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May 2007

May 31, 2007

President Bush Proposes Developing International Goal by End of 2008 for Greenhouse Gas Reduction

During a speech today focusing on the US international development agenda, President Bush announced that the US will work with other nations “to establish a new framework on greenhouse gas emissions for when the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.

The President proposed convening a series of meetings of the US and the other nations that produce the most greenhouse gases—including India and China—to develop by the end of 2008 a long-term global goal for greenhouse gas reduction. The end of 2008 is also the Administration’s current target for developing federal regulations that will reduce gasoline consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles. (Earlier post.)

In addition to this long-term global goal, each country would establish midterm national targets, and programs that reflect their own mix of energy sources and future energy needs. Over the course of the next 18 months, our nations would bring together industry leaders from different sectors of our economies, such as power generation and alternative fuels and transportation. These leaders will form working groups that will cooperate on ways to share clean energy technology and best practices.

It’s important to ensure that we get results, and so we will create a strong and transparent system for measuring each country’s performance. This new framework would help our nations fulfill our responsibilities under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The United States will work with all nations that are part of this convention to adapt to the impacts of climate change, gain access to clean and more energy-efficient technologies, and promote sustainable forestry and agriculture.

—President Bush

President Bush emphasized the importance that he places on technology, specifically noting work in solar and wind energy; advanced coal technologies; and nuclear energy. For the transportation sector, the President noted work being done with hybrids; plug-in hybrids; advanced diesel engines; biodiesel; cellulosic ethanol; and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles. He also referred to his proposed mandatory renewable fuel standard of 35 billion gallons annually by 2017. (Earlier post.)

The United States is taking the lead, and that’s the message I’m going to take to the G8... At the G8 Summit, I’m going to encourage world leaders to increase their own investments in research and development... I'm looking forward to discussing ways to encourage more investment in developing nations by making low-cost financing options for clean energy a priority of the international development banks.

We’re also going to work to conclude talks with other nations on eliminating tariffs and other barriers to clean energy technologies and services by the end of year. If you are truly committed to helping the environment, nations need to get rid of their tariffs, need to get rid of those barriers that prevent new technologies from coming into their countries. We’ll help the world’s poorest nations reduce emissions by giving them government-developed technologies at low cost, or in some case, no cost at all.

—President Bush

The President’s announcement came shortly after the US rejected the European Union’s two-degree target for climate change, whereby global temperatures would not be allowed to increase more than 2° C this century. Meeting that target would result in reductions in emissions of about 50% below 1990 levels by 2050.

The announcement also came in the wake of the publication of national data submitted to the UN Climate Change Secretariat showing that overall greenhouse gas emissions from G8 nations rose 2.0% from 2000 to 2005, and are up 0.7% since 1990, the Kyoto Protocol base year. Among G8 nations, Russia, Italy and Canada have all logged bigger increases than the 1.6% US gain since 2000.

The revival of the Russian economy after the collapse of the Soviet Union is a significant source of the increase. Only Britain, Germany and France have reduced greenhouse gas emissions since 2000. Since 1990, however, US emissions have increased 16.3%, the second worst behind Canada.

In a White House press conference following the speech, Jim Connaughton, Chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality, provided additional details regarding the Administration’s plan and approach.

The overall concept is to have a long-term “aspirational goal”, Connaughton said, with each country developing national strategies for the first phase of trying to meet the goal. Some of those national strategies may be regulatory and binding, some may not.

In those national strategies, I’ll give the American example. We now have mandatory fuel economy standards, and those are binding. We have mandatory renewable power standards at the state level; those are binding. The President has called on new fuel standards and new auto-efficiency standards. Europe is doing the same thing. They’ve got sort of a European direction, but each of the European member states sets their own binding national programs.

... China has made a national commitment to improve the energy efficiency of their economy by 20% by 2010. That’s a very consequential commitment. They’re going to achieve that through a wide array of programs. Some of them are quite dramatically regulatory. That’s exactly what we’d like to see China do, but they retain sovereignty—they get to decide on the right mix, rather than us telling them what the mix should be.

—Jim Connaughton, Chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality

Connaughton said that the US and Germany had been having a lengthy discussion on climate change and energy security that will result in a text coming out of the G8 Summit next week.

May 31, 2007 in Climate Change, Policy | Permalink | Comments (33) | TrackBack

Mazda Develops New Naturally-Aspirated MZR 1.3-liter Miller-cycle Engine; 20% Improvement in Fuel Economy

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The new engine will power the new Mazda2 (Demio).

Mazda Motor Corporation has developed a new, naturally aspirated MZR 1.3-liter Miller-cycle gasoline engine, which will power the all-new Demio (Mazda2 in non-Japanese markets) when it goes on sale in Japan in July 2007.

In combination with Mazda’s first continuously variable transmission (CVT), the engine enables the new Demio to offer a 10-15 mode fuel economy of 23.0 km/liter (4.3 l/100km or 54 mpg US), an improvement of approximately 20% over the 19.2 km/liter (5.2 l/100km, 45 mpg US) rating of the current 1.3-liter engine model.

Newly developed from the current MZR 1.3-liter DOHC aluminum engine, the naturally-aspirated MZR 1.3-liter Miller-cycle engine employs delayed closing of the intake valves in order to reduce pumping losses and improve thermal efficiency through a higher expansion ratio.

Intake valve timing is optimized by the Sequential Valve Timing System to provide improved fuel efficiency over the current MZR 1.3-liter engine when cruising and accelerating. In conjunction with the CVT, which transfers torque at low speeds without power loss and eliminates gear-shift shock, the setup achieves excellent fuel efficiency as well as good ride dynamics.

In addition to the new powertrain, the all-new Demio has been made approximately 100 kg lighter than its predecessor through weight reduction techniques, which have resulted in nimble handling and support for the significantly improved fuel economy.

The Demio model with the naturally aspirated MZR 1.3-liter Miller-cycle engine combined with the CVT transmission achieves a fuel economy that is rated as 20% or better than the level specified by Japan’s 2010 fuel economy standards. Exhaust emissions are also at least 75% lower than 2005 standards, which conforms to Japan’s Super Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicle (SU-LEV) standard and qualifies the Demio for Green Tax exemptions.

Separately, the day prior to the announcement of the new 1.3-liter engine, Mazda had celebrated the 40th anniversary of its first rotary engine. As of the end of April 2007, Mazda has manufactured approximately 1,970,000 rotary vehicles since production first began.

May 31, 2007 in Fuel Efficiency, Japan | Permalink | Comments (23) | TrackBack

Algae Biofuels Startup Lands $10M

Business Journal. Startup algae biofuels company LiveFuels received $10 million in a first round of funding led by David Gelbaum of the Quercus Trust, which donates to conservation advocacy and environmental organizations.

The company says its goal is to cost-effectively produce large amounts of oil derived from algae.

In 2006, the company established a research alliance with Sandia National Laboratory to focus on producing biocrude oil by the year 2010.

May 31, 2007 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Air Liquide to Supply Portable Hydrogen Fueling Systems to GM in the US; Linde Opens Hamburg Hydrogen Station

Air Liquide Advanced Technologies US, LLC will supply five, 700-bar, portable fast-fill hydrogen fueling systems to General Motors (GM) in the US. GM will also have an option to acquire two additional systems. The systems will be built in North America, with proprietary engineering designs from Air Liquide’s Advanced Technologies teams, and should be operational by the end of 2007.

The Air Liquide refueling stations are designed to allow vehicles to refuel in less than three minutes to cover a range of several hundred kilometers. The company has already designed, built and commissioned a number of hydrogen stations over the past five years, including in Madrid (bus fleet); Kawasaki; Luxembourg; Shanghai (a mobile station for the Michelin Challenge Bibendum); Singapore; and one for a European automobile manufacturer. Air Liquide has a permanent demonstration station in Sassenage (France).

This is Air Liquide’s second collaboration with GM related to hydrogen fueling. Air Liquide is also working with GM in Canada, having installed a fueling system at GM’s Cold Weather Testing site for hydrogen vehicles, in Kapuskasing, Ontario.

Separately, a  hydrogen filling station developed and built by Linde was officially put into service at the Hamburg, Germany airport. The transportable supply unit is used to fill two fuel-cell-driven STILL tractors and a people-carrier which will, in future, be in daily use at the airport.

The project, planned to last two years represents a partnership between the Hamburg Regional Initiative for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology, Hamburg Airport, Wasserstoffgesellschaft Hamburg and The Linde Group.

Airport applications are particularly suitable as pilot projects for developing a local hydrogen infrastructure. The clear cut operating range and the central refuelling predestine this application for the use of hydrogen as emission-free fuel.

—Dr. Joachim Wolf, Executive Director of Hydrogen Solutions at Linde

All the components of the filling station are built into a container only three metres long; the hydrogen is delivered by Linde in bundles of gas cylinders. Since the fuel-cell-driven tractors operate at an operating pressure of 350 bar and the people-carrier operates at 200 bar, two separate tapping systems are provided.

The entire installation is controlled by a programmable logic control which guarantees both automated filling and the highest possible standard of safety. The filling process takes seven minutes at most.

May 31, 2007 in Hydrogen | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

EPA Concludes Public Hearings on California Waiver for New Vehicle CO2 Regulations

The EPA yesterday held its second and final public hearing on California’s request for a federal waiver that would allow the state to proceed with implementing its law restricting emissions of greenhouse gases from light-duty vehicles starting in 2009. The eleven other states that have adopted California's measure will also be affected by the waiver decision.

More than 50 supporters of the waiver testified at the hearing, including politicians, Air Resource Board staff, scientists and representatives from big business (Sempra Energy and PG&E). Only two—both representatives of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers—argued against it.

It’s been many years since we’ve convened a waiver hearing in the state of California. This speaks to the importance we attach to this request. We also recognize the participation of other states. This is certainly a very serious undertaking.

—Chris Grundler, Deputy Director EPA Office of Transportation and Air Quality, and presiding officer at the hearing

The California regulation. In 2002, the California Assembly passed AB1493, which called for a reduction in combined greenhouse gas emissions (CO2, CH4, N2O and HFCs) from all vehicular sources (tailpipe, air conditioner) starting in model year 2009.

AB1493 maintains the two categories of light-duty vehicles used in California’s Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) II regulations: PC/LDT1 for passenger cars, and small trucks and SUVs; and LDT2/MDV for large trucks and SUVs. Work trucks are explicitly exempt from the GHG requirement.

AB1493 allows credit trading between the two categories and between manufacturers. It also offers an optional compliance mechanism for alternatively-fueled vehicles, and imposes less stringent requirements for small and intermediate volume manufacturers.

Following the passage of the bill, the issue was turned over to the California Air Resources Board (ARB) to determine the reduction targets, based on the ARB’s analysis of available and near-term technology and cost. After evaluating the options, in 2004 the ARB established limits that will result in approximately a 22% reduction in GHG emissions from new vehicles by 2012, and approximately a 30% reduction by 2016.

The regulatory background. In 1943, Los Angeles experienced its first major smog event. In 1945, the Los Angeles City Health Department established the Bureau of Smoke Control. In 1947, California Governor Earl Warren authorized the creation of air pollution control districts in every county. The Los Angeles County Air Pollution Control District (APCD) became the first of its kind in the state—and in the US.

In 1952, Arie Haagen-Smit, a professor of biochemistry at CalTech, discovered the nature and causes of photochemical smog.

In 1955, the Federal Air Pollution Control Act was passed to support a better understanding of the causes and effects of air pollution. The Los Angeles County Motor Vehicle Control Lab and the State Bureau of Air Sanitation were established. Legislation in 1959 enabled California to develop ambient air standards and controls for motor vehicles. The first ambient air standards were established based on observations of health.

In 1960, the California Motor Vehicle Pollution Control Board was established to test and certify motor vehicle emission control devices, while the Federal Motor Vehicle Act of 1960 provided research to address pollution from motor vehicles.

In 1961, the California Motor Vehicle Pollution Control Board mandated the first automotive emission control technology requirements in California and the nation. The first Federal Clean Air Act was passed in 1963. In 1967, California Governor Ronald Reagan (later US President) created the California Air Resources Board by combining the California Motor Vehicle Pollution Control Board and the Bureau of Air Sanitation and Lab. Professor Haagen-Smit became the first ARB Chairman and the first California Ambient Air Quality Standards were published in 1969.

In 1970, US President Richard Nixon signed a new Federal Clean Air Act (CAA)—which included deadlines for meeting air quality goals—and established by executive order the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to implement the CAA. The CAA was subsequently amended in 1975, 1977, and 1990.

The Federal Clean Air Act reserves the control of emissions from motor vehicles for the federal government—with the exception of California, due to its early activity and special conditions (high density of motor vehicles, topography conducive to pollution formation in heavily populated basins—e.g., Los Angeles and the San Joaquin Valley), and any states that opt for the California regulations. In other words, there are two choices in the US: the federal requirements, and the California requirements.

For California to implement a modification such as that represented by the new CO2 regulation, it must, by the language of the CAA, request a waiver (Sec. 209 (b)1).  This is the waiver process for which the EPA is now holding hearings. (Over the years, the state has received more than 40 of these from the EPA.) California had originally requested the AB1493 waiver in December 2005.

For the waiver to be granted, the state standard must, according to the CAA, be “at least as protective” of public health and welfare as the applicable Federal standard. This is one of the points that the auto industry, through AAM, is trying to use as an argument for denying the waiver.

The current arguments. As expressed by Catherine Witherspoon, Executive Officer of the California ARB in the hearing yesterday, California’s position is that there are only three issues before the EPA:

  • Meeting the “protectiveness” standard;

  • California conditions which justify the establishment of state standards;

  • Consistency with another section of the CAA—202(a)—regarding the establishment of regulations.

The state contends that the burden is on the opponents, and that the EPA should defer to California’s judgements, based on the state’s history and continued special conditions.

Witherspoon’s testimony yesterday was partially directed at rebutting assertions or challenges raised by the auto industry during the first hearing in Washington. These included contentions that California had been arbitrary and capricious in determining that its standards are at least as protective as applicable federal standards.

To the contention that California should have compared its standards to non-EPA standards—e.g., the fuel economy standards—the state responded that the CAA requires comparison to EPA standards only, and that as yet there are no EPA GHG standards.

Much of the pro-waiver testimony focused on the conditions in California compelling the adoption of the standard, and on the damage that will be caused to the state by the affects of climate change in terms of diminished snow pack for water, rising sea levels, increases in severe wildfires, and worsening smog due to higher temperatures.

California is arguing that it is not required to demonstrate a specific temperature impact (i.e., a reduction in temperatures) based on the implementation of the AB1493 standards. The state cites a 1971 decision by then EPA Administrator Train:

The issue of whether a proposed California requirement is likely to result in only marginal improvement in air quality not commensurate with its cost or is otherwise an arguably unwise exercise of regulatory power is not legally pertinent...

—EPA Administrator Train, 36 Fed. Reg. 17158 (31 August 1971)

California’s stance is that all greenhouse gas emission reductions matter, and that AB1493 is part of a wedge-based strategy (Pacala and Socolow) toward stabilization.

The auto industry, through Steven Douglas of the AAM, argued that the waiver should be denied because:

  • California failed to demonstrate that its standards are as protective of human health as are the federal standards (the fuel economy standards).

  • Imposition of the regulation would worsen public health. AAM argues that the higher cost of the AB1493-compliant vehicles would push consumers into hanging on to older cars for longer (the jalopy effect) and that the higher fuel economy vehicles resulting from AB 1493 would result in the rebound effect of increasing vehicle miles travelled, thereby worsening the overall pollution situation. (EPA requested that AAM provided the assumptions from which it derived these scenarios.)

  • Imposition of the regulation would not make any kind of measurable difference, but would come at great cost.

Next steps. The EPA is accepting written comments on the waiver request through 15 June 2007. (Comments can be submitted and/or seen online at www.regulations.gov, Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2006-0173). The agency will then decide on the waiver.

I want to thank all of the political leaders in the Western US and California in carrying the wider appeal. This should be a routine procedure, but we suspect that it may not be...If the waiver is turned down, we have the lawsuit all ready to go.

—Dr. Robert Sawyer, ARB Chairman

Resources:

May 31, 2007 in Climate Change, Policy | Permalink | Comments (21) | TrackBack

Mitsubishi Electric Achieves 18% Conversion Efficiency in Multi-Crystalline Silicon Solar Cell

Mitsubishi Electric announced it has achieved a photoelectric conversion efficiency rate of 18.0% in a 150mm square practical use multi-crystalline silicon solar cell, an improvement of 1.2% over previous models and the world’s highest rate to date. The company plans to present its technology at the Fukuoka 17th International Photovoltaic Science and Engineering Conference in December 2007.

To achieve the 18% rate, Mitsubishi added a low reflectivity surface texture on the multi-crystalline silicon, developed a process to print electrodes on the surface of the silicon (metallization) and reduced shade loss of the front grid electrodes. In the same surface area as previous products, the company achieved a 7% greater electric output, making the new cells suitable for small installations such as narrow roofs.

Main features of the cell include:

  • Increased light absorption using a unique Reactive Ion Etching (RIE) method. Using a nano-sized mask material, the RIE method uses highly reactive ions generated by RF plasma, letting ions precisely etch the target materials. This decreases reflectivity from the texturized surface of the multi-crystalline silicon, increasing the amount of absorbed light. This process is based in part on the result of the NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization) project for R&D of innovative next-generation photovoltaic system technology.

  • Suppresses reduced electrical performance in crystalline. New metal electrode material reduces metallization time by approximately half that of previous models, and sustains electrical performance of crystalline.

  • Expanded effective electrical output surface area. Using modified screens and front metal electrodes, Mitsubishi reduced shading loss of front grid electrodes by 40% compared with its conventional cells.

The company will begin introducing this technology into mass-produced photovoltaic modules after the end of 2007. Pairing this with Mitsubishi’s power module, which has the industry’s highest energy conversion efficiency (PV-PN04F: 95.5%, PV-PN06F: 95.0% as of 31 May 2007) will increase output of solar power systems.

May 31, 2007 in Power Generation, Solar | Permalink | Comments (31) | TrackBack

Report: Toyota and Renault Considering EV Plant in Mideast

Ynetnews. Executives from Renault and Toyota have been speaking to officials from Israel and Jordan in an attempt to launch a joint venture for a factory specializing in environmentally-friendly electric cars. According to the plan, the location of this factory would be near the border between Israel and Jordan, in an area called Peace Valley.

Direct discussions between Israel and Jordan were held a week and-a-half ago, at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East, according to the report. Also according to the report, Israel’s Vice Premier Shimon Peres promised tax incentives and government grants to car manufacturers willing to take part in the project.

One of the leading figures in this joint project is Shai Agassi, former chief technology officer of the software giant SAP AG. After quitting SAP earlier this year, Agassi claimed he wishes to concentrate on “green” issues. According to Agassi, Israel should attempt to be independent of oil within 10 years. An electric car industry would be an indispensable step towards achieving such a goal.

(A hat-tip to MannyGo!)

May 31, 2007 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (14) | TrackBack

Neste Oil Launches NExBTL Plant, New Diesel Line at Porvoo Refinery

Neste Oil officially inaugurated its new €100 million (US$135 million) renewable diesel NExBTL (Next Generation Biomass to Liquid) plant that has been under construction for the last 18 months at its Porvoo refinery in Finland. (Earlier post.)

The company is also bringing online a new, more than €700 million (US$943 million) diesel production line that has been under construction for the last four years.

The new renewable diesel plant is the first to produce second-generation renewable diesel based on Neste Oil’s proprietary NExBTL technology. NExBTL Renewable Diesel is a hydrocarbon and offers better product characteristics and engine performance than first-generation biodiesels. The new plant will be capable of producing 170,000 t/a of NExBTL diesel fuel from a flexible mix of vegetable oil and animal fat.

The new diesel line will improve the company’s overall refining margin significantly, as it will convert low-value heavy fuel oil into premium-quality diesel fuel. Output will total approximately 1 million t/a of sulfur-free diesel.

Both new facilities reflect Neste Oil’s strategic focus on developing and producing cleaner traffic fuels.

May 31, 2007 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 30, 2007

California Governor and Ontario Premier Sign MoU on Climate Change; Coordinating on Low-Carbon Fuel Standard

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty today signed a Memorandum of Understanding on climate change. Under the accord, Ontario and California will partner to fight global warming by coordinating policies on low-carbon fuel standards. Ontario will require producers to reduce carbon emissions from transportation fuels by 10% by 2020.

In January 2007, Governor Schwarzenegger established by Executive Order a Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) that requires, as an initial goal, a 10% reduction in the greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) intensity of all passenger vehicle fuels sold in California by 2020. (Earlier post.)

Like California, Ontario is leading the way in recognizing that we must take action now to fight global warming and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. States, provinces, regions and countries must all work together to find solutions that both protect our environment and grow our economy at the same time.  We need to engage all sectors of our economy, including international trade and encourage the best, brightest and most creative minds to work together to tackle global climate change.

---Governor Schwarzenegger

Other highlights of the cross-border accord include:

  • Collaborating on energy efficiency programs;

  • Coordinating efforts to switch to clean energy technologies, promote green buildings and increase efficiency;

  • Working together on national, North American and international emissions trading; and

  • Exploring market-based mechanisms such as expanding the Western Regional Climate Action Initiative to encourage an effective carbon market.

Premier McGuinty and Governor Schwarzenegger also met at the MaRS Discovery District in Toronto, where they agreed to back promising new stem cell research that will help uncover new therapies for cancer.

The McGuinty government is investing $30 million to support the new Cancer Stem Cell Consortium, which will be headquartered at the MaRS centre.  Working with colleagues in California, scientists in Ontario will investigate new therapies for cancer based on stem cell research.  The Ontario Institute for Cancer Research will oversee the collaboration efforts.

Governor Schwarzenegger also spoke at the Economic Club of Toronto, where he received the Newsmaker of the Year Award, on the role of California in combating climate change, especially in relation to the auto industry.

Now, of course that got good reactions, and also some bad ones.  For instance, there is a billboard in Michigan right now that is accusing me of costing the car industry 85 billion dollars because of our new emission standards.  The billboard says:  Arnold to Michigan:  Drop dead.  But the fact is that what I am saying is:  Arnold to Michigan:  Get off your butt.

In fact, California may be doing more to save US automakers than anyone else, because we are pushing them to make the changes necessary so that they can sell their cars in our Golden State.  And if they are not willing to make the changes, we know someone will; Canada will, China will, Korea will, Japan will, Germany will, they all will.

... Now, do I believe that those standards in California will solve global warming?  No, of course not.  I think it will help fight global warming, but it will not solve it.  But that is not really the idea, and that is not why we did it.  What we wanted to do was change the dynamic.

...Now, even though when you look at the globe you see California is just a little dot, but when you look at the power of influence that we have as a state, we are the equivalent of a whole continent.  California is sending the world a message.  We are going to dramatically reduce greenhouse gases and carbon emissions.  We are going to lead, and we are going to show the way forward.

...I believe that the developing world, just as it is leapfrogging expensive landline telecommunications with wireless telecommunications, will be able to leapfrog much of the environmental damage that built the industrial world.  I honestly believe that, because the environment has become an economic priority as never before in history.  When it comes to the environment, the economics are changing, the technologies are changing, the urgency is changing, and America is changing.  Your neighbor across the border may be late in coming to the front, but we are coming.  And when we arrive, what we have lost in time we will make up in action, in spirit, and in strength.

May 30, 2007 in Climate Change, Fuels, LCFS, Policy | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Sandia and Boeing Collaborate on Aircraft Fuel Cell Application

Sandia National Laboratories and Boeing are collaborating on a project to look at the feasibility of using a hydrogen-powered fuel cell to provide backup power in aircraft.

Commercial and military aircraft use a variety of techniques to provide backup electrical power to critical subsystems during emergency scenarios. Depending on the aircraft, these may include dedicated battery power, in-flight operation of the auxiliary power unit, a ram air turbine, or other technologies.

The project is a new task under an umbrella cooperative research and development agreement signed between the two organizations in 2002. The project focuses on the use of a polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell for backup power.

Sandia is leading investigations looking at electrical and environmental requirements, storage issues, and efficiency.

Fuel cell technology represents a straightforward and innovative approach to gaining experience with alternative energy sources for airplane electrical power. A significant part of our focus at Boeing Commercial Airplanes is looking at environmentally progressive technologies that can further reduce dependencies on oil-driven power sources. Our collaborative work with Sandia on this application is a step forward in that regard

—Joe Breit, project manager and an associate technical fellow at the Boeing Systems Concept Center

Also on the fuel-cell front, Boeing researchers and industry partners throughout Europe plan to conduct experimental flight tests this year of a manned airplane powered only by a 20 kW fuel cell and a lithium-ion battery pack. (Earlier post.)

The systems integration phase of the Fuel Cell Demonstrator Airplane research project, under way since 2003 at Boeing Research and Technology-Europe (BR&TE), was completed recently. Thorough systems integration testing is now under way in preparation for upcoming ground and flight testing.

The Boeing demonstrator uses a Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell/lithium-ion battery hybrid system to power an electric motor, which is coupled to a conventional propeller. The fuel cell provides all power for the cruise phase of flight. During takeoff and climb, the flight segment that requires the most power, the system draws on lightweight lithium-ion batteries.

May 30, 2007 in Aviation, Fuel Cells, Hydrogen | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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