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Official Handover to Solvay Interox is a huge sucess-Acal starts fuel cell field trials

Acal-FlowCath-integrated-fuel-cell-stack

ACAL Energy’s fuel cell technology was centre-stage for a meeting of the great and the good in UK technology. With our partners, we hosted a meeting for around 60 people at the Solvay Interox site in Warrington. The principal purpose of the event was to mark the handover of the first FlowCath® fuel cell system to be installed in a working application. This 3kW unit is providing round-the-clock back-up power for an effluent clean-up plant.

We were delighted to welcome our guests including representatives from government, industry, the finance community and the media, who were able to visit the installation and to see for themselves the progress which has been made by the engineering team. The audience also heard inspiring presentations from ACAL Energy and our partners, Solvay and UPS Systems, who set out clearly the impressive results and future visions we share for deployment of fuel cells in an increasing number of applications. Léopold Demiddeleer, Senior Executive VP Future Businesses at Solvay SA travelled over from Belgium to share his views and to network with the group.

We would like to thank Len Sharpe (Solvay Interox MD) and his team for their hospitality, and all those who spent time with us yesterday to mark this important milestone in FlowCath®’s development.

February 24, 2012 - 8:30 PM No Comments

Army unveils world’s first military fleet of fuel cell vehicles

Photo Credit: U.S. Army Pacific U.S. Army Pacific held a commissioning ceremony Feb. 22, 2012, of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles on Palm Circle at Fort Shafter, Hawaii. Guest speakers took time to pose in front of the vehicle. From left to right: George Ka'iliwai, director of resources and assessment, U.S. Pacific Command; Maj. Gen. Roger F. Mathews, deputy commander, U.S. Army Pacific; Peter Carlisle, Mayor of the city and county of Honolulu; Grace Bochenek, director of the tank and automotive research development engineering center; Charles Freese, executive director of global fuel cell activities for General Motors; Daniel Inouye, U.S. Senator; Brian Schatz, lieutenant governor of the State of Hawaii.

Photo Credit: U.S. Army Pacific U.S. Army Pacific held a commissioning ceremony Feb. 22, 2012, of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles on Palm Circle at Fort Shafter, Hawaii. Guest speakers took time to pose in front of the vehicle. From left to right: George Ka'iliwai, director of resources and assessment, U.S. Pacific Command; Maj. Gen. Roger F. Mathews, deputy commander, U.S. Army Pacific; Peter Carlisle, Mayor of the city and county of Honolulu; Grace Bochenek, director of the tank and automotive research development engineering center; Charles Freese, executive director of global fuel cell activities for General Motors; Daniel Inouye, U.S. Senator; Brian Schatz, lieutenant governor of the State of Hawaii.

HONOLULU  – U.S. Army, Pacific, today unveiled a fleet of 16 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles that the military services in Hawaii are testing in an effort to research efficient, clean and renewable energy sources, and reduce the U.S. military’s dependence on petroleum.

“The Army continues to investigate technologies and partnerships that give the United States a decisive advantage,” said Lt. Gen. Francis J. Wiercinski, commanding general of U.S. Army, Pacific. “These fuel cell vehicles will help move the U.S. Army in the Pacific toward a sustainable path that reduces energy security challenges and strengthens our energy independence.”

During a Feb. 22 ceremony at historic Palm Circle at Fort Shafter, Hawaii, officials from the services — U.S. Army, Pacific, U.S. Pacific Fleet, U.S. Pacific Air Forces and U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific — government leaders, including U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye, Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz and Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle, and industry partners demonstrated the use of the 16 General Motors hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The zero-emission vehicles, funded by the Army Tank Automotive Research Development Engineering Center, or TARDEC, Office of Naval Research and Air Force Research Laboratories, are being tested in Hawaii’s ideal climate for real-world conditions reflecting each service’s needs.

“Our pursuit of alternative energy is closely tied to our commitment to continually adapt to an ever-changing security environment,” said George Ka’iliwai, director of Resources and Assessment for U.S. Pacific Command. “Defense relationships and military approaches alone can’t solve all of our energy challenges, but they underpin the initiatives we’re taking within the Department of Defense to reduce the dependence on foreign sources of energy.”

The military fleet of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles serves as the test platform powered by renewable hydrogen, travels up to 200 miles on a single charge, refuels in five minutes and produces zero emissions.

“The test data collected will be analyzed to make fuel cell technology practical in future operational platforms,” said James Muldoon, science officer, U.S. Army, Pacific.

“The development of fuel cell vehicles and an associated transportation infrastructure on which new military and civilian fleets can be tested and employed will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and help move our state and country forward,” said Inouye. “Hawaii is uniquely situated to benefit from the shift toward electric and fuel cell vehicles.”

The Army actively seeks and supports industry partnerships to increase compatible renewable energy development. Fielding of military fuel cell vehicles with the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines is the latest effort of the Hawaii Hydrogen Initiative, a partnership among 13 agencies, companies and universities. More information on the initiative can be found online at www.hydrogen2hawaii.com.

“Once the key hydrogen infrastructure elements are proven in Hawaii, other states can adopt a similar approach,” said Charles Freese, executive director of global fuel cell activities for General Motors, a founding partner of the Hawaii Hydrogen Initiative. “The military is paving the way, demonstrating the practicality and applicability of this technology.”

February 24, 2012 - 8:08 AM No Comments

Media Invited to NASA Glenn to See New Fuel Cell Demonstration on Mobile Rover

CLEVELAND – A demonstration of a fuel cell that will allow rovers on extraterrestrial surfaces to go farther and last longer will be conducted at NASA’s Glenn Research Center on Feb. 29 at 11 a.m.

The new type of fuel cell will extend the range of surface operations for rovers that will explore new worlds as part of future NASA missions. Unlike a conventional fuel cell that needs a pump to remove the water produced inside the device, this non-flow-through fuel cell uses capillary action to wick away the water. By eliminating the pump, a non-flow-through fuel cell is simpler, lighter, and more reliable.

The rover that will demonstrate the fuel cell in Glenn’s Simulated Lunar Operations (SLOPE) facility is called SCARAB. It was developed by Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute, Pittsburgh, under a grant from Glenn, and is regularly used for Human Robotic systems project mobility research in SLOPE.

SCARAB

“The demonstration will mark the first time this novel fuel cell technology is tested outside the laboratory setting,” said David Irimies, project manager for the demonstration. “It will provide space exploration vehicles with a unique power generation capability and give researchers a better idea for how new fuel cell technologies such as this one perform in realistic operations.”

Ken Burke, lead engineer at Glenn for the demonstration, said, “This technology was selected by R&D Magazine for a 2011 R&D 100 Award, which recognizes this technology as one of the 100 most technologically significant new products of the year.”

During the event, reporters will have the opportunity to see the rover respond autonomously to commands given to it. They will also be able to talk with researchers involved in the demonstration.

The demonstration is supported by NASA’s Modular Power Systems project under the Advanced Exploration Systems Program and NASA’s Space Power Systems project under the Office of Chief Technologist.

For more information about non-flow-through fuel cells, visit:

https://electrochemistry.grc.nasa.gov/main/current-projects/etdd/space-power-systems-project-regenerative-fuel-cell-technology-development/

February 24, 2012 - 7:23 AM No Comments

To make better fuel cells, study the defects

Schematic and microphoto of a nanorod

Provided/Chen Lab

When Amplex Red connects with a gold catalyst the structure is changed to make a fluorescent molecule that immediately emits a flash of light, showing where the catalytic event took place. Right, electron microphoto of a single gold nanorod, encased in a poirus silica shell. The shell keeps rods from clumping together and allows experimenters to use heat to clean away a coating that forms when the rods are created.

Engineers trying to improve fuel-cell catalysts may be looking in the wrong place, according to new research at Cornell.

By Bill Steele

Engineers trying to improve fuel-cell catalysts may be looking in the wrong place, according to new research at Cornell.

There is growing interest in forming the catalysts that break down fuel to generate electricity into nanoparticles. Nanoparticles provide a larger surface area to speed reactions, and in some cases, materials that are not catalytic in bulk become so at the nanoscale.

These nanoparticles, typically just a few tens of nanometers (nm) wide, are not neat little spheres, but rather jagged chunks, like microscale gravel, and researchers have found that they can correlate catalytic activity with information about the number and type of their surface facets. But they may be looking at the forest and ignoring the trees.

“People measure the activity of a sample and then try to understand by using facet information,” said Peng Chen, associate professor of chemistry and chemical biology. “The message we want to deliver is that surface defects [on the facets] dominate the catalysis.”

Chen’s research is reported Feb. 19 in the online edition of the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

Instead of particles, Chen’s research group studied catalytic events on gold “nanorods” up to 700 nm long, effectively letting them see how activity varies over a single facet. Gold acts as a catalyst to convert a chemical called Amplex Red into resorufin, which is fluorescent.

Each time a catalytic event occurs, the newly created molecule of resorufin emits a flash of light that is detected by a digital camera looking through a microscope. A flash typically appears as several pixels, and additional computer processing averages their brightness to pinpoint the actual event to within a few nanometers. The researchers call the technique “super-resolution microscopy.” After flooding a field of nanorods with a solution of Amplex Red, they made a “movie” with one frame every 25 milliseconds.

The researchers found more catalytic events near the middle of a rod, tapering off toward the ends and a jump back up at the ends. They also found variation in the amount of activity from one rod to another, even though all the rods have the same types of facets.

To explain the results, they proposed that activity is higher in areas where there are more surface defects. The nanorods are made by growing gold crystals from a small “seed” crystal, growing outward from the center to the ends, Chen explained, and more defects form at the beginning of the process.

“Knowledge of the surface facets … is insufficient to predict reactivity,” the researchers said in their paper. “Surface defects … can also play a dominant role.”

The findings with a gold catalyst and fluorescent molecules should be equally applicable to other catalysts, including those used in fuel cells and for pollution remediation, Chen said.

The research was supported in part by the Army Research Office, the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Part of the work was carried out at the Cornell Center for Materials Research and the Cornell Nanoscale Science and Technology Facility, both supported by NSF.

February 24, 2012 - 6:30 AM No Comments

Appalachian Energy Center to co-host hydrogen railway conference in United Kingdom

BOONE – The increasing price of diesel fuel, the need to reduce carbon emissions, and the high cost for railway electrification require alternatives to diesel and electric trains. The long-term solution to these challenges is the development of hydrogen-based propulsion system for railways.

In partnership with Appalachian State University’s Energy Center, the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Railway Research and Education will host the 7th International Hydrail Conference July 3-4 in Birmingham, U.K. The event is dedicated to facilitating the transition to hydrogen-powered railways.

The Birmingham, U.K., conference will focus on the current status of projects around the world; technology innovations; and environmental, climate, and economic drivers of the transition to a hydrogen-powered railway. More information about hydrail technology and the upcoming conference is available at www.hydrail.org.

The International Hydrail Conference is a global effort to expedite development and deployment of the next generation of hydrogen-fueled train propulsion technology.

“Hydrail” is the generic term of art coined in 2004 for reference to all hydrogen-based rail propulsion technology. Hydrail technology eliminates transportation emissions created by burning fossil fuels offering significantly reducing climate change risks associated with greenhouse gas emissions. This hydrogen transportation technology also allows the benefits of electrified trains to be realized without the high infrastructure costs or visual impacts commonly associated with this modern form of mass transit.

Two centuries after the locomotive was introduced, the first hydrogen-powered locomotive was built for use at an underground mine in Canada in 2002. Since then, the first full-size hydrogen-powered shunting locomotive, also called a switch engine, has been tested by one of the largest American railroads, BNSF Railway Co., in Los Angeles. Hydrail passenger transportation application have been developed and operated in Taiwan, Japan and Spain. Planning, development and other studies related to hydrail have also been undertaken in China, Denmark, Europe and Asia.

Conference organizers intend for this year’s event to feature the brightest star on the passenger hydrail horizon – Ferrocarriles de Vía Estrecha, or FEVE. This state-owned Spanish railway company named after the narrow-gauge tracks on which it operates, demonstrated a hydrail tram or “hydrolley” in the Principality of Asturias last year and has announced that it will place Europe’s first hydrail train in revenue service this year.

The International Hydrail Conferences series is the world’s only conference focused on the use of hydrogen fuel in railway applications.

“We have taken perhaps the most traditional of mechanical transportation technologies and facilitated a truly global effort to make railways the most advanced of transportation technologies,” said Jason Hoyle, a research analyst with Appalachian’s Energy Center and one of the co-founders of the International Hydrail Conference.

“Since our first event was held in Charlotte, N.C. in 2005, the conference has been held in Europe and Asia, and most recently was co-hosted by the International Centre for Hydrogen Energy Technology, a United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, in Istanbul, Turkey,” he said.

Researchers, businesses, regulators and train enthusiasts typically come from around the globe to attend and present at the conference, including representatives from Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Russia, Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.

February 24, 2012 - 5:37 AM No Comments