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Fuel Cells Bulletin
German Clean Energy Partnership to demo vehicles A major industry-government venture to develop a sustainable future transportation energy infrastructure has begun with the signing of an agreement in Germany. The Clean Energy Partnership Berlin (CEP) will investigate the practicality of using hydrogen, as well as alternatives such as methanol and synthetic diesel, and mirrors the California Fuel Cell Partnership and work in Japan. CEP comprises oil company Aral, automakers BMW, DaimlerChrysler, Ford Europe (through its Aachen research center) and Opel (General Motors’ German operation), commercial vehicle builder MAN Nutzfahrzeuge, industrial gases company Linde, electrolyzer developer GHW, and the Berlin transit agency BVG. The only notable non-participant is Volkswagen. In Berlin an Aral gas station will generate hydrogen from water by electrolysis, for storage and supply in both liquid (cryogenic) and compressed gaseous form. The hydrogen will be available to refuel vehicles with either modified combustion engines or fuel cell technology. The five-year project is a component of the national sustainability strategy, and is supported and promoted by the German federal government. The German energy agency (Deutsche Energie Agentur) will coordinate the project, and communicate with the federal government. The sustainability strategy aims to demonstrate advanced technologies as well as identify the technical and economic conditions required for using alternative fuels in vehicles. A fundamental aim is to demonstrate the environmental benefits, so the hydrogen is to be manufactured as far as possible by means of renewable sources, e.g. by hydroelectric or wind power. The automotive companies involved will operate a test fleet of about 30 vehicles, from 2003. After a testing phase the cars will be used in everyday activities. The project aims are proving the technologies’ suitability for everyday use, and encouraging customer acceptance of new refueling technologies. Afterwards the partners will determine what further steps are needed, such as perhaps an extension of the project with partial commercialization. The CEP is also willing to bring in further partners, including from other industries such as banks or insurance. Contact: Deutsche Energie-Agentur GmbH, Chausseestrasse 128a, D-10115 Berlin, Germany. Tel: +49 30 7261 6560, Fax: +49 30 7261 65699, Email: [email protected]
Medis developing for military, looking at Japan US/Israeli micro fuel cell developer Medis Technologies is cooperating with General Dynamics C4 Systems in Massachusetts to develop a highly mobile fuel cell battery charger system to meet the battery-recharging needs of deployed soldiers for the US Army. Medis has also engaged US-based merchant bank Reed, Wasden & Associates to help with the company’s entry into the Japanese market. Using Medis’ proprietary Direct Liquid Ethanol (DLE) fuel cell technology, General Dynamics C4 Systems is developing a system that will enable soldiers in the field to recharge the batteries that power the electronic components that are becoming standard equipment for many soldiers, such as personal digital assistants, portable computers and even weapons. As part of the development effort, Medis has received a $75 000 purchase order from General Dynamics C4 Systems to develop an initial prototype of the fuel cell charger. ‘The fuel cell product we are developing is consistent with our plans for commercialization of our fuel cell, with a target of a commercially viable prototype of a fuel cell battery charger by the end of this year, and production beginning by the end of next year,’ said Robert K. Lifton, chairman/CEO of Medis. ‘Thus, we plan to be in a position to satisfy orders that may develop for the product we are developing with General Dynamics.’ Reed, Wasden & Associates, as an exclusive consultant for Medis in Japan, will assist the company in identifying and establishing strategic manufacturing and distribution partnerships for its Direct Liquid Ethanol Fuel Cell (DLEF) products. RWA will be working closely with Mizuho Securities (Equity Group). Contact: Medis Technologies, 805 Third Avenue, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10022, USA. Tel: +1 212 935 8484, Fax: +1 212 935 9216, www.medistechnologies.com Or contact: General Dynamics C4 Systems, 400 John Quincy Adams Road, Taunton, MA 02780-1069, USA. Tel: +1 508 880 4000, Fax: +1 508 880 4800, www.gdc4s.com Or contact: Reed Wasden & Associates, 10811 Main Street, Bellevue, WA 98004, USA. Tel: +1 425 467 1110, Fax: +1 425 467 1226, www.reedwasden.com
Air Products refueling for fuel cell subs US-based Air Products is to build a hydrogen fueling station to support a small fleet of fuel
NEWS cell powered submarines being built for the German Navy by shipbuilder HowaldtswerkeDeutsche Werft AG (HDW), with delivery anticipated next spring at an undisclosed location in Europe. The first of its kind in the world, the Class 212A submarine will have a fuel cell power supply, allowing it to operate entirely on hydrogen. HDW is constructing four fuel cell powered subs for the German Navy, with the first (U-31) scheduled for launch in 2003. Four more are on order for the Greek Navy, three for the Korean Navy (all Class 214), and two are being built by Fincantieri in Trieste for the Italian Navy (Class 212). Because of these orders, Air Products has an option with HDW to build more fueling stations. The fuel cell allows the new submarines to cruise underwater for weeks without resurfacing; conventional diesel-electric subs typically use up their batteries after two days cruising underwater. In addition, the fuel cell makes no noise and produces no detectable exhaust heat, making the submarine virtually undetectable. The refueling station is built around Air Products’ unique cryogenic hydrogen gas and liquid compressor technology, and has been designed to minimise refueling time. It is the first time this technology is to be used in a fuel cell application in Europe, although it is established in many other applications. To date, the company has built 15 hydrogen fueling stations for projects in the US and Europe. Contact: Colin Smith, European Technology & Bulk Marketing Director, Air Products Europe (Gases), Hersham Place, Molesey Road, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey KT12 4RZ, UK. Tel: +44 1932 249200, Fax: +44 1932 249565, www.apci.com
Palcan stack for mobile applications up to 5 kWe Vancouver-based Palcan Fuel Cells has released a new PEM fuel cell stack which optimizes system performance for vehicle and portable products in the 1–5 kWe range. The water-cooled stack achieves excellent power density while retaining low fuel pressure to achieve the most favorable system combination of cost, size and efficiency. The new stack is targeted at applications requiring compact, efficient fuel cell power, including scooters, forklifts and neighborhood electric vehicles, as well as portable and backup power systems. Palcan will offer the stacks separately or integrated into PalPac™ power product line. The first commercial demonstration of the new stack is scheduled for this fall, within Palcan’s collaboration with Celco Profil in Italy. Celco’s electric scooter is presently being
modified in Palcan’s shop to prepare for installation of the fuel cell system. Contact: Palcan Fuel Cells Ltd, 8624 Commerce Court, Burnaby, BC V5A 4N6, Canada. Tel: +1 604 422 8868, Fax: +1 604 422 8869, www.palcan.com
Plug cells certified for grid interconnection in California The California Energy Commission has certified Plug Power’s 5 kWe stationary fuel cell system for compliance with the requirements of the state’s ‘Rule 21’ grid interconnection standard. CEC and the state’s investor-owned electric utilities spent more than a year jointly developing Rule 21, which streamlines otherwise complicated interconnection, operating and metering regulations and processes applicable to distributed energy generators. The standard will ensure safe connection to the electric grid in California and, at the same time, encourage the installation of small generators to reduce the demand on the state’s electrical system. Plug’s is the first fuel cell system to be certified under this standard. The designation will significantly reduce the time, cost and complexity for interconnection with California’s three investorowned electric utilities. ‘Interconnection to the electric grid is a critical element in developing a viable distributed generation project, ‘ said Dr Roger B. Saillant, Plug’s president/CEO. ‘The Rule 21 certification will significantly accelerate our process of ‘order to operation.’ Now that Plug Power is certified in the state of California for grid-interconnection, we believe we can manufacture, deliver, install and connect a fuel cell system within 10 weeks.’ Contact: Plug Power Inc, 968 Albany-Shaker Road, Latham, NY 12110, USA. Tel: +1 518 782 7700, Fax: +1 518 782 9060, www.plugpower.com Or contact: California Energy Commission, 1516 Ninth Street, MS-29, Sacramento, CA 95814-5512, USA. Tel: +1 916 654 4287, www.energy.ca.gov
Shell, partners to commercialize offshore fuel cells Energy giant Shell has announced the launch of a project in Norway to explore possible largescale applications of new zero-emission solid oxide fuel cell technology driven by natural gas.
In Brief Japanese government to first trial fuel cells in Hokkaido The Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure & Transport, the Ministry of Economy, Trade & Industry and the Environment Ministry have jointly selected the northern island of Hokkaido as a model region where they will first promote public demonstrations of fuel cells. Initial public tests of fuel cells were scheduled to begin in Sapporo in late July, according to the Nihon Keizai Shimbun. In fiscal 2003, government and municipal agencies will begin testing the use of fuel cells to power air-conditioners and other machinery, while hydrogen refueling stations will be built for fuel cell vehicles. The ministries cited three reasons for selecting Hokkaido as the model region: Hokkaido University has an advanced program of fuel cell development; the region is very cold in the winter, so it can make effective use of the heat generated by fuel cells; and the region produces methane gas, which can be used as a source of hydrogen. The program intends to use the knowledge gained from the testing to promote the use of fuel cells nationwide by 2005. DCH in crisis, but Enable looking to buyout California-based DCH Technology has been forced to lay off nearly all its employees, due to a ‘cashflow challenge’ according to a filing with the US Securities & Exchange Commission. The SEC filing said that the very difficult business and financial climate of the past year disrupted anticipated interim funding, leading to management’s decision to furlough most of its employees while it evaluates strategic options. The company is seeking offers to purchase its fuel cells and sensors divisions. DCH includes the Enable Fuel Cell Corporation in Middleton, Wisconsin, where managers are hoping to lead a buyout that would make the firm an independent company, according to the local newspaper. ‘We don’t have any specific venture capitalists identified at the moment, but we think our plan is one that can be attractive to certain VCs,’ Greg Jackson, Enable’s general manager told the Capital Times. The management’s plan calls for developing Enable’s technology and turning it into a much larger company in four to five years’ time, after a slow, more cautious new start. EPA joins California Fuel Cell Partnership The US Environmental Protection Agency is the latest agency to join the California Fuel Cell Partnership public-private venture. The EPA’s National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory in Ann Arbor, Michigan will soon be a state-of-the-art testing center for fuel cell vehicles and components.
Fuel Cells Bulletin