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Quantum Awarded Contract from Mahindra & Mahindra (India) for Hydrogen Vehicle Development

IRVINE, Calif. – Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide Inc. (NASDAQ: QTWW), a global leader in natural gas, hydrogen and hybrid electric vehicle technologies, today announced that it was awarded an engineering development contract from the leading Indian automaker Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., to develop hydrogen systems for a mini-bus platform. Under this contract, Quantum will engineer and modify Mahindra’s 2.5L engine to run on clean hydrogen, while improving vehicle performance characteristics through enhanced electronic control software strategies and engine calibration. Quantum will supply its world-leading ultra-light weight hydrogen storage system and proprietary hydrogen fuel injection system for this application.

The program involves the design, development and testing of a prototype hydrogen internal combustion engine suitable for commercial vehicle application and integration of light-weight fuel storage system. Quantum will define and implement engine electronic control strategy, and perform emission, performance and durability testing of the hydrogen fuel system at Quantum’s state-of-the-art test facility at its Advanced Concepts Center in Lake Forest, California.

“This initiative is a significant opportunity for Quantum, to further demonstrate the benefit of utilizing Quantum’s hydrogen internal combustion technologies in commercial vehicle applications,” said Alan P. Niedzwiecki, President and CEO of Quantum. ”We are pleased to work with Mahindra and Mahindra on this important project to demonstrate the potential for hydrogen in reducing emissions.”

In India, the transportation sector accounts for nearly 20% of green house gas emissions. India is making effort through various alternative technologies on transport vehicles to limit green house gas emissions. Hydrogen is identified as one of the key fuels in the long term to mitigate emission.

About Mahindra

The Mahindra Group operates in the key industries that drive economic growth, enjoying a leadership position in tractors, utility vehicles, information technology, rural financing and vacation ownership. Mahindra has a presence in the automotive industry, agribusiness, aerospace, components, consulting services, defense, energy, financial services, industrial equipment, logistics, real estate, retail, steel and two wheelers. A US $14.4 billion multinational group based in Mumbai, India, Mahindra employs more than 144,000 people in over 100 countries. In 2011, Mahindra featured on the Forbes Global 2000 list, a listing of the biggest and most powerful listed companies in the world. Dun & Bradstreet also ranked Mahindra at No. 1 in the automobile sector in its list of India’s Top 500 Companies. In 2010, Mahindra featured in the Credit Suisse Great Brands of Tomorrow. In 2011, Mahindra acquired a majority stake in Korea’s SsangYong Motor Company. For further information, please visit www.mahindra.com

About Quantum

Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide, Inc., a fully integrated alternative energy company, is a leader in the development and production of advanced propulsion systems, energy storage technologies, and alternative fuel vehicles. Quantum’s wholly owned subsidiary, Schneider Power Inc., and affiliate Asola Advanced and Automotive Solar Systems GmbH complement Quantum’s emerging renewable energy presence through the development and ownership of wind and solar farms, and manufacture of high efficiency solar modules. Quantum’s portfolio of technologies includes electronic controls, hybrid electric drive systems, natural gas and hydrogen storage and metering systems and alternative fuel technologies that enable fuel efficient, low emission hybrid, plug-in hybrid electric, fuel cell, and natural gas vehicles. Quantum’s powertrain engineering, system integration, vehicle manufacturing, and assembly capabilities provide fast-to-market solutions to support the production of hybrid and plug-in hybrid, hydrogen-powered hybrid, fuel cell, natural gas fuel, and specialty vehicles, as well as modular, transportable hydrogen refueling stations. Quantum’s customer base includes automotive OEMs, dealer networks, fleets, aerospace industry, military and other government entities, and other strategic alliance partners.

More information can be found about the products and services of Quantum, Schneider Power and Asola at http://www.qtww.com/

January 12, 2012 - 1:43 PM No Comments

Graphene-based Catalyst Shows Promise for Fuel Cells

graphene-based catalyst

The graphene-based catalyst Fe-N-rGO has a much higher oxygen reduction reaction catalytic activity than those based on carbon black or oxidized carbon black.

MIT scientists, doing part of their work on beamline X11 at the National Synchrotron Light Source, have made a promising graphene-based catalyst to improve fuel cells.

Fuel cells convert hydrogen and oxygen into water, making electricity in the process. They are a source of quiet, efficient and clean energy, with the potential to replace combustion-based technologies in transportation and power applications. Starting in the 1960s, the U.S. put alkaline fuel cells on board spacecraft to produce electricity and water. Promising fuel-cell technologies of today include polymer-electrolyte-membrane fuel cells, also known as proton-exchange-membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs).

PEMFCs have the highest energy density of all fuel-cell types. They also have a relatively low operating temperature (ranging from 60-80 degrees Celsius), which means they warm up quickly – and begin generating electricity. That makes PEMFCs especially appealing for use in vehicles and in portable- and backup-power applications. Because they typically use platinum as a catalyst, however, the high cost of PEMFCs inhibits commercial development. To bring down the cost, research is focused on developing a non-precious-metal catalyst made of iron, nitrogen and carbon (Fe-N-C).

The team from MIT – Hye Ryung Byon, Jin Suntivich, and Yang Shao-Horn – prepared a graphene-based Fe-N-C catalyst (graphene is a monolayer of carbon) with high oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) activity, plus stability in acid. The method involves heat treatment of a mixture of Fe salt, graphitic carbon nitride and chemically reduced graphene (rGO).

The graphene-based catalyst exhibits reduction activity approaching those of the state-of-the-art, non-noble-metal catalysts reported to date, which highlights the opportunities of using the unusual surface chemistry of rGO to create active Fe-N sites and develop an improved catalyst.

Our approach is uniquely different from other groups,” said MIT’s Yang Shao-Horn, who is the Gail E. Kendall Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the university. “We start from molecular building blocks and precisely control the surface chemistry of graphene as we build the catalyst.”

The researchers examined the surface chemical composition of Fe-N-rGO by x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and studied the atomic coordination of Fe by extended x-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS). XPS and EXAFS of the Fe-N-rGO sample provided evidence for the incorporation of Fe ion and N into the rGO upon annealing.

Characterizing the Fe-N functionalization is experimentally very difficult, explained Shao-Horn, and x-ray absorption is one of the few techniques that can accomplish this task. “We use the X11 beamline at NSLS, where we have excellent support,” she added. “We are extremely fortunate to have this collaboration.”

According to Shao-Horn, ongoing work includes examination of Fe-N-rGo’s performance and lifetime in a more realistic fuel-cell configuration.

January 12, 2012 - 8:01 AM No Comments

Hydrogen advances graphene use

Physicists at Linköping University have shown that a dose of hydrogen or helium can render the “super material” graphene even more useful.

Graphene has engendered high expectations whereof its extreme properties depend on the fact that it consists of a single sheet of carbon atoms. However the attraction forces between the atoms cause the sheets to be drawn to each other. One solution is to add atomic hydrogen between the layers.

Presented in the eminent journal Physical Review A, the researchers’ calculations show that the hydrogen at a given concentration affects the atomic ‘van der Waals forces’ and becomes repulsive instead of attractive. The result is that graphene sheets repel each other and float freely just a few nanometres apart (an example of the so-called quantum levitation).

Professor Bo E. Sernelius, who conducted the study with his former doctoral student Mathias Bostrom, identifies several possible applications of the discovery:

  • Storage of hydrogen as vehicle fuel
  • Creation of a single graphene sheet by peeling them from a pile that has grown on a substrate of silicon carbide; a method developed at Linköping University
  • Repulsive forces are ideal for the manufacture of friction-free components on a Nano scale, for example, robots and sensors for medical purposes

In the present study the researchers began with two ‘undoped’ sheets of graphene on a substrate of silicon dioxide (silica). The starting position is the van der Waals attractive forces and the sheets are compelled closer together. However once atomic hydrogen is added, repulsive forces arise. A similar effect was observed using other gases such as molecular hydrogen (H2) and helium.

Graphene is a two-dimensional material, which means that it retains a very special character. It is flexible, transparent, stronger than a diamond and has a superior ability to conduct electric current. In 2010 Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov received a Nobel Prize in Physics because for the first time ever they succeeded in producing stable flakes of material.

Repulsive van der Waals forces due to hydrogen exposure on bilayer graphene by Mathias Bostrom and Bo E. Sernelius. Physical Review A 85:1, 11 January 2012.

January 12, 2012 - 7:22 AM No Comments

Work begins at Bloom factory, generator sites

Construction vehicles rest Thursday at the former Chrysler site in Newark. Bloom Energy is planning to build a fuel cell factory at the site. / THE NEWS JOURNAL/WILLIAM BRETZGER

Construction vehicles rest Thursday at the former Chrysler site in Newark. Bloom Energy is planning to build a fuel cell factory at the site. / THE NEWS JOURNAL/WILLIAM BRETZGER

Written by-AARON NATHANS-The News Journal

Preliminary work has begun at the sites of the planned Bloom Energy factory and a “cluster” of electrical generators that will feed Delmarva Power.

Bloom last year won Public Service Commission approval to build two clusters of fuel cell boxes at Delmarva substations.

Some of the boxes will be the first batch of orders at Bloom’s planned fuel cell factory at the site of the former Chrysler plant, now owned by the University of Delaware.

At Delmarva’s Red Lion substation, an entrance road has been constructed and preliminary site work, including environmental testing, is under way, said Bridget Shelton, spokeswoman for the utility.

Bloom is handling permitting, and the company is still awaiting permits, she said. Bloom is planning to generate 26 megawatts of power there, to be connected to the regional electric grid through the substation.

Bloom will lease the land from Delmarva, with an agreement close to being signed, she said. “From that point on, it’s in their hands,” she said.

Bloom is also planning to generate 4 megawatts of power near Delmarva’s Brookside substation. Bloom is leasing that land from the state, she said.

UD spokeswoman Meredith Chapman said the university is preparing the site at the Science and Technology Campus for the construction of the Bloom factory.

Eastern States Construction, based in Wilmington, is handling the removal of concrete, footings and asphalt, work which began in mid-December, she said.

“The site will be delivered to Bloom in advance of its March 1 date to begin its construction activities,” Chapman said.

Meanwhile, Bloom, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., has begun seeking employees on the East Coast.

On its website, Bloom was advertising for an East Coast government relations specialist as well as commercial account managers for the U.S. Northeast and Southeast.

The company’s spokeswoman did not reply to inquiries on Thursday seeking further details on its construction schedule or hiring plans.

January 12, 2012 - 6:34 AM No Comments