May 31, 2012
PNNL small solid oxide fuel cell achieves record efficiency; microchannels, external steam reforming and recycling
|Power system configuration diagram. Powell et al. Click to enlarge.|
Researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory report on a highly efficient, small-scale solid oxide fuel cell system featuring PNNL-developed microchannel technology in combination with adiabatic, external steam reforming and anode gas recirculation. The heat and water required for the endothermic reforming reaction are provided by the recirculated anode gas emerging from the SOFC stack. They refer to this as adiabatic steam reforming because external heat sources, such as a combustor or an electric-resistance heater, are not necessary to support the reaction.
The new fuel cell system achieves up to 57% efficiency—significantly higher than the 30 to 50% efficiencies previously reported for other solid oxide fuel cell systems of its size—according to a study published in this month’s issue of the Journal of Power Sources. The pilot system generates about 2 kW of electricity; the PNNL team designed it to be scaleable to produce between 100 and 250 kW.
Proton OnSite’s latest project with the US Department of Energy (DOE) has yielded a proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyzer stack that can produce hydrogen gas at the pressure required to fuel a vehicle, without the need for a compressor.
Northrop Grumman Corporation and L-3 MAS will join forces on a variant of the Northrop Grumman-produced Global Hawk high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) unmanned aircraft system (UAS) for Canada to maintain continuous surveillance of its Arctic territories.
|2013 Lexus ES 300h. Click to enlarge.|
Lexus has introduced the 2013 ES 350—the sixth generation of Lexus’ luxury sedan since its introduction more than 20 years ago—and the first hybrid version of the ES, the ES 300h. Lexus had unveiled the ES 350 and 300h earlier this year at the New York International Auto Show. (Earlier post.)
Featuring the Lexus Hybrid Drive with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder Atkinson cycle engine (2AR-FXE), the ES 300h is expected to earn EPA fuel economy ratings of approximately 40 mpg city, 39 mpg highway and 39 mpg combined (5.88, 6.03 and 6.03 L/100km, respectively).
Aqua America, Inc., one of the largest US-based, publicly-traded water utilities, is going to transition portions of its larger vehicle fleet to compressed natural gas (CNG). Chairman and CEO Nicholas DeBenedict made the announcement before the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission’s Alternative Fuel Vehicles forum held at Drexel University in Philadelphia.
Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide, Inc. has delivered the first pilot version of its plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) F-150 pickup truck to Florida Power & Light Company (FPL), in association with Dow Kokam, the lithium-ion battery system supplier for the PHEV F-150. (Earlier post.)
Freescale Semiconductor has introduced three reference designs for wireless charging for high-capacity, single- and multi-cell battery packs. Target applications include power tools, handheld radios and various industrial applications.
Alberta approves Cenovus Narrows Lake oil sands project with demo and phase-in of solvent aided process to improve steam-oil ratio and production rate
The Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) has given approval to Cenovus Energy Inc. to proceed with its Narrows Lake oil sands project, with an ultimate gross production capacity of 130,000 barrels per day. The company plans to demonstrate solvent aided process (SAP) on 25% of the wells there and eventually phase in SAP across the entire Narrows Lake operation. SAP combines steam injection with solvents, such as butane, to help bring the oil to the surface. (Earlier post.)
A123 Systems 8K filing says substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern; status of grants and incentives
In its most recent 8K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Li-ion battery maker A123 Systems said a number of circumstances have raised “substantial doubt on [its] ability to continue as a going concern.”
On 26 March, A123 launched a field campaign estimated to cost US$51.6 million to replace battery modules and packs that may contain defective prismatic cells produced at A123’s Livonia, Michigan manufacturing facility. The defect could have resulted in premature failure of the battery module or pack, including a decrease in performance and reduced battery life. (Earlier post.)
May 30, 2012
In 2011, Nissan launched a version of the Micra city car equipped with a new supercharged gasoline direct-injection engine (HR12DDR). The 1.2-liter, inline three-cylinder Direct Injection Gasoline-Supercharger (DIG-S) engine, assisted with a stop-start system, produces 72 kW (97 hp) and 142 N·m (105 lb-ft), while CO2 emissions are 95 g/km for the manual version (115 g/km for the CVT version). (Earlier post.)
Nissan recently published an SAE paper outlining the development of the new engine, which was developed as a new concept for achieving low levels of CO2 emissions. In the engine, the use of a high compression ratio (13:1) with a boosting system, a lower surface/volume ratio piston, and high tumble intake port optimize direct injection combustion. A supercharger with a magnetic clutch compensates for the disadvantage of the small displacement engine with the Miller cycle without sacrificing fuel economy.