[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]
Ballard signs MOU with Van Hool for further fuel cell bus deployments; next-gen FCvelocity-HD7 power module
December 06, 2013
Ballard Power Systems has signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Van Hool NV, Europe’s fourth largest bus manufacturer, in support of the manufacture and further deployment of fuel cell buses. By February 2014, the companies plan jointly to respond to last week’s call for proposals under the EU Hydrogen Fuel Cell Joint Undertaking, and also plan jointly to respond to other future calls for proposals under the Horizon 2020 program. (Earlier post.)
For the newly funded buses, Ballard will deliver its next-generation fuel cell power module to Van Hool for incorporation into hybrid bus platforms. This new FCvelocity-HD7 power module will offer improved durability and reliability along with significant cost reduction. (Earlier post.)
Study suggests fuel cell hybrid with supercapacitors for energy storage the most fuel efficient
December 02, 2013
An evaluation of different fuel cell hybrid electric vehicle (FCHEV) powertrain designs—such as fuel cell/supercapacitor (FC/SC), fuel cell/battery (FC/B), and a combination of supercapacitors and batteries (FC/SC/B)—and different control strategies by researchers in Belgium concluded that the FC/SC HEV has slightly higher fuel economy than the FC/B HEV and FC/B/SC HEV powertrains.
This, the researchers suggested in a paper presented at the recent EVS 27 conference in Barcelona, was due to the use of the efficient supercapacitors for the majority of the transient-power requirements (the SC can be charged or discharged at a high current, at which the battery cannot function). The fuel economy of the supercapacitor fuel cell hybrid, they noted, is higher despite the vehicle being heavier and more expensive.
UK government awards £598K for hydrogen fuel cell range extender with micro-bead H2 storage for BEVs
November 28, 2013
The UK Technology Strategy Board (TSB) and Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) have awarded £598,000 (US$980,000) to micro-bead hydrogen storage company Cella Energy (earlier post) and its partners MIRA, Coventry University and Productiv to develop a hydrogen generation system to extend the range of battery electric vehicles. The award is part of the Low Carbon Vehicle Innovation Platform Integrated Delivery Programme 8 (IDP8) competition.
In an existing TSB-funded project called “Breakthrough in Energy Storage Technology,” Cella, MIRA, Unipart Eberspacher Exhaust Systems and Productiv are developing a 1 kW hydrogen generator using Cella Energy’s lightweight hydrogen storage material. The aim of this new project is to take this technology and scale it to a 5 kW unit to power a small electric vehicle produced by Microcab Ltd, a spinout company from Coventry University.
ARPA-E to award up to $30M for intermediate-temperature fuel cell systems for distributed generation; exploring storage and power-to-fuels
November 25, 2013
The US Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) will award up to $30 million to fund a new program focused on the development of transformational electrochemical technologies to enable low-cost distributed power generation. ARPA-E anticipates making approximately 12-18 awards under this FOA, with individual awards varying between $250,000 and $10 million. (DE-FOA-0001026)
ARPA-E’s Reliable Electricity Based on ELectrochemical Systems (REBELS) program will develop fuel cell devices that operate in an intermediate temperature range (ITFCs) (200-500 °C) in an attempt to 1) create new pathways to achieve an installed cost to the end-user of less than $1,500/kW at moderate production volumes; and 2) create new fuel cell functionality to increase grid stability and integration of renewable energy technologies such as wind and solar.
Mercedes-Benz reports on 3.3M km of B-Class Fuel Cell testing, looks ahead to next generation
While Hyundai, Toyota and Honda seized much attention over their presentations of fuel cell rollout plans (in the case of Hyundai) and concepts (in the case of Honda and Toyota) at the Los Angeles and Tokyo auto shows, Daimler used EVS27 in Barcelona as a forum to report on its 3.3 million kilometers (2 million miles) of experience with the Mercedes-Benz B-Class Fuel Cell fleet as well as the main technical targets envisioned for the next generation fuel cell electric car. (Earlier post.)
Mercedes-Benz began production of the B-Class F-Cell in 2009; 200 units of the vehicle were produced under standard production process at Mercedes-Benz facilities and delivered to customers worldwide.
California Energy Commission to award up to $29.9M to hydrogen refueling infrastructure projects
November 24, 2013
The California Energy Commission (CEC) will award up to $29.9 million to projects to develop hydrogen refueling infrastructure in California (PON-13-607).
The solicitation has two goals: 1) to develop infrastructure necessary to dispense hydrogen transportation fuel; and 2) to provide needed Operation and Maintenance (O&M) funding to support hydrogen refueling operations prior to the large—scale roll—out of Fuel Cell Vehicles (FCVs). CEC will provide funding to construct, to upgrade, or to support hydrogen refueling stations that expand the network of publicly accessible hydrogen refueling stations to serve the current population of FCVs and accommodate the planned large—scale roll—out of FCVs beginning in 2015.
Hyundai to offer Tucson Fuel Cell vehicle to LA-area retail customers in spring 2014; Honda, Toyota show latest FCV concepts targeting 2015 launch
November 21, 2013
|Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell. Click to enlarge.|
At the Los Angeles Auto Show, Hyundai announced plans to offer its next-generation Tucson Fuel Cell vehicle for the US market for $499 per month, including unlimited free hydrogen refueling and At Your Service Valet Maintenance at no extra cost. Availability begins in Spring 2014 at several Southern California Hyundai dealers.
Also at the LA Auto Show, the new Honda FCEV Concept made its world debut. The concept expresses a potential styling direction for Honda’s next-generation fuel-cell vehicle anticipated to launch in the US and Japan in 2015, followed by Europe. At the Tokyo Motor Show, Toyota highlighted its own new FCV Concept with a world premiere.
Toyota showing latest fuel cell concept, hybrid minivan, other future mobility vehicles at Tokyo show
November 05, 2013
|Toyota FCV Concept. Click to enlarge.|
Toyota confirmed that it will display its latest fuel cell vehicle concept along with four other world premiere future mobility concepts at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show. The Toyota FCV Concept is a practical concept of the fuel cell vehicle Toyota plans to launch around 2015 as a pioneer in the development of hydrogen-powered vehicles. The vehicle has a driving range of at least 500 km (311 miles) and refueling times as low as three minutes, roughly the same time as for a gasoline vehicle.
The Toyota FC Stack has a power output density of 3 kW/L, more than twice that of the current “Toyota FCHV-adv” FC Stack, and an output of at least 100 kW. In addition, the FC system is equipped with Toyota’s high-efficiency boost converter. Increasing the voltage has made it possible to reduce the size of the motor and the number of fuel cells, leading to a smaller system offering enhanced performance at reduced cost.
Stanford faculty awarded $2.2 million for innovative energy research; fuel cells, hybrids, splitting CO2
October 30, 2013
Stanford University’s Precourt Institute for Energy, the Precourt Energy Efficiency Center and the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy have awarded 11 seed grants totaling $2.2 million to Stanford faculty for promising new research in clean technology and energy efficiency.
The seed funding supports early work on concepts that have the potential for very high impact on energy production and use. Through a competitive process, two committees of faculty and senior staff awarded the grants to Stanford researchers from a broad range of disciplines, including engineering, physics, economics, business, communication and education.
UNIST team develops simple way to synthesize new metal-free electrocatalysts for oxygen reduction reaction (ORR)
October 29, 2013
|Overall Scheme for doped graphene oxide Copyright: UNIST. Click to enlarge.|
A research team from Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), S. Korea, has developed a high-performance, stable and metal-free electrocatalyst for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR). A paper on their work is published in the RSC journal Nanoscale.
The oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) is an important reaction in energy conversion systems such as fuel cells and metal–air batteries; electrocatalysts for oxygen reduction are critical components that may dramatically enhance the performance such systems. Carbon nanomaterials doped with heteroatoms are highly attractive materials for use as electrocatalysts by virtue of their excellent electrocatalytic activity, high conductivity, and large surface area.
Canada awards $30M to 10 automotive R&D projects; from electrified powertrains to hot stamping
October 28, 2013
The Government of Canada has awarded C$30 million (US$29 million) through the Automotive Partnership Canada (APC) initiative to 10 university-industry partnerships to advance innovative automotive technologies. With a total project value of more than C$52 million (US$50 million), the funding includes some $22 million from industry and other partners.
The largest award from APC is $8,928,200 to the McMaster University-Chrysler partnership (earlier post) for the development of next generation electrified powertrains. (Earlier post.) However, the selected projects include a range of technologies from hot stamping of parts to hydrogen fuel cell stacks.
Governors of 8 states sign MoU to put 3.3M zero-emission vehicles on roads by 2025; 15% of new vehicle sales
October 24, 2013
The governors of 8 states—California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont—have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to take specific actions to put 3.3 million zero emission vehicles on the roads in their states by 2025, along with the refueling infrastructure required to support those vehicles. Zero-emission vehicles include battery-electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles, and hydrogen fuel-cell-electric vehicles; the technologies can be applied in passenger cars, trucks and transit buses.
The 3.3 million ZEVs would represent a new vehicle market penetration for the group of states of about 15%, said Mary Nichols, Chairman of the California Air Resources Board (ARB), during a conference call announcing the agreement. This multi-state effort is intended to expand consumer awareness and demand for zero-emission vehicles. Collectively, the eight signatory states represent more than 23% of the US car market.
Tesla leads with transfer of ZEV credits for year ending 30 Sep 2013
October 17, 2013
|Tesla by far dominated the transfer of ZEV credits in California in 2012. Data: ARB. Click to enlarge.|
Between 1 October 2012 and 30 September 2013, electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla Motors transferred out 1,311.520 ZEV (zero emission vehicle) credits, according to the latest report by the California Air Resources Board (ARB)—by far, the largest of any automaker in the state. The next closest was Toyota, with 507.5 credits; Nissan only transferred 25 credits, and those generated from its PZEVs—not from the LEAF EV.
As of 30 September, Tesla still had a balance of 276.080 credits, according to the data; behind the six major automakers, who are mostly banking their credits.
Researchers develop viable catalysts for reforming of heavy gas oil to hydrogen
October 14, 2013
One approach to delivering hydrogen for the stacks in fuel cell vehicles is via the on-board reforming of hydrocarbon fuels; such an approach obviates the need for on-board hydrogen gas storage technology and leverages the existing liquid fuels infrastructure. However, using more refined low-sulfur hydrocarbon fuels can add to the overall cost of the system. Less refined fuels—such as heavy gas oil—would be less expensive; however, the higher levels of sulfur in the fuels could prove problematic for catalysts.
Now, researchers in S. Korean and Japan have synthesized hollow fiber catalysts networked with perovskite nanoparticles for the production of hydrogen from heavy gas oil reforming, some of which showed high efficiency for H2 production with substantial durability under high concentrations of S, N, and aromatic compounds. Their findings are reported in an open access paper in the journal Scientific Reports.
DOE proposing $100M in FY2014 for 2nd round of funding for Energy Frontier Research Centers
October 01, 2013
US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced a proposed $100 million in FY2014 funding for Energy Frontier Research Centers; research supported by this initiative will enable fundamental advances in energy production and use.
The Department of Energy (DOE) currently funds 46 Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs), which were selected for five-year funding in 2009. (Earlier post.) With support for those centers set to expire in July 2014, DOE has announced a “re-competition” for a second round of funding (DE-FOA-0001010).
GM and US Army expanding collaboration on fuel cells; up to 5-year project
September 30, 2013
General Motors and the US Army Tank Automotive Research, Development & Engineering Center (TARDEC) are expanding their collaboration in the development of hydrogen fuel cell technology. TARDEC currently is evaluating GM fuel cell vehicles in a comprehensive demonstration in Hawaii. (Earlier post.)
Through a new Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) GM and TARDEC will jointly test new hydrogen fuel cell-related materials and designs to evaluate their performance and durability before assembling them into full scale fuel cell propulsion systems. The partners said that the collaborative effort will enable them jointly to develop technology that meets both of their requirements, accomplishing more tangible results than either could achieve on its own. The project is expected to continue for up to five years.
H2 Mobility initiative agrees on $474M plan for hydrogen refueling network in Germany; 400 stations by 2023
The six partners in the “H2 Mobility” initiative (earlier post)—Air Liquide, Daimler, Linde, OMV, Shell and Total—have signed an agreement in principle upon a specific action plan for the construction of a Germany-wide hydrogen refueling network for fuel cell powered electric vehicles.
Under the plan, the current network of 15 filling stations in Germany’s public hydrogen infrastructure will be expanded by 2023 to about 400 H2 filling stations. As a first step, the partners intend to deploy 100 hydrogen stations in Germany over the next 4 years. This would ensure a need-related supply for fuel cell powered electric vehicles to be introduced into the market in the next years, the partners said.
California Governor signs 6 bills to support burgeoning EV market, including $2B AB 8
September 28, 2013
Marking National Plug-in Day (NPID), California Governor Jerry Brown signed 6 bills to support California’s burgeoning electric vehicle market, including the $2-billion AB 8 (earlier post), which will continue clean vehicle and fuel incentives through 2023.
The legislation builds on the state’s efforts to help California’s electric vehicle market grow, including an Executive Order issued by Governor Brown that established a target of 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles on the road in California by 2025 and a number of other long-term goals. The newly signed bills are:
Ballard announces definitive agreements with Azure Hydrogen for China fuel cell bus program; next-gen FCvelocity-HD7 module
September 26, 2013
Further to the MOU announced on May 28 (earlier post), Ballard Power Systems has signed multi-year definitive agreements to support Azure Hydrogen’s fuel cell bus program for the China market. Beijing-based Azure plans to partner with Chinese bus manufacturers in a phased development program for deployment of zero emission fuel cell buses in China, utilizing Ballard’s fuel cell technology.
For the first phase of the program, Ballard has agreed to provide a license, associated equipment and Engineering Services to enable assembly of Ballard’s next-generation FCvelocity-HD7 bus power modules by Azure in China. As per the agreements, once this assembly capability is established, Azure will assemble modules with fuel cell stacks to be supplied exclusively by Ballard.
New family of non-precious metal catalysts outperform platinum for oxygen-reduction reaction in fuel cells at 10% the production cost
September 23, 2013
|ORR polarisation curves of Pt/C and FeCo-OMPC catalysts before and after 10,000 potential cycles in O2-saturated 0.1 M HClO4. Potential cycling was carried out from 0.6 to 1.0 V vs. RHE at 50 mV s−1. Cheon et al. Click to enlarge.|
Researchers from Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), Korea Institute of Energy Research (KIER), and Brookhaven National Laboratory have discovered a new family of non-precious metal catalysts based on ordered mesoporous porphyrinic carbons (M-OMPC) with high surface areas and tunable pore structures. Porphyrins are any of a class of heterocyclic compounds containing four pyrrole rings arranged in a square.
These catalysts exhibit better performance than platinum in the oxygen-reduction reaction (ORR) important for fuel cells at 10% of the production cost of a platinum catalyst, the team said. The finding, described in an open access paper in Nature’s Scientific Reports, is potentially a step towards reducing the cost of fuel cell technology—one of the impediments to widespread commercialization.
New core-shell bi-layer nanocatalyst tolerant to CO; potential for low-temperature fuel cells with reformates
September 21, 2013
Researchers at Brookhaven National Laboratory have created a high-performing bi-layer durable nanocatalyst that is tolerant to carbon monoxide, a catalyst-poisoning impurity in hydrogen derived from natural gas. The novel core-shell structure—ruthenium coated with platinum—resists damage from carbon monoxide as it drives the energetic reactions central to electric vehicle fuel cells and similar technologies.
The single crystalline Ru cores with well-defined Pt bilayer shells address the issues in using a dissolution-prone metal, such as ruthenium, to alleviate carbon monoxide poisoning, and thereby open the door for commercialization of low-temperature fuel cells that can use inexpensive reformates (H2 with CO impurity) as the fuel, the authors noted. Their paper is published in the journal Nature Communications.
MIT team discovers new family of materials with best performance yet for oxygen evolution reaction; implications for fuel cells and Li-air batteries
September 19, 2013
|A diagram of the molecular structure of double perovskite shows how atoms of barium (green) and a lanthanide (purple) are arranged within a crystalline structure of cobalt (pink) and oxygen (red). Grimaud et al. Click to enlarge.|
MIT researchers have found a new family of highly active catalyst materials that provides the best performance yet in the oxygen evolution reaction (OER) in electrochemical water-splitting—a key requirement for energy storage and delivery systems such as advanced fuel cells and lithium-air batteries.
The materials, double perovskites (Ln0.5Ba0.5)CoO3−δ (Ln=Pr, Sm, Gd and Ho), are a variant of a mineral that exists in abundance in the Earth’s crust. Their remarkable ability to promote oxygen evolution in a water-splitting reaction is detailed in a paper appearing in the journal Nature Communications. The work was conducted by Dr. Yang Shao-Horn, the Gail E. Kendall Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering; postdoc Alexis Grimaud; and six others.
ARB hosting public hearing on ZEV modifications; battery swapping out for fast refueling of ZEVs
September 10, 2013
The California Air Resources Board (ARB) will conduct a public hearing on 24 October in Sacramento to consider minor proposed amendments to the California Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) regulation being put forward by ARB staff. (Earlier post.)
In January 2012, the ARB approved the Advanced Clean Cars program, which included increased ZEV requirements through 2025 model year, and the next generation of light duty greenhouse gas (GHG) and criteria pollutant emission standards (LEV III). (Earlier post.) This program combined the control of smog-causing pollutants and GHG emissions into a single coordinated package of requirements for model years 2017 through 2025.
US DOT awards $13.6M to 8 projects to advance fuel cell technology for transit industry
September 05, 2013
The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) awarded $13.6 million in federal funding to 8 projects to advance the commercialization of American-made fuel cell buses for the transit industry. The awards come from FY2012 funds via FTA’s National Fuel Cell Bus Program, which has provided nearly $90 million since 2006 to speed the development of fuel cell technology.
Over the period of that program, fuel cell lifetimes (in transit operations) have more than doubled while costs have declined by 50%.
Toyota broadly outlines next-generation Prius; developing wireless inductive charging for the plug-in model; bullish on hydrogen
August 28, 2013
Toyota’s next-generation Prius will deliver significantly improved fuel economy in a more compact package that is lighter in weight and lower in cost, according to Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) Managing Officer Satoshi Ogiso. Ogiso—who earlier in his career had been the chief engineer for the Prius, chief engineer for the Prius family, and chief engineer, product planning—made the remarks at the “2013 Toyota Hybrid World Tour” event the company staged in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
The performance of this new generation of powertrains will reflect significant advances in battery, electric motor and gasoline engine technologies. Among the broad technology advances Ogiso outlined during his talk were:
DOE awards $1.3M to two projects testing fuel cell technology in refrigerated trucks
August 23, 2013
The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award a total of $1.3 million to fuel cell manufacturers Nuvera and Plug Power ($650,000 apiece) a project testing the use of hydrogen fuel cell refrigeration units (transport refrigeration units, TRUs) in delivery trucks. The companies will provide matching funds and labor of their own. A team from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) led by Kriston Brooks will oversee and evaluate the two-year program.
This will be the first time that refrigerated trucks making deliveries have been equipped with a fuel cell, PNNL researchers believe.
Toyota goes all hybrid for Frankfurt Motor Show; Yaris Hybrid-R concept, fuel cell update
August 19, 2013
|Teaser sketch of Yaris Hybrid-R concept. Click to enlarge.|
At the upcoming 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, the Toyota stand will be devoted entirely to hybrids, the company says. Toyota’s hybrid portfolio, built over the past 16 years, comprises 23 models sold in 80 countries. As of the end of July 2013, Toyota Motor Corporation has sold more 5.5 million hybrid products—more than 10% of which have been sold in Europe.
Toyota will also use the venue to unveil further potential technology directions in the future of low-emission and zero-emission vehicles with the world premiere of the Yaris Hybrid-R concept, as well as the latest status of its fuel cell technology development, due to be launched in a production car by 2015.
New high-performance cathode materials for low-temperature solid oxide fuel cells
August 16, 2013
|Peak power densities of cells with LnBa0.5Sr0.5Co1.5Fe0.5O5+δ-GDC (Ln = Pr and Nd) cathode. Credit: Choi et al. Click to enlarge.|
Researchers from Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) (S. Korea), Georgia Institute of Technology, and Dong-Eui University (S. Korea) report the development of new efficient and robust cathode materials for low-temperature solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) in the open access Scientific Reports.
Conventional solid oxide fuel cells operate as high as 950 °C to run effectively. Test cells based on these new cathode materials demonstrated peak power densities of ~2.2 W cm−2 at 600°C. (The power density of a commercialized low-temperature SOFC system developed by researchers at the University of Maryland and Redox Power is also more than 2W cm-2, earlier post.)
U. Maryland and Redox Power partnering to commercialize low-temperature solid oxide fuel cells for distributed generation and transportation
|Redox Power’s 25 kW “Cube” sitting outside a conference room. Click to enlarge.|
University of Maryland researchers have partnered with Redox Power Systems LLC to commercialize low-temperature solid oxide fuel cell (LT-SOFC) technology for distributed generation—and ultimately transportation—applications at about one-tenth the cost and one-tenth the size of current commercial fuel cell systems.
The fuel cells, based upon patented technology developed by professor Eric Wachsman, director of the University of Maryland Energy Research Center (UMERC) in the A. James Clark School of Engineering, are the foundation of a system being commercialized by Redox that provides safe, efficient, reliable, uninterrupted power, on–site and optionally off the grid, at a price competitive with current energy sources.
Bi-metal aerogel catalyst shows promise as high-efficiency, lower-platinum electrocatalyst for fuel cells
August 09, 2013
|Detailed structure of the platinum/palladium aerogel nanowires (alloy ratio: 50% platinum, 50% palladium) Source: PSI. Click to enlarge.|
Researchers from Germany and Switzerland have manufactured and characterized a novel aerogel catalyst that could significantly increase the efficiency and life of low-temperature polymer electrolyte fuel cells as well as reduce material costs by reducing the platinum loading required. A paper on their work appears in the journal Angewandte Chemie.
Using a three-dimensional aerogel made of a platinum-palladium alloy, they were able to increase the catalytic activity for oxygen reduction at the positive electrode of a hydrogen fuel cell five-fold compared to normal catalysts made of platinum on carbon supports—i.e., the same amount of oxygen can now be converted with only a fifth of the amount of precious metals. If this reduction of the necessary platinum load could be transferred onto an industrial scale, it would slash the production costs for these fuel cells.
German-US collaboration demonstrates strong power density results with HEM fuel cell
A German-US collaboration including OH-Energy Germany, GmbH; the University of Delaware; Fraunhofer ICT; and Leibniz Institute for Polymer Research released initial results demonstrating 616 mW/cm2 peak power density at 80 °C for a hydroxide (OH-) exchange membrane (HEM) fuel cell. (Earlier post.)
The results are an early indication the partnership is on track to reach its stated goal of delivering 600 mW/cm2 from a platinum-free fuel cell by 2015. The US Department of Energy (DOE) has a technical target for proton exchange membrane (PEM) MEAs (membrane electrode assembly) of 1,000 mW/cm2 by 2020.
Nitrogen-doped graphene nanoplatelets offer high catalytic performance in fuel cells and solar cells; possible replacement for Pt
July 23, 2013
Researchers in South Korea have developed a simple, low-cost and eco-friendly method of creating nitrogen-doped graphene nanoplatelets (NGnPs) with excellent catalytic performance in both dye-sensitized solar cells and fuel cells to replace conventional platinum (Pt)-based catalysts for energy conversion.
A paper on the work, carried out at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), is published in Scientific Reports. The UNIST team had previously reported that dry ball-milling can efficiently produce chemically modified graphene particles in large quantities. This new work dry ball mills graphite with nitrogen gas (N2), resulting in the direct fixation of N2 at the edges of graphene nanoplatelets (GnPs).
Researchers devise Pt electrocatalysts with greatly increased activity; potential for significant cuts in fuel cell cost
July 22, 2013
Researchers in Denmark and Germany have found that size-selected platinum (Pt) nanoclusters can reach extraordinarily high ORR (oxygen reduction reaction—a key reaction in hydrogen fuel cells) activities, especially in terms of mass-normalized activity, if deposited at high coverage on a glassy carbon substrate.
When tested in the laboratory, the mass specific activity of commercial Pt fuel cell catalysts is around 1 A mg-1Pt. The researchers, led by associate professor of chemistry Matthias Arenz at the University of Copenhagen, found one of their catalysts delivered almost 8 A mg-1Pt. Their finding on the role of particle proximity in the efficiency of the Pt ORR activity might enable a significant reduction in the use of platinum in fuel cells for a given power output, resulting in less expensive fuel cells. A paper on their work is published in the journal Nature Materials.
Five Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell vehicles joining London hydrogen project
July 21, 2013
|The ix35 Fuel Cell. Click to enlarge.|
Five Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell models (earlier post) are joining the London Hydrogen Network Expansion (LNHE) project. The ix35 Fuel Cell is Hyundai’s fourth-generation fuel cell vehicle, and its first to enter production.
Hyundai Motor, as a supplier to the LHNE project, will join the existing consortium of companies with expertise in hydrogen transport infrastructure and operation, working to establish the UK’s first hydrogen transport network covering London and south east England. The LHNE project, a government-backed initiative co-funded by the Technology Strategy Board, will put hydrogen-fueled vehicles into daily business use and deliver the refueling infrastructure to support their operation.
European Commission launches new $1.8-billion fuel cell and hydrogen research initiative
July 10, 2013
The European Commission is launching a second phase of the first Fuel Cells and Hydrogen (FCH) Joint Technology Initiative (JTI) set up in 2008. The new Fuel Cells & Hydrogen 2 Initiative—with a proposed combined 50:50 EU-industry budget of €1.4 billion (US$1.8 billion)—will continue to develop a portfolio of fuel cell and hydrogen technologies to the point of market introduction. The new FCH 2 JTI is expected to start in 2014 and will end in 2024.
The JTI is one of five announced as part of a new EU-industry investment of €22 billion (US$28 billion) in research and innovation. The other JTIs address innovative medicines; aeronautics; bio-based industries; and electronics.
GM, Honda to collaborate on next-generation fuel cell technologies; targeting commercial feasibility in 2020 time frame
July 02, 2013
|2011 Honda FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle. Click to enlarge.|
In New York, General Motors and Honda announced a long-term, definitive master agreement to co-develop next-generation fuel cell system and hydrogen storage technologies, aiming for the 2020 time frame. (Earlier post.) The collaboration expects to succeed by sharing expertise, economies of scale and common sourcing strategies.
GM and Honda plan to work together with stakeholders to further advance hydrogen refueling infrastructure, which is critical for the long-term viability and consumer acceptance of fuel cell vehicles.
Sandia study finds fuel cell barges may be attractive lower-cost cold-ironing solution for some types of vessels at some ports
June 28, 2013
|Basic concept of a fuel cell barge. Although two containers are shown here, the actual number of containers would depend on the power and energy requirements of the vessel to be powered. Credit: Pratt and Harris (2013). Click to enlarge.|
A study by researchers at Sandia National Laboratories found that hydrogen fuel cell barges may be both technically feasible and commercially attractive as a clean, quiet and efficient power source to provide electrical power for some types of vessels at berth or at anchorage. This practice in which a vessel at berth connects to a source of electricity on the shore is called “cold-ironing”, shore power or Alternative Maritime Power (AMP).
Vessels that are not likely to be technically feasible are cruise ships, refrigerated bulk carriers (reefer vessels), and some types of liquid bulk tankers, according to the study. This, the Sandia team said, is because their multi-megawatt power requirements and potentially long run times would necessitate multiple MW-class fuel cell units and impractically-large stores of hydrogen. Container ships are likely to be feasible, but their power demand depends primarily on the number of refrigerated containers (reefers) on-board.
ACAL Energy FlowCath fuel cell reaches 10,000 hours runtime on automotive durability test; 2x US DOE 2017 target
June 27, 2013
|FlowCath PEM fuel cell. Click to enlarge.|
UK-based ACAL Energy Ltd announced that its FlowCath platinum-free liquid cathode system has enabled a PEM hydrogen fuel cell to reach 10,000 hours’ runtime on a third-party automotive industry durability test without any significant signs of degradation. ACAL Energy’s approach is also significantly cheaper than conventional fuel cell technology. (Earlier post.)
10,000 hours, the equivalent of 300,000 driven miles, is the point at which hydrogen fuel cell endurance is comparable to the best light-weight diesel engines under such test conditions. This endurance far exceeds the proposed US Department of Energy (DoE) industry target for fuel cell powered vehicles to last 5,000 hours, equivalent to 150,000 road miles, with an expected degradation threshold of approximately 10%. (Earlier post.)
DOE to award up to $9M for demonstration and deployment of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies; medium-duty eTrucks
June 12, 2013
The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award up to $9 million in new funding (DE-FOA-0000828) to accelerate the development of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies in four topic areas: fuel-cell hybrid medium-duty trucks; advanced hydrogen refueling components; backup power systems; and hydrogen meters. (Earlier post.)
DOE is accepting new applications for projects proposing to demonstrate and deploy hydrogen and fuel cell technologies in the first three topics, and for research and development in Topic 4. For the first three topics, the primary objective of each proposed project must be to demonstrate and deploy hydrogen and fuel cell technologies in real-world environments. R&D will not be funded through this announcement. DOE select up to eight projects from industry, academia, and national labs.
New metal-free ORR catalyst outperforms platinum in fuel cell
June 06, 2013
Researchers from South Korea, Case Western Reserve University and University of North Texas have synthesized new inexpensive and easily produced metal-free catalysts—edge-selectively halogenated graphene nanoplatelets (XGnPs)—that can perform better than platinum in oxygen-reduction reactions. The finding, detailed in an open access paper in Nature’s Scientific Reports, is a step toward eliminating what industry regards as the largest obstacle to large-scale commercialization of fuel cell technology—the high cost and insufficient supply of platinum catalysts.
The XGnPs, which were produced using a simple ball-milling method, were tested as cathode electrodes of fuel cells and revealed “remarkable” electrocatalytic activities for ORR with high tolerance to methanol crossover/CO poisoning effects and longer-term stability than those of the pristine graphite and commercial Pt/C electrocatalysts. In initial tests, a cathode coated with one form of catalyst—graphene nanoparticles edged with iodine—generated 33% more current than a commercial cathode coated with platinum.
New LANL non-precious metal ORR catalyst can out-perform platinum; possible enabler for economical Li-air batteries, fuel cells
June 05, 2013
|ORR polarization plots after 5,000 cycles in O2-saturated electrolyte comparing the new catalyst and a platinum catalyst. Chung et al.Click to enlarge.|
Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) have designed a new type of nitrogen-doped carbon-nanotube catalyst that shows the highest oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) activity in alkaline media of any non-precious metal catalyst developed to date. When used at a sufficiently high loading, this stable catalyst also outperforms the most active platinum-based catalysts, the team found.
The new catalyst, reported in an open source paper in Nature Communications, could pave the way for reliable, economical metal-air batteries and alkaline fuel cells, providing for practical use of wind- and solar-powered electricity, as well as enhanced hybrid and electric vehicles.
Navigant forecasts global light-duty fuel-cell-vehicle sales to surpass 2M annually by 2030
May 27, 2013
|Annual light-duty fuel cell vehicle sales through 2030. Source: Navigant Research. Click to enlarge.|
In a newly published research report (“Fuel Cell Vehicles”), Navigant Research forecasts that worldwide sales of light-duty fuel-cell vehicles (FCVs) will reach the 1,000 mark in 2015 and then begin a period of strong growth, surpassing 2 million vehicles annually by 2030.
The light-duty FCV market will be in a long period of supply constraints until around 2020, the report notes, breaking out only if the infrastructure is in place to meet customers’ fueling requirements. This will require a large investment from government and industry, Navigant concludes. If the infrastructure is built out, automakers will increase their production levels, which will result in major cost reductions—a “virtuous cycle” that will lead to a demand-driven market in the period after 2025.
PowerCell unveils 3kW PowerPac fuel cell APU that converts diesel into electricity
May 21, 2013
PowerCell, a Swedish energy technology company with roots in the Volvo Group, unveiled a functioning full-scale prototype of its PowerPac fuel cell system, which combines an autothermal reformer and a PEM fuel cell stack to convert diesel fuel into electricity. (Earlier post.) The main target groups for PowerPac are truck manufacturers; truck owners; mobile operators; owners of base stations and other telecom infrastructure; and the military.
The PowerPac system is based on proprietary, patented technology. The unit is more efficient than a small ICE (internal combustion engine) generator in combination with an environmental friendly exhaust. The unit produces about 3kW of electric energy.
California ARB 2013 research project to characterize ZEV market; assessing future market potential
May 18, 2013
The California Air Resources Board (ARB) 2013 research plan includes a project that will comprehensively characterize the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) market, with the ultimate goal of increasing consumer purchases of ZEVs.
The proposed project will investigate the factors that influence sales of ZEVs in California (e.g., price, vehicle range, infrastructure). The project is intended to support the planned upcoming mid-term review of California’s Advanced Clean Cars program (earlier post), coordinated with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
DOE launches H2USA public-private partnership to deploy hydrogen infrastructure for transportation
May 13, 2013
The US Department of Energy (DOE) launched H2USA—a new public-private partnership focused on advancing hydrogen infrastructure to support more transportation energy options for US consumers, including fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs). (Earlier post.)
The new partnership brings together automakers, government agencies, gas suppliers, and the hydrogen and fuel cell industries to coordinate research and identify cost-effective solutions to deploy infrastructure that can deliver affordable, clean hydrogen fuel in the United States.
DOE to issue funding opportunity for fuel cell hybrid medium-duty trucks
May 11, 2013
The US Department of Energy (DOE) Fuel Cell Technologies Office (FCTO), on behalf of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), announced that it will issue a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) titled “Fuel Cell Hybrid Electric Medium Duty Trucks, Roof-top Backup Power, and Advanced Hydrogen Refueling Components” (DE-FOA-0000922).
DOE suggests that prospective applicants to the FOA should begin developing partnerships, formulating ideas, and gathering data in anticipation of its issuance, estimated sometime this month.
Team in Japan develops durable, high-temperature PEM fuel cell
May 03, 2013
|Power density curves of the PVPA-doped MEA measured at 25°C (orange line), 40°C (pink line), 60°C (blue line), 80°C (green line), 100°C (purple line) and 120°C (red line). Berber et al. Click to enlarge.|
Researchers in Japan have developed a novel polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEFC) that shows high durability (>400,000 cycles) together with high power density (252 mW/cm2) at high temperatures of 120°C under a non-humidified condition.
In a paper published in Scientific Reports, the open access journal of the Nature Publishing Group, they suggest that the study “opens the door” for the next-generation high temperature and non-humidified PEFC for use in the “real world”.
Intelligent Energy, Dyson, Ricardo and TRW Conekt boost fuel cell system power density more than 30%; reliable cold-start down to -20 °C
April 16, 2013
A project, 50% funded by the UK’s Technology Strategy Board and led by power technology company Intelligent Energy, has demonstrated an increase in fuel cell system power density of more than 30% together with reliable cold-start performance at temperatures down to -20 °C.
The project team delivered an improvement in power output from 30kW to 40kW for the chosen test system without increasing system mass or size. Additionally, through the introduction of a new coolant module developed specifically for the project, cold start performance was consistently achieved at temperatures down to -20°C.
CaFCP proposes two Centers of Excellence in California for fuel cell buses to accelerate commercialization; $100M program
March 30, 2013
The California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP) has published “A Road Map for Fuel Cell Electric Buses in California: A zero-emission solution for public transit”. The roadmap suggests the steps necessary to move from the pre-commercial phase of fuel cell electric bus (FCEB) deployment and manufacturing (2012-2015) to the early commercial phase (2016- 2017) to a commercial model in 2018 and beyond, including the requisite fueling infrastructure.
This road map suggests a specific strategy for the implementation of two Centers of Excellence in Northern and Southern California, each of which would cost approximately $50 million and would operate 40 FCEBs. The two centers would allow for economies of scale sufficient to achieve 2016 DOE/DOT targets and begin to overcome the primary barriers to market: the capital cost of the vehicles and the cost of fuel, CaFCP suggests.
Yale team develops new silver-palladium core-shell catalyst for direct alcohol fuel cells
March 19, 2013
|The core-shell silver-palladium catalyst. Source: Yale. Click to enlarge.|
Yale researchers have synthesized a silver-palladium core-shell catalyst supported on multi-walled carbon nanotubes (Ag@Pd/MWNTs) for use in fuel cells. The new platinum-free catalysts are are highly active and alcohol-tolerant for oxygen reduction reactions (ORR) in alkaline media. A paper on their work is published in the journal Applied Catalysis B.
The new, platinum-free catalyst has a unique core-shell structure; the thin shell is palladium, the core silver. This allows for higher catalytic activity and greater tolerance for impurities than standard platinum-based catalysts. Particles of silver coated with palladium cover the surface of multi-walled carbon nanotubes, promoting the reduction of oxygen over the oxidation of alcohol.
NRC report concludes US LDVs could cut oil consumption and GHGs by 80% by 2050; reliance on plug-ins, biofuels and hydrogen; strong policies mandatory
March 18, 2013
|Projected rates of fuel consumption improvement under different scenarios relative to past experience and the 2016 and 2025 CAFE standards. Source: NRC. Click to enlarge.|
Light-duty vehicles (LDVs) in the US may be able to reduce petroleum use by 50% by 2030, and by 80% by 2050; and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 80% by 2050, according to the newly published results of a two-year study by a committee convened by the National Research Council.
Achieving those goals will will be difficult—but not impossible to meet—and will necessitate a combination of more efficient vehicles; the use of alternative fuels such as biofuels, electricity, and hydrogen; and strong government policies to overcome high costs and influence consumer choices. Given the importance of policy as a driver, the committee was also asked—somewhat unusually for a study of this kind—to explore policies, noted Douglas M. Chapin, principal of MPR Associates, and chair of the committee that wrote the report.
DOE TEF project finds US can eliminate petroleum and reduce GHG by more than 80% in transportation by 2050; less use, more biofuels, expansion of electricity and hydrogen
March 15, 2013
|TEF project points to deep cuts in petroleum and emissions in the transportation sector by focusing on modes, fuels, and demand. Source: DOE. Click to enlarge.|
The US Department of Energy (DOE) released findings from a new project—Transportation Energy Futures (TEF)—that concludes the United States has the potential to eliminate petroleum use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by more than 80% in the transportation sector by 2050. The project identifies possible paths to a low-carbon, low-petroleum future in the US transportation sector, and also looks beyond technology to examine the marketplace, consumer behavior, industry capabilities, and infrastructure.
TEF is organized into four research areas: light-duty vehicles; non-light-duty vehicles; fuels; and transportation demand. Findings are being detailed in a series of nine reports, six of which are now available.
Ballard fuel cell modules to power fleet of 10 buses in Aberdeen, Scotland
March 14, 2013
Ballard Power Systems announced the recent signing of an agreement between Van Hool NV, Europe’s fourth largest bus manufacturer, and the Transit Authority in Aberdeen, Scotland for delivery of 10 buses that will be powered by Ballard’s 150 kW FCvelocity-HD6 fuel cell module.
When deployed in revenue service, the 10-bus fleet to be operated in Aberdeen will be Europe’s largest hydrogen fuel cell bus fleet. Ballard says that by early-2014, approximately 40 buses in Europe will be powered by Ballard fuel cell modules.
DOE issues RFI for feedback on technology validation and deployment for commercialization of fuel cell and hydrogen technologies
March 13, 2013
The US Department of Energy’s Fuel Cell Technologies Office has issued a Request for Information (RFI) (DE-FOA-0000873) seeking feedback from stakeholders regarding technology validation and deployment activities aimed at ensuring commercial readiness and stimulating commercialization of fuel cell and hydrogen technologies.
The Fuel Cell Technologies Office would like information on which hydrogen and fuel cell technologies are ready for technology validation—specifically, at a Technology Readiness Level of 6 or higher. Durability testing in real world environments and applications is fundamental to technology validation activities. Specific Areas of Interest (AOIs) for hydrogen and fuel cell technologies include:
Ballard signs long-term fuel cell engineering services contract with Volkswagen AG; expected value of C$60-100 million
March 07, 2013
Ballard Power Systems has signed an agreement with Volkswagen Group for a major Engineering Services contract to advance development of fuel cells for use in powering demonstration cars in Volkswagen’s fuel cell automotive research program. The contract term is for 4-years, with an option for a 2-year extension. The expected contract value is in the range of C$60-100 million.
Work will involve the design and manufacture of a next-generation fuel cell for use in Volkswagen HyMotion demonstration cars. Ballard engineers will lead critical areas of fuel cell product design—including the membrane electrode assembly (MEA), plate and stack components—along with testing and integration work.
New low-temperature catalytic process for producing hydrogen from methanol; potential future application for fuel cell vehicles
February 28, 2013
|(a) Schematic pathway for a homogeneously catalyzed methanol reforming process via three discrete dehydrogenation steps. (b) Best performing catalysts. Nielsen et al. Click to enlarge.|
Researchers from Germany and Italy have developed an efficient low-temperature catalytic process to produce hydrogen from methanol. Hydrogen generation by this method proceeds at 65–95 °C (149-203 °F) and ambient pressure with excellent catalyst turnover frequencies (4,700 per hour) and turnover numbers (exceeding 350,000). This could make the delivery of hydrogen on mobile devices—and hence the use of methanol as a practical hydrogen carrier—eventually feasible, the team suggests in a paper published in the journal Nature.
One of the challenges to hydrogen fuel cell vehicles is the efficient on-board storage of adequate amounts of the hydrogen gas required for fuel cell operation due to the properties of the gas. Methanol conceptually is an interesting alternative, as it is a liquid at room temperature (easier transportation and handling) and contains 12.6% hydrogen. However, current methanol reforming technologies for the production of hydrogen are conducted at high temperatures (> 200 °C) and high pressures (25–50 bar), limiting potential mobile applications of “so-called reformed methanol fuel cells”, they note.
California ARB proposing amendments to Clean Fuels Outlet regulation to ensure adequate hydrogen fueling infrastructure
February 19, 2013
The California Air Resources Board (ARB) will conduct a public hearing in June to consider adopting amendments to the Clean Fuels Outlet (CFO) Regulation with the intention of ensuring an adequate hydrogen refueling infrastructure to support the introduction and growth of hydrogen-fueled vehicles.
In January 2012, the Board adopted the Advanced Clean Cars (ACC) regulatory package adopted in January 2012 (earlier post)—a combination of the Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) regulations (for criteria pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions) and the technology-forcing Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) that pushes manufacturers to produce ZEVs and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in the 2018 through 2025 model years. In addition, the ACC program included amendments to Clean Fuels Outlet (CFO) requirements that will assure that ultra-clean fuels such as hydrogen are available to meet vehicle demands brought on by amendments to the ZEV regulation.
PNNL team develops bio-inspired iron-based catalyst for hydrogen fuel cells
February 18, 2013
Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have developed a new biologically inspired catalyst that is the first iron-based catalyst that converts hydrogen directly to electricity. The catalyst could support the achievement of more affordable fuel cells.
The team developed a molecular complex of iron—CpC6F5Fe(PtBu2NBn2)(H)—as a rationally designed electrocatalyst for the oxidation of hydrogen at room temperature, with turnover frequencies of 0.66–2.0 s−1 and low overpotentials of 160–220 mV. A paper on their work is published in Nature Chemistry.
California Governor’s Office releases 2013 ZEV action plan; 1.5M ZEVs on CA roadways by 2025
February 07, 2013
California Governor Jerry Brown’s Office and state agencies issued a 2013 Zero-emission Vehicle (ZEV) Action Plan. The Action Plan follows on Governor Brown’s Executive Order (B-16-2012) released March 2012, which set required milestones for state government to enable 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles on California roadways by 2025. (Earlier post.) The Action Plan details concrete actions that state agencies are taking to help accelerate the market for plug-in electric vehicles and fuel cell electric vehicles.
For the purposes of the executive order and action plan, ZEVs include hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), battery electric vehicles (BEVs), and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). They also address light-duty passenger vehicles and heavier vehicles such as freight trucks and public buses.
UKH2Mobility interim report finds potential for 1.6M hydrogen-powered vehicles on UK roads by 2030, with annual sales of 300K units
February 05, 2013
|UK consumer demand for FCEVs increases as the cost premium diminishes and the network of hydrogen refueling stations (HRS) expands. Source: UKH2Mobility. Click to enlarge.|
More than 1.5 million hydrogen-powered vehicles could be on UK roads by 2030, according to interim Phase I findings of the UKH2Mobility project, a joint Government-industry to evaluate the potential for hydrogen as a fuel for Ultra Low Carbon Vehicles in the UK before developing an action plan for an anticipated roll-out to consumers in 2014/15. (Earlier post.)
The forecast was made in an interim report commissioned to evaluate the benefits of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) and ensure the UK is well positioned for their commercial roll-out. The study provides a roadmap for the introduction of vehicles and hydrogen refueling infrastructure in the UK.
DOE seeking input on proposed automotive fuel cell cost and durability targets
February 03, 2013
The US Department of Energy (DOE) is issuing a Request for Information (RFI) (DE-FOA-0000855) seeking input from stakeholders on proposed cost targets for fuel cells designed for automotive applications. The purpose of this RFI is to solicit feedback from developers, manufacturers, end users, and other stakeholders on proposed cost and durability targets for automotive fuel cell systems.
The proposed targets are $40/kW in 2020 and $30/kW for the ultimate target (2030) for automotive fuel cell system cost, and 5000 hrs or 150,000 miles for durability. This RFI is not and will not lead directly to a Funding Opportunity Announcement, DOE said.
Daimler, Renault-Nissan Alliance Ford to develop common fuel cell system; targeting vehicles in 2017
January 28, 2013
Daimler AG, Ford Motor Company and Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., have signed a three-way agreement for the joint development of a common fuel cell system to speed up availability of zero-emission technology and significantly reduce investment costs.
The goal of the collaboration is to develop jointly a common fuel cell electric vehicle system while reducing investment costs associated with the engineering of the technology. Each company will invest equally towards the project. The strategy to maximize design commonality, leverage volume and derive efficiencies through economies of scale will help to launch the world’s first affordable, mass-market FCEVs as early as 2017. (Daimler had earlier been targeting 2015 for launch.)
BMW and Toyota expand collaboration with work on fuel cell system, sports vehicle, light-weight technology and Li-air battery
January 24, 2013
BMW Group and Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) signed binding agreements aimed at long-term collaboration between the two companies for the joint development of a hydrogen fuel cell system; joint development of architecture and components for a sports vehicle; and joint research and development of lightweight technologies. These agreements follow a memorandum of understanding signed in June 2012. (Earlier post.)
The companies also today signed a binding agreement to commence collaborative research on lithium-air batteries. This agreement marks the second phase of collaborative research into next-generation lithium-ion battery cells that commenced in March 2012. (Earlier post.) The main points of the new agreements are:
Platinum on tin-doped indium oxide as promising next-generation catalyst for PEM fuel cells; exceeding DOE 2015 mass activity target
January 02, 2013
Researchers at the University of Connecticut report that a new catalyst material using tin (Sn)-doped indium oxide (ITO) nanoparticles (NPs) as a high stability non-carbon support for platinum (Pt) NPs is a very promising candidate as a next-generation catalyst for proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs).
In a paper published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, they report that the PT/ITO catalyst showed mass activity of 621 ± 31 mA/mgPt—far exceeding the 2015 US Department of Energy (DOE) goal for Pt mass activity of 440 mA/mgPt. The stability of the Pt/ITO material was also “very impressive” under harsh conditions for ORR electrocatalysts in which state-of-the-art Pt/C electrocatalysts typically show very poor stability, they reported.
Highly efficient non-precious metal electrocatalyst for ORR in fuel cells and metal-air batteries
December 18, 2012
A team of S. Korean and American scientists led by Dr. Jaephil Cho at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) reports on a newly developed, highly efficient non-precious metal electrocatalyst for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) in the journal Angewandte Chemie.
Inspired by the tetrapod structures of a breakwater, the novel material for electrodes is created from affordable melamine foam and carbon black. The unique porous architecture greatly facilitates rapid mass transport, while the N-doped ketjenblack and Fe/Fe3C-functionalized surface of the framework significantly enhance the ORR activity of cathodes for fuel cells and metal-air batteries.
ARB issues solicitation for zero-emission off-road equipment projects
December 15, 2012
The California Air Resources Board (ARB) issued a grant solicitation for demonstration projects on zero-emission off-road equipment. ARB expects that up to $1 million will be available for this solicitation, although funding could be increased to a maximum of $5 million depending on the availability of state funds. The potential number of projects selected for funding is expected to be two, but up to five projects may be selected, the agency said.
The solicitation was issued under AB 118 Air Quality Improvement Program’s (AQIP), Advanced Technology Demonstration Projects and is intended to fund technologies on the cusp of commercialization with the potential for significant targeted reductions in criteria pollutants and greenhouse gas emission reduction co-benefits. The solicitation is open to local air districts or other California-based public agencies that demonstrate the requisite technical and administrative expertise.
ITM Power provides update on hydrocarbon fuel cell membrane performance
December 06, 2012
In partnership with the UK’s Carbon Trust and major automotive OEMs, ITM Power has been performing numerous standardized accelerated stress tests on its high power density membrane material (earlier post) designed to exacerbate degradation and benchmark durability. Unlike the majority of conventional fluorocarbon membrane materials which are expensive and require significant chemical plant to fabricate, ITM’s materials are low-cost hydrocarbons made by mixing together liquid chemicals to a particular recipe.
In an update, the company reports that its hydrocarbon fuel cell membrane is highly conductive and has demonstrated a high power density exceeding 1.5W/cm2 at 600mV with hydrogen/air, 0.3 mg/cm2 of platinum catalyst per electrode and low gas pressures (1.5 bar absolute).