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[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.]

California ARB opens solicitations for $17M for On-Road Advanced Technology Demonstrations Projects; Class 7, 8 trucks

May 20, 2017

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) is seeking solicitations for up to $17 million in grants for the On-Road Advanced Technology Demonstrations Projects approved by the Board as part of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016-17 Funding Plan for Low Carbon Transportation and Fuels Investments and the Air Quality Improvement Program (AQIP).

Projects funded under this solicitation will demonstrate pre-commercial Intelligent Transportation Systems and Connected Trucks; Advanced Engines and Powertrains; and Zero-Emission Short and Regional Haul Trucks.

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DOE moving forward with $11.1M in funding for three ARPA-E projects

May 19, 2017

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced that it is honoring commitments to several previously selected Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) awardees, with funding of a combined $11.1 million. They are among the first awardees to move forward following the Department’s review of all taxpayer funded grants and projects, intended to ensure that each award applied good governance principles consistent with the new Administration’s policy directives.

The projects moving forward are part of ARPA-E’s Next-Generation Energy Technologies for Connected and Autonomous On-Road Vehicles (NEXTCAR) (earlier post) and Renewable Energy to Fuels Through Utilization of Energy-Dense Liquids (REFUEL) (earlier post) programs. Additional awardees are expected to move forward in the coming weeks.

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New mesocrystal photocatalyst enhances light-driven hydrogen production

May 18, 2017

A group of Japanese researchers has developed a novel photocatalyst for increased hydrogen production. The strontium titanate mesocrystal exhibits three times the efficiency for hydrogen evolution compared to conventional disordered systems in alkaline aqueous solution. The mesocrystal also exhibits a high quantum yield of 6.7% at 360 nm in overall water splitting and even good durability up to 1 day.

The discovery was made by a joint research team led by Associate Professor Takashi Tachikawa (Molecular Photoscience Research Center, Kobe University) and Professor Tetsuro Majima (Institute of Scientific and Industrial Research, Osaka University). Their findings were published in the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition.

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CSIRO team working to commercialize membrane separating H2 from NH3; opening up an export market for Australia renewable H2

May 17, 2017

Researchers at Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have years of experience researching the best ways to separate pure hydrogen from mixed gas streams. Now, the researchers have developed a thin metal membrane that can separate high-purity hydrogen from ammonia used as a hydrogen carrier. Ammonia (NH3) has a number of favorable attributes for such an application, the primary one being its high capacity for hydrogen storage—17.6 wt.%, based on its molecular structure.

CSIRO’s vision is to use the membrane technology to open up a new world market for renewable hydrogen produced via electrolysis in Australia. The renewable hydrogen would first be converted to ammonia (in combination with nitrogen produced in a renewables-driven air separation unit), then be exported piggybacking on the existing transport infrastructure for ammonia, and finally be extracted from the ammonia using the membrane system for use in vehicles and other applications.

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UH team develops new, highly efficient and durable OER catalyst for water splitting

May 16, 2017

Researchers at the University of Houston have developed a catalyst—composed of easily available, low-cost materials and operating far more efficiently than previous catalyst—that can split water into hydrogen and oxygen.

The robust oxygen-evolving electrocatalyst consists of ferrous metaphosphate on self-supported conductive nickel foam that is commercially available in large scale. The catalyst yields current densities of 10 mA/cm2 at an overpotential of 177 mV, 500 mA/cm2 at only 265 mV, and 1,705 mA/cm2 at 300 mV, with high durability in alkaline electrolyte of 1 M KOH even after 10,000 cycles. This represents an activity enhancement by a factor of 49 in boosting water oxidation at 300 mV relative to the state-of-the-art IrO2 catalyst. A paper on their work is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

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Ames Lab, Iowa State team develops more efficient catalytic material for fuel cell applications

May 09, 2017

Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Ames Laboratory have discovered a method for making smaller, more efficient intermetallic nanoparticles for fuel cell applications, and which also use less of the expensive precious metal platinum. A paper on the work is published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

The researchers succeeded by overcoming some of the technical challenges presented in the fabrication of the platinum-zinc nanoparticles with an ordered lattice structure, which function best at the small sizes in which the chemically reactive surface area is highest in proportion to the particle volume.

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New light-driven photo-electrochemical cell produces hydrogen from contaminated gas, including air

May 08, 2017

Researchers from the University of Antwerp and KU Leuven (University of Leuven), Belgium, have developed an all-gas-phase solid and stand-alone photo-electrochemical (PEC) cell that produces hydrogen gas from volatile organic contaminated air and light. The device recovers part of the energy stored in airborne organic pollutants by the production of hydrogen, while mineralizing the contaminants to less harmful CO2.

The PEC degrades organic contaminants and snd produces the hydrogen gas—without applying any external bias—in separate electrode compartments. Oxidation of volatile organic compounds (VOC) occurs at the photo-anode, while hydrogen is produced at the (dark) cathode on the opposite side of a proton-conducting solid electrolyte membrane. A paper on the work is published in the journal ChemSusChem.

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Intelligent Energy tech lead in €3.5M EU DIGIMAN program to advance fuel cell stack mass production; Toyota the automotive partner

A new European program has launched to provide a blueprint to enable fully automated future mass manufacture of fuel cell stacks for the automotive market. The objective of the €3.5-million DIGIMAN program is to advance (from Manufacturing Readiness Level 4 to MRL 6) the critical steps of the PEM fuel cell assembly processes and associated in-line quality control and end-of-line testing / handover strategies and to demonstrate a route to automated volume process production capability within an automotive best practice context.

UK-based Intelligent Energy is the program’s technology lead with overall coordination provided by CEA Tech-Liten. The two companies will front a pan-European industry group to further commercialize fuel cells for the mass automotive market.

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New molybdenum-coated catalyst produces hydrogen from water-splitting more efficiently; preventing the back reaction

May 07, 2017

Water-splitting systems require a very efficient catalyst to speed up the chemical reaction that splits water into hydrogen and oxygen, while preventing the two gases from recombining back into water. Now an international research team has developed a new catalyst with a molybdenum (Mo) coating that prevents this problematic back reaction and works well in realistic operating conditions.

The research team included scientists from the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Fukuoka University, University of Tokyo, and the Center for High Pressure Science and Technology Advanced Research in Shanghai, China. The work was supported by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology. A paper on the work is published in the journal Angewandte Chemie.

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California has invested $559M in cap-and-trade funds in ZEVs; state represents more than 40% of US ZEV sales

May 04, 2017

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) announced that California Climate Investments in zero-emission vehicles have reached $599 million since 2013, putting hundreds of thousands of ultra-clean cars, and entire fleets of zero-emission trucks and buses on California roads and highways. ARB made the announcement at the annual Advanced Clean Transportation Expo in Long Beach.

The funding is from California Climate Investments, a statewide program that invests billions of cap-and-trade dollars to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, strengthen the economy and improve public health and the environment—particularly in disadvantaged communities. Since the transportation sector overall is by far the largest contributor to the state’s total annual greenhouse gas emissions, a major focus of the climate investment program has been supporting the development and deployment of next-generation zero-emission trucks, cars and buses.

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US Hybrid unveils new Class 8 fuel cell port drayage truck for San Pedro Ports

May 03, 2017

US Hybrid has unveiled a zero-emission Class 8 fuel cell port drayage truck featuring its PEM fuel cell system during the Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo at the Long Beach Convention Center. The truck, which will be operated by Total Transportation Solutions, Inc (TTSI), is one of two fuel cell demonstration tractors scheduled for delivery at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. (Earlier post.)

The fuel cell tractor, a Navistar International ProStar day cab, features US Hybrid’s FCe80, 80 kW PEM fuel cell system and a 500 hp traction motor with 2,900 lb-ft of direct drive torque (3,750 N·m). It has a gross vehicle weight rating of 80,000 pounds, an estimated driving range of 200 miles under normal drayage operation, and can be fully refueled in less than nine minutes.

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Kenworth developing hydrogen fuel cell, Near Zero NOx CNG series hybrid Class 8 prototypes for SoCal ports; CNG hybrids

Kenworth continues its advancements on low/zero emission projects focused on Kenworth T680 day cabs for drayage tractor operation in Southern California ports, which are backed by $9 million in government grants awarded last August.

Kenworth is developing a prototype Class 8 hydrogen fuel cell tractor, using the Ballard Power Systems fuel cell to recharge the battery pack. The hydrogen fuel cell series hybrid T680 day cab tractor uses lithium-ion batteries to power a dual-rotor electric motor, driving the rear tandem axle through a 4-speed automated transmission. Kenworth’s hydrogen truck is expected to be ready for initial track and on-road testing in the fourth quarter of this year.

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UPS to deploy prototype Class 6 extended range fuel cell electric vehicle delivery truck; trials begin in Q3

May 02, 2017

UPS will deploy a prototype extended range Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) in its Rolling Laboratory fleet of alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles. UPS is working with the US Department of Energy (DOE) and other partners to design a first-of-its-kind, zero tailpipe emissions, Class 6 medium-duty delivery truck that meets the same route and range requirements of UPS’ existing conventional fuel vehicles.

The UPS trucks are equipped with a 32 kW Hydrogenics fuel cell coupled to 45 kWh of battery storage and 10 kg of hydrogen fuel. Each FCEV produces electricity which continuously charges its batteries, thereby providing additional power and an extended range of 125 miles. This will support the full duty cycle of the truck, including highway driving.

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Ricardo collaborating with Toyota on Project Portal Class 8 fuel cell truck

Toyota’s Project Portal is designing a heavy-duty hydrogen fuel cell system for class 8 truck use at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. (Earlier post.) Ricardo provided technical assistance to the project, including areas of design, vehicle build, testing and development, and is currently supporting vehicle trials.

Project Portal is the next step in Toyota’s effort to broaden the application of zero-emission fuel cell technology that can serve a range of industries. It is a fully functional heavy-duty Class 8 truck with adequate power and torque capacity to conduct port drayage operations while emitting nothing but water vapor. Heavy duty vehicles make up a significant percentage of the annual emissions output at the San Pedro Bay ports, and the Portal feasibility study may provide another path to further reduce emissions.

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Oita team develops new process for producing hydrogen from ammonia without external heat source

April 29, 2017

Researchers at Oita University in Japan have developed an innovative process for the production of hydrogen from ammonia without the need for an external heat source to initiate or maintain the reaction. An open access paper on their work is published in the journal Science Advances.

Liquid ammonia (NH3) has been considered as a carrier (storage medium) for hydrogen that could alleviate the challenges of transporting, handling and storing hydrogen for commercial applications. However, the adoption of ammonia as a H2 carrier, especially for household and transportable devices, has been limited due to the lack of an efficient process for producing H2 and nitrogen by the oxidative decomposition of ammonia.

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Technion team devises method for on-demand H2 production from water and aluminum for aviation applications

April 28, 2017

Aerospace engineers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have developed and patented a process for on-demand hydrogen production from the reaction of activated aluminum powder and water for commercial aircraft applications. The hydrogen produced on-board during flight can be used in a fuel cell to generate electric energy for auxiliary power.

In addition to fresh water, the waste water available on-board the aircraft can be used for hydrogen generation. The researchers demonstrated high reaction rates producing about 200-600 ml/min/g Al of hydrogen at a high yield of about 90% was demonstrated. The possibility to use the available waste water leads to high specific electric energy of up to about 850 Wh/kg. The work was reported in a recent paper published in the International Journal of Hydrogen Energy.

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SunLine Transit receives $12.5M for five H2-powered buses, H2 generating station in Coachella Valley

April 21, 2017

California Climate Investments is awarding a $12.5-million grant to SunLine Transit Agency for five new zero-emission New Flyer hydrogen fuel cell buses. The grant also supports the development of the largest hydrogen fueling station in the US of its kind, from Hydrogenics, using electricity and renewable energy to generate clean hydrogen.

The grant is part of the state’s effort to use proceeds from the climate change cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gases, including a widespread effort to promote low carbon transit such as hydrogen-powered or electric buses throughout California, with a special focus on serving disadvantaged communities.

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USC team demonstrates novel hydrogen storage system; amine reforming of methanol

April 20, 2017

A team at the Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute and Department of Chemistry, University of Southern California, has demonstrated a novel hydrogen storage system based on the release of hydrogen from catalytic dehydrogenative coupling of methanol and 1,2-diamine. The hydrogen-generating step of this process can be termed as “amine reforming of methanol”—in analogy to traditional steam methane reforming, but without the concurrent production of CO2 (unlike steam reforming) or CO (by complete methanol dehydrogenation).

A paper on the team’s work, which is part of their long-term development of aspects of the “Methanol Economy” (earlier post), is published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

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Toyota North America unveils hydrogen-fuel-cell heavy-duty truck proof-of-concept; twin Mirai fuel cell stacks

April 19, 2017

Toyota Motor North America, Inc. (TMNA) revealed “Project Portal”—a hydrogen fuel cell system designed for heavy-duty trucks applied in a Class 8 truck for use at the Port of Los Angeles (POLA).

Announced at a press conference with Port officials and representatives from California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the California Energy Commission (CEC), the zero-emission truck proof-of-concept will take part in a feasibility study examining the potential of fuel cell technology in heavy duty applications. The study will begin this summer and contribute to the Port’s Clean Air Action Plan, which has significantly reduced harmful emissions from operations at the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles since 2005.

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NREL researchers capture excess photon energy to produce solar fuels; higher efficiency water-splitting for H2

April 14, 2017

Scientists at the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have developed a proof-of-principle photoelectrochemical cell (PEC) capable of capturing excess photon energy normally lost to generating heat.

Using quantum dots (QD) and a process called Multiple Exciton Generation (MEG), the NREL researchers were able to push the peak external quantum efficiency for hydrogen generation to 114%. The advancement could significantly boost the production of hydrogen from sunlight by using the cell to split water at a higher efficiency and lower cost than current photoelectrochemical approaches. The research is outlined in a paper in Nature Energy.

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KAUST team alters atomic composition of MoS2 to boost performance as water-splitting catalyst for H2 production

April 13, 2017

Researchers at KAUST have developed and used a novel way of increasing the chemical reactivity of a two-dimensional molybdenum disulfide material to produce a cheap and effective catalyst for water splitting to produce hydrogen. This technique may also have potential benefits for other manufacturing industries.

One route to hydrogen generation is by electrolysis: passing an electrical current through water via two electrodes to cause a chemical reaction that breaks the water molecule into its component hydrogen and oxygen atoms. The speed of this hydrogen evolution reaction can be increased using a catalyst on the electrodes. Platinum is a perfect material for the job, but is it very expensive.

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NREL sets new world efficiency record for solar hydrogen production: 16.2%

Scientists at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recaptured the record for highest efficiency in solar hydrogen production via a photoelectrochemical (PEC) water-splitting process.

The new solar-to-hydrogen (STH) efficiency record is 16.2%, topping a reported 14% efficiency in 2015 by an international team made up of researchers from Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin, TU Ilmenau, Fraunhofer ISE and the California Institute of Technology. A paper in Nature Energy outlines how NREL’s new record was achieved. The authors are James Young, Myles Steiner, Ryan France, John Turner, and Todd Deutsch, all from NREL, and Henning Döscher of Philipps-Universität Marburg in Germany. Döscher has an affiliation with NREL.

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HYREADY collaboration supports introduction of power-to-gas H2 into natural gas infrastructure

March 31, 2017

The addition of hydrogen produced by renewable sources (e.g., electrolysis powered by renewable electricity) to natural gas supports the decarbonization of the natural gas system and integration of sustainable energy sources. However, the properties of hydrogen differ significantly from those of natural gas, and its introduction into the gas infrastructure may negatively impact public safety, the integrity of the gas system and the performance of end-use equipment.

The HYREADY joint industry project (JIP), led by DNV GL, intends to encourage the industry to “Be ready for Hydrogen” by developing practical processes and procedures for the introduction of hydrogen to the grid. HYREADY focuses on the consequences of H2 added to natural gas in an existing specific network and on feasible countermeasures to mitigate these consequences.

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SoCalGas & UC Irvine show power-to-gas technology able to boost use of intermittent renewable energy significantly

Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) announced that new research on power-to-gas technology shows the technique holds the ability to significantly increase the use of intermittent renewable energy. The finding came out of ongoing research conducted at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) and funded by SoCalGas.

Preliminary research findings, announced this week at UCI’s International Colloquium on Environmentally Preferred Advanced Generation (ICEPAG), demonstrated that the campus microgrid could increase the portion of renewable energy it uses from 3.5% to 35% by implementing a power-to-gas strategy.

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Aalto University team develops promising new electrocatalyst for hydrogen evolution reaction; one-hundredth the amount of Pt

March 26, 2017

A group of Aalto University (Finland) researchers led by professors Tanja Kallio and Kari Laasonen has developed a manufacturing method for hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) electrocatalysts that use only one-hundredth of the amount of platinum generally used in commercial products.

They achieved pseudo atomic-scale dispersion of Pt—i.e. individual atoms or sub-nanometer clusters—on the sidewalls of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) with a simple and readily up-scalable electroplating deposition method. These SWNTs activated with an ultra-low amount of Pt exhibit a similar activity to that of a commercial Pt/C with a notable higher (~66-333 fold) Pt loading for catalyzing hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) under the acidic conditions required in proton exchange membrane technology. A paper on their work is published in the journal ACS Catalysis.

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Successful first test run of Alstom Coradia iLint fuel cell train; signed letters of intent for 60 trains

March 15, 2017

Alstom successfully performed the first test run at 80 km/h (50 mph) of the fuel cell passenger train Coradia iLint (earlier post) on its own test track in Salzgitter, Lower Saxony (Germany). An extensive test campaign will be conducted in Germany and Czech Republic in the coming months before the Coradia iLint performs its first passenger test runs on the Buxtehude–Bremervörde–Bremerhaven–Cuxhaven (Germany) route beginning of 2018.

The four-week test runs currently underway in Salzgitter aim at confirming the stability of the energy supply system based on coordinated interaction between the drive, the fuel cell and the battery of the vehicle. The braking power is also being tested to check the interface between the pneumatic and the electric brake.

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Cambridge team demonstrates light-driven photoreforming of unprocessed biomass to H2 at room temperature

March 14, 2017

A team of scientists at the University of Cambridge has reported the light-driven photoreforming of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin to H2 using semiconducting cadmium sulfide quantum dots in alkaline aqueous solution.

The system operates under visible light, is stable beyond six days and is even able to reform unprocessed lignocellulose, such as wood and paper, under solar irradiation at room temperature, presenting an inexpensive route to drive aqueous proton reduction to H2 through waste biomass oxidation. A paper on their work is published in the journal Nature Energy.

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Hyundai Motor reveals next generation fuel cell concept at Geneva Motor Show; new SUV Fuel Cell model set for launch in 2018

March 07, 2017

Reaffirming its commitment to fuel cell vehicle development, Hyundai Motor unveiled its futuristic FE Fuel Cell Concept at the Geneva Motor Show 2017. The FE Fuel Cell Concept represents the next step for Hyundai Motor toward realizing its ultimate ambition of creating a zero-emission Hydrogen Energy Society.

The FE Fuel Cell Concept continues Hyundai Motor’s commitment to fuel cell vehicle development and is part of the company’s eco-vehicle program that will see 14 or more new environmentally-focused models introduced by 2020. Spurred on by greater global demand for fuel-efficient, eco-friendly vehicles, the program continues the example of innovation set by IONIQ, the first car to offer a choice of three electrified powertrains in a single body type.

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Symbio targets European taxi market with fuel cell range extender in Nissan e-NV200; 500 km range

March 02, 2017

Symbio has integrated a 15 kW (net) fuel cell range extender in a Nissan e-NV200 electric van, with plans to introduce the vehicle to the European taxi market. The new plug-in hybrid hydrogen fuel cell vehicle will deliver at least 500 km of range. Symbio unveiled the van at the FC Expo 2017 in Tokyo.

The customized e-NV200 offers taxi drivers a similar total cost of ownership to a hybrid taxi, but with the range of an internal combustion engine. Thus, this vehicle could be used for intensive urban taxi operations or for online passenger transportation network services. It can be recharged from a low-cost power supply, and refueled with hydrogen in three minutes (3.8 kg hydrogen at 700 bar).

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Sandia, Lawrence Livermore team improves solid-state H2 storage using nano-confinement; new paradigm for hydrogen storage

February 25, 2017

Researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, Mahidol University in Thailand and the National Institute of Standards and Technology have leveraged nano-confinement to develop an efficient solid-state hydrogen storage system that could be a boon for hydrogen-powered vehicles.

The researchers examined the high-capacity lithium nitride (Li3N) hydrogen storage system under nanoconfinement. Using a combination of theoretical and experimental techniques, they showed that the pathways for the uptake and release of hydrogen were fundamentally changed by the presence of nano-interfaces, leading to significantly faster performance and reversibility. The research appears on the cover of the 23 Feb. edition of the journal Advanced Materials Interfaces.

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Toyota delivers fuel cell bus to Tokyo Metropolitan Government; more than 100 planned by 2020 Olympics

February 24, 2017

Toyota Motor Corporation delivered the first fuel cell bus (FC bus) sold under the Toyota brand to the Bureau of Transportation of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. This FC bus will be put into operation as a Toei route bus in March along with a second bus that is scheduled for delivery in the same month.

Toyota plans to introduce more than 100 FC buses mainly within the Tokyo area, ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The increased use of FC buses in urban areas is expected to help raise the level of understanding by the general public regarding the use of FC buses as a form of public transportation.

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California Energy Commission selects 16 hydrogen station projects for up to $33.4M in funding

February 21, 2017

The California Energy Commission (CEC) has selected 15 new main hydrogen retail station projects for up to $31.7 million in combined funding, as well as one connector station project for up to $1.5 million in fund. Among the program requirements are that each station dispense a minimum of at least 33% renewable hydrogen (per kilogram).

Eight of the main stations projects identified in the Notice of Proposed Awards (NOPA) are to be completed by First Element Fuel; the remaining seven are to be completed by a partnership of Shell and Toyota Motor.

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Georgia Tech team furthers four-stroke-cycle active-membrane piston reactor for enhanced SMR for H2 production

February 17, 2017

Steam methane reforming is currently the primary pathway for hydrogen production worldwide. However, due to its high operating temperature and use of sequential units for the reaction stages, industrial SMR does not scale down well for distributed, point-of-use applications such as fuel cell vehicle refueling stations.

Seeking to develop an SMR system suited for such distributed applications, a team from Georgia Tech in 2014 proposed the sorption-enhanced CO2/H2 Active Membrane Piston reactor (CHAMP-SORB)—a variable-volume batch reactor for the production of hydrogen from catalytic steam reforming of methane that operates in a cycle similar to that of an internal combustion engine. Now, in a paper published in the ACS journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, the team has developed a comprehensive analysis of the system, focused on understanding the heat/mass transfer and reaction/separation interactions to develop guidelines for scale-up.

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Ballard signs $25M deal with Broad-Ocean for manufacture & sales of 30 and 85 kW fuel cell systems in China

February 16, 2017

Ballard Power Systems has signed a definitive agreement relating to technology transfer, licensing and supply arrangements with strategic partner Zhongshan Broad-Ocean Motor Co., Ltd. (Broad-Ocean) for the assembly and sale of FCveloCity 30 kW and 85 kW fuel cell systems in China. Under the deal, Broad-Ocean will manufacture fuel cell modules in three strategic regions in China, including Shanghai. The deal has an estimated value of approximately $25 million in revenue to Ballard over the initial 5-year term, including $12 million in Technology Solutions revenue.

In August 2016, Broad-Ocean became Ballard’s largest shareholder following an investment of $28.3 million in Ballard common shares, representing approximately 9.9% of Ballard’s outstanding common shares following the transaction.

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Ballard in consortium with New Flyer to deploy 20 fuel cell electric buses in CA

February 14, 2017

Ballard Power Systems announced its membership in the “Fuel Cell Electric Bus Commercialization Consortium” (FCEBCC), a large-scale project for which funding has now been committed to support deployment of 20 zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell electric buses at two California transit agencies. Ten (10) buses are to be deployed with Alameda Contra-Costa Transit District (AC Transit) and 10 buses are to be deployed with the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA).

The FCEBCC project is funded and sponsored by: the California Air Resources Board (CARB) through the California Climate Investments program; the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD); and the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD). The Center for Transportation and Environment (CTE), a non-profit member-based organization, is providing project management and oversight.

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H2ME has 100 fuel cell vehicles on the road in Germany, France and UK

February 08, 2017

Hydrogen Mobility Europe (H2ME), a multi-country, multi-partner project to demonstrate that hydrogen can support Europe’s future transport demands, announced that it has deployed its first 100 fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) in Germany, France and the UK.

Sixty Symbio Renault Kangoo ZE-H2 range-extended fuel cell vans have been deployed in the UK and France, supporting the development of a network of hydrogen refuelling stations in those markets. Powered by a compact 5 kW fuel cell module, coupled with a hydrogen storage unit and medium-size automotive battery pack, Symbio’s range-extender kit doubles the range of Renault’s electric-only Kangoo ZE model to 320 km.

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voestalpine, Siemens & VERBUND building one of the world’s largest electrolysis plants for H2 production; EU-funded H2FUTURE

The European Commission has awarded the H2FUTURE project consortium—comprising voestalpine, Siemens, VERBUND and Austrian Power Grid (APG) as well as the research-partners K1-MET and ECN—the contract for the construction of one of the world’s largest PEM electrolysis plants for producing green hydrogen.

The project partners will work and research cooperatively on implementing an innovative hydrogen demonstration plant at the voestalpine site in Linz. The green hydrogen generated there will be fed directly into the internal gas network, allowing the testing of the use of hydrogen in various process stages of steel production.

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PNNL team develops fastest synthetic catalyst for H2 production; controlling structural dynamics for 1,000x performance boost

February 06, 2017

Using a natural catalyst from bacteria for inspiration, researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have now developed the fastest synthetic catalyst for hydrogen production—producing 45 million molecules per second—by controlling the structural dynamics of the molecular catalyst. Instead of a costly metal such as platinum, this catalyst uses inexpensive, abundant nickel at its core.

Although the catalyst requires more energy to run than a conventional platinum catalyst, the insight garnered from this result might eventually help make hydrogen fuel in an environmentally friendly, affordable way, the researchers report in the chemistry journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition.

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Symbio uses Borit metal bipolar plates in its commercial fuel cell range extender

February 03, 2017

Belgium-based Borit is the supplier-of-choice for metal bipolar plates in the successful range extender fuel cell systems of the French market leader Symbio. (Earlier post.) The production of metal bipolar plates—a key component in fuel cells—is challenging, requiring subtle structures, tight tolerances, precise and gas tight laser welding of very thin metal sheets, and strict quality control in a cost-efficient way at advantageous prices.

The performance and power density of fuel cells—particularly important in vehicles—strongly depends on the capabilities of the bipolar plate manufacturer. Borit’s production is based on its proprietary forming technology Hydrogate, which enables fast development from prototyping to volume production.

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GM and Honda to establish industry-first $85M joint fuel cell system manufacturing operation in Michigan

January 30, 2017

General Motors and Honda are establishing the auto industry’s first manufacturing joint venture—Fuel Cell System Manufacturing, LLC, FCSM)—to mass-produce an advanced hydrogen fuel cell system that will be used in future products from each company. Over the past three years, GM and Honda have been collaborating on next-generation fuel cell and hydrogen storage systems, aiming at commercialization in the 2020 time frame. (Earlier post.)

The co-developed new generation stack builds on the compact size and high-performance of Honda’s current generation stack in the Clarity (earlier post) by achieving significant cost reductions. FCSM will operate within GM’s existing battery pack manufacturing facility site in Brownstown, Michigan, south of Detroit. Mass production of fuel cell systems is expected to begin around 2020 and create nearly 100 new jobs. The companies are making equal investments totaling $85 million in the joint venture.

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Joint CEC, CARB annual report details progress in build-out of hydrogen refueling infrastructure

January 25, 2017

The California Energy Commission and California Air Resources Board released the annual Joint Agency Staff Report on Assembly Bill 8: 2016 Assessment of Time and Cost Needed to Attain 100 Hydrogen Refueling Stations in California. The 2016 Joint Report updates the time and cost assessments to design, permit, construct, and make hydrogen refueling stations operational and open retail for the stations funded under the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (ARFVTP).

As of 5 December 2016, California has 25 open retail stations selling hydrogen for use as a transportation fuel with 23 more open retail stations under development. Combined with two additional California Air Resources Board-funded stations that are open non-retail (in Harbor City and at California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA)), California’s hydrogen refueling station network comprises 50 stations. When the 2015 Joint Report was published, six stations were open retail.

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Hydrogenious Technologie and MAN Diesel & Turbo partner to develop LOHC hydrogenation reactors

Hydrogenious Technologies GmbH and MAN Diesel & Turbo SE—which, in addition to being a leading provider of large-bore diesels and turbomachinery for marine and stationary applications, is also a specialist for salt-bed reactors for chemical industry—recently closed an agreement for joint development of industrial-scale Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carrier (LOHC) hydrogenation reactors.

LOHC technology enables the safe and efficient storage of hydrogen through molecular binding; Hydrogenious thus builds systems to bind hydrogen chemically to a carrier liquid—specifically, dibenzyltoluene. This enables efficient transport and storage of large amounts of hydrogen at ambient conditions. Following the commissioning of first container-based pilot systems by Hydrogenious Technologies, this joint development now aims at a stepwise scaling of hydrogenation systems to the multi-ton per day scale of today’s hydrogen sources.

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KPMG Survey: execs say connected car generates 10x revenue than a conventional vehicle; market share based on units “outdated”; BEVs #1 trend

January 24, 2017

Advancements such as connectivity, big data, autonomous vehicles and artificial intelligence are driving new economic models for automakers, and most see tremendous revenue potential and consumer value in leveraging driver and vehicle data to offer mobility services, according to the 2017 KPMG Global Automotive Executive Study.

The KPMG research, which polled nearly 1,000 executives with the world’s leading automotive companies, found that 76% say one connected car generates more revenue streams than 10 conventional cars. In fact, expectations for data-driven revenue are so great that 71% say measuring OEM market share based on units sold is outdated.

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California ARB releases proposed new plan to cut 2030 GHG by 40% v. 1990; more stringent LCFS, more ZEVs

January 21, 2017

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) released the proposed scoping plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% below 1990 levels by 2030—the most ambitious target in North America. (Earlier post.) The plan builds on the state’s efforts to reduce emissions and outlines the most effective ways to reach the 2030 goal, including continuing California’s Cap-and-Trade Program.

Achieving the 2030 target under the proposed plan will continue to build on investments in clean energy and set the California economy on a trajectory to achieving an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

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CARB releases Midterm Review of ZEV regulation, LEV III GHG and PM standards; calls for post-2025 standards

January 19, 2017

When the California Air Resources Board (ARB) adopted the Advanced Clean Cars (ACC) program in 2012 (earlier post), the agency committed to conduct a comprehensive midterm review of three elements of the program: the zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) regulation; the 1 mg/mi particulate matter (PM) standard; and the light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas standards for 2022 and later model years. ARB has now released the Midterm Review of Advanced Clean Cars Program—an extensive evaluation of the California passenger vehicle market and technology.

The Review finds that the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission standards currently in place for model years 2022-2025 are readily feasible at or below the costs estimated back in 2012. The report also finds that ZEV technology has seen significant development that, in many cases, is beyond what was envisioned just four years ago. The report indicates that existing programs in California will add at least 1 million zero-emission vehicles on its roads and highways by 2025.

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13 global companies launch Hydrogen Council in Davos; promoting hydrogen to help meet climate goals

January 17, 2017

Thirteen leading energy, transport and industry companies have launched a global initiative in Davos to voice a united vision and long-term ambition for hydrogen to foster the energy transition.

Meeting in Davos for the first time on Tuesday, the Hydrogen Council currently comprises 13 CEOs and Chairpersons from various industries and energy companies committed to help achieve the ambitious goal of reaching the 2 ˚C target as agreed in the 2015 Paris Agreement. The international companies currently involved are: Air Liquide, Alstom, Anglo American, BMW GROUP, Daimler, ENGIE, Honda, Hyundai, Kawasaki, Royal Dutch Shell, The Linde Group, Total and Toyota. The Council is led by two Co-Chairs from different geographies and sectors, currently represented by Air Liquide and Toyota. The members of the Hydrogen Council collectively represent total revenues of €1.07 trillion and 1.72 million employees around the world.

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Toyota to collaborate in research for the creation of H2-based society in the United Arab Emirates

Toyota Motor Corporation has agreed to collaborate with Masdar, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), Air Liquide, and Toyota distributor Al-Futtaim Motors in a joint research program to explore the potential of hydrogen energy use in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the creation of a sustainable, low-carbon society. As part of the program, Toyota will begin driving and refueling demonstration tests of the Mirai fuel cell vehicle (FCV) in the UAE from May 2017.

The agreement was announced at the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), which was held at the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi. The program partners will jointly research on key issues involving the establishment of a hydrogen-based society, including hydrogen production, logistics, scalability, and business feasibility. The research is expected to take place in part at Masdar Institute, an Abu Dhabi-based independent graduate research university, which has been part of the discussions on the scope of hydrogen research.

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Australia and Japan developing safety standards for marine transport of liquid hydrogen; KHI building carrier

January 16, 2017

Australia and Japan recently signed a memorandum at the headquarters of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) which will allow liquid hydrogen (LH2) to be shipped in bulk for the first time. Ship containment systems are being developed in Japan that will be capable of safely transporting liquid hydrogen in bulk from Australia to Japan as part of a pilot project scheduled to commence in 2020.

Bulk gas cargoes are carried under the International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Liquefied Gases in Bulk (IGC Code) which is a mandatory code under the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention. The IGC code does not currently allow for the transportation of liquid hydrogen.

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New Flyer zero-emission bus deliveries increased by 48% to 213 EUs in 2016

January 12, 2017

Deliveries of New Flyer of America zero-emission buses (ZEBs) in 2016 reached their highest level in company history, delivering 213 equivalent units (EUs) in 2016. (One equivalent unit represents one 30-foot, 35-foot or 40-foot heavy-duty transit bus or one motor coach. One articulated transit bus represents two equivalent units.) This represented an increase of 48% from 144 ZEB EU’s delivered in 2015, and is represents 8.3% of New Flyer’s total heavy-duty transit bus production in 2016.

New Flyer manufactures all three current types of ZEBs, including: battery-electric, trolley-electric, and hydrogen fuel cell electric buses. This design and manufacturing capability allows transit authorities the ability to optimize charging method, infrastructure and range capability for their specific needs.

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NREL shows graded catalytic-protective layer boosts longevity of high-efficiency photocathodes for renewable hydrogen

January 09, 2017

Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have developed a method which boosts the longevity of high-efficiency photocathodes in photoelectrochemical water-splitting devices. Their works demonstrates the potential of utilizing a hybridized, heterogeneous surface layer as a cost-effective catalytic and protective interface for solar hydrogen production.

In a paper published in the journal Nature Energy, they show that annealing a bilayer of amorphous titanium dioxide (TiOx) and molybdenum sulfide (MoSx) deposited onto GaInP2 results in a photocathode with high catalytic activity and stability for the hydrogen evolution reaction. The study showed that the annealing results in a graded MoSx/MoOx/TiO2 layer that retains much of the high catalytic activity of amorphous MoSx but with stability similar to crystalline MoS2.

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Ballard-powered fuel cell electric buses exceed 10M km of revenue service

January 04, 2017

Ballard Power Systems fuel cells have powered buses for more than 10 million cumulative kilometers (6.2 million miles) of revenue service. This fuel cell industry milestone has been achieved across the company’s seven generations of its FCveloCity fuel cell engine, which have been deployed in buses in 15 countries on 5 continents during the past 10 years.

Over this period Ballard has worked with 13 bus manufacturers to develop a variety of fuel cell bus configurations that have been deployed in a wide range of climatic conditions and operated under a host of demanding duty cycles.

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HZB, 3M team explores water management in PFIA membranes for fuel cells; better performance at higher temps and low humidity

January 02, 2017

A core component of proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells is the membrane, which allows protons to diffuse selectively towards the cathode while blocking the oxygen and hydrogen gas. Nafion (a sulfonated tetrafluoroethylene based fluoropolymer-copolymer)—the most commonly used PEM membrane—only performs well at high humidity conditions and temperatures below 90 °C, thus limiting its efficiency and operational area and increasing the fuel cell cost.

3M Company’s Fuel Cell Components Group recently developed a different low-cost proton exchange membrane material: perfluoroimide acid (PFIA). PFIA is already widely applied, but much less understood than Nafion. Whereas PFIA has the same mechanically stable hydrophobic backbone, its hydrophilic side chains contain one more acidic site per each chain than in Nafion. These additional acidic sites on each hydrophilic side chain provide additional protons for the proton transport and allow for the formation of larger water channels. The water management in the PFIA membrane is of interest, since it is crucial for the performance of the fuel cell: in order to function it needs to be humid but never wet.

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London to phase out diesel buses; all new single deckers for central London to be zero emission

December 13, 2016

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan recently committed to phasing out purchasing new pure diesel buses from the capital. No more pure diesel double-deck buses will be added to the capital’s fleet from 2018 and all new single-decks for central London will be zero-emission. The Mayor made the announcement along with unveiling the first double-decker hydrogen bus, manufactured by the Wrights Group. (Earlier post.)

London has committed to procuring roughly 300 zero emission buses by 2020, with 51 battery electric buses recently going into service on the 507/521 route, taking the number of completely electric bus routes to three, with 79 zero emission buses in total in the fleet.

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ITM Power to launch 100 MW electrolyzer plant designs at Hannover Messe 2017

ITM Power will showcase a series of large scale electrolyzer configurations up to 100MW in size at Hannover Messe 2017 (24 - 28 April). This is in response to utility and oil and gas industry demand for larger scale industrial installations.

ITM Power has sold a number of MW-scale plants over the last year and is now responding to enquires for much larger plant for bus and heavy goods vehicle refueling stations in the to 10MW range and, increasingly, industrial applications ranging from power-to-gas, refineries and steel-making in the 10MW to 100MW range.

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Single Pt atom catalysts show enhanced catalytic activity for water-splitting; potential to drive down electrolysis cost

December 12, 2016

A research team from University of Western Ontario, McMaster University and Beijing Computational Science Research Center has developed an effective synthesis method to produce isolated single platinum (Pt) atoms and clusters for use as catalysts for the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) in water splitting to produce hydrogen.

In an open-access paper published in Nature Communications, the researchers reported that the single Pt atom catalysts exhibit significantly enhanced catalytic activity (up to 37 times) and high stability in comparison to the state-of-the-art commercial platinum/carbon (Pt/C) catalysts.

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Hydrogen from sunlight, but as a dark reaction; time-delayed photocatalytic H2 production

December 09, 2016

A team at the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research, Germany, and collaborators at ETH Zurich and the University of Cambridge, have developed a system that enables time-delayed photocatalytic hydrogen generation—essentially, an artificial photosynthesis system that can operate in the dark. A paper on their work is published in the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition.

The system uses a carbon nitride-based material that can harvest and store sunlight as long-lived trapped electrons for redox chemistry in the dark. More specifically, the system comprises a partially anionic, cyanamide-functionalized heptazine polymer, which, in the presence of an appropriate electron donor, forms a radical species under irradiation that has a lifetime of more than 10 hours. This ultra-long-lived radical can reductively produce hydrogen in the presence of a hydrogen evolution catalyst in the dark on demand.

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Nikola Motor unveils prototype Class 8 fuel cell range-extended electric truck, plans for H2 fueling network

December 06, 2016

At an event at its Salt Lake City headquarters last week, startup Nikola Motor Company (NMC) unveiled the first public prototype of its Nikola One Class 8 hydrogen fuel cell range-extended electric truck, as well as renderings of the Nikola Two Class 8 day cab version. The company also announced its plan for a network of 364 hydrogen fueling stations across the US and Canada (Nikola is bundling fuel with the truck), and unveiled a 107 kWh battery pack for the Nikola Zero UTV along with a business plan to sell packs to OEMs.

The Nikola One utilizes a fully electric drivetrain featuring a 320 kWh Li-ion battery pack (32,000 cells) and a nearly 300 kW fuel cell stack powering a 6x4 four-wheel electric drive (four 800V AC motors) with torque vectoring. Delivering more than 1,000 hp (746 kW) and 2,000 lb-ft of torque, the Nikola One will have an expected range of 800-1,200 miles, the company said.

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SGL Group is development partner for GDLs in high-performance fuel cells in the automotive sector

December 01, 2016

Carbon specialist SGL Group is a development partner in the European joint development project INSPIRE (Integration of Novel Stack Components for Performance, Improved DuRability and LowEr Cost), which has been funded with a €7-million (US$7.4-million) award from Europe’s Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) and will run for three years. (Earlier post.)

The aim of INSPIRE is to develop a new generation of fuel cells with higher performance and longer lifetime. SGL Group brings its long-established expertise as a component developer to the project, and is responsible for the development of the gas diffusion layers (GDL), which will be manufactured based on carbon fibers.

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NREL report finds hydrogen fuel cell bus fuel economy up to 1.4x that of diesel, 1.9x CNG

The US Department of Energy (DOE) Fuel Cell Technology Office (FCTO) has released the latest edition of an annual report showing that the average fuel economy of fuel cell electric buses from three fleets is 6.8 miles per diesel gallon equivalent (DGE) (ranging from 5.56 - 7.71 DGE), 1.4 times higher than conventional diesel buses (~4.2 miles per DGE) from one fleet and up to 1.9 times higher than compressed natural gas buses (~3.3 miles per DGE) in another fleet.

This demonstrates significant fuel economy improvement toward the DOE and Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) target of 8 miles per DGE. FCEB durability has reached 23,000 hours, surpassing FCTO’s 2016 target of 18,000 hours, and range has reached up to 340 miles (547 km), more than 13% above the 2016 target of 300 miles (483 km).

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Ballard signs fuel cell supply agreement with Solaris; initial order of 10 modules as range extenders for electric trolley buses

November 30, 2016

Ballard Power Systems has signed a Long-Term Sales Agreement (LTSA) with Solaris Bus & Coach, a bus OEM headquartered in Poland, for the sale and supply of fuel cell modules to support deployment of Solaris fuel cell buses in Europe. An initial order placed under the LTSA is for 10 FCveloCity-HD fuel cell modules, with deliveries planned to start in 2017.

Each 85 kilowatt FCveloCity-HD fuel cell module that has been ordered will be deployed as a range extender in a Solaris Trollino model low-floor trolley bus. Solaris has signed a contract with Rigas Satiksme, the transport operator in the city of Riga, Latvia for 10 of the Trollino trolley buses.

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Stanford team uses battery electrode materials to boost platinum catalytic performance for fuel cells

November 25, 2016

A team at Stanford University has developed a method for using battery electrode materials directly and continuously to control the lattice strain of a platinum (Pt) catalyst, thereby boosting catalytic activity for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) in fuel cells by up to nearly 90%. A paper on their work is published in Science.

Modifying the electronic structure of catalysts can improve their performance; lattice strain (either compressive or tensile) modifies the distances between surface atoms and hence modifies catalytic activity. However, the common approach of using metal overlayers to induce strain has some control issues, such as introducing ligand effects.

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Loop Energy introduces fuel cell range extender for heavy-duty vehicles; in-service operation to begin in 2017

Loop Energy (earlier post) has introduced a new range-extender (REX) power module for heavy-duty electric transport vehicles. At the core of the module is Loop’s unique fuel cell design which improves performance, durability and cost. Following a three-year development period, the Loop power module is now being integrated by an original equipment manufacturer and will begin in-service operation in 2017.

Loop’s patented eFlow fuel cell features an improved design, and is the competitive advantage within all Loop fuel cell stacks and power modules. By optimizing air flow inside the fuel cell, Loop’s eFlow design produces greater power density than industry-standard fuel cells, the company says. This higher power density allows Loop to simplify and significantly increase the efficiency of the fuel cell stack and system.

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Detailed snapshots of photosynthesis at room temperature using SLAC’s X-ray laser show water-splitting reaction

November 21, 2016

One of its molecular mysteries of photosynthesis involves how the photosystem II protein complex harvests energy from sunlight and uses it to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.

Now, an international team of researchers has used femtosecond pulses from an X-ray free electron laser (XFEL) at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory to capture the highest resolution room-temperature (RT) images of this protein complex, allowing scientists to watch closely how water is split during photosynthesis at the temperature at which it occurs naturally. A paper on the work is published in the journal Nature.

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DOE announces $30M in funding for hydrogen and fuel cell technologies

November 18, 2016

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced approximately $30 million in available funding (DE-FOA-0001647), subject to appropriations, for research and development of low-cost hydrogen production, onboard hydrogen storage, and proton exchange membrane fuel cells to advance the widespread commercialization of fuel cell electric vehicles.

Selected projects will leverage national lab consortia launched under DOE’s Energy Materials Network (EMN) this past year, in support of DOE’s materials research and advanced manufacturing priorities. The EMN consortia have been established to make unique, world-class capabilities at the national laboratories more accessible to industry, facilitating collaborations that will expedite the development and manufacturing of advanced materials for commercial markets.

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Ultrafine jagged Pt nanowires extremely efficient ORR catalysts; 50x more power than current commercial catalyst

An international team led by researchers at UCLA and Caltech has demonstrated that altering the form of platinum nanoscale wires from a smooth surface to a jagged one can significantly reduce the amount of precious metal required as a catalyst for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) in fuel cells and thus lower the cost. According to the findings, the newly developed catalyst is so active that the amount of platinum required for a fuel cell could be 1/50 of what is needed today.

In a paper published in Science, the team reports that the jagged Pt nanowires exhibit an ECSA (electrochemical active surface area) of 118 m2 per gram Pt and a specific activity of 11.5 mA per square centimeter for ORR for a mass activity of 13.6 ampere per milligram Pt, nearly doubling previously reported best values. Reactive molecular dynamics simulations suggested that the highly stressed, under-coordinated rhombohedral-rich surface configurations of the jagged nanowire enhanced ORR activity versus more relaxed surfaces.

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Compact pilot plant for solar to liquid fuels production

November 09, 2016

Partners from Germany and Finland in the SOLETAIR project are building a compact pilot plant for the production of gasoline, diesel and kerosene from solar energy, regenerative hydrogen and carbon dioxide. The plant will be compact enough to fit into a shipping container.

The plant consists of three components. A direct air capture unit developed by the Technical Research Center of Finland (VTT) extracts carbon dioxide from air. An electrolysis unit developed by Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) produces the required hydrogen by means of solar power. A microstructured, chemical reactor—the key component of the plant—converts the hydrogen produced from solar power together with carbon dioxide into liquid fuels. This reactor was developed by KIT. The compact plant was developed to maturity and is now being commercialized by KIT spin-off INERATEC.

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DOE FY17 SBIR Phase I Release 2 topics include fuel cells, EV batteries, engines

November 08, 2016

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced the 2017 Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) Phase I Release 2 topics, including three subtopics focused on hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. The fuel cell subtopics include innovative materials for bipolar plates; liquid organic hydrogen carriers; and emergency hydrogen refuelers.

The Phase I Release 2 topics also include four vehicle subtopics, including electric drive vehicle batteries; SiC device qualification for electric drive vehicle power electronics; fuel efficiency improvement technologies for conventional stoichiometric gasoline direct injection multi-cylinder internal combustion engines; and wide-range high-boost turbocharging system. Further, a technology transfer opportunity is the use of a new Argonne catalyst for reducing NOx.

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Québec moves forward with a zero-emission vehicle standard

October 29, 2016

Earlier this week, the Québec National Assembly unanimously adopted Bill 104, a zero-emission vehicle standard. Automakers that sell or lease a yearly average of more than 4,500 new vehicles (all light models combined) will be subject to the ZEV standard.

In its 2015-2020 Transportation Electrification Action Plan, Québec set a target of 100,000 registered plug-in vehicles by 2020. The bill gives the Government of Québec the powers it needs to require car manufacturers to sell a minimum of zero-emission vehicles through a tradable credit system.

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California SCAQMD partnering with Livermore and Los Alamos researchers on H2 sensor demonstrations

The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), the air pollution control agency for Orange County and major portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties, is partnering with researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) on a demonstration of highly sensitive hydrogen sensor prototypes at two hydrogen-refueling stations in Burbank and Chino.

The initial development of the sensors has spanned more than a decade, mostly led by teams at LLNL headed by chemist Bob Glass, until his retirement in 2014, and Eric Brosha at LANL. The sensors can detect the amount of the colorless, odorless gas in the atmosphere at 1 percent to 4 percent concentrations, the critical range for safety applications, without triggering false alarms and with very rapid response time.

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Ballard closes JV deal for fuel cell stack production in China

October 26, 2016

Ballard Power Systems has closed its joint venture transaction with Guangdong Nation Synergy Hydrogen Power Technology Co. Ltd. (Synergy) for the establishment of an FCvelocity-9SSL fuel cell stack production operation in the City of Yunfu, in China’s Guangdong Province. (Earlier post.) As of closing, Ballard received initial payments totaling $10.9 million.

The fuel cell stacks manufactured by the JV are expected to be used primarily in locally-assembled fuel cell systems to provide propulsion power for zero-emission buses and commercial vehicles in China.

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Rice University scientists find O-doped boron nitride-graphene hybrid excellent candidate for on-board hydrogen storage

October 25, 2016

Layers of graphene separated by nanotube pillars of boron nitride (PGBN) may be a excellent material for on-board hydrogen storage in vehicles, according to a computational study by a pair of Rice University scientists. The study by Rouzbeh Shahsavari and Farzaneh Shayeganfar appears in the ACS journal Langmuir.

Shahsavari and Shayeganfar studied hydrogen storage capacities of newly designed three-dimensional pillared boron nitride (PBN) and pillared graphene boron nitride (PGBN) doped with either oxygen or lithium. Density functional theory and molecular dynamic simulations showed that these lithium- and oxygen-doped pillared structures had improved gravimetric and volumetric hydrogen capacities at room temperature, with values on the order of 9.1-11.6 wt% and 40-60 g/L.

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Honda Clarity Fuel Cell EPA-rated with 366-mile range; longest of any ZEV

October 24, 2016

The Honda Clarity Fuel Cell sedan (earlier post), launching later this year, received an EPA driving range rating of 366 miles (589 km) and fuel economy rating of 68 mpg of gasoline-equivalent combined, giving it the best range rating of any electric vehicle without a combustion engine, including fuel cell and all-electric vehicles, in the United States.

Honda will introduce the new 5-passenger, hydrogen-powered Clarity Fuel Cell sedan by the end of 2016, beginning with retail leasing to customers through its expanded network of 12 approved fuel cell vehicle dealerships located in select California markets.

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DOE’s $10M Advanced Water Splitting Materials Consortium accelerating development of green hydrogen production

The Energy Department (DOE) recently announced $10 million, subject to appropriations, to support the launch of the HydroGEN Advanced Water Splitting Materials Consortium (HydroGEN). (Earlier post.) This consortium will utilize the expertise and capabilities of the national laboratories to accelerate the development of commercially viable pathways for hydrogen production from renewable energy sources.

HydroGEN is being launched as part of the Energy Materials Network (EMN) that began in February of this year, crafted to give American entrepreneurs and manufacturers a competitive edge in the global development of clean energy in support of the President’s Materials Genome Initiative and advanced manufacturing priorities.

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DOE awarding $3.0M cost-share contract to FuelCell Energy for solid oxide electrolyzer; converting excess electricity to H2

October 23, 2016

FuelCell Energy, Inc. is developing a solid oxide electrolysis cell (SOEC) system to convert excess electricity during periods of low power demand into hydrogen efficiently. The US Department of Energy (DOE) is supporting this development with a $3.0 million cost-share contract to advance SOEC system design that will be added to the Advanced Technology backlog for the fourth quarter of 2016.

The market for energy storage is significant for high efficiency and flexible long duration storage that is affordable for rate payers. The energy storage market is expanding as utilities adjust to manage increased levels of intermittent renewable power generation supplying the electric grid. Annual global energy storage deployments are projected to increase to approximately 7 to 9 gigawatts by 2020 with continued increases thereafter. The SOEC solution being supported with this DOE funding meets these needs for both utility-scale applications as well as on-site opportunities.

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Toyota to start sales of fuel cell buses under the Toyota brand from early 2017

October 21, 2016

Toyota Motor Corporation will begin to sell fuel cell buses (FC buses) under the Toyota brand from early 2017. After repeated field tests of the hydrogen-powered buses for practical use, the Bureau of Transportation of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government plans to utilize two of the Toyota FC Buses as fixed-route buses.

Toyota plans to introduce more than 100 FC buses mainly in the Tokyo area, ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. In view of this, the FC buses will be sold for the first time in Japan in early 2017, so as to help increase the level of understanding by the general public of the utilization of FC buses as a form of public transportation.

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BMW plans hydrogen fuel cell offering “early in next decade”

October 13, 2016

Speaking on the future of powertrains at the Aachen Colloquium, Klaus Fröhlich, Member of the Board of Management at BMW AG, Development, said that BMW will enter the fuel cell market early in the next decade, starting with very small production runs.

Fröhlich noted that at least until 2025 costs will remain too high and the hydrogen infrastructure too sparse to allow broad-based market penetration. However, he added, “by the time the fundamentals are in place, the BMW Group will also have marketable products ready that are attractive to customers.

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New Icon-class ships from Royal Caribbean to be powered by LNG with 2022 delivery; testing hydrogen fuel cells in 2017

October 11, 2016

The newest class of ships from Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCL) will be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) and likely will introduce the use of fuel cell technology, ushering in a new era of shipbuilding that will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The ships will join the fleet of Royal Caribbean International.

RCL has signed a memorandum of understanding with Finland shipbuilder Meyer Turku for the new class of vessel under the project name “Icon.” The around 200,000 gross ton large cruise ships will be delivered in the second quarters of 2022 and 2024. In the meantime, the company said, it will begin testing fuel cell technology on an existing Oasis-class ship in 2017, and will also run progressively larger fuel cell projects on new Quantum class vessels being built in the next several years.

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Sandia study finds high-speed hydrogen-powered ferry and supporting infrastructure in SF Bay feasible

October 06, 2016

A study by two researchers at Sandia National Laboratories has concluded that building and operating a high-speed passenger ferry solely powered by hydrogen fuel cells within the context of the San Francisco Bay is technically feasible, with full regulatory acceptance as well as the requisite associated hydrogen fueling infrastructure.

Funded by the Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration and led by Sandia, the feasibility study of the SF-Breeze (San Francisco Bay Renewable Energy Electric Vessel with Zero Emissions) brought together the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), the US Coast Guard, naval architect Elliott Bay Design Group (EBDG), the Port of San Francisco and dozens of other contributors.

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DOE to invest $30M to further H2 and fuel cell technology as industry continues strong growth

The US Department of Energy (DOE) Energy Department (DOE) released a new report showing continued momentum and growth in the fuel cell industry. The 2015 Fuel Cell Technologies Market Report shows that more than 60,000 fuel cells, totaling roughly 300 megawatts (MW), shipped worldwide in 2015. The number of MW shipped grew by more than 65% compared to 2014. 2015 also saw the world’s first fuel cell vehicles for sale.

To further this emerging market, DOE also announced a notice of intent (DE-FOA-0001411) to invest $30 million, subject to appropriations, to advance fuel cell and hydrogen technologies. These projects will leverage national lab consortia launched under DOE’s Energy Materials Network (EMN) this past year (earlier post), and will support the President’s Materials Genome Initiative and advanced manufacturing priorities.

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Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 Fuel Cell Vehicle debuts at AUSA meeting

October 03, 2016

The Chevrolet Colorado ZH2, the extreme off-road-capable fuel-cell-powered electric vehicle from General Motors, made its debut at the fall meeting of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA). (Earlier post.)

Standing more than 6½ feet tall and more than seven feet wide, the Colorado ZH2 was built on a stretched midsize pickup chassis. Reinforced inside and out, the ZH2 rides on 37-inch tires and a specially modified suspension that helps the vehicle climb over and descend all manner of terrain.

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Commissioning of initial 12 Ballard-powered buses in China’s largest fuel cell bus deployment

September 30, 2016

Ballard Power Systems announced the commissioning and deployment of an initial 12 fuel cell-powered buses in the District of Sanshui, in the City of Foshan, in the Province of Guangdong, China. The buses will be operated by Foshan Sanshui Guohong Public Transit Co. Ltd., on demonstration route #682 from Gaofeng Park Station to Shuidu Industrial Park Station.

The buses are 11 meters in length and feature advanced safety systems, 80-person capacity, anticipated driving range in excess of 300 kilometers (186 miles), expected hydrogen gas consumption of less than 6.5 kilograms per 100 kilometers, zero tailpipe emissions and remote monitoring. Unlike many battery electric bus routes, the transit route in Foshan will not require any catenary wires or on-route recharging.

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Volkswagen Group & Audi accelerate fuel cell technology solutions program with Ballard

September 27, 2016

Ballard Power Systems announced that automotive OEM Audi AG has issued purchase orders to Ballard to accelerate certain key development activities under the current long-term Technology Solutions program that Volkswagen Group has with Ballard. (Earlier post.)

The current 6-year engineering services contract with Volkswagen Group runs to March 2019, with an optional 2-year extension beyond that date. The contract has an estimated value of C$100-140 million. The resulting HyMotion program encompasses automotive fuel cell stack development as well as system design support activities.

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Researchers discover lower-cost, energy-efficient way to produce alane for hydrogen storage

September 23, 2016

Scientists at the US Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory, in collaboration with partners from Iowa State University, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and University of Pittsburgh, have discovered a less-expensive, more energy-efficient way to produce alane—aluminum trihydride (AlH3)—a high-capacity hydrogen source that had widely been considered to be a technological dead-end for use in automotive vehicles.

Although attractive for its high intrinsic capacity (10.1 wt% H2), small heat of formation (∼7 kJ/mol H2), and fast apparent decomposition kinetics, regeneration of spent Al by direct hydrogenation has been impractical due to the extremely high hydrogen equilibrium pressure required (∼7000 bar).

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Celeroton launches its first turbo compressors with gas bearings; applied in fuel cell range extender for Fiat 500

Celeroton AG, a leading manufacturer of ultra-high-speed electrical drive systems with speeds up to 1 million rpm, has launched its first turbo compressors with gas bearings—unique in their weight and performance, being wear- and oil-free, and obtaining the highest levels of energy efficiency. The developed technology widens the horizon for application areas, where the operation of miniaturized turbo compressors has been either limited or not even possible including the oil-free air supply of fuel cells as well as low-maintenance air conditioning and heat pumps with the highest performance (in stationary as well as mobile applications e.g. hybrid and electric cars).

The gas bearing turbo compressors CT-17-700.GB and CT-17-1000.GB, with a rated speed of 280,000 rpm in air offer 100% oil-free and lubricant-free compression of air, with infinite bearing lifetime in continuous operation, a pressure ratio of up to 1.65, a mass flow of up to 24 g/s, maximum isentropic overall efficiency of 59% and a rated maximum power of 1 kW with a volume of just 530 cm3.

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Hyundai introduces hydrogen fuel cell H350 light commercial van concept at IAA

September 22, 2016

Hyundai Motor is introducing a hydrogen fuel cell concept version of its H350 light commercial van at the 2016 IAA Commercial Vehicle Show in Hannover. The powertrain study shows the potential for the company’s advanced hydrogen fuel cell technology in the light commercial vehicle (LCV) segment.

Unlike a conventional electric vehicle, which requires a number of hours to recharge, the 175-liter hydrogen tank system can be filled in less than four minutes—similar to the time it takes to refill a tank of gasoline or diesel in a vehicle with a traditional internal combustion engine. The H350 Fuel Cell Concept has a total range of 422 km (262 miles).

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Toyota 2017 Mirai fuel cell vehicle remains $57,500; 312-mile electric range

September 21, 2016

Toyota announced the pricing for the 2017 model year Mirai fuel cell vehicle. MY17 MSRP remains $57,500 plus an $865 destination fee. Mirai customers also may qualify for an $8,000 federal tax credit and $5,000 potential California rebate along with access to the California HOV carpool lane.

The Mirai hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle is a zero-emission vehicle with an EPA-estimated driving range of 312 miles (502 km); it refuels in around five minutes.

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Alstom unveils hydrogen fuel cell regional train Coradia iLint

September 20, 2016

Alstom presented its Coradia iLint hydrogen fuel cell regional train at InnoTrans, the railway industry’s largest trade fair, taking place in Berlin from 20 to 23 September 2016.

Alstom is among the first railway manufacturers to develop a passenger train based on fuel cell technology. To make the deployment of the Coradia iLint as simple as possible for operators, Alstom offers a complete package, consisting of the train and maintenance, as well as also the whole hydrogen infrastructure thanks to help from partners.

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Univ. Houston, Caltech team develops new earth-abundant, cost-effective catalyst for water-splitting

A team of researchers from the University of Houston and the California Institute of Technology has developed an active and durable earth-abundant transition metal dichalcogenide-based hybrid catalyst for water-splitting that exhibits high hydrogen evolution activity approaching the state-of-the-art platinum catalysts. The new catalyst also offers activity superior to that of most transition metal dichalcogenides (molybdenum sulfide, cobalt diselenide and so on).

The material is fabricated by growing ternary molybdenum sulfoselenide particles on self-standing porous nickel diselenide foam. In an open-access paper in the journal Nature Communications, the team said that their advance provides a different pathway to design cheap, efficient and sizable hydrogen-evolving electrode by simultaneously tuning the number of catalytic edge sites, porosity, heteroatom doping and electrical conductivity.

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DOE seeking input on H2@scale: hydrogen as centerpiece of future energy system; 50% reduction in energy GHGs by 2050

September 11, 2016

Earlier this year, The US Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories identified the potential of hydrogen to decarbonize deeply a multitude of sectors in a proposal termed “H2@Scale”. Preliminary analysis performed by the national laboratories on the H2@Scale concept indicated that nearly a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is possible by 2050 via such large-scale hydrogen production and use.

The concept sees hydrogen—a flexible, clean energy-carrying intermediate—having the potential to be a centerpiece of a future energy system where aggressive market penetration of renewables (wind and solar) are coupled with renewable hydrogen production to meet society’s energy demands across industrial, transportation, and power generation sectors using clean, renewable resources and processes.

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Ballard providing ten 30 kW fuel cell modules to UpPowerTech; expanding into China’s Guangxi Province

September 08, 2016

Ballard Power Systems has signed a purchase order from Shenzhen UpPower Technology Co., Ltd. (UpPowerTech), a leading fuel cell bus systems integrator in China, for the supply of 10 FCveloCity-MD 30 kW fuel cell power modules to be integrated by UpPowerTech into clean energy buses manufactured by Gaungxi Yuanzheng New Energy Co. Ltd. (Yuanzheng), a Chinese bus manufacturer, for deployment in the City of Nanning in the Province of Guangxi.

UpPowerTech previously demonstrated a hydrogen fuel cell bus, using Ballard’s new FCveloCity-MD 30-kilowatt fuel cell power module as a battery range extender, during the “4th Shenzhen International Low Carbon City Forum.” The bus was a 12-meter (40-foot) city bus with a powertrain built by UpPowerTech. The coach was manufactured by Xiamen King Long United Automotive Industry Co., Ltd. The Forum, held in Longgang District of Guangdong Province, featured low carbon urban development and innovation technologies designed to tackle global environmental challenges.

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Sandia fuel cell membrane outperforms market; temperature range and durability

September 07, 2016

Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories, have developed a new membrane for fuel cells based on quaternary ammonium-biphosphate ion pairs that can operate under conditions unattainable with existing fuel cell technologies. A paper describing the Sandia-patented technology is published in the journal Nature Energy.

Fuel cells with this membrane technology exhibit stable performance at 80–160 ˚C with a conductivity decay rate more than three orders of magnitude lower than that of a commercial high-temperature PEM fuel cell. By increasing the operational flexibility, this class of fuel cell can simplify the requirements for heat and water management, and potentially reduce the costs associated with the existing fully functional fuel cell systems, the researchers said.

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SLAC, Stanford team develops new catalyst for water-splitting for renewable fuels production; 100x more efficient than other acid-stable catalysts

September 02, 2016

Researchers at Stanford University and the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have developed a new highly active and stable IrOx/SrIrO3 catalyst for the oxygen evolution reaction (OER).

The new catalyst outperforms known IrOx and ruthenium oxide (RuOx) systems, the only other OER catalysts that have reasonable activity in acidic electrolyte. Because it requires less of the rare and costly metal iridium, the new catalyst could bring down the cost of artifical photosynthetic processes that use sunlight to split water molecules—a key step in a renewable, sustainable pathway to produce hydrogen or carbon-based fuels that can power a broad range of energy technologies. The team published their results in the journal Science.

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Ballard MOU with strategic partner Broad-Ocean targets fuel cell modules for buses and commercial vehicles

September 01, 2016

Ballard Power Systems has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with strategic partner Zhongshan Broad-Ocean Motor Company Limited with the goal of producing fuel cell modules for use in buses and commercial vehicles in select cities and regions in China.

In July, Broad-Ocean announced a $28.3-million strategic equity investment in Ballard, through which Broad-Ocean acquired a 9.9% ownership position in Ballard, making it the company’s largest shareholder. (Earlier post.)

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Ten H2 and fuel cell companies received DOE SBV round 2 awards

August 31, 2016

Among the 43 small businesses participating in the newly announced second round of the US Department of Energy (DOE) Small Business Vouchers (SBV) pilot are 10 projects in the area of hydrogen and fuel cells.

These selected projects are aimed at reducing the costs and improving the performance of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, such as finding ways to lower costs of membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs), a critical component of fuel cell stacks and electrolyzers. Some of these collaborations will explore using lower cost materials, reducing the quantity of pricey raw material required, and developing better and more precise methods in manufacturing MEAs.

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GM and US Army TARDEC to reveal Chevy Colorado-based fuel cell vehicle

August 30, 2016

General Motors and the US Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) will reveal a Chevrolet Colorado-based fuel cell electric vehicle in October at the fall meeting of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) in Washington, D.C.

The fuel-cell version of the mid-size pickup is being developed under an agreement between TARDEC and GM signed in 2015 (earlier post). The collaboration enables TARDEC to access consumer-driven automotive technology for use in military applications while providing GM with feedback on non-standard fuel cell technology applications.

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Dalian team synthesizes advanced catalytic layer for fuel cell MEAs; low Pt-loading, high mass activity

August 29, 2016

Researchers at Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics (China) have synthesized an advanced catalytic layer in the membrane electroide assembly (MEA) for proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) using vertically aligned polymer–polypyrrole (PPy) nanowire arrays as ordered catalyst supports.

In a paper published in the Journal of Power Sources, they report that a single cell fitted with their MEA yields a maximum performance of 762.1 mW cm−2 with a low Pt loading (0.241 mg Pt cm−2, anode + cathode). The advanced catalyst layer indicates better mass transfer in high current density than that of commercial Pt/C-based electrode. The mass activity is 1.08-fold greater than that of US Department of Energy (DOE) 2017 target.

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Swiss team develops effective and low-cost solar water-splitting device; 14.2% solar-to-hydrogen efficiency

August 25, 2016

Using commercially available solar cells and none of the usual rare metals, researchers at the Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology (CSEM) and École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) have designed an intrinsically stable and scalable solar water splitting device that is fully based on earth-abundant materials, with a solar-to-hydrogen conversion efficiency of 14.2%.

The prototype system is made up of three interconnected, new-generation, crystalline silicon solar cells attached to an electrolysis system that does not rely on rare metals. The device has already been run for more than 100 hours straight under test conditions. The method, which surpasses previous efforts in terms of stability, performance, lifespan and cost efficiency, is published in the Journal of The Electrochemical Society.

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Kenworth receives $8.6M in grants for low-emission T680 Day Cab drayage truck projects in California; hybrids, CNG hybrid and fuel cell

August 20, 2016

Kenworth has been awarded three government grants totaling $8.6 million that will support low emissions projects involving Kenworth T680 Day Cabs targeted for use as drayage tractors in Southern California ports.

The first two projects are funded at $1.9 million each by the US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), with Southern California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) as the prime applicant. Kenworth will build two, proof-of-concept T680 Day Cab drayage tractors to transport freight from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to warehouses and railyards along the I-710 corridor in the Los Angeles basin.

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Sumitomo and US Hybrid partnering to grow hydrogen fuel cell business for commercial vehicles and mass transit

August 12, 2016

Sumitomo Corporation together with Sumitomo Corporation of Americas (collectively, SC Group) announced a strategic collaboration agreement with US Hybrid to grow US Hybrid’s fuel cell production business through the expansion of fuel cell stack production capacity. (Earlier post.) SC Group will play an integral role in the project by coordinating discussions with OEMs using the integrated trading company’s global network.

US Hybrid, together with its Fuel Cell division, US FuelCell, has more than 26 years of experience in fuel cell balance of plant components and vehicle development and deployment. US FuelCell was established in 2013 after US Hybrid purchased the UTC Power PEM fuel cell Transportation division along with the global PEM IP license. The company currently offers an 80 kW integrated fuel cell system (FCe 80) and a 150 kW system (FCe150).

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Report: Sumitomo to begin selling fuel cells for commercial vehicles with US Hybrid

August 11, 2016

The Nikkei reports that Sumitomo Corp., the giant Japanese integrated trading company, will start selling fuel cells for commercial vehicles via a partnership with California-based US Hybrid. Sumitomo, which is strengthening its automobile business and expects growth in the fuel cell market, plans to supply mostly Japanese commercial vehicle makers, according to the report.

Sumitomo has been involved in fuel cell research and development of years, and already produces fuel cell components. For example, Sumitomo Metal Industries developed the world’s first high performance stainless steel for bipolar plates. The plates employed a unique method of adding low-cost alloy elements into the molten steel, resulting in the dispersion of highly conductive metal inclusions throughout the steel, thereby delivering the needed electrical conductivity.

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