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Air Products’ Hydrogen Technology Fueling Material Handling Fuel Cells at WinCo’s California Warehouse

LEHIGH VALLEY, Pa. — Air Products (NYSE: APD) today announced that its industry leading hydrogen fueling technology and infrastructure is now on stream and providing hydrogen to fuel material handling fuel cell units at WinCo Foods LLC’s 800,000 square foot grocery distribution center in Modesto, Calif.  Air Products is currently fueling 33 material handling units, with 49 more pieces of equipment to be added in April, and increasing to 184 overall when the facility conversion to hydrogen-powered fuel cell lifts is complete in 2013.

“We continue to grow our leadership position in the material handling equipment market at a time when recognition of the productivity and sustainability benefits of hydrogen fueling for this application continues to increase.  We worked closely with WinCo as the timing for getting hydrogen supply installed was critical to a seamless conversion of their material handling equipment to hydrogen fuel cells. We began using our mobile fueling technology, and then brought the permanent fueling station online this month which includes two fueling dispensers,” said Sarah Hammond, business development manager – Hydrogen Energy Systems at Air Products. Details on Air Products’ hydrogen fueling station technologies and projects are provided at www.airproducts.com/h2energy.

The WinCo material handling units being fueled by Air Products include Plug Power’s (NASDAQ: PLUG) GenDrive® hydrogen fuel cell power units. The GenDrive systems can be quickly refueled in just minutes, completely eliminating the need to change, store, charge and maintain multiple lead acid batteries for each lift.

“Plug Power’s GenDrive fuel cell systems have provided WinCo with a power solution for its lift truck fleet that increases productivity and reduces operational costs over traditional lead-acid batteries. At the same time, the fuel cells offer a much more sustainable alternative for power,” said Andy Marsh, CEO at Plug Power. “Our GenDrive units run on hydrogen, and Air Products understands the importance of getting the hydrogen infrastructure in place so the fuel cells can be deployed and the customer can start realizing the benefits of the project.”

There are many advantages to using hydrogen fuel cell-powered forklifts and material handling equipment. Hydrogen-powered equipment only needs refueling once or twice daily, depending on use, and does not require change-out downtime while traditional battery-powered equipment is taken out of operation for battery replacement or recharging approximately every four to six hours. Hydrogen-powered equipment provides consistent power strength during use and does not experience decreased performance or wear down as battery units do when nearing change-out or recharge time. Additionally, unlike battery-powered forklifts, hydrogen-powered fuel cells are not adversely impacted by temperature when operating in coolers and freezers. Further, hydrogen-powered equipment is more environmentally friendly and does not involve lead-acid battery storage or disposal issues.

Air Products, the leading global supplier of hydrogen to refineries to assist in the production of cleaner burning transportation fuels, has unique experience in the hydrogen fueling industry. These varied fueling applications provide an opportunity to assess consumer experiences, evaluate product performance and advance product improvements.  In fact, in certain market applications, fueling rates at several individual sites of over 15,000 refills per year are occurring.  The company has placed over 130 hydrogen fueling stations in the United States and 19 countries worldwide.  Cars, trucks, vans, buses, scooters, forklifts, locomotives, planes, cell towers, material handling equipment, and even submarines have been fueled with trend-setting technologies that involve Air Products’ know-how, equipment and hydrogen.  Use of the company’s technology is increasing and is currently over 350,000 hydrogen fills per year.

Air Products has more than 50 years of hydrogen experience and is on the forefront of hydrogen energy technology development.  Air Products has an extensive patent portfolio with over 50 patents in hydrogen dispensing technology.  Air Products provides liquid and gaseous hydrogen, and HCNG (hydrogen/compressed natural gas) fueling, and has developed a variety of enabling devices and protocols for fuel dispensing at varied pressures.  Hydrogen for these stations can be delivered to a site via truck, produced by natural gas reformation, biomass conversion, or by electrolysis, including electrolysis that is solar and wind driven.

February 6, 2012 - 5:44 PM No Comments

Solvay has successfully commissioned the largest PEM fuel cell in the world at SolVin’s Antwerp plant


H2 powered industrial demonstration 1 MW Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell

Solvay announced today it has successfully commissioned its 1 MegaWatt (MW) industrial demonstration Fuel Cell at the SolVin plant in Lillo, Antwerp, Belgium. This Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) Fuel Cell converts coproduced hydrogen (H2) in the plant into electricity and is now producing for weeks at a steady rate. The Fuel Cell has generated over 500 MWh in about 800 hours of operation, which amounts to the electricity consumption of 1370 families during the same time frame.

This successful industrial scale-up project containing Solvay’s innovative specialty polymers and SolviCore’s membrane electrode assemblies brings PEM Fuel Cell technology to a new threshold. The Fuel Cell also increases SolVin’s brine electrolysis’ energy efficiency.

Fuel Cells convert the chemical energy from hydrogen into clean electricity through an electrochemical reaction with oxygen. The PEM Fuel Cell consists of a large number of membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) made out of Solvay’s specialty polymer AquivionR PFSA membrane and ionomer and Umicore’s elystTM catalyst. The MEAs were manufactured by SolviCore, a 50-50 joint venture of Solvay and Umicore, in its plant in Hanau, Germany. Dutch companies NedStack and MTSA have built the fuel cell using SolviCore’s assemblies.

Fuel Cells are increasingly considered an important clean power generation technology for a wide variety of applications such as busses, cars, ships, trucks, fork lifts, cogeneration and electricity generation devices. Hydrogen-powered fuel cells produce only electricity and water.

This technological leap was realized in cooperation with WaterstofNet, the coordinator of the Project Hydrogen Region Flanders – South Netherlands. This project aims at developing knowhow and projects about hydrogen applications in the region with a clear focus on sustainable hydrogen and early market applications, such as maritime, logistical and interurban applications, with maximum use of European technology.

The Project Hydrogen Region, with a total budget of EUR 14 million, was approved by the Interreg IV Program and is financed by the EU, the Flemish government, the Dutch government and the industry. Hydrogen Region financed Solvay’s project budget of over EUR 5 million by EUR 1.5 million. The 1 MW PEM Fuel Cell is the first milestone in the Project Hydrogen Region Flanders – South Netherlands and it is also used by WaterstofNet for research and test programs to endorse implementation of Fuel Cell technology in the region.

February 6, 2012 - 9:00 AM No Comments

Ceramic Fuel Cells announces spectacular results form its unit at Sydney’s Newington “Smart Home”

Ceramic Fuel Cells’ BlueGen produces six times more electricity per day than solar PV during Sydney “Smart Home’s” first year

Ceramic Fuel Cells Limited (AIM / ASX: CFU) – a leading developer of high efficiency and low emission electricity generation products for homes and other buildings – today announced that its BlueGen gas-to-electricity unit had created nearly twice as much electricity than Sydney’s Newington “Smart Home” had needed during the home’s first 18 months of operation.

Ausgrid’s energy efficiency expert Paul Myors said an analysis of energy use and generation at the smart home showed it was producing enough electricity to power two average households.

“The fuel cell used gas and waste heat to produce most of the on-site power, but with 65 per cent less greenhouse gas impact than power sourced from the grid,” he said.

The 1.5 kilowatt BlueGen unit – combined with a conventional 1 kilowatt rooftop solar system and a 0.5 kilowatt solar pergola system – produced an average 32 kilowatt hours of electricity per day. Of this, the BlueGen unit produced an average of 28 kilowatt hours per day, while the average solar output was 4 kilowatt hours per day.

Importantly, the BlueGen unit saved 6,950 kilograms of carbon dioxide during the year from November 2010 to October 2011 when compared to greenhouse emissions from electricity from the NSW grid.

This was nearly five times the carbon emission savings from the Smart Home’s solar PV unit, which saved 1,470 kilograms of carbon dioxide.

The family charged the home’s car – a new Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric vehicle – an average of eight times per month and drove it for more than 5,000 kilometres on Sydney’s roads. The electric car added an average 2.5 kilowatt hours a day to the home’s electricity use. Ausgrid found the electric car would have been about 75 per cent cheaper that a comparable petrol car to run. This is because it was only charged after 8pm when times of use electricity rates are cheaper.

“The Smart Home in essence has become a fully functioning power station,” Mr Myors said. “This has been a great experiment to test how families use new technology and efficient appliances, so we can see what will help households use energy and water efficiently in the future.”

Following the first BlueGen installed in the Smart Home, last year Ausgrid ordered 25 BlueGen units as part of the AUD 100m ‘Smart Grid, Smart City’ project. These 25 BlueGens are now installed and operating in homes in Newcastle, New South Wales.

The first Smart Home family – Clare Joyce, Michael Adams and their daughter Ava, dubbed “The Jetsons’ – left the Smart Home at the end of January after an 18-month trial of energy efficient living.

February 6, 2012 - 7:44 AM No Comments

ITM Power announces launch of its new high pressure and high volume stack designs

ITM Power the energy storage and clean fuel company, is pleased to announce that it will be launching its new high pressure and high volume stack designs that form the basis of its Megawatt Scale energy storage plant at the Hannover Messe on 23-27th April and All-Energy in Aberdeen on 23-24th May.

The hydrogen production plant is packaged in a single 20ft standard ISO container and is a 1MW load that can be demand side managed by power companies with a response time of one second for both turn on and turn off. The hydrogen produced can be used for both vehicle refuelling and direct injection of hydrogen into the gas grid. Injecting hydrogen into the gas grid is a simple and pragmatic form of energy storage that also de-carbonises the gas grid.

The new electrolyser stack is self-pressurising to 80bar which means it can be used to inject hydrogen directly into the high or low pressure gas grid without the need for additional compression plant. If the hydrogen production unit is used for vehicle refuelling, the amount of energy required for compression is reduced. If 350bar refuelling is being used then the high pressure electrolysis removes the need for one stage of mechanical compression which reduces cost.

The 1MW container produces approximately 400kg/day of hydrogen if run continuously. The design is a modular system which can be used to build larger energy storage facilities. ITM Power now has a portfolio of modular refuelling products in the range from 5kg/day to 400kg/day.

Commenting for ITM Power Dr Graham Cooley said “Megawatt scale energy storage is now a vital plant component in the power industry to balance supply and demand and this product is ITM’s first offering to the sector. In most countries in Europe and indeed the rest of the world the penetration of intermittent renewable power has reached the level where constraint payments are now standard and wind curtailment is in daily operation. The need for Megawatt scale energy storage is here today and hydrogen via electrolysis is easily deployed at this scale.”

February 6, 2012 - 7:00 AM No Comments

Bing Energy relocates to partner with FSU on high-tech fuel cells

Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Feb. 10 announced that Bing Energy Inc. of Chino, Calif., has selected Tallahassee as the new site of the company’s world headquarters. The company, in collaboration with Professor Jim P. Zheng of The Florida State University, is planning to turn revolutionary nanotechnology pioneered at FSU into a better, faster, more economical and commercially viable fuel cell. The move is expected to create at least 244 jobs paying an average wage of $41,655 in Florida.

“I am proud to welcome Bing Energy and thank them for recognizing that Florida is the best state in the nation,” Scott said. “As governor, I am continuing to make it the best place to do business. This is only the beginning. Just as Bing Energy was convinced to bring jobs here, I am talking to companies across the nation. I am letting them know that our reduction in the business tax burden, commitment to job creation, and Florida’s world-class work force mean we are open for business.”

President Barron (foreground) and Florida Governor Rick Scott (background)

Bing Energy, a manufacturer of state-of-the-art components for polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells, will begin production in March 2011 and serve the domestic and international energy markets.

“We know that, with the continuing support of Gov. Scott, the Legislature and the people of Florida, our institutions of higher learning will continue to foster innovation, and jobs will continue to cluster around those innovations,” said Florida State University President Eric J. Barron. “The breakthrough research by Drs. Wang and Zheng and the company’s decision to come to Florida confirm that the investment made in their work by our state and the federal government has realized its commercial potential. Bing Energy represents the future, and Florida State is proud to be a part of it.”

Bing is moving its global headquarters to Tallahassee to work in partnership with Zheng, who has pioneered a fuel cell that incorporates a thin membrane composed of carbon nanotubes, reducing the need for expensive platinum components that, until now, have made fuel cells too expensive to be widely marketed. Zheng’s technology is based on pioneering research and development of buckypaper conducted at Florida State’s High-Performance Materials Institute. The institute’s director, Professor Ben Wang, is the assistant vice president for research at Florida State.

Bing Energy’s innovation promises to produce a fuel cell that is more efficient, more durable and significantly less expensive – benefits that could transform the transportation and power generation sectors.

Joining Scott and Barron in celebrating Bing Energy’s move to Tallahassee were Bing Energy CFO Dean Minardi, Tallahassee Mayor John Marks, and representatives from the Economic Development Council of Tallahassee/Leon County Inc.

Dr. Jim Zheng

“We all know the world’s existing energy-use pattern is unsustainable,” Minardi said. “A commercially viable fuel cell will transform the way we drive, reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. It will transform the way we deliver energy to neighborhoods, ensuring reliability and eliminating the risk of brownouts.”

Bing Energy’s move to Florida is tied to a $1.9 million award the company recently received from the Governor’s Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development. The award is a Qualified Target Industry (QTI) Tax Refund in support of job creation. The local Tallahassee and Leon County governments are also supporting Bing Energy by each providing a 10 percent match on the QTI Award.

Gov. Scott has stated that creating jobs is his top priority. As governor, he has announced plans to create 700,000 jobs over the next seven years by implementing accountability budgeting, reducing government spending, enacting regulatory reform, focusing on job growth and retention, investing in world class state universities, reducing property taxes and phasing out the business income tax.

Local officials expressed delight that Tallahassee was chosen by Bing Energy as its relocation site.

“Our organization identified tax incentives and work-force training programs that gave Tallahassee the edge over other communities under consideration,” said Kim Williams, chairman of the Economic Development Council of Tallahassee/ Leon County Inc. “This is a perfect example of why connecting industry, education and government is so important. In this case, these connections helped us to retain our talent, as well as our university technologies and commercialization within our community.”

Tallahassee Mayor John Marks spoke of the importance of creating jobs in his community and “retaining one of our greatest assets, our work-force talent. The city of Tallahassee is committed to doing our part to help this promising company establish its roots in our community.”

Marks’ comments were echoed by John Dailey, chairman of the Leon County Commission.

“The county is committed to working with our public and private sectors, especially our universities, to help businesses locate in our community,” Dailey said.

February 6, 2012 - 6:31 AM No Comments