[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.]
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 issues RFI for hydrogen delivery R&D, targeting cost of $2-4 gge
May 14, 2013
The Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a Request for Information (DE-FOA-0000920) seeking feedback from stakeholders for hydrogen delivery research and development activities aimed at lowering the cost of hydrogen delivery technologies in order to reach the threshold cost goal of $2-4 per gallon of gasoline equivalent (gge) produced, delivered and dispensed of hydrogen.
The RFI is not a funding opportunity announcement, although DOE said it may issue such an FOA in the future. The RFI covers two main areas of interest: Compression, Storage and Dispensing; and Liquefaction.
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.
Former president of Shell Oil calls for aggressive action on alternative fuels to break oil monopoly on transportation
April 30, 2013
John Hofmeister, former President of Shell Oil Company and founder and CEO of Citizens for Affordable Energy (CFAE), is joining the Fuel Freedom Foundation (FFF) Advisory Board. Fuel Freedom is a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to opening the fuel market to allow alternative fuels such as ethanol, methanol, natural gas and electricity fairly to compete with gasoline at the pump. CFAE’s mission is to educate citizens and government officials about pragmatic, non-partisan affordable energy solutions.
“The purpose and the focus [of FFF] is exactly in line with what I promoted as president of Shell and subsequently as the founder of CFAE,” Hofmeister said to Green Car Congress. “From [these organizations’ standpoints], the reason we have to get away from doing nothing is that the public doesn’t fully appreciate or understand the situation it faces with respect to fuels’ futures.”
German researchers improve catalyst for steam reforming of methanol with salt coating; enabler for renewable energy storage systems
April 19, 2013
Researchers at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg (Germany) report in the journal Angewandte Chemie their development of an enhanced platinum catalyst for the steam reforming of methanol to release hydrogen.
A central problem of renewable energy technology lies in the great variation of energy generated (i.e., intermittency). One proposed solution is methanol-based hydrogen storage. In this scenario, excess renewable electricity can be used to electrolyze water to produce hydrogen. The hydrogen, in turn, is then reacted with carbon dioxide to make methanol and water, thus allowing it to be stored as a liquid. The hydrogen can be released from the methanol at a later time to power a fuel cell.
France’s IFPEN studying industrial potential of onshore sources of natural hydrogen
April 18, 2013
IFP Energies nouvelles (IFPEN) has become one of the first global research centers actively to investigate onshore natural hydrogen emissions after the discovery of offshore sources of the gas in the 1970s.
Initial exploratory work has already shown that continuous onshore natural H2 emissions occur frequently. IFPEN now is launching a new research project investigating the viability of industrial exploitation. IFPEN is a French public-sector research, innovation and training center active in the fields of energy, transport and the environment.
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.
Alset dual-fuel Hybrid Hydrogen system to debut in Aston Martin Rapide S at the Nürburgring
April 12, 2013
|Alset’s dual-fuel Hybrid Hydrogen system. Click to enlarge.|
A prototype, twin-turbo, Aston Martin Rapide S at the 41st ADAC Zurich 24 Hours of Nürburgring (19-20 May 2013) will debut Alset Global’s dual fuel Hybrid Hydrogen system, which enables the turbocharged 6.0-liter V12 engine car to run on pure gasoline or hydrogen or a blend of both.
Austria-based Alset Global’s Hybrid Hydrogen system comprises a hydrogen fuel rail, storage tank and proprietary engine management system. The system can use either pure hydrogen, gasoline or a blend of both to deliver optimum power, acceleration and CO2 reduction.
President’s FY2014 Budget boosts DOE vehicle technology spending 75% to $575M; $282M for advanced biofuels
April 10, 2013
President Obama’s FY 2014 budget proposal submitted to Congress provides $28.4 billion in discretionary funds for the Department of Energy, an 8% increase above the 2012 enacted level. Among the direct transportation-related highlights of the department’s budget proposal are $575 million for advanced vehicle technologies research, an increase of 75% over the enacted 2012 level; $282 million for the next-generation of advanced biofuels research; and the $2 billion Energy Security Trust to transition cars and trucks off of oil. (Earlier post.)
Other highlights include more than $5 billion (+5.7% over the 2012 enacted level) for the Office of Science for basic research and research infrastructure; $615 million to increase the use and decrease the costs of clean power from solar, wind, geothermal, and water energy; $365 million in advanced manufacturing research and development; and $147 million in research and development of smart grid investments, cybersecurity for energy control systems, and permitting, sitting, and analysis activities.
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.
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:
IACS team develops high-performing bio-inspired electrocatalyst for hydrogen generation in an aqueous medium
March 11, 2013
Researchers from the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (IACS), an autonomous—and the oldest—research institute in India, have developed a high-performing bio-inspired catalyst (an Fe−Fe hydrogenase mimic immobilized on graphite surfaces) for electrocatalytic hydrogen generation in an aqueous medium.
In a paper published in the journal ACS Catalysis, they report that the catalyst shows a turnover frequency of 6,400 s−1 at −0.5 V and an onset potential of −0.36 V vs NHE (normal hydrogen electrode, an early standard for zero potential). Prolonged electrolysis shows that the catalyst has a turnover number ≫108 and a Faradaic efficiency > 95%. Even at pH 2, more than 400 s−1 is obtained. The catalyst can be immobilized on inexpensive carbon electrodes, such as those used in domestic Zn-carbon dry batteries, to generate H2 from acid aqueous solutions.
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.
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.
EU launches clean fuel strategy; EU-wide standards of equipment and binding targets for infrastructure
January 25, 2013
The European Commission announced a package of measures to ensure the build-up of alternative fuel stations across Europe with common standards for their design and use. Policy initiatives so far have mostly addressed the actual fuels and vehicles, without considering fuels distribution. Efforts to provide incentives have been un-co-ordinated and insufficient, the EC said.
Clean fuel adoption is being held back by three main barriers, the EC said: the high cost of vehicles; a low level of consumer acceptance; and the lack of recharging and refueling stations. Refueling stations are not being built because there are not enough vehicles; vehicles are not sold at competitive prices because there is not enough demand; and consumers do not buy the vehicles because they are expensive and the stations are not there. The Commission is therefore proposing a package of binding targets on Member States for a minimum level of infrastructure for clean fuels such as electricity, hydrogen and natural gas, as well as common EU wide standards for equipment needed.
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.
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.
Topping-out ceremony for the Audi e-gas plant; synthetic methane production to begin in early 2013
December 13, 2012
|Components of the e-gas plant. Click to enlarge.|
Audi is celebrating progress on its e-gas plant under construction in Werlte, Germany with a topping-out ceremony. End products from the plant will be hydrogen and synthetic methane (Audi e-gas), to be used as fuel for vehicles such as the new Audi A3 Sportback TCNG. (Earlier post.)
The Audi e-gas plant, which can convert six megawatts of input power, will utilize renewable electricity for electrolysis, producing oxygen and hydrogen, the latter which could one day power fuel-cell vehicles. Because there is not yet a widespread hydrogen infrastructure, however, the hydrogen is reacted with CO2 in a methanation unit to generate renewable synthetic methane, or Audi e-gas. Chemically speaking, this e-gas is nearly identical to fossil-based natural gas. As such, it can be distributed to CNG stations via the natural gas network and will power vehicles starting in 2013.
€3.59M PHAEDRUS project for all-electrochemical high-pressure hydrogen refueling for passenger cars
November 28, 2012
UK-based ITM Power has received confirmation of a €3.59-million (US$4.66-million) grant award from a program of the European Union’s Joint Technology Initiatives (JTI). The award is to a consortium for the development of an advanced hydrogen refueling system using ITM Power’s high pressure hydrogen electrolysis technology. ITM Power’s share of this award is €0.87 million (US$1.12 million).
The program, known as the PHAEDRUS project and funded under the Seventh Framework Programme (SP1-JTI-FCH.2001.2.7), aims to develop an all-electrochemical high pressure (70 MPa, 10,000 psi) hydrogen refueling station (HRS) for fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) in the passenger car segment.
California Energy Commission to award up to $28.59M for hydrogen refueling stations in 25 areas
November 20, 2012
|One of the Station Location Area maps showing the use of “polygons” (see below) to rank desirability of location via scoring. Click to enlarge.|
The California Energy Commission has issued a competitive grant solicitation (PON-12-606) to award up to a combined $28.59 million for new hydrogen refueling stations in 25 selected areas. The goal is to expand the network of publicly accessible hydrogen fueling stations to serve the current population of fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) and to accommodate the planned large-scale roll-out of FCVs commencing in 2015. Individual projects are eligible for up to 65% of the total project cost or $1.50 million, whichever is less.
The Energy Commission does not anticipate that all 25 Station Location Areas will be funded under this solicitation. Only one hydrogen fueling station will be funded per Station Location Area polygon, which were generated by a process designed and applied at the Advanced Power and Energy Program at the University of California at Irvine (UCI).
DOE to award up to $1M to evaluate technology pathways for cost-competitive hydrogen fuel
October 06, 2012
The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award up to $1 million for up to two projects for 3–4 years to evaluate the most promising technology paths toward achieving $2 to $4 per gallon gasoline equivalent (gge) of hydrogen fuel or less by 2020.
The projects selected through this funding opportunity (DE-FOA-0000748) will help identify cost-effective and efficient materials and processes to produce hydrogen from renewable energy sources and natural gas. These projects will also analyze production and delivery technologies to identify key technical challenges and priorities and continue to evaluate technical progress and hydrogen cost status.
Hydrogenics awarded US$90+ million contract for integrated fuel cell power propulsion systems for OEM; largest single order yet
October 05, 2012
Hydrogenics Corporation has been awarded the largest single order in its company history by a major OEM. Secured by Hydrogenics’ Power Systems division, based in Toronto, Canada, the follow-on contract includes a firm-fixed-price exclusive design and manufacture contract valued at more than US$36 million.
Over the next 3 years, Hydrogenics will supply propulsion system equipment including integrated fuel cell power systems, power electronic converters, associated hardware and propulsion system software. The contract includes additional equipment commitments of US$13 million as well as optional equipment and services totaling another US $43 million over a 10-year period. These options will be triggered as required for production, spare parts, warranty, and service requirements.
UK Carbon Trust report says fuel cell vehicles could take more than 30% of mid-sized car market by 2050
September 30, 2012
|Ranges of automotive fuel cell system costs at mass manufactured volume using technology from three UK companies supported by the Carbon Trust. Source: Carbon Trust. Click to enlarge.|
A new report released by the UK’s Carbon Trust concludes that with a continued focus on technology innovation to drive ongoing cost reductions, fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) could take over 30% of the mid-sized car market by 2050.
The report is specifically focused on the potential for technology from select UK companies to enable a disruptive step-change in fuel cell cost reduction to accelerate consumer uptake, leading to approximately double the number of fuel cell cars on the road globally by 2030 versus current expectations. Some of the technologies could be applied in FCEVs as early as 2020, according to the report.
Hyundai to begin production of ix35 Fuel Cell vehicle in December; targeting 1,000 units by 2015
September 27, 2012
|ix35 Fuel Cell. Click to enlarge.|
In December 2012, Hyundai will begin production of the ix35 Fuel Cell crossover vehicle at its Ulsan manufacturing facility in Korea, with a target of building up to 1,000 vehicles by 2015. Hyundai called the ix35 Fuel Cell its “halo vehicle” in the Blue Drive sub-brand, the badge worn by Hyundai’s cleanest vehicles, including Sonata Hybrid, i20 Blue Drive and BlueOn, Hyundai’s battery-powered i10.
Hyundai has already signed contracts with cities in Denmark and Sweden to lease the ix35 Fuel Cell to municipal fleets. Beyond 2015, Hyundai plans limited mass production of the ix35 Fuel Cell, with a goal of 10,000 units; Hyundai will also introduce the vehicle in Korea and California.
Small-displacement two-stroke H2 engine could address performance and emissions cost-effectively for recreational market; potential for Asian motor vehicle fleet
September 26, 2012
|Comparison of brake thermal efficiency and specific fuel consumption at rated power (ICOMIA Mode 5), hydrogen vs. gasoline engines. Oh and Plante. Click to enlarge.|
A team at the Université de Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada has developed a prototype small-displacement (<250 cc), two-stroke, inline two-cylinder direct-injected hydrogen engine that achieves high fuel efficiency and very low emissions. David Oh and Jean-Sébastien Plante sought to develop an engine that would be production viable in the mid-term (5—10 years) with realistic costs under the constraint of the most stringent emissions regulations.
Such an engine could provide a cost-effective solution for small recreational vehicle- and motorcycle applications. It, or a scaled-up version, could also provide a solution for the Asian motor vehicle fleet, in which two-stroke engine vehicles constitute a major share—and contribute significantly to air pollution. Oh presented a paper on the work, which was the result of two years of research activity, at the ASME 2012 Internal Combustion Engine Division Fall Technical Conference.
Toyota provides update on status of green car technology, future plans; 21 new hybrid models, new gasoline and diesel engines, transmissions, EV and fuel cell stack
September 25, 2012
|The new EQ EV offers power consumption of 104 Wh/km. Li-ion batteries are from Panasonic. Click to enlarge.|
In Japan, Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) outlined the progress of development of its green technologies as well as its vehicle deployment plans through 2015. Overall, the company says, it intends to continue to work to conserve energy by improving fuel efficiency and reducing emissions, and by diversifying fuel sources by encouraging the use of electricity, hydrogen and other alternative energies.
TMC plans to launch 21 new hybrid vehicles models—consisting of additional (new) models and fully redesigned existing models—from now until the end of 2015. In the area of energy conservation, TMC has developed a new gasoline engine that achieves a maximum 38.5% thermal efficiency for application in hybrids; a high-performance clean diesel engine and a high efficiency transmission. Toyota’s EQ EV will deliver electric power consumption of 104 Wh/km.
Nissan to unveil new fuel cell SUV concept at Paris Motor Show with 3-motor 4x4 powertrain; leveraging LEAF and PIVO
September 12, 2012
|Nissan TeRRA SUV concept. Click to enlarge.|
Nissan will unveil the Nissan TeRRA SUV fuel cell electric vehicle concept at the 2012 Paris Motor Show on 27 September. TeRRA, with a 3-motor, 4x4 powertrain, builds on Nissan’s success with what it calls “urban-relevant” SUVs and crossovers such as the Murano and Qashqai.
Powering the front wheels is the electric propulsion system currently featured in the battery-electric Nissan LEAF. In each back wheel, providing all-wheel power as needed, is an in-wheel electric motor, based on the working prototypes featured in three successive PIVO concepts. (Earlier post.)
Shipping industry eyeing hydrogen fuel cells as possible pathway to emissions reduction; work by Germanischer Lloyd and DNV
September 07, 2012
|Germanischer Lloyd’s concept hydrogen-fuel cell container feeder vessel is fueled by liquid hydrogen. Source: GL. Click to enlarge.|
Although technical and operational efficiency improvements in conventional propulsion systems may lower CO2 emissions from ships by as much as 20% across the global fleet, such marked gains in efficiency will not stop the steady increase of total emissions from shipping or meet the ambitious reduction targets of the future. One possible pathway being explored by the shipping industry is the use of hydrogen fuel cells.
At a presentation at the GMEC (Global Maritime Environmental Congress) held earlier this month in Hamburg, Dr. Pierre Sames, Germanischer Lloyd’s Head of Research and Rule Development, examined the potential use of fuel cells in shipping, the use of renewable energy to produce hydrogen for use as fuel, the economics of the technology and looked at two concept designs for fuel-cell driven, hydrogen-fueled vessels.
Researchers develop efficient fuel cell PROX catalyst with help of advanced imaging technologies
September 02, 2012
|Catalyst structural evolution and reaction/deactivation mechanism. Credit: ACS, Li et al. Click to enlarge.|
Researchers at Singapore’s A*STAR (Agency for Science, Technology and Research) have developed an efficient catalyst for the preferential oxidation (PROX) of CO in hydrogen gas for PEM fuel cells, such as those applied in fuel cell vehicles.
In their work, they used advanced imaging technologies—high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HR-TEM) and three-dimensional electron tomography—to identify subtle, atomic-scale structural transformations that can activate and de-activate gold nanoparticle catalysts, a finding that may lead to longer-lasting hydrogen fuel cells. A paper on the work was published in the journal ACS Catalysis.
Carbon Trust awards £2M to ACAL Energy and ITM Power to support major reduction in cost of automotive fuel cell systems
The UK’s Carbon Trust recently awarded £1.95 million (US$3.09 million) to two UK fuel cell companies—ACAL Energy and ITM Power—to help deliver a step change reduction in the cost of the technology to about $35/kW. The two investments come from the Carbon Trust’s Polymer Fuel Cells Challenge (PFCC) which was launched in 2009 to support the Department for Energy and Climate Change’s objectives to develop lower cost fuel cells and follows this year’s launch of the Government’s UKH2Mobility project. (Earlier post.)
Production of advanced automotive fuel cell systems currently under development globally are forecast to cost approximately $50/kW at mass manufacture volumes. However, analysis by the Carbon Trust indicates that for future fuel cell vehicles to compete with internal combustion engine cars, the cost of fuel cell systems must be reduced to about $35/kW. Significant additional technological breakthroughs are needed to achieve this target of a 30% cost reduction.
Toyota developing external power supply system and V2H for fuel cell buses
August 31, 2012
|FC Bus Power Supply System and the V2H System. Click to enlarge.|
Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) has developed an external power supply system that uses electricity generated within a fuel cell bus (FC bus) to supply electrical power to devices such as home electrical appliances. An FC bus—based on the FCHV-BUS (Fuel cell hybrid vehicle-bus)—equipped with the new power supply system has two electrical outlets (AC 100 V, 1.5 kW) inside the cabin that can supply a maximum output of 3 kW and potentially power home appliances continuously for more than 100 hours.
As part of the emergency power-supply training section of the disaster-control training to be conducted by Aichi Prefecture and Toyota City on 2 September, the system is to power approximately 20 information display monitors inside a disaster control headquarters tent.
IBN researchers develop new gold-copper-platinum core-shell electrocatalyst for fuel cells
August 24, 2012
|An illustration of the new IBN nanocomposite material which is composed of gold-copper alloy atoms in the core and platinum atoms at the outer layer. Source: IBN. Click to enlarge.|
Researchers at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) in Singapore report the synthesis of core–shell AuCu@Pt nanoparticles exhibiting superior electrocatalytic activity and excellent stability towards the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) in fuel cells. A paper on their work appears in the RSC journal Energy and Environmental Science.
A general challenge in fuel cell development involves improving the durability and electrocatalytic activity of platinum-based electrocatalysts, while reducing the loading of the expensive metal. Professor Jackie Y. Ying and colleagues discovered that by replacing the central part of the catalyst with gold and copper alloy and leaving just the outer layer in platinum, the new hybrid material can provide 5 times higher activity and much greater stability than the commercial platinum catalyst. With further optimization, it would be possible to further increase the material’s catalytic properties, they said.
Scotland greenlights £3.3M for clean energy hub with 10 hydrogen buses in first phase
August 15, 2012
Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond gave the green light for a pioneering clean energy hub in Scotland, including Europe’s largest hydrogen bus fleet, as he announced funding of up to £3.3 million (US$5.2 million) for the EU-backed project.
The Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise funding will enable Aberdeen City Council, supported by Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group, to start the project’s first phase with an order for 10 hydrogen fuel-cell buses. They will be operated on First and Stagecoach bus routes in the city by early 2014 and refueled at Scotland’s first large hydrogen refueling station, which will also be able to refuel hydrogen-powered passenger cars, as they become available.
CaFCP report concludes California needs 68 hydrogen fueling stations by end of 2015 to support first commercial wave of fuel cell vehicles
August 08, 2012
|Map of 68 hydrogen fueling stations: existing, in development and needed. Source: CaFCP. Click to enlarge.|
To support the planned commercial launch of fuel cell electric vehicles by automakers in 2015 (FCEVs), California needs 68 hydrogen fueling stations in five clusters in which most early adopters are expected, according to a new report issued by the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP). These 68 stations should be in place by the end of 2015 in order to serve adequately the first approximately 20,000 FCEVs, the report finds.
The total cost to expand to 68 stations, and provide operations and maintenance support until the stations become profitable is estimated at $65 million. The initial cluster areas—requiring 45 stations—are Berkeley, San Francisco South Bay, Santa Monica/West Los Angeles, coastal Southern Orange County, and Torrance. An additional 23 stations in areas such as Pasadena and Sacramento will connect these clusters into a regional network and include major destinations such as Napa, Santa Barbara and San Diego.
NPC report to Energy Secretary finds light-, medium- and heavy-duty vehicles could reduce per-mile GHG at least 40% by 2050; additional strategies required for further reductions
August 02, 2012
|Projected range of impact of demand, fuel efficiency improvements, and alternative fuel-vehicle systems on light-duty fleet GHG emissions. Source: NPC. Click to enlarge.|
Transportation in the United States could evolve at an accelerated rate, depending on the speed of technology advancements and the economic viability of alternative fuels and vehicles, according to a comprehensive report approved and presented to the Secretary of Energy by the National Petroleum Council (NPC). However, sustained and focused efforts by industry and government are essential for progress to continue and accelerate.
Among the findings of the two-year study are that—if technology hurdles and infrastructure challenges can be overcome—economically competitive low-carbon fuels and improvements in fuel economy will result in substantial reductions in GHG emissions. On a stand-alone basis, all light-, medium-, and heavy-duty vehicles have the potential to reduce per-mile GHG emissions by at least 40% in 2050, relative to 2005 average fleet levels. However, projected 2050 transportation demand, relative to 2005, counteracts per-mile GHG reductions.
Preliminary cost analysis finds ITM Power fuel cell membranes could reduce automotive fuel cell costs to $35/kW
July 22, 2012
|Cost reduction potential of a polymer fuel cell system using an ITM Power membrane. Source: Carbon Trust. Click to enlarge.|
The preliminary results of an independent assessment commissioned by the UK’s Carbon Trust of ITM Power’s fuel cell membrane performance indicates that ITM Power’s membrane technology has the potential, assuming that the significant technological hurdles can be overcome, to reduce fuel cell costs to US$35/kW in manufactured quantities of 500,000 units per year.
This is based primarily upon the demonstrated high power density performance and assumed catalyst loading reductions. Such demonstrations and assumptions were based on information and data provided by ITM Power. ITM Power has published figures showing what it believes is the highest ever polymer fuel cell power density using hydrogen as the fuel and ordinary air, rather than pure oxygen. (Earlier post.)
DOE releases final report from 6-year national fuel cell vehicle demo; key targets met, with twice the efficiency of today’s gasoline vehicles
July 18, 2012
The US Department of Energy (DOE) released the final report from its National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) for a technology validation project that collected data from more than 180 fuel cell electric vehicles over six years (early 2005 through September 2011). These vehicles made more than 500,000 trips and traveled 3.6 million miles, completing more than 33,000 fill-ups at hydrogen fueling stations across the country.
The project—the Controlled Hydrogen Fleet and Infrastructure Validation and Demonstration Project, also referred to as the National Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) Learning Demonstration—met its key technical targets, the NREL report said. NREL also found that these early fuel cell vehicles achieved more than twice the efficiency of today’s gasoline vehicles.
MSU team develops consolidated bioprocessing platform for efficient production of ethanol and hydrogen from biomass with a microbial electrolysis cell
July 10, 2012
Researchers at Michigan State University have developed a method for the consolidated bioprocessing (CBP) of corn stover pretreated by ammonia fiber expansion (AFEX-CS) to produce ethanol and hydrogen with a microbial electrolysis cell (MEC) using the ethanol-producing bacterium Cellulomonas uda in partnership with the exoelectrogenic bacterium Geobacter sulfurreducens.
The synergistic activities of the ethanol-producing and electricity-producing bacteria resulted in substantial energy recoveries from ethanol production alone (ca. 56%). (G. sulfurreducens removes waste fermentation byproducts that can inhibit ethanol production.) The cogeneration of H2 in the MEC further increased the energy recoveries to ca. 73%.
Researchers develop optimized electrospray technique for ultra-low platinum loading in fuel cells with high performance
July 03, 2012
|The electrospray (top) and the deposited nanostructure (bottom). Source: UNED. Click to enlarge.|
A group of researchers from UNED (National Distance Education University) in Spain reports developing an optimized electrospray method for manufacturing the membrane electrode assembly (MEA) in PEM fuel cells with ultra-low platinum loadings that exceed US Department of Energy (DOE) targets.
Optimization of the control parameters result in electrosprayed layers with nanostructured fractal morphologies with dendrites formed by clusters (about 100 nm diameter) of a few single catalyst particles rendering a large exposure surface of the catalyst.