen Doesn't
With Iceland teetering near bankruptcy as the arguably hardest-hit country in the global financial meltdown, it could be reasonably assumed its hydrogen projects and status as New Frontier of hydrogen energy would come to a screeching halt. Not so: “Our plans have not changed,” said Jon Bjorn Skulason, general manager of the country’s lead hydrogen agency, Icelandic New Energy Ltd, in an e-mail to H&FCL. “There is an increasing discussion in Iceland to increase the use of domestic energy, and at a time like this energy security becomes a much more important factor.” ...
DLR's Antares fuel cell motor glider, suspended from the ceiling, seems to be soaring above Stuttgart airport's main concourse during a two-week static display last month. Roundup Europe: Cars, Planes, R&D Centers, and a EU Public- Private Partnership: Europe on the Move
BRUSSELS - Amid considerable hoopla but also what some see as remaining uncertainty, the European Union and representatives of industry and research groups launched a Joint Technology Initiative (JTI) on Fuel Cells and Hydrogen (FCH) that commits the European Union to spending Euro 470 million ($589.9 million as of Oct. 27) over six years on hydrogen and fuel cell technology. The European Commission in its Oct. 14 announcement said the grand total, including the expected matching private sector contribution, would be nearly double that, or about Euro 1 billion ($1.25 billion) - a figure ...
A Honda Clarity and two other fuel cell cars are lined up for ride-and-drive demonstrations at the Phoenix Fuel Cell Seminar. 	(Picture by Vicki McConnell) FC Seminar Brings Green Focus to Phoenix, 2015 is Automotive Commercialization Year
PHOENIX, AZ – “It’s good to be in Arizona,” said one Fuel Cell Seminar & Expo organizer about this year’s 150 exhibitors encamped at the Phoenix Convention Center Oct. 27-30 smack dab inside Presidential candidate John McCain’s home state. This national attention may have offered some advantage, and the organizing committee also issued an “exhibits only” pass for the first time to encourage the public to partake of the fascinating realm of fuel cell technology. One had to admire the chutzpah and hard work of the folks who volunteered to put on this ...

October/September 2008

Editor’s Note
Editor’s Note: I’m happy to report that my 2001 book, “Tomorrow’s Energy: Hydrogen, Fuel Cells and the Prospects for a Cleaner Planet,” will be published in an Arabic language translation. The publisher, MIT Press, has sold the Arabic rights to Dar-Alfarabi, Beirut. The publication will be sponsored by the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation in Dubai for distribution throughout Arab-speaking countries. The contractual publication date is July 2010, but I am told Al-Alfarabi would like to get the book to the market much sooner. The Foundation was established by ...
Transitions
Mike McGowan, head of Hydrogen Solutions for Linde North America, Murray Hill, NJ, has been named chairman of the National Hydrogen Association (NHA), Washington DC, for a two-year term. Linde North America is part of The Linde Group, a global producer and supplier of hydrogen. McGowan has served on the NHA’s board of directors and on its executive committees since 2003. He is also a member of the board of directors of the U.S. Fuel Cell Council and of Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Canada........Back in Germany at the Linde home office, meanwhile, Dr. Joachim Wolf was reassigned this spring ...
Events
The “Scandinavian Renewable Energy Forum (Scan-REF)” will be held Oct. 1-2 at the Lillestrom conference centre outside Oslo, Norway. Details: Tomlin Coggeshall, McNabb Marketing, 207/236-6196, tcoggeshall@McNabbMarketing.com; Scan-REF home. The “Southern California Clean Vehicle Technology Expo,” organized by the South Coast Air Quality Management District, will be held Oct. 13-15 at the Ontario Convention Center, Ontario, CA. Details: EXPO, 800/993-0302; info@cleanvehicleexpo.com. The “European Fuel Cell and Hydrogen General Stakeholder Assembly, Exhibition ...
Briefly Noted: More Hydrogen Stations
More hydrogen stations: Air Products provided the technology for a new station at Loughborough University unveiled late last month, part of a cluster of hydrogen stations that is being set up in the region by the British Midlands Hydrogen Forum and that will be known as the Midlands Hydrogen Ring. In the United States, meanwhile, a Riverhead, Long Island, NY car dealer is planning to build the state’s first hydrogen station open to the public - on an island. Eagle Auto Mall owner Mark Calisi is quoted in the Aug. 29 issue of Newsday.com as saying that he will build the station on ...
Briefly Noted: Praxair Hydrogen for BP Refinery
Danbury, CT-based Praxair Inc. has signed an agreement with BP to supply hydrogen and steam to BP’s refinery in Whiting, IN. Praxair will build two new hydrogen plants with a total capacity of 200 million standard cubic feet/day, scheduled to start operations in the second half of 2010, the company said. Contact: Susan Szita Gore, 203/837-3211; susan_szita-gore@praxair.com.
Briefly Noted: California Food & Ag Dept. Joins CA Fuel Cell Partnership
The California Department of Food and Agriculture has joined the California Fuel Cell Partnership as an associate member, reported the Imperial Valley News August 14. The department expects to help develop proper design standards, quality testing procedures and accuracy of commercial hydrogen fuel dispensers, the paper said.
Briefly Noted: Medis Technologies fuel cell power pack
Medis Technologies said in early August its 24-7 fuel cell power pack was going to be offered in select Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile stores at the end of the month. But a late-September check of Best Buy’s website and a call to their central 888-number customer care office failed to turn up evidence that it’s actually available. Business Week said in its Sept. 29 issue the device won’t be available at Best Buy until mid-October. Sorry, folks. Contact: Medis, chairman Robert K. Lifton, 212/935-8484.
Briefly Noted: MTI job cuts
Turnover and job cuts at MTI: According to a Sept. 5 report in the Albany (NY) Times Union, NY, Mechanical Technology is eliminating 29 positions, including its chief financial officer Cynthia Scheuer. That’s apparently almost one third of its work force, reported to be 107 people in the company’s last annual report, the paper’s Internet story said. Scheuer’s salary was 210,000 in 2007, according to the story which quoted a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. A little less than a month later, Scheuer’s job was refilled on an interim basis by Rodney ...
Briefly Noted: Bruce Power plant in Ontario
Storing electricity generated by a mix of wind and nuclear energy in the Bruce Power plant in Ontario is not economically worthwhile - at least not now. That at least is the conclusion of a team of four researchers from the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, and the University of Waterloo, Ontario, according to an Aug. 6 report by the online science news service Physorg.com. The four looked at power generated by Bruce’s 9 MW commercial wind farm on Lake Huron and Bruce Power’s six reactor 4,830 MW power plant about 250 km northwest of Toronto. The four - Gregor Taljan and Gregor ...
Briefly Noted: No new hydrogen vehicles for London
No additional hydrogen vehicles for London after all: Plans by London’s previous mayor Ken Livingston two years ago to introduce 70 new hydrogen vehicles by 2010 have been put on hold, at least partially, by the city’s new mayor, Boris Johnson. The city still plans to go ahead with 10 fuel cell buses (H&FCL April 08), reported BusinessGreen, a London-based envirobiz website on Aug. 7, but plans by Transport for London for launching another 60 hydrogen motorbikes, vans and cars for the city’s police and fire brigade have been put on hold, and £4 million ($7.15 million) in ...
Briefly Noted: European Parliament Votes H2 Transport Rules
In early September, the European Parliament overwelmingly voted in favor of new rules for hydrogen cars, buses and trucks to help drive forward adoption of the technology and speed up the construction of a continent-wide hydrogen infrastructure network. Media reports said the proposal which is looking to create common standards for this emerging industry and to prevent a splintering of regulations among individual states in the EU, still needs to be ratified by EU member states. The rules so far lay out a general framework; specific measures and and technical standards will be established ...
Briefly Noted: DoE H2 Storage Funding
The U.S. Energy Department has chosen 10 cost-shared hydrogen storage research and development projects as part of its long-term vehicle development plans which will receive up to $15.3 million over five years, subject to annual appropriations. The total cost of the projects will be about $18 million. The organizations and their projects: Los Alamos National Laboratory, up to $2.3 million for a novel concept using an electric field to increase the hydrogen binding energy in hydrogen adsorbents; Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, $2.2 million to design novel multi-component metal ...
Transition to Hydrogen at a Glance: A key slide from the new National Research Council report, as presented at the NHA webinar presentation. NHA Inaugurates “Future of Hydrogen” Webinar Series with NRC Report Summary
WASHINGTON, DC - There could be a total of 5.3 million hydrogen fuel cell cars on American roads by the year 2023 - about 1.9% of the fleet - fueled by 4,200 tons/day of hydrogen dispensed from 3,600 stations. That year, or some time near that, is seen as potential breakeven year when the extra cost for a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle compared to a conventional gasoline car is projected to be fully offset by the savings in fuel costs. These, and a host of other fascinating insights, scenarios and projections were the subject of the National Hydrogen Association’s inaugural ...
Ronn Motor's Scorpion. The company plans to unveil it at next month's SEMA car accessory show in Las Vegas. Boutique Car Builder to Unveil Eco-Sports Car with Onboard-Generated H2; Lots of Doubt
AUSTIN, TX - Early next month, a small new boutique auto manufacturer here, Ronn Motor Company, plans to unveil a super sports car at the SEMA trade show for the automotive specialty and performance parts industry Nov. 4-7 in Las Vegas. Ronn’s show car, the voluptuously snazzy proof-of-concept two-seater “Scorpion,” is claimed to be unique because its Honda Acura 3.5 liter V-6 engine (289 HP stock, 450 HP with twin turbos) runs on gasoline blended with hydrogen to achieve what’s claimed to be better mileage and lower emissions: hydrogen is generated on board via ...
2008 Hydrogen Road Tour Generates Hundreds of Stories
PORTLAND, ME/LOS ANGELES - It wasn’t exactly a replay of the notorious 1980s Cannonball Run of Burt Reynolds comedy fame, but the coast-to-coast 2008 Hydrogen Road Tour managed to get considerable attention despite what seemed precious little advance publicity. The press release by the Transportation Department, one of the principal sponsors along with the Energy Department and the National Hydrogen Association (NHA) announcing the two-week 31-cities road rally, was dated Aug. 11 - the day the tour got underway in Portland. (H&FCL first heard about it via a July 28 Nuvera Fuel Cells ...
City Circuit: The Dutch home team "Greenchoice" fuel cell go cart on its way to victory in Rotterdam in the world's first-ever hydrogen fuel cell racing competition. Rotterdam Hosts First Formula Zero Hydrogen Fuel Cell Go-Cart Race
ROTTERDAM - Fittingly, the winners of the world’s first-ever hydrogen automobile race in tiny fuel cell go-carts here were given “Zero” Place designations instead of the usual First Place - no surprise given the competition’s name, Formula Zero Championship series. The Zero designation refers to the zero-emission characteristics of hydrogen and fuel cell power technology. And it added a nice touch of verbal one-upmanship by its sly allusion to the venerable dinosaurian CO2-belching Formula One category in Grand Prix racing. The late-August event was supported by ...
Fast Forward: Battery Electrics for Iceland?
“Iceland’s Future Could Be Electric,” was the slightly provocative headline for a September 19 piece on the New York Times “Wheels” blog that raised the question whether the country, widely regarded as the New Frontier and forefront of a hydrogen economy, might abandon ship. “Could the hydrogen dream be dying?” asked Jim Motavalli, the widely respected editor of e-Magazine and long-time contributor to the Times. Motavalli said the country “has had a hard time getting its hands on hydrogen vehicles.” It announced plans at a mid-September ...
GM Chevrolet's new plug-in hybrid electric Volt. It will go on sale two years from now. GM Unveils Plug-In Hybrid Electric Volt; H2/Fuel Cell Version Is Still the Future
DETROIT - Marking its 100th corporate anniversary, General Motors last month unveiled the much-anticipated production version of its plug-in hybrid electric Chevrolet Volt, due to come to market in late 2010 or 2011. In terms of driving economics, the new car, described in GM’s announcement as an “Extended-Range Electric Vehicle”, or E-REV, should make enormous sense to a public traumatized by stratospheric gasoline prices: For trips of up to 40 miles - for many roughly the average daily commute, or about 15,000 miles a year - it is powered solely by its 16 kWh lithium ...
All Aboard: The world's first fuel cell-powered tourism ship, the 72-ton "Alsterwasser," is docked in downtown Hamburg awaiting its first passengers. Port City of Hamburg Gets First Fuel Cell-Powered Inland Tourism Ship
HAMBURG - After powering a new generation of stealth submarines, zero-emission fuel cell energy comes to the surface here to leisurely propel a tourist vessel on the rivers and waterways in and around this port city. What’s described as the world’s first fuel cell-hybrid passenger ship, the 25.5 meter, 72-ton FCS “Alsterwasser” Zemship (zero emissions ship) has begun ferrying passengers sporadically, in between fine-tuning sessions, to landmarks and sightseeing spots on the water as the summer tourist season is winding down. It will be on display and in service for ...

August 2008

Transitions
Former CIA director Jim Woolsey has been named senior energy advisor to Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign. Woolsey is a big booster of plug-in hybrids, he has installed solar panels and a geothermal pump in his Maryland home, and he is a founding member of Set America Free, a group that campaigns for energy independence.....Pennsylvania Environmental Protection Department Secretary Kathleen McGinty resigned from her post last month, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s online service reported July 11. McGinty, 45, is joining other high-level state staffers who are leaving as Gov. ...
Events
The “2008 China International Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Expo” is scheduled for Aug. 7-9 in Shanghai; details at www.hfce.cn. Contact for both: Prof. Zq Mao, Tsinghua University, phone 8610 627 80537, fax 8610 627 92648; e-mail maozq@tsinghua.edu.cn. The “ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings - Scaling Up: Building Tomorrow’s Solutions” will be held Aug.17-22 at the Asilomar Conference Center, Pacific Grove, CA. Details: Rebecca Lunetta, 302/292-3966, rlunetta@verizon.net; http://aceee.org/conf/08ss/08ssindex.htm. The California Hydrogen Business Council ...
Briefly Noted: Two More H2 Stations
Two more hydrogen fueling stations: Billerica, MA-based Nuvera Fuel Cells will formally open the state’s first hydrogen fueling station Aug. 11 at its headquarters. The company’s release says the station will refuel nine hydrogen vehicles that will be embarking around that time on a coast-to-coast tour starting in Portland, ME and winding up in Los Angeles, CA (That’s the first time we’ve heard of that tour; a well-kept secret, it seems). Earlier, Shell Hydrogen LLC said it had opened what it described as California’s first hydrogen station at a conventional Shell ...
Briefly Noted: New Fuel Cell Blog
Fuel Cells 2000, the non-profit arm of the Washington, DC-based Breakthrough Technologies Institute, has launched the “Fuel Cell Insider” blog (www.fuelcellinsider.org), a new web log devoted to fuel cells and related fuels. The main goal is to encourage discussion about the important role fuel cells play in the ongoing energy and climate change debate. The blog will include opinion pieces, analyses and editorials from industry experts from around the world to help educate the general public, policymakers and media about fuel cells and the hydrogen infrastructure. “There are a ...
Briefly Noted: Global Fuel Cell Survey
The latest edition of the Worldwide Fuel Cell Industry Survey released last month once again found substantial job growth and gains in sales and research spending in the most recent reporting year. The 2007 survey which compares 2006 data to 2005, said that participating companies reported a 22% gain in fuel cell-specific employment, to 8,647 employees. Reported global sales were up 10% to $387 million. Research spending was up 4% to $829 million. This is the industry’s fourth global survey sponsored by the US Fuel Cell Council, Fuel Cell Commercialization Conference of Japan, Fuel Cell ...
Briefly Noted: New 400 kW UTC Plants
South Windsor, CT-based UTC Power plans to start shipping its next-generation 400 kW power plant, the PureCell®) Model 400 system that’s been under development for several years (H&FCL Aug. 05), in 2009. The first dozen units generating a total of 4.8 MW are slated to go to the Freedom Tower, plus three other towers under construction at the World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan. Another of the first customers will be St. Helena Hospital in California’s Napa Valley, a 181-bed full service hospital operated by non-profit Adventist Health. UTC Power says the new systems in ...
Briefly Noted: QuantumSphere
In more electrode-related news, Santa Ana, CA-based QuantumSphere, Inc., a developer of advanced catalyst materials (H&FCL, July 08), says it has developed and is already selling advanced nano-augmented catalyst materials for electrolysis that increases the hydrogen output of electrolyzers up to three times while maintaining energy efficiency. The material is a nano-enhanced nickel iron material, Nano NiFe(tm), a proprietary advanced catalyst formulation which increases the surface of electrodes used in commercial electrolysis about 1,000 times. In its announcement, the company said ...
Briefly Noted: Three AAAS Papers
Alternatives to expensive platinum as catalytic material in fuel cells and a new solid oxide fuel cell electrolyte expected to permit near-room temperature operations were the subjects of three important reports in the July 31 issue of “Science” and “Science Express,” published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Two research teams have developed alternatives to platinum-based electrodes in fuel cells that are needed to combine hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity plus water, or, in the reverse operation, electrolyze water into ...
Briefly Noted: Beijing Olympic Fuel Cell Cars
Fighting Olympic Air Pollution: A total of 20 hydrogen fuel-cell cars are to provide zero-emission transportation services for the Beijing Olympic Games this month, China’s news agency Xinhua reports. Fifteen of these cars, built by Shanghai Volkswagen Automotive Company, a Chinese-German joint venture automaker, were delivered in early July, complementing another five delivered earlier. The engines were developed by Tongji University, Shanghai Automobile Industry Corporation and Shanghai Fuel Cell Vehicle Powertrain Co., Ltd (H&FCL Feb. O3, Jun., Nov. 04). The 20 sedans would be used ...
EDITOR’S MEMO
You might want to take a look at a two-part article, “Global Heating: Why We Must Shift to Carbon-Free Fuel,” that I posted last month on the “Huffington Post” blog. It’s an update and revision of a presentation I gave in March at a symposium, “Alternative Energy: Seeking Climate Change Solutions,” at the Wallace Stegner Center for Land, Resources and the Environment at the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law m (which in turn started as a Commentary in the Oct. 07 issue of H&FCL). Go to http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ and then to the search ...
Book Review: Planet Hydrogen: The Taming of the Proton.
Joseph Conrad notwithstanding, most of us just shouldn’t write books in languages other than our mother tongue. This new book from Icelandic physicist and long-time hydrogen advocate Thorsteinn Sigfusson is a case in point. Planet Hydrogen: The Taming of the Proton, Sigfusson’s ambitious attempt to give us a historic, scientific, and policy overview of the nascent global hydrogen economy does have its merits. Ultimately, however, it falls flat due to his less-than-perfect command of English and some sloppy editing. At first I just found Sigfusson’s writing quirky. As I got ...
Lowdown from Down Under (Continued): Australia Looks at Solar Steam Reforming
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - Amplifying on plans by Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation to tap solar power for steam-reforming natural gas (See previous Part I of this report, July 2008), CSIRO’s Wes Stein estimated that scale-up and volume production advances would account for around 50% of future cost reduction, with another 50% from technical improvements. A demonstration project SolarGas One, scheduled for completion in 2011, will comprise five solar towers, each with a solar steam reforming reactor capacity of nominal 1 MW. The solar gas will be ...
New NRC H2/Fuel Cell Report is Upbeat, But More Funds, Strong Govt. Support Needed
WASHINGTON, DC - Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles as well as commercial hydrogen production technologies could be ready for the Holy Grail of commercialization as early as seven years from now. But any significant impact on reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and global warming won’t come about until many million more cars are built, many years later - and after spending many billions of dollars. That, in a nutshell, are the conclusions of a new congressionally mandated 252-page report by the National Research Council (NRC), “Transitions to Alternative Transportation - a Focus ...
A NOTE TO OUR READERS
“The Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Letter” will not be published in September because of health problems for business manager Sarah Hoffmann who is recovering from a major operation. The next issue will be published in October. All subscriptions - print and online - will be automatically extended by one month. If there are any major news developments during that period, we will issue brief online Bulletins, with full reports in the subsequent issue. Readers can sign up for the Bulletins, which are free of charge, on our website, www.hfcletter.com. Best wishes, P.H.
Up and Away: The Akoya/Hy-Bird during its maiden flight in August 2007. A video of the i.c.-engined Akoya is on Lisa-Airplanes' home page (click on English version) www.lisa-airplanes.com. French Planemaker Plans Around-World Flight With Small Solar-Fuel Cell “Hy-Bird”
LE BOURGET DU LAC, FRANCE - A new small French maker of recreational aircraft plans to give the big boys like Boeing a run for the money with a lightweight solar hybrid fuel cell airplane that it wants to fly around the world in 30 - give or take a few - easy stages. If everything goes according to plan, six-year old LISA Airplanes here expects to start flight-testing the preliminary battery-only version dubbed Hy-Bird-E early next year, just about a year after Boeing’s test pilots took off from an airfield near Madrid in a much-modified Austrian Dimona motor-glider powered by a ...

July 2008

CORRECTION
The name of one of the two companies in the headline of the June 2008 lead story about small fuel cells was misspelled. It is MTI Micro (not MCI, as printed).
Events
The “Third Annual Energy Symposium and Solar Expo” will be held July 9-10 at the Albany NanoTech complex, Albany, NY. Details: Pradeep Haldar, 518/437-8686, phaldar@uamail.albany.edu; www.e2tac.org. The “Intersolar North America” conference will be held July 15-17 at the Moscone Center West Building and the adjacent Intercontinental Hotel in San Francisco, CA. Details: Tim Gnatek, Blue Practice, 415/272-3944, tim@bluepractice.com; www.intersolar.us. The Mountain States Hydrogen Business Council will hold its “4th Annual Hydrogen Implementation Conference” ...
Briefly Noted: QuantumSphere Buys CA-based Energetics
Santa Ana, CA-based QuantumSphere, Inc., a developer of advanced catalyst materials, electrode devices and related technologies, has acquired Orange, CA-based Energetics, Inc., a seven-year-old company specializing in developing lithium ion batteries, fuel cells, hydrogen production and bio fuel applications. Energetics founder and CEO, Subramanian Iyer, will serve as QuantumSphere’s principal chief technologist. His research has centered on alkaline polymeric membrane fuel cells, regenerative fuel cells and high-temperature fuel cells for internally reformed hydrocarbons. Contact: ...
Briefly Noted: Akermin’s U.S. army contract
Akermin, Inc., the St. Louis-based developer of stabilized enzyme catalyst technology (H&FCL June 08), has signed a contract with the U.S. Army’s Communications-Electronics Research Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC) to develop a biofuel cell using enzyme-based electrodes that are expected to provide extended runtimes to unattended ground sensors. The company didn’t disclose contract details, but the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported June 19, it’s a one-year $1 million deal. Ground sensors used in military and homeland security applications normally run on lithium-ion ...
Briefly Noted: New EHA/DWV Renewable Energy/Hydrogen brochure
A new 36-page brochure, “Hydrogen and Fuel Cells as Strong Partners of Renewable Energy Systems” has been published jointly by the European and the German Hydrogen Associations (EHA, DWV). It outlines the legal and political framework of these energy technologies, addresses whether biofuels are a better choice and the cost of hydrogen energy. It’s available as a free download on the EHA website at www.h2euro.org/Publications/studies/EHA_Study_H2RE_EN.pdf.
Briefly Noted: First Belgian hydrogen station
Belgium’s first hydrogen station was opened last month by France’s Total group in Brussels, located, fittingly enough, on the Paris-bound E19 freeway linking the two cities. The hydrogen equipment and liquid hydrogen tanks were contributed by Germany’s industrial gas supplier Linde as part of an ongoing cooperation between German carmaker BMW and Total (H&FCL July 06). Contact: Linde, media, Uwe Wolfinger, +49/89/35757-1320.
Briefly Noted: Layoffs at Plug Power
Fuel cell developer Plug Power which recently reported changes in its ownership structure with the reshuffling of a big stake held by a Russian investors group (H&FCL June 08), last month reported it is eliminating 80 of its 380 jobs, most of them at corporate headquarters in Latham, NY. Saying that its board of directors approved the layoffs to make the company more market and sales driven, the cuts are aimed at streamlining general and administrative expenses and sizing the company to drive short-term revenue targets. The move is expected to reduce cash burn and extend Plug Power’s ...
Briefly Noted: “Peak oil is Now”, says new study
“Peak Oil is Now. Global oil production has, in all likelihood, already exceeded maximum production levels and is likely to decline. That’s the main reason for rising oil prices. Any hope for a burst of the speculative bubble is futile.” That’s how Werner Zittel, co-author a new study by the German “Energy Watch Group,” “The Future of Global Oil Supply,” succinctly summarizes its findings. Another contributor, Deutsche Bank Research analyst Josef Auer, says that, looking at global energy supply in the long term, “the future is already behind us, ...
DoE News: DoE Hydrogen/Fuel Cell Program Peer Review Draws Almost 1,000 Participants
ARLINGTON, VA – If anybody needed a reminder of what’s at stake, the heat was on here last month - and we don’t mean politics - during the Energy Department Hydrogen Program’s five-day Annual Merit Review & Peer Evaluation Meeting. Program manager JoAnn Milliken noted in her welcome remarks that “the worst DC weather” had come unusually early with temperatures at 98 deg. F. and a heat index of 105 deg. F, tempting few to venture out from the air-conditioned ambiance of the suburban hotel where the review took place June 9-13. With almost 1,000 registered ...
G'day Mate: A friendly local, an Australian bird called a Tawny Frogmouth, greets a WHEC2008 participant during the opening Welcome reception in Brisbane. Lowdown from Down Under: WHEC2008 is “Most Important World H2 Conference Yet”
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - With 692 delegates, the 17th World Hydrogen Energy Conference was the smallest such conference in recent times, but, as chair Dr. Andrew Dicks pointed out, it was “… perhaps the most important World Hydrogen Energy Conference yet”. While attendance may have been relatively low - most likely because of distances and long travel - the June 15-19 event here still attracted some 180 presentations and 249 posters describing what’s going on in hydrogen research around the world. WHEC2008 was most important because it was held at time of record high oil ...
Honda technicians are installing the hydrogen fuel tank during assembly of the fuel cell Clarity at the company's New Model Center. “We Can Mass Produce These Now,” says Honda, Inaugurating World’s First Fuel Cell Car Assembly Line & Turning Over First Clarity Cars to Customers
TAKANEZAWA, JAPAN - History in the making: “Basically, we can mass produce these now. We are waiting for the infrastructure to catch up.” That’s what Kazuaki Umezu, head of Honda’s New Model Center, told reporters last month, according to the June 17 “New York Times,” during launch ceremonies here of the company’s – and the world’s - first dedicated fuel cell car assembly-line-production facility for Honda’s latest, most polished fuel cell vehicle yet, the FCX Clarity (H&FCL Dec. 07). In Honda’s view then, fuel cell vehicles are ...

June 2008

Transitions
One of the first scientists to warn about global warming and among the earliest advocates of hydrogen energy, Laurence O. Williams, died May 7 in Alliance, OH. He was 74. Larry, an analytical chemist and eventually chief scientist for the Ordinance Division of Lockheed Martin for a third of a century, published his first paper on climate change in 1971 in “Applied Science,” and he wrote three books on the subject. He was part of the loose international group of scientists and engineers who in the late 1960s and early 1970s coalesced into a global advocacy group that eventually ...
Events
The “CSI Cleantech” conference is scheduled for June 1-5 at the Hynes Convention Center, Boston, MA. Details: info@scieven5s.org. The U.S. Energy Department’s review of its hydrogen and fuel cell projects, the “2008 Annual Merit Review,” will be held June 9-13 in Arlington, VA. Details and additional information about the meeting will be posted on DoE’s hydrogen program website www.hydrogen.energy.gov/annual_review.html. The “Ulm Electrochemical Talks” conference will be held in two venues June 10-12 in Ulm and Neu-Ulm, Germany. Details: media, Dr. ...
Opportunities
The U.S. Energy Department has issued a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for up to $130 million over three years, subject to Congressional appropriations, to advance the development and use of fuel cells for automotive, stationary, and portable power applications. In addition to proposals for R&D projects in these sectors, DOE is also seeking suggestions to demonstrate fuel cells in distributed energy systems and to support market transformations that provide real-world operation data. The Department expects to make up to 50 awards through this competitive funding opportunity, which ...
Briefly Noted: BlackLight Power
And Finally, Maybe, Just Maybe, Somebody Should Look Into This: BlackLight Power, Inc., the controversial Cranbury, NJ company founded by medical doctor Randell Mills, said in a late-May release it has successfully tested a new source of energy and power system that produces 50,000 watts of thermal power on demand in a prototype system. It is apparently based on Mills’ belief that hydrogen can exist at a lower energy state than its “ground” state and that this energy differential can be exploited (H&FCL May 97), a notion widely discredited by mainstream scientists. “If ...
Briefly Noted: MAN’s Hydrogen Work
Say It Isn’t So: German bus and truck manufacturer MAN is denying a mid-May report in a British publication, Automotive World, that it is abandoning its development work on hydrogen “in order to focus more sharply on diesel power” - but there are apparently some caveats to that denial. For the record, MAN told H&FCL it is not abandoning hydrogen research - “no way” - but adding it will not start any new field trials with customers other than the ongoing ones in Berlin with 14 hydrogen i.c.-engined buses, 10 of them turbocharged. A company source explains that MAN ...
Briefly Noted: Toyota Home Fuel Cells
Toyota Motor Corp. announced it plans to provide for the third year in a row home-use fuel cell cogeneration units as part of a government project to verify the practicability of carbon dioxide-reducing stationary fuel cells. With 24 new units added in this third round, Toyota has provided a grand total of 78 units so far. In a separate development, Sekisui House, Japan’s largest home builder will start marketing low-carbon houses which will be 20% more airtight, will feature co-generation fuel cell systems for power and hot water, including energy-saving features such as LED lights, ...
Briefly Noted: Another Fuel Cell Plane
Another fuel cell-powered airplane: Germany’s aerospace agency DLR and German sailplane maker Lange Aviation, Zweibruecken, are cooperating in plans to convert one of Lange’s high-performance motor gliders, the Antares 20E to fuel cells and hydrogen fuel. Technical details were not immediately forthcoming, and it wasn’t clear exactly at what stage the plane is right now (Apparently it was not shown at the International Air Show at the end of last month in Berlin where DLR displayed an A320 Airbus ATRA with a Michelin APU fuel cell system). The new plane, dubbed Antares DLR ...
Briefly Noted: Akermin Biofuel Cell
St. Louis, MO-based Akermin, Inc. has developed and is offering for testing a biofuel cell prototype that employs a stabilized enzyme as a catalyst instead of the conventional platinum at the cathode. The company says use of the enzyme makes the process inherently more efficient than conventional methods of portable power generation in fuel cells that rely on platinum catalysts, and the immobilization of the enzyme is now measured in years instead of days for other bio fuel cell technology, making this technology truly commercially viable: In a separate late-May release, Akermin said it had ...
Briefly Noted: Microbial Fuel Cells for Africa
Fuel Cell Power from Dirt: A collaboration team of African undergraduates at Harvard University and university scientists, LebônL Solutions, has won a $200,000 grant for their winning entry, a microbial fuel cell (M.C.) lighting system - one of 16 winners from entries by 400 organizations - in the World Bank IFC’s Lighting Africa competition to develop low-cost lighting systems for sub-Saharan Africa. The money will enable the team to roll out their technology in first field trials next month in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, to be followed by tests and distribution ...
Briefly Noted: Hybrid Technologies
Hybrid Hydrogen Technologies, Inc.(HHT), Pickering, ON says it has sold two of its on-board electrolytic emission control and fuel saving devices, dubbed Hydrogen Fuel Injection (HFI) technology, for installation on two school buses operated by School District No. 5 in British Columbia, to be paid for by the BC government. HHT president Ira Lyons sees this as a big endorsement of the technology, developed originally by its sister company Canadian Hydrogen Energy Company (CHEC), Bowmanville, ON (H&FCL Dec. 05). “The satisfactory results on the first two school buses in B.C. are expected ...
Briefly Noted: HydroGen Corp. Layoffs
Failure to Launch? HydroGen Corp., the Cleveland, OH-based developer of big phosphoric acid fuel cell systems for power plants, has laid off almost two thirds of its work force - a total of 76 employees and independent contractors. Apparently the company which was set up only a few years ago (H&FCL Oct. 05) has had difficulty attracting financing. CEO John Freeh said in a release that while the technology has progressed, “we must face the reality of the difficult equity market we find ourselves in.” Freeh said the idea is to gain time to pursue different funding strategies, but it ...
Briefly Noted: PWC Utilities Survey
Given skyrocketing demand for electricity, the focus is on increased generation, transmission and distribution capacity rather than on mergers and acquisitions (M&A) or strategic structuring moves, reports the 10th annual Utilities Global Survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers of 118 utilities in 37 countries. But utility executives also think that federal legislation in the U.S. limiting carbon emissions will be the biggest change affecting the industry in the next five years, along with an overall increase in regulation. For the second year in a row, encouragement of renewable energy topped the ...
Briefly Noted: Renault Fuel Cell Prototype
With an assist from its alliance partner Nissan, France’s Renault has at long last developed a fuel cell prototype. Based on its Grand Scenic minivan, the new Scenic ZEV H2 is a hybrid powered by a Nissan-developed fuel cell stack, high-pressure hydrogen tanks and compact lithium-ion batteries, but Renault didn’t release any details as to power, range, amount of hydrogen stored on board, etc. It’s apparently the same basic stack that has powered Nissan’s X-Trail that’s been undergoing road testing in Japan for two years now (H&FCL April 05). The major elements are ...
Briefly Noted: Big Investors Tell Congress to Pass Climate Legislation
A group of more than 50 big-time institutional investors, asset managers, venture capitalists and others who collectively manage more than $2.3 trillion in assets last month wrote to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell urging them to pass strong national climate legislation expected to reach the Senate floor in coming weeks. The investors which include pension fund managers, state treasurers and state/city controllers from California, Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York City and State, Pennsylvania, said they are repeating previous calls from ...
AC Transit Places Biggest U.S. Order for Fuel Cells for New Buses with UTC Power
OAKLAND, CA/SOUTH WINDSOR, CT - California’s AC Transit transportation agency in Oakland and UTC Power, South Windsor, CT have announced what’s described as the largest ever order for fuel cell systems for public transport systems in the United States: A minimum of eight 120 kW PureMotion 120® fuel cell systems with options for another 13 units to power AC Transit’s next generation hybrid-electric fuel cell buses, scheduled for delivery in 2009 and 2010. The fuel cells come with a warranty of up to 10,000 hours of operation, based on the fuel cells achieving certain ...
Russia’s Smart Hydrogen Group Reshuffles Stake in Fuel Cell Developer Plug Power
ALBANY, NY - An internal reorganization by a major Russian investor group that holds a big chunk of fuel cell developer Plug Power here has led to a complicated reshuffling of holdings among the group’s partners, including the naming of a new representative for the Russians on Plug’s board. But, contrary to some media reports, it did not mean that the Russian group, Smart Hydrogen, Inc., was pulling out of the American company altogether, a Plug Power executive told H&FCL. Smart Hydrogen, a partnership of two super-rich Russian oligarchs, Mikhail Prokhorov and Vladimir Potanin, ...
Livermore Tank Designers Work with BMW on Cryo-Capable Hydrogen Tanks
LIVERMORE, CA - One key problem of storing liquid hydrogen on board a car or truck - quick evaporation of the ultra-cold fuel - may be on the way to a solution. And in the process, the issue of whether liquid cryogenic hydrogen or compressed gaseous hydrogen is the preferred storage technology may fade away with the development of a so-called cryo-capable hydrogen storage tank that can be refueled by both. Such a tank, under development here at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and installed in a Toyota Prius that had been converted to hydrogen (H&FCL DoE News, June 07), ...
Fast Forward: London’s Fuel Cell Cabs
British fuel cell developer Intelligent Energy is teaming up with one of the biggest names in high-performance cars, Lotus Engineering Ltd., in converting a fleet of London’s famously stodgy-looking black cabs to fuel cell power for the 2012 London Olympics. Lead partner Intelligent Energy, based in Loughborough in the Midlands, will design the hybrid 25 kW hydrogen PEM fuel cell and battery power train for the cabs while Lotus will package the components, build control systems and will test various aspects of the finished product. A third company, TRW Conekt based in Solihull also in ...
Fast Forward: Honda’s First-Ever Fuel Cell Car Production Facility
Honda will cut the ribbon on what it says will be the world’s first dedicated fuel cell vehicle production facility during ceremonies planned for the middle of June. The choice of words - “facility” rather than “plant” - in the company’s early-May announcement seems to indicate it will be a rather modest operation at the start, not a sprawling factory: Honda says it plans to build and deliver about 200 FCX Clarity hydrogen fuel cell cars during the next three years to selected customers, with 3-year $600/month leases starting in July for consumers in California. ...
Fast Forward: Johnny Depp’s Carribbean Solar H2 House
That quintessential “Pirate of the Caribbean,” actor Johnny Depp, is joining the solar hydrogen economy as a charter member. A recent undated story in the “Cayman Observer” newspaper on the first house to be built in the Carribbean with Mike Strizki’s solar hydrogen technology (H&FCL Nov.06), mentioned in passing that Depp has signed on with Strizki’s company Renewable Energy International, Inc. (REI), Hopewell, NJ to install the technology in his residence on Depp’s private 35 acre-or-so island, Little Hall’s Pond Cay in the Bahamas (the Observer ...
DoE News: U.S. Energy Department Selects 9 Projects to Advance SOFC Fuel Cell Technology
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Energy Department (DoE) last month selected nine projects for the Department’s Solid State Energy Conversion Alliance (SECA) Core Technology Program portfolio to address specific challenges in scaling up and integrating solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) into advanced central generation power plants. The SECA program is managed by the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). These projects will consist of two phases, each 12 or 18 months long. Projects will move to Phase II provided Phase I work demonstrates sufficient technical merit and adequate funds ...
The new, thin membrane material developed by MIT engineers for use in methanol fuel cells. (Photo courtesy Avni Argun and Nathan Ashcraft, MIT) Sony, MTI Micro Highlight Fuel Cell Market Drive for Phones, Portable Devices
ATLANTA, GA/ALBANY, NY - Hot ‘Lanta: That 1971 Allman Brothers Band song could well serve as anthem for what appears to be a fast-accelerating development curve and interest in small fuel cells for portable electronics. After years of corporate hype promising small fuel cells in stores “just around the corner,” it’s beginning to look this time that launches in the next couple of years - or shortly thereafter - might be real. Last month’s 10th Small Fuel Cell conference and the immediately preceding Fuel Cell & Battery Hybrid Systems symposium in Atlanta, both ...

May 2008

Transitions
Shell Oil Company has announced that its president, John D. Hofmeister, will retire effective June 1. Among other things, Hofmeister, 60, is a member of the U.S. Energy Department’s Hydrogen and Technical Advisory Committee (HTAC). He will be succeeded by Marvin E. Odum, currently executive vice president for the Americas for Shell Exploration and Production..........Germany’s Juelich Research Center has named Prof. Harald Bolt as a new member of its management board, representing the Institutes for Energy Research (thin film solar cells, fuel cells, fusion, systems analysis) and ...
Events
The “Small Fuel Cells” conference will be held April 30-May 2 at the Omni Hotel at CNN Center, Atlanta, GA. Details: Serge Pan, 617/232-7400 x 211; span@knowledgefoundation.com, www.knowledgefoundation.com. The California Hydrogen Business Council will hold its next “General Meeting” May 16 at the CalEPA Building in Sacramento, CA. Details: Catherine Rips, info@californiahydrogen.org; www.californiahydrogen.org. The “CSI Cleantech” conference is scheduled for June 1-5 at the Hynes Convention Center, Boston, MA. Details: info@scieven5s.org. Call for papers: ...
Fast Forward: Call for International Renewable Energy Agency
An International Renewable Energy Agency? Participants from more than 60 countries met in Berlin last month at the invitation of the German government to discuss creating a new International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Existing bodies like the International Energy Agency (IEA) and other groups aren’t up to the job, reports an April 23 story in Renewable Energy Online. “The IEA will have to compensate for all of the current energy problems and won’t have time to push for new forms of energy,” said German MP and founder of the European Association for Renewable Energy, ...
Fast Forward: Danish H2 Buses for China?
Danish hydrogen buses for China? That’s what a press release from Denmark’s Science Ministry is speculating on. As reported in mid-April by Copenhagen Capacity, an investment agency for the country’s capital, a Chinese delegation from the Fosun Group and Shanghai Shen-Li High Tech were visiting this North European country to look into the prospects for establishing a production line as well as research and development facilities for hydrogen buses. Denmark’s science minister Helge Sanders was quoted in the mid-April release as saying that such a cooperation is not ...
Briely Noted: Hydrogenics
Apparently squeezed by economic pressures, Hydrogenics Corp., the Mississauga, Ontario-based developer of hydrogen and fuel cell products, earlier this year stopped maintaining the Richmond, CA hydrogen fueling station used by AC Transit for its fuel cell buses. It was decommissioned in January. Running the station was Hydrogenics’ contribution to the California Fuel Cell Partnership, and as a consequence, the company relinquished its associate membership in the group, Kevin Harris, the company’s Valencia, CA-based business development and sales director for the Americas, told ...
Environmentalist Bill McKibben Starts New Climate Change Movement, Wants Input
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - Environmentalist writer Bill McKibben (“The End of Nature,” “Deep Economy,” “Fight Global Warming,” and now the “Bill McKibben Reader”) is launching a new global drive to reduce carbon dioxide to slow and reverse global warming, and he wants your input. “350 is the red line for human beings, the most important number on the planet,” he says in his announcement on the campaign’s website, www.350.org. “The most recent science tells us that unless we can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to ...
Small Stationary Fuel Cell Shipments Up One-Third, Reports FCT Annual Survey
ROYSTON/HERTFORDSHIRE, UK - Shipments of small stationary fuel cells increased by more than a third - 37% - last year over 2006, reports a new Fuel Cell Today survey of the industry. In numbers, this translates into “more than 2,000 new units,” says the six-page document, “Fuel Cell Today Small Stationary Survey 2008,” fewer than the 3,000 units or so that were expected, said the author, Dr. Kerry-Ann Adamson, Fuel Cell Today’s principal analyst and manager, in her introduction. This is due to the fact that “many companies have reduced units shipped to focus ...
Springtime, Sunny California, and an H2 Bimmer (that's a BMW car for you non-aficionados): The Ride-and-Drive lineup of hydrogen cars outside the National Hydrogen Association and Expo's annual conference in Sacramento. NHA (Cont’d): Cost of LA H2 Infrastructure Could Be $10/Person, GM’s Burns Says
SACRAMENTO, CA - Just a few days after the California Air Resources Board announced new numbers for the state’s Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) mandate, the National Hydrogen Association’s annual conference here followed up with a timely message: Fuel cell commercialisation is being ramped up. This year’s NHA Conference and Expo March 30-April 3 saw over 1,200 attendees from 30 countries, as well as over 90 exhibitors, and 20 fuel cell vehicles from 9 manufacturers descend on the Sacramento Convention Center. There was a real buzz amongst the attendees at this year’s ...
California Hydrogen Highway: Air Resources Board Restarts H2 Highway Program with $7.7 Million Request
SACRAMENTO, CA – Take a deep breath, count to 7.7 (million dollars) and start all over again: That, in a nutshell, is the approach California’s Air Resources Board (ARB) is taking in re-launching the state’s “Hydrogen Highway,” announced with much fanfare by the then freshly minted Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger four years ago. Today, the state does boast two dozen operating hydrogen stations, but none were really built under that particular program. All were pretty much constructed under the auspices of others such as the federal government (DoE), the South Coast ...
IEA’s Chief Economist Fatih Birol: Quit Oil Before It Is Too Late
BERLIN - “We should leave oil before oil leaves us.” This is what the International Energy Agency’s chief economist, Fatih Birol, says should be guiding principle for the world’s future energy situation, a topic he discussed in a wide-ranging interview last month with the German monthly journal “Internationale Politik” (International Politics) published here. Headlined “The Sirens Are Wailing,” Birol, in a question-and-answer conversation in German with Astrid Schneider, spokeswoman of the Alliance 90/The Greens in the German Bundestag parliament ...
A Plane in Spain.......: Boeing's experimental hydrogen fuel cell-powered two-seater during one of its first-of-a-kind flights over an airport near Madrid earlier this year. Boeing Successfully Flies Fuel Cell-Powered Airplane in Spain
MADRID - Airplane maker Boeing reported last month that for the first time in aviation history, it has flown a manned airplane powered by hydrogen fuel cells in a research project announced a year ago (H&FCL April 07). Three test flights took place in February and March at the airfield in Ocana, south of Madrid, Boeing said. During the flights, the pilot of the experimental airplane climbed to an altitude of 1,000 meters (3,300 feet) above sea level using a combination of battery power and power generated by hydrogen fuel cells. Then, after reaching cruise altitude and disconnecting the ...
Clean Mobile's yellow mail carrier's fuel cell bike. 150-Plus Exhibitors at Hydrogen + Fuel Cell Exhibit; 200 Expected for Next Year
HANNOVER - Maybe it’s the new-found “Zeitgeist” of Global Heating and Climate Change concerns, but whatever the reason, this year’s Hydrogen + Fuel Cells Joint Exhibit at the huge Hannover industrial fair is the biggest one yet. With 156 exhibitors and institutions from 23 countries showing their products and services last month as part of the world’s biggest industrial fair here April 21-25, it’s easy to imagine this decade-and-a-half old event as a free-standing tech fair of its own - a far cry from the ten German exhibitors on hand for the first modest ...

April 2008

Transitions
Eatontown, PA-based fuel cell and hydrogen battery developer Millennium Cell has named president Adam Briggs as chief executive officer, effective this month. He replaces H. David Ramm who will become the new chairman of the board.......Andris (Andy) Abele, until recently executive director for strategic development at Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide, Inc., Irvine, CA has left the company and has joined the newly formed Institute for Technology Advancement, Marina del Rey, set up by the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) as a senior technology strategist. His areas of ...
Events
The “First World Coal-To-Liquids Conference” will be held April 3-4 at the Meridien Montparnasse Hotel, Paris, France. Details: Conference office, +33(O)1 53 85 82 74, wctl2008reg@mci-group.com; www.world-CTL2008.com. The “14th Group Exhibit Hydrogen + Fuel Cells” at the Hannover Fair is scheduled for April 21-25, at the Hannover fairgrounds in Germany. Details: Tobias Renz FAIR-PR, +49 8972013840; tobias@fair-pr.com; www.fair-pr-com. Purdue University is holding a two-day “Hydrogen Symposium” April 24-25 at the Stewart Center on the university campus, West ...
Briefly Noted: New Fuel Cell Patent Website
And in an effort help bring clarity to the proliferation of patents and patent claims, the Dayton, OH-based law firm Thompson Hine LLP has launched a fuel cell patent website containing an archive of U.S. patents and published patent applications of possible interest to the fuel cell community. Organized by patent owner, the site will be updated regularly by the law firm. The website is at www.ThompsonHine.com/Practices/Intellectual_Property/ FuelCellPatents.php. Contact: Ellen Geron, 973/443-6835, Ellen.Geron@ThompsonHine.com; www.ThompsonHine.com.
Briefly Noted: Online Hydrogen Reference Service
Hydrogen Safety LLC, an East Hartford, CT based engineering consulting firm, has launched an online subscription-based reference service, “Hydrogen Your WayTM”. Funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the service includes a number of detailed information modules covering subjects such as hydrogen basics, strategies for storage, risk management, insurance, recommendations for first responders and emergency personnel and others. Associates include Dr. Addison Bain, for more than three decades a hydrogen specialist and hydrogen manager at NASA’s ...
Briefly Noted: Geothermal Association Urges New Program
The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) is urging the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee to direct the U.S. Energy Department to start implementing legislation that would set up a new geothermal research program passed by Congress last December as part of the 2007 energy bill. DoE’s fiscal year 2009 budget request “does not appear to implement the new research initiative authorized by Congress,” GEA executive director Karl Gawell told the committee last month. Congress approved $20 million for DoE’s geothermal research in fy 2008 as part of the Omnibus ...
Briefly Noted: Hydrogen Engine Center/Startech
Algona, IA-based Hydrogen Engine Center, Inc., (HEC) a developer of hydrogen industrial i.c. engines, has announced a strategic alliance with Startech Environmental Corp., Wilton, CT, a developer of plasma processing equipment. HEC says the two companies will jointly develop commercial projects that will combine the two technologies. HEC plans to deliver the first hydrogen generator system to Startech next month. Contacts: HEC, Nicole Fritz-Kemna, 515/295-3178, nkemna@hydrogenenginecenter.com; Startech, Steve Landa, 888/807-9443 or 203/762-2499, x7, sales@startech.net.
Briefly Noted: Quantum/Boeing Project
Irvine, CA-based Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide, Inc. says its proposal for developing next-generation manufacturing technologies for hydrogen storage vessels has been selected by the Energy Department for final negotiations. Quantum is working with the Boeing Company on this project, valued at $5.6 million over three years. Earlier last month Quantum reported it had won a contract for a modular hydrogen refueling station from Shell Hydrogen, to be located at an as yet undetermined site in the United States. The station will deliver both 5,000 and 10,000 psi compressed gaseous ...
Briefly Noted: AirProducts Contract for London Buses
Air Products, Lehigh Valley, PA has won a contract to provide hydrogen fuel and build a dedicated fueling station for one of Europe’s biggest bus fleets, 10 buses, that are expected to be operating in London by 2010. Air Products says it has installed more than 75 hydrogen fueling stations so far in 12 countries, including in China for the fueling of mass transit buses in Beijing this summer to shuttle athletes and visitors during the Olympic Games. Contacts: U.S., Art George, 610/481-1340, georgeaf@airproducts.com; Europe, Guenaelle Holloway, Air Products-Europe, +44/7901-318923, ...
Briefly Noted: Possible Higher-Temp Hydride Superconductors
Researchers at the University or Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, and at the Max Planck Institute of Chemistry, Mainz, Germany, have identified a new family of superconductors, so-called molecular hydrides, that may lead to better superconductor materials operating at higher temperatures, reports the March 18 ScienceDaily service, the online adjunct of Science journal which published the paper on March 14. The team which included the university’s Research Chair John Tse, produced first experimental proof that superconductivity can occur in these materials. The laboratory work detecting ...
Briefly Noted: Ballard/IdaTech Linkup
Ballard Power Systems, Vancouver, has signed a three-year agreement with IdaTech plc., Bend, OR to provide its Mark 1020 ACSTM fuel cell stack to be integrated in IdaTech’s next generation of 250 W iGenTM backup and auxiliary power supply, including recreational vehicles and telecommunications systems. Contact: Ballard, Angela Salehi, 604/742-4254, asalehi@hoggan.com.
Briefly Noted: UTC Power Fuel Cell Plant Milestone
UTC Power, South Windsor, CT reports one of its phosphoric acid stationary fuel cell systems, a PureCell® Model 200, has racked up more than 52,000 operating hours with its original stack, generating more than 10 million kilowatt hours at St. Agnes Hospital in Bocholt, Germany. The 500-bed hospital installed the fuel cell in 2000 to meet bigger power demands due to new medical equipment and also provides heating and air conditioning and hot water. Availability has been as high as 97%, UTC Power said. The company has installed more than 250 stationary systems for customers in 19 ...
Briefly Noted: Big Order for Ceramic Fuel Cells
Ceramic Fuel Cells Ltd., Noble Park, Victoria, Australia, says it has won what appears to be a stunningly large order: 50,000 of its 2kW micro-combined heat-and-power solid oxide fuel cells, ordered by Nuon, Holland’s largest energy company. The news came in a late-February presentation by Ceramic managing director Brendan Dow in which he also said the company was spending Euro 12.4 million ($19.6 million) for leasing and refurbishing an existing building in Leinsberg, Germany, on the Dutch border, to manufacture the units. Ceramic Fuel Cells first announced the plant project, aided by ...
Briefly Noted: U.S. Power Plant CO2 Increase
Based on analysis of data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Washington, DC-based non-profit, non-partisan Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) says carbon dioxide emissions from U.S. power plants climbed 2.7% last year, the biggest single-year increase since 1998. Described as the single largest factor in U.S. climate change pollution now, the electric power industry’s carbon dioxide emissions have risen 5.9% since 2002 and 11.7% since 1997, the organization says. The ten states with the biggest one-year increases are Texas, Georgia, Arizona, California, Pennsylvania, ...
A schematic depiction of Eden Energy's SMES device. Eden Energy Proposes LH2/ Superconducting Magnet Onboard Energy Storage Device
LITTLETON, CO – A small clean-energy company here that is working in fields as diversified as cryogenics and hydrogen as well as near-zero emission hydrogen-and-natural gas blends is proposing an innovative on-board electric energy storage system that straddles both. Eden Energy, Ltd., a subsidiary of Hythane Co. LLC, has been granted a patent for what it calls a superconductivity magnetic energy storage system (SMES). Boiled down to its essentials (if that’s the word in this superchilly context), the proposed device stores electric energy created by regenerative braking in a ...
DoE News: Research Council, GAO Commend DoE’s H2 Work, But Point to Problems, Issues
WASHINGTON, DC – Two recent assessments of the U.S. Energy Department’s transportation-related hydrogen energy efforts by the National Research Council (NRC) and by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) generally approve what’s been done and how it has advanced but they also point out problems and shortfalls and suggest some changes and improvements. Released last month, the latest NRC report on the public-private joint effort to develop hydrogen based vehicles, FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership, generally applauded DoE’s work. The project - a collaboration of DoE, ...
Virgin Offers Fuel Cell Equinox Limos to Upper Class Flyers at LA Airport, Later in NY
SOUTH NORWALK, CT – Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic Airways is moving into virgin territory (ugh) with its announcement last month that it will use initially three hydrogen-fueled Chevrolet Equinox fuel cell SUVs to ferry top-dollar Upper Class passengers to and from Los Angeles International Airport. Virgin’s U.S. headquarters here also said it expects to offer the same eco-friendly limo service in New York City later this year. “Partnerships such as this with General Motors show that we are pioneering in the aviation industry when it comes to reducing ...
Nuclear Energy is No Help in Global Climate Problem, Carnegie Expert Tells Congress
WASHINGTON, DC - Nuclear energy is not a realistic solution to the problems of global climate change, a nuclear energy and weapons expert told Congress last month. Testifying March 12 before the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, Sharon Squassoni, a senior associate in the Carnegie Endowment’s nonproliferation program said, among other things, that the world would have to build 25 700 GWe nuclear reactors every year to achieve only one-seventh of the desired cutback of greenhouse gas emission growth. Squassoni has investigated nonproliferation, arms ...
CARB Board Changes ZEV Numbers, Hopes to Gain Time For Wide Launch
SACRAMENTO, CA – Befuddled, bothered and bewildered: That seems to be the general reaction among many of the players and observers to the decision late last month by California’s Air Resources Board (ARB) to change the number of zero-emitting cars required in the next decade. ARB’s press release announcing the board’s decision artfully dodged the contentious key question - how many ZEVS? - by saying the board voted to triple the number of ZEVs required by major carmakers to produce in the 2012-2014 time from 2,500, as proposed by ARB’s staff, to 7,500. What the ...
Fast Forward: Wall Street Journal Story's Accuracy Disputed
“Bob got trapped,” was the curt comment by a General Motors research executive accompanying an internal company e-mail disputing the accuracy of a March 5 Wall Street Journal story from the Geneva Auto Show. That report said top GM and Toyota executives Bob Lutz and Katsuaki Watanabe, respectively, expressed doubts in separate interviews about the viability of hydrogen fuel cells for mass market production and that recent advances in lithium-ion batteries might be better, permitting ranges of 300 miles before recharging. What made matters worse was the fact that Technology Review ...
Fuel Industry, Governments Must Step Up to Plate, GM’s Burns Tells NHA Conference
SACRAMENTO, CA – A hydrogen fueling infrastructure for wide use of fuel cell-powered electric cars, trucks and buses can be commercially viable, and in the long term, customers “will not have to pay more per mile than they do for gasoline today.” That, in a nutshell, is the argument General Motors makes in a new study, “Hydrogen Fueling Infrastructure Assessment,” presented by R&D vice president Larry Burns during the National Hydrogen Association’s (NHA) annual hydrogen conference in the Sacramento Convention Center March 30-April 3. Burns mentioned the ...
The Sintesi's clam shell doors swing upward and out, presumably to make it easier to get in and out of the low-slung four-seater. Geneva Auto Show (cont.’d): Nuvera-Powered Sintesi Concept Says Fuel Cells Can be Sexy
GENEVA - Ah, Bella Italia (and we don’t mean the pretty woman behind the wheel): If that other fuel cell car unveiled last month in Geneva, Morgan’s LIFECar, demonstrated fuel cell efficiency in a two-seater sports car (H&FCL March 08), Italian automotive designer Pininfarina’s sleek Sintesi concept showed what’s possible in terms of an intelligent as well as esthetically pleasing overall concept. The distribution of drivetrain components around the four passengers, made possible by electric fuel cell technology rather than the standard practice of fitting the ...

March 2008

CORRECTION
The last issue published in February carried the wrong date: It should have been February 2008 (not 2007, as printed). Apologies to librarians and others concerned with keeping track of issues and dates.
Transitions
Prof. Joachim Luther, former director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, Freiburg, Germany, has been appointed CEO of the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS) which was founded last month as part of the National University of Singapore...........Hydrogen Engine Center, the Algona, IA-based developer of hydrogen i.c. engines, has named Don Vanderbrook, until now chief operating officer, as its new president and CEO. He replaces founder Ted Hollinger who will now be chief science officer and who will focus on advanced product development. Separately, the ...
Events
The “Washington International Renewable Energy Conference” (WIREC), coordinated by the U.S. State Department with other Federal departments and agencies, will be March 4-6 at the Washington Convention Center, Washington, DC. Details: ACORE, Jim Pierobon pierobon@acore.org; 202/3923-0001 ext. 7587; State Department, Matt Cassetta 202/647-6828, cassettamv@state.gov. The “Sun and Sense - 7th International Conference Solar Energy in Architecture and Urban Planning,” will be held March 11-14 in Berlin, Germany. Details: EURO SOLAR, +49/228/36 2373 & 36 2375; ...
Briefly Noted: Linde Group
The Linde Group, Germany’s leading industrial gas company based in Munich, has signed a contract with German chemical manufacturer BASF to build a large hydrogen plant for BASF’s facility in Ludwigshafen. The turnkey plant will increase the facility’s capacity by 50,000 standard cubic meters/hour to be piped to the chemical maker’s internal hydrogen pipeline network. It is scheduled to be completed by September next year. Linde has built more than 200 plants of this type worldwide. Contact: Linde media, Stefan Metz, +49/89 35757-1322.
Briefly Noted: Quantum Hydrogen Hybrid Sales
Irvine, CA-based Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide, Inc. says it has received an order for four more Ford Escape Hydrogen Hybrid vehicles from the U.S. Army’s Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC), Warren, MI. The contract will be administered by Aerospace Engineering Spectrum, Ogden, UT. In all, the army has ordered eleven copies of the vehicle so far. They will be used for demonstration and use as administrative fleet vehicles at military facilities in North America. Contact: Quantum, Andy Abele, 949-399-4527, aabele@qtww.com.
Briefly Noted: Airbus Moves
Airbus which a couple of decades ago was making waves by promoting liquid hydrogen as aviation fuel with its “Cryoplane” concept(The Hydrogen Letter April 89, Aug. 92, Oct. 93, H&FCL June 95) but never got around to actually flying one, is inching sideways again towards hydrogen but also other alternative fuels, according to various media reports. In one recent example, the company’s new flagship, the humongous doubledecker A380 flew between England and France with one engine running on a synthetic gas-to-liquid jet fuel produced from hydrogen-rich synthesis gas via the ...
Briefly Noted: Hybrid Vehicles Paper
A long academically-oriented paper published late last year in Europe casts doubt on whether the current interest in hybrid vehicles will survive in the long run. The paper, “hybrid vehicles: a temporary step,” published in the quarterly International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management (Vol. 7, No. 4, 2007), by Jean-Jacques Chanaron and Julius Teske, questions “whether the current strong acceptance of the technology, especially by US customers, is of sustainable nature.” Chanaron, research director in the French National Centre for Scientific Research and ...
Briefly Noted: Ballard Deals
Two new deals for the new, post-automotive, Ballard Power Systems company: The Vancouver company has signed a five-year agreement with bus manufacturer New Flyer, Winnipeg, to provide fuel cells for shuttle buses. As part of the arrangement, New Flyer will design and manufacture a shuttle bus specifically for an existing Ballard fuel cell design. Both companies will cooperate in marketing efforts, aimed initially on publicly-funded transit agency shuttle bus programs. Earlier, the company announced what it says is its first strategic foray with a European systems integrator, a two-year ...
Briefly Noted: MTI MicroFuel Cells
MTI MicroFuel Cells, Albany, NY unveiled this functional new direct methanol fuel cell-powered prototype handgrip for extended operations for digital single-lens reflex cameras at the 4th International Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Expo in Tokyo last month. The handgrip which looks similar to commercially available batttery pack handgrips for most digital SLRs, with its Mobion micro fuel cell technology it’s claimed to provide twice the energy of currently available ones. The unit’s fuel reservoir can be refilled with methanol for instant re-powering. Other examples of Mobion-based ...
Briefly Noted: "Science" Biofuel Papers
Two significant papers published back-to-back last month in “Science” underscored strongly, if indirectly, the case for hydrogen as carbon-free chemical fuel. They cast significant doubt on the usefulness of biofuels in combating global heating and concluded these may be as much or more of a greenhouse gas menace as today’s gasoline and diesel. The New York Times, in a Feb. 8 story on the papers, in fact headlined its story with “Studies Call Biofuels a Greenhouse Threat.” The papers published Feb. 7 titled “Use of U.S. Croplands for Biofuels Increases ...
Compressed H2 Tube Trailer Crashes in Connecticut; Driver Injured, Nobody Else
MIDDLEBURY, CT – The Hindenburg Syndrome is alive and well and surfaced last month in Connecticut: A tube trailer truck carrying compressed hydrogen gas in 64 pressure tubes crashed last month on Interstate 84 here, plunging down an embankment in the center median because, according to media reports quoting local police, the driver had fallen asleep. Aside from what looked almost like overblown worries caused by lack of familiarity with what was described as the “highly volatile” hydrogen gas, there were no injuries other than the driver’s which were described as ...
National Hydrogen Association Launches “H2 and You” Education Drive
WASHINGTON, DC - First announced a little less than a year ago, the National Hydrogen Association’s Hydrogen Education Foundation has launched a nationwide campaign to educate the public about hydrogen (H&FCL April 07). The new program called “H2 and You” includes a targeted public relations effort and a new information website, www.H2andYou.org, as principal components. The program is run largely by a Chicago-based marketing firm, the Zocalo Group. Several large companies heavily involved in hydrogen and fuel cell technology development such as General Motors, Shell ...
Help is on the way: A Deutsche Telekom service technician en route to a customer on his fuel cell Cargobike. Telekom Phone Company Tests Fuel Cell Cargobikes for its Service Technicians
BERLIN – Germany’s phone and communications company Deutsche Telekom is reading the signs of the times: Telekom has begun testing 14 fuel cell powered Cargobike three-wheelers as environmentally benign transportation for its service technicians here in Berlin. The company says the bikes are cleaner, produce no carbon dioxide, soot, fine particles or noise. First introduced as concept three years ago (H&FCL March 05), the Cargobike is powered by a 250 W PEM fuel cell mated to an electronic transmission. It has a range of up to 250 km (156 miles) on one cartridge holding 90 grams ...
H2 Could Cut Europe’s Oil Use 40%, Says Study; Germany Starts Nat’l H2 Organization
BRUSSELS/BERLIN - A new European Union-funded study says launching hydrogen as fuel could reduce European oil consumption by 40% by 2050, and the German government last month gave the green light to the country’s new national hydrogen organization NOW. “Climate change and the decline in fossil energy supplies are breathing down the necks of politics and business,” summarized Dr. Ulrich Schmidtchen the situation during the annual press conference of the German Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association (DWV). Release of the findings of the HyWays study, “European Hydrogen ...
Gggrrowwwllll - except it'll probably purr: a computer-generated image of Morgan's prototype fuel cell LIFECar which, as an electric, is likely to be very quiet. No actual pictures of the car were obtainable at the time of writing because the car was still being readied for the Geneva Auto Show. Classic Sportscar Builder Morgan Launches Ultra-Efficient Fuel Cell Prototype LIFECar
GENEVA – “A car that’s fun to drive - a proper sports car.” That’s not the image that immediately comes to mind when describing a hydrogen-fueled fuel cell vehicle. But that’s what Charles Morgan, strategy director for the maker of those quintessentially British classic sports cars, Morgan Motor Co., says about the tiny company’s newest and most avant-garde product of a long and distinguished line of hand-built two- and four-seaters, the hybrid fuel cell LIFECar which is making its debut this month at the March 6-16 Geneva Motor Show. At the time of ...
Fast Forward: FutureGen Plans, No H2 Co-Production
Co-generation of hydrogen in the embattled FutureGen ultra-clean coal fired power plant (H&FCL Feb. 08) is apparently off the agenda, as far as the Energy Department is concerned. Earlier media reports said DoE, concerned over wildly escalating costs, was pulling the plug on the plant that was supposed to be built in Mattoon, IL producing both electricity and hydrogen. However, DoE is taking a new look, evidently without hydrogen co-production: A Request for Information on how to restructure FutureGen, issued by DoE in January, is asking for input and public comment from interested parties ...
Summary of DoE's 2009 Hydrogen Fuel Initiative budget request. DoE News: Renewable H2 & Manufacturing R&D are Cut from DoE ‘09 Hydrogen Budget Request
WASHINGTON, DC – There’s bad news, and there’s more bad news, and then there’s a bit of good news. That would be one way of describing the Energy Department’s proposed 2009 budget request for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), DoE’s Grand Central for hydrogen and fuel cell research and development. Two main items setting off anguished howls in the North American hydrogen and fuel cell community is the outright elimination of funding for two key categories, renewable hydrogen production and research and development leading to ...
Nanoptek's field-deployable solar hydrogen generator. Startup Builds, Deploys Commercial Solar H2Generator; PSU Team Researches System
MAYNARD, MA - The dream of splitting water directly and efficiently with sunlight is moving closer to reality with a new device that combines nanotechnology insights with ground-breaking photoelectrochemical discoveries three decades ago. And it’s not just research any more: John Guerra, the founder and CEO of Nanoptek, a small startup here, expects to deploy and start operating fairly soon - Guerra won’t be pinned down to a firm date - its first solar hydrogen generator that will produce hydrogen at lower costs and more efficiently than other previously tried direct ...

February 2008

Transitions
The international hydrogen community is greatly saddened to learn about the untimely passing away of Prof. Tapan Bose on January 24, a widely known and respected researcher, academic and executive. He was 69. At the time of his death he was president of Hydrogen Engine Center Canada, the Canadian division of the Algona, IA-based manufacturer of hydrogen i.c. engines, and he was eastern vice chair of the Canadian Hydrogen Association. He was founder and former chairman of the Hydrogen Research Institute at the University of Quebec at Trois-Rivieres; three years ago the university honored him ...
H&FCL Editor to Speak at Utah Symposium
SALT LAKE CITY, UT – The editor of this newsletter, Peter Hoffmann, is among the invited speakers on the subject of “Alternative Energy: Seeking Climate Change Solutions” March 7-8 at the Wallace Stegner Center for Land, Resources and the Environment’s 13th Annual Symposium of the University of Utah’s S. J. Quinney College of Law, Salt Lake City, Utah. Keynote speaker is renowned author Bill McKibben who wrote the first book on climate change for a general audience, “The End of Nature,” in 1989, followed by several others, most recently “Deep Economy, ...
Events
The next meeting of the “California Hydrogen Business Council” will be held Feb. 1, 2008 at the offices of American Honda Motor Co., Torrance, CA. Details: Catherine Rips, 760/341-2924, www.CaliforniaHydrogen.org. The “Power-Gen Renewable Energy & Fuels” conference is scheduled for Feb. 19-21 2008 at the Rio Casino & Resort, Las Vegas, NV. Details: Kay Baker, +1-918-831-9102, pgreevent@pennwell.com; www.power-gengreen.com. WestStart-CALSTART’s “Clean Heavy Duty Vehicle Conference” will be held Feb. 20-22 at the Hilton San Diego Resort, San Diego, CA. ...
Briefly Noted: Biofuels Protest and Call for Moratorium
Concerned that the widening use of biofuels and agrofuels may contribute to food shortages and not help to alleviate climate problems caused by the burning of fossil fuels, five activist organizations are calling for a moratorium on agrofuels. The announcement late last month during a press conference by speakers from Rainforest Action Network (RAN), the Student Trade Justice Campaign, Food First and Grassroots International in front of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco office urged a moratorium on all incentives and renewable fuels targets for agrofuels in federal energy ...
Briefly Noted: ECOtality Moves Fuel Cell Store to California
ECOtality, the Scottsdale, AZ-based renewable energy company, has moved the Fuel Cell Store, the company it acquired last summer (H&FCL July 07), from Boulder, CO to San Diego. It will share warehouse and operational facilities there with Innergy Power Corp., a designer and maker of thin sealed rechargeable lead batteries and flat-panel multi-crystalline solar modules that ECOtality acquired in September 2007. Contact: Lisa Goodwin, Blanc & Otus PR, 415/856-5113, lgoodwin@blancandotus.com.
Briefly Noted: MTI Microfuel Cells Developmental Pilot Line
Albany, NY-based MTI MicroFuel Cells Inc. says it has launched its new developmental pilot production as the first “in a number of steps......to further our of manufacturing readiness in 2008, an important precursor for high-volume manufacturing,” said CEO Peng Lim. The company is producing complete systems of its Mobion® methanol-fueled micro fuel cell technology for customer testing, including the U.S. Energy Department which last year contributed $1 million to the company’s commercialization efforts. The Albany Times Union said in a Jan. 9 online story that the company ...
Briefly Noted: Quantum Buys Into Solar Company and Launches Slick Plug-In Hybrid
Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide, Inc., the Irvine, CA company best known for compressed gaseous hydrogen storage tanks and metering systems, lithium ion batteries as well as alternative fuel vehicles such as Toyota hybrid Priuses converted to hydrogen, is branching out again: The company announced last month it has bought 25% of ASOLA Advanced and Automotive Solar Systems GmbH, a German solar energy technology company that develops and manufactures photovoltaic modules for various applications, including commercial, residential and automotive. ASOLA is profitable, according to ...
Briefly Noted: HydroGen Corp. Cooperation with Samsung
HydroGen Corp., the Cleveland, OH-based developer and builder of 400 kW phosphoric acid fuel cell (PAFC) power plants, has signed a series of cooperation agreements with Korea’s Samsung Corp. which makes Samsung the sole distributor of HydroGen’s hydrogen-fueled plants in Asia, the Middle East and certain other regions that is to run through 2015. The deal also includes a non-binding Letter of Intent for the sale of an initial 5 MW fuel cell power plant. Both companies will cooperate in this effort, and HydroGen has agreen to produce within six months the design for a ...
Briefly Noted: Fuel Cell Commercialization is For Real Now
Fuel cell commercialization got underway in earnest last year internationally, reports the UK online news service Fuel Cell Today in its 2008 Industry Review, released at the end of January. The report says the industry has seen an astonishing 75% increase in delivery of new units, with some 12,000 new fuel cells shipped last year. The authors believe global manufacturing capacity is hovering around 100,000 units annually. The paper says government funding for fuel cell RD&D was more than £500 million ($1 billion) last year, with seven countries accounting for the biggest share with ...
Briefly Noted: CALSTART Fuel Cell Bus Development Contracts
Pasadena, CA-based CALSTART, the advanced transportation technology organization, has helped secure and launch $24 million worth of contracts with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for five major fuel cell bus development projects as part of its overall hydrogen pathways strategy. The projects, announced at the end of last month, involve several fuel cell and drive systems developers, three transit districts and three major busmakers, with the FTA providing half the funding and the private companies contribute the rest. The five are: SunLine Transit Agency‘s American Fuel ...
Briefly Noted: New NIST Hydrogen Pipeline Testing Lab
Testing hydrogen pipelines: the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is starting construction of a new laboratory that will evaluate tests, materials, mechanical properties and standards for hydrogen pipelines. Construction of the 750 sq. ft. laboratory on the site of a former hydrogen test facility on the NIST campus in Boulder, CO is just getting underway, NIST said in a release last month. Experiments will involve, among other things, immersing pipeline materials in pressurized hydrogen gas in steel alloy test chambers, including one the size of a small automobile gas ...
Briefly Noted: Ballard Automotive Sale is Official
It’s official: Ballard Power Systems’ shareholders have overwhelmingly approved the sale of the company’s automotive fuel cell business to Daimler AG and Ford Motor Co., first reported near the end of last year (H&FCL Dec. 07). Both companies will set up a new entity, Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation Corp. in which Ballard will still have a 20% interest, according to last November’s announcement. Contact: Ballard, Rebecca Young, 604/454-0900, www.ballard.com.
Briefly Noted: Global Warming Record
It’s getting warmer: The year 2007 tied for second warmest behind the record warmest year of 2005 relative to the 1951-1980 base period, analysis from the Goddard Institute for Space Studies show. James Hansen, probably the best known climate researcher in the country, wrote in mid-January in another of his regular e-mail circulars to colleagues and other interested persons that the “remarkable” increase of 0.2 deg. C “is noteworthy because it occurs at a time when solar irradiance is at a minimum and the equatorial Pacific Ocean is in the cool phase of its natural El ...
Fast Forward: New National German H2 Organization
A formal announcement of the creation of a national organization for hydrogen and fuel cell technology in Germany is expected any day now. In the works for several months, setting up NOW (for “Nationale Organisation Wasserstoff- und Brennstoffzellentechnologie”) had been hoped for by Christmas but it didn’t quite work out that way, in part because of organizational issues but also financial ones under discussion for some time in the budget committee of the German parliament, the Bundestag. Still, Ulrich Kasparick, the parliamentary state secretary in the Federal Transportation ...
Fast Forward: FutureGenTroubles
It’s not official, but an Associated Press item in the Jan. 30 New York Times reports the Energy Department is pulling the plug on the ultra-clean fossil-fired FutureGen power plant that’s supposed to be built in Mattoon, IL (H&FCL Jan. 08) producing both electricity and hydrogen. According to the AP story, this is what DoE officials told Federal lawmakers in a private meeting. The officials would not say anything about the department’s plans, but indicated it would make an announcement. DoE is supposed to pick up three-fourths of the plant’s cost, the brainchild of an ...
The Horizon/Millennium Cell HydroPak portable power generator. Hydrogen Cell Phone, Recharging Unit Debut at Vegas Consumer Electronics Show
LAS VEGAS, NV – Two hydrogen energy products that look closer to commercial reality - a low-power fuel cell recharger and a fuel cell-powered cell phone - than the usual “breakthrough” announcements were on display at the Consumer Electronics Show Jan. 7-10 here. One of them even offered a suggested retail price, almost unheard of in the annals of promoting not-quite-ready-yet-for-prime-time fuel cell products. The one coming out with an expected retail price of $400 for the system plus $20 for disposable fueling cartridges is the HydroPakTM portable power generator, a ...
Chrysler's new ecoVoyager on display at the Detroit Auto Show. Chrysler, General Motors Show New Fuel Cell Concept Cars at Detroit Auto Show
DETROIT, MI – There were a number of greenish cars with hybrid or other carbonaceous fuel-sipping features on display at the North American International Auto Show here last month, but only two fuel cell concept cars emblematic of things to come, hopefully. The more interesting of the two was Chrysler’s fuel cell hybrid ecoVoyager, a stubbily rounded elegant four-seat crossover with lots of interior space in a 191-inch long body and big wheels at the four corners. With no discernible engine compartment or trunk, the compact design was made possible by the emergence of new ...
California H2 Station Closures, Failure to Move Ahead On New Ones Worries Supporters
SACRAMENTO, CA – California’s stature as a global leader in clean transportation may be dented in an imbroglio over the decision by a major utility and two other institutions not to build three more planned hydrogen fueling stations in the state. The situation is exacerbated by the recent closure of three other stations, putting at risk Gov. Schwarzenegger’s vision - and promise - of a Hydrogen Highway with 100 stations by 2010 running the length of the state. William Craven, general manager for regulatory affairs for Mercedes Benz of North America, blames this on a ...
A City of the Future: a computer-generated image of Masdar City by the firm of British architect Sir Norman Foster. Abu Dhabi Commits $15 Billion to Alternative Energy, Launches Hydrogen Power Plant
ABU DHABI, UAE - What’s described as the most ambitious government sustainability program ever - $15 billion in initial investments targeting solar, wind and hydrogen power; carbon reduction and management - was unveiled by this Persian Gulf emirate last month. In the works for several months and announced in the opening ceremony of the Jan. 21-23 World Future Energy Summit here, this huge, apparently open-ended investment effort will also include funding for sustainable development, education, manufacturing, and research and development via the Masdar Initiative, an undertaking ...
The systems layout of the fuel cell hybrid Green Goat switch locomotive. BNSF Railway & Vehicle Projects Develop Hybrid Fuel Cell Switch Locomotive
TOPEKA, KS/DENVER, CO – If everything goes according to plan, the biggest, heaviest land fuel cell vehicle built to date - a 127 ton hybrid railyard switch locomotive - will start field testing some time later this year. The experimental project involves the conversion of a 200 kW hybrid diesel-electric powered Green Goat(TM) railyard switcher to a 250 kW PEM fuel cell power plant built by one of the consortium’s 11 members, Ballard Power Systems, of Vancouver, BC. Peak power needs of more than one MW, needed in shunting around rail cars and trains in rail yards, are met by a set ...

January 2008

Transitions
The U.S. Energy Department’s JoAnn Milliken is the department’s new program manager for the agency’s hydrogen program in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). Milliken was appointed July 9th last year, but there was no public announcement except for a memo announcing her new position which circulated within the agency. Previously, Milliken was acting program manager from June 2006 until February 2007 after which she returned to her earlier position of chief engineer because of DoE’s rule of limiting acting program manager appointments to 240 days. ...
Events
A “Military Energy Alternatives” conference will be held Jan 8-10, 2008 at the Sheraton Hotel, Crystal City, VA. Contact: Sami Chacra, 514/289-9700, x 261; samic@marcusevansmo.com. The “8th National Conference on Science, Policy and the Environment - Climate Change: Science and Solutions” conference will be held Jan. 16-18 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, DC. Details:202/530-5810, www.NCSEonline.org/2008conference. An “Investing in Energy MLPs” (Master Limited Partnerships) conference is scheduled for Jan. 28-29 at ...
Briefly Noted: Demand for NonReactive BOP Parts
The demand for non-reactive components for fuel cell balance of plant systems is expected to climb to $326 million by 2012 at a compound average annual growth rate of 18.8%, says a new market analysis by BCC Research, Wellesley, MA. This compares with an estimated total market of about $138 million last year, according to the report issued last fall. Materials and instrument suppliers are “positioning themselves early to gain a competitive edge in the rapidly growing development of fuel cell technology,” the market research firm said in the report. “Interest in this market ...
Briefly Noted: U-Mass Chemical Bonding Center
The University of Massachusetts Amherst has launched a new Fueling the Future Chemical Bonding Center, a research facility that will function as part of the already existing Massachusetts Center for Renewable Energy and Science Technology. The new facility will investigate specifically the movement of hydrogen protons inside a fuel cell during electricity generation, hopefully leading to improved fuel cell designs. The center is funded by a $1.5 million phase one grant from the National Science Foundation and initially it will include eight UMass professors on its staff. Source: Amherst ...
Briefly Noted: PNNL's Sulphur-Free Portable SOFC
DoE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) has designed and built a portable 5 kW solid oxide fuel cell with integrated sulfur removal and fuel reforming that can directly use JP-8 or other commercially available liquid fuels such as diesel, biodiesel, gasoline. The unit is modular and is primarily intended for military operations where stealth and low noise and heat signatures are important, but its designers see other applications such as on-board auxiliary power for long-haul commercial trucks. The unique catalytic hydrodesulfurization process developed at PNNL removes ...
Briefly Noted: More Hydrogen Stations
More Hydrogen Fueling Stations: The latest addition to the North American string of fueling stations that’s expected to open next month is a compressed hydrogen gas station at the Naval Facilities Engineering Service Center in Port Hueneme, CA, a First for the Navy. It will produce hydrogen from natural gas. Primary user will be the Marine Corps Southwest Region Fleet Transportation operation, and the station will be part of California’s Hydrogen Highway Network. Further north, Canada’s BC Transit in British Columbia has signed a Can. $20 million contract with Air Liquide ...
Briefly Noted: Bruce Power Looks at Hydrogen
Bruce Power, the Ontario-based utility which operates Canada’s largest nuclear plant, will study the potential of converting off-peak nuclear electricity generated by new nuclear power plants it plans to build in the Peace Country region of northwestern Alberta. The news came as part of a Nov. 29 Bruce release in which the utility announced plans to buy “certain assets” of Energy Alberta Corp., a private Calgary company that had planned to build a nuclear reactor in northern Alberta. Bruce, which is majority-owned by the big Calgary, Alberta-based pipeline company TransCanada ...
Briefly Noted: Fuel Cell Lake Steamer
Keel-laying ceremonies last month marked the beginning of construction of what’s described as the world’s first fuel cell-powered lake “steamer” (literally: fuel cells emit only steam) for the German port city of Hamburg. If all goes according to plan, the 100-passenger “Zemship” (for zero emission ship) will start ferrying tourists around Hamburg’s Alster Lake and connecting waterways in and around Hamburg this summer. The vessel will be powered by two 50 kW PEM fuel cells built by Proton Motor Fuel Cell GmbH, Puchheim, Germany, and linked in a hybrid ...
Briefly Noted: SF Airport Hythane Shuttle Buses
San Francisco International Airport plans to convert 14 shuttle buses to hythane fuel, a mixture of 20% hydrogen and 80% natural gas. Working with the Hythane Co. Littleton, CO and alternative fuel developer BAF Technologies, Dallas, TX, the airport has received a $499,800 advanced technologies demonstration program grant from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District for the project. The grant will help underwrite conversion of existing gasoline- and diesel-fueled shuttle buses used to ferry passengers and crews to parking lots and hotels. Hythane, developed and patented by hydrogen ...
Briefly Noted: Solar Steam Storage
In what’s described as a technological First, scientists at the German Aerospace Research Center (DLR) have managed for the first time to operate an efficient storage system for solar-generated steam at the Spanish solar energy test center, the Plataforma Solar de Almeria, Europe’s biggest solar energy research facility. The advance was made possible with the use of so-called latency storage materials in which certain materials undergo a phase change - for example, from solid to liquid, according to a November report in the German online publication “energieportal24.” The ...
Briefly Noted: Presidential Climate Action Plan
A team of experts and former and current public officials, including former U.S. Sen. Gary Hart (D-CO), have launched a detailed action plan for the next president to assert leadership on global warming within 100 days of taking office. Called the Presidential Climate Action Plan (PCAP), it is described as the most comprehensive plan for national climate action yet put forth. “As most Americans now realize, global climate change is very real,” Hart who co-chairs the group’s advisory committee, said. “The national discussion today is not about if we should reduce ...
Book Review: Smelling Land: The Hydrogen Defense Against Climate Catastrophe
Smelling Land opens with an eighteenth century seafaring tale of a cabin boy who repeatedly warns his captain to change course, claiming he can smell land nearby. The boy is first ignored, then hanged for his insolence, upon which the ship promptly runs aground. David Sanborn Scott’s new book uses the idea of smelling land while at sea as a metaphor for looking at familiar things from a new perspective, an act that brings with it both opportunity and danger. Scott’s mission in Smelling Land is to deconstruct our relationship with energy down to its most basic principles, then use ...
Hyundai’s Fuel Cell Tucson Sweeps Bibendum Environmental Categories
SHANGHAI – Hydrogen and fuel cell vehicles all scored top ratings in CO2 emissions in the 2007 Michelin Challenge Bibendum in the environmental part of this eco-competition here, with one of Hyundai’s entries sweeping all four environmental tests. Hyundai’s prototype hydrogen fuel cell Tucson FCEV was rated A in the categories of noise, local pollutants, fuel efficiency, and tank-to-tire carbon dioxiode emissions. Hyundai’s second Tucson entry fared slightly worse, earning B’s in noise and fuel efficiency. The only other vehicles winning four straight A’s ...
NREL Team is Wiring Together Enzymes via Nanotubes As Possible Fuel Cell Catalysts
GOLDEN, CO - Precious metal catalysts, essential for producing hydrogen by splitting water and recombining it in fuel cells with oxygen for electricity production, may pose yet another bottleneck in future energy supply scenarios by being both relatively scarce and increasingly expensive. Platinum, for instance, needed in minuscule amounts to make fuel cells run, has almost quintupled from an average of $361 per ounce in the first half of 1999 to $1,521 at the end of 2007, according to precious metal market data published on the Internet. Now, a team of seven researchers led by Michael J. ...
Fast Forward: FutureGen Clean Coal Power Plant
Mattoon, IL is to be the home of the futuristic near-zero-emissions coal-fired $1.5 billion FutureGen power plant - or is it? Last month, the Washington-based FutureGen Alliance (H&FCL June 06), a non-profit group that assembles 14 of some of the world’s largest coal companies (including a Chinese one) and electric utilities under one umbrella, announced it had picked the small town in central Illinois as the site for the new facility, beating out another Illinois and two Texas towns. The plant, described variously as a research or demonstration project, is projected to be built in ...
Bus Designers, Fuel Cell Developer Unveil New Tribrid - Triple Hybrid - Fuel Cell Systems
ANAHEIM, CA/PUCHHEIM, GERMANY – There’s a new word in the international vocabulary of transportation hybrid fuel cell technology: The tribrid, or triple hybrid. A Welsh developing group described its 16-passenger tribrid minibus here last month at the International Electrical Vehicle Symposium. And a month before that, German fuel cell developer Proton Motor Fuel Cell GmbH unveiled its triple hybrid forklift during inauguration festivities marking the company’s move to new facilities in Puchheim. The 16-passenger bus which is based on a commercial Iveco design, has an ...
DoE News: Congress Passes, Bush Signs Energy & Omnibus Bills With Sizeable Alternative Energy Funding
WASHINGTON, DC – Alternative and renewable energies did pretty well in two major pieces of legislation - the massive $555 billion Omnibus spending bill and the new Energy bill which merely authorizes future spending but does not provide any actual funds - that moved through Congress just before Christmas. And while the energy bill included some significant advances - the widely reported increase in automobile fuel efficiency standards to 35 miles/gallon by 2020 from the current 27.5 CAFÉ standard and phasing out of the inefficient incandescent light bulb by 2012 - it still left ...
These three squares superimposed on this map of North Africa indicate the areas required to produce sufficient electricity from solar thermal plants, according to data provided by the German Aerospace Center DLR: biggest square, left, is land area required to provide electricity for the entire world ("Welt"); the smaller middle square indicates land needed to supply 25 member states of the European Union ("EU-25"); and the smallest square, right, shows land required to meet German needs. The scale, bottom left, measures 1,000 kilometers. (Map is part of TREC-DESERTEC briefing backgrounder). White Paper Outlines Apollo-Size Solar Plan for Europe, Middle East, North Africa
BRUSSELS – A loose coalition of 60 international scientists, public servants and specialists is proposing a giant plan for tapping solar power in the sunbelt regions of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa that they say could be launched in seven years with a startup cost of Euro 10 billion ($14.65 billion). This Apollo-sized proposal was presented to the European Parliament here and its president, Prof. Hans-Gert Poettering, at the end of November in a 60-page White Paper, “Clean Power from Deserts - The DESERTEC Concept for Energy, Water and Climate Security,” by ...
DoE News: Hydrogen: “Dammit, Do It” - Is Battle Cry at DoE H2/Fuel Cell Advisory Panel Meeting
CRYSTAL CITY, VA – “H Two, Dammit, Do it!” This was unarguably the most colorful, vocal expression of frustration with the glacially slow pace of hydrogen and fuel cells entering the energy marketplace uttered at the two-day meeting of the Energy Department’s Hydrogen and Fuel Technical Advisory Committee (HTAC) here last month. The initial remark from an audience member - “damn it, do it!” - heartily endorsed and amplified by HTAC co-chair Robert Walker into “H Two, dammit, do it!” came near the very end of the public comment period on Day Two of ...