FuelCellsWorks

Industry News & Information Leader

SFC EFOY ReliOn Hydrogenics Honda Plug Power Toyota BMW

Archives

FuelCell Energy Announces Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Development Updates-$6.4 million contract award for continued sub-megawatt solid oxide fuel cell power plant development

– $6.4 million contract award for continued sub-megawatt solid oxide fuel cell power plant development

– On-site biogas powered solid oxide fuel cell power plant demonstration at a dairy farm

DANBURY, Conn–FuelCell Energy, Inc., a global leader in the design, manufacture, operation and service of ultra-clean, efficient and reliable fuel cell power plants, today announced two updates regarding the development and commercialization of solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology including a $6.4 million cost shared cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to continue research and development on a demonstration sub-megawatt SOFC power plant. Separately, a DOE supported project to convert agricultural waste into renewable power utilizing an SOFC power plant is preparing for operation at a dairy farm in California in conjunction with the project partner TDA Research, Inc.

“We have a multi-faceted strategy for the commercialization of our solid oxide fuel cell technology including future coal syngas opportunities under a U.S. Department of Energy program as well as adjacent market opportunities to our existing markets including sub megawatt commercial building and wastewater treatment plant applications,” said Chip Bottone, President and Chief Executive Officer. “We are evaluating potential partnerships for the commercialization of the technology including discussions with organizations in North America, Asia and Europe.”

“We believe our technology is well suited for the market with industry-leading electrical efficiency of approximately 60 percent plus usable heat for combined heat and power applications, resulting in total estimated thermal efficiency between 80 and 85 percent. The technology is also fuel flexible, with the ability to utilize coal syngas, clean natural gas, on-site renewable biogas or directed biogas,” said Tony Leo, Vice President Application Engineering & Advanced Technology Development, FuelCell Energy, Inc. “We have increased the size and power density of the individual fuel cells, which is critical to high volume manufacturing of an economically competitive product as we enhance the technology and prepare for commercialization.”

“Our customer research on sub-megawatt applications reinforces the value of combined heat and power configurations which use the same unit of fuel to generate both electricity and heat. This supports economics and sustainability initiatives by reducing usage of combustion based boilers and their associated pollutants and greenhouse gases,” continued Mr. Leo.

The objective of the DOE award is the demonstration of a sub-megawatt solid oxide fuel cell power plant configured for combined heat & power (CHP) output and connected to the electric grid at FuelCell Energy’s Danbury, Connecticut facility. SOFC systems operating on coal syngas, natural gas or biogas can generate clean power with virtually zero pollutants and significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, particularly when configured for combined heat and power. The term of the award is 18 months.

Renewable biogas application

A solid oxide fuel cell power plant demonstration is planned for early 2014 at a dairy farm within the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) in California, USA utilizing renewable biogas from the anaerobic digestion process to generate electricity and heat. SMUD will facilitate the installation and operation of the SOFC power system. Many agricultural operations generate more biogas and electrical generation potential than they can use for their daily operations, which is why the ability to interconnect to the electric grid is an important part of understanding the future market potential and ability to support sustainability of farms and agricultural industries.

Fuel cells electrochemically convert a fuel source into electricity and heat in a highly efficient process that emits virtually no pollutants due to the absence of combustion. The Direct FuelCell stationary power plants manufactured by FuelCell Energy utilize carbonate fuel cell technology and provide continuous baseload power that is located where the power is used, including both on-site applications and electric grid support. The combination of near-zero pollutants, modest land-use needs, and quiet operating nature of these stationary fuel cell power plants facilitates locating the power plants in urban locations. The power plants are fuel flexible, capable of operating on natural gas, on-site renewable biogas, or directed biogas.

About FuelCell Energy

Direct FuelCell(R) power plants are generating ultra-clean, efficient and reliable power at more than 50 locations worldwide. With more than 300 megawatts of power generation capacity installed or in backlog, FuelCell Energy is a global leader in providing ultra-clean baseload distributed generation to utilities, industrial operations, universities, municipal water treatment facilities, government installations and other customers around the world. The Company’s power plants have generated more than 1.7 billion kilowatt hours of ultra-clean power using a variety of fuels including renewable biogas from wastewater treatment and food processing, as well as clean natural gas. For more information, please visit www.fuelcellenergy.com

October 9, 2013 - 1:08 PM No Comments

Army lab finding efficient ways to convert JP-8 to hydrogen for fuel cells for portable electric power in the field

Dr. Dat Tran, U.S. Army Research Laboratory electro-chemistry, is focused on extracting sulfur from JP8, or Jet Propellant 8 that is a fuel widely used in the Army. Photo by Joyce P. Brayboy

Dr. Dat Tran, U.S. Army Research Laboratory electro-chemistry, is focused on extracting sulfur from JP8, or Jet Propellant 8 that is a fuel widely used in the Army. Photo by Joyce P. Brayboy

  • Scientists are in the early stages of developing technology for lightweight, portable prototype systems that would convert JP-8 to Hydrogen in the future.
  • U.S. Army Research Laboratory, Communications-Electronics and the Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Centers, all part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command are investigating the fuel reformation problem.
  • The Army challenge is developing a practical fuel reformation process for better energy conversion.
  • What if Soldiers could convert JP-8 to clean hydrogen fuel for fuel cell applications anywhere and anytime they need it?

    A small team of scientists at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory are collaborating with counterparts at the Communications-Electronics and the Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Centers to develop technology for lightweight, portable prototype systems that would convert JP-8 to Hydrogen on the spot.

    “There is a growing demand for portable electrical power for both commercial and military applications,” said Dr. Deryn Chu, fuel cell team leader. “Our challenge is ‘How can we remove the many impurities in JP-8 so it can be effective in a fuel cell?’”

    JP-8 is widely used by the U.S. Army as a fuel for powering aircraft, engines of tactical ground vehicles and electrical generators. It comes with a set of problems like the logistics resupply chain it requires, and the high cost associated with force protection of convoys, he said.

    The Pentagon’s most-used jet fuel costs roughly $15 per gallon, but “. . . the cost multiplies to hundreds of dollars by the time you move it to and around operational locations,” Chu said.

    For the Army “. . . the smallest gain in efficiency is important. But fuel cells when the concept is fully developed may yield huge gains, potentially doubling the efficiency of diesel generators,” he said.

    Dr. Zachary Dunbar, U.S. Army Research Laboratory electro-chemistry, is testing a way to use a rare metallic element, palladium, to purify a mix of reformate gases. Photo by Joyce P. Brayboy

    Dr. Zachary Dunbar, U.S. Army Research Laboratory electro-chemistry, is testing a way to use a rare metallic element, palladium, to purify a mix of reformate gases. Photo by Joyce P. Brayboy

    The chance for a game-changing technology is why fuel reformation is one of three high-risk, high-reward projects that the laboratory is pushing toward in search of operational energy solutions for the battlefield. Smart Battlefield Energy on-Demand and Long-Lived Power were also highlighted in this four-part series.

    Researchers already knew the value of fuel cells for increasing efficiency, as that kind of approach has been explored since the 1960s. They also knew of ways to convert the high-energy density of hydrocarbons into hydrogen for fuel cells like the process that Bloom Energy and others use on the commercial market, said Dr. Zachary Dunbar, a team member who is exploring palladium membrane technology, using a rare metallic element as part of a purification system.

    The challenge is developing a practical fuel reformation process for better energy conversion that would have to be portable, quick and easy to use, he said.

    Last year, ARL’s research reached a milestone when they figured out a way to reduce the production costs associated with fuel reformation by using palladium membranes to purify hyrogen rich reformate, Dunbar said.

    In their work, scientists developed a new supported palladium membrane composite structure for purification technology to produce high-purity hydrogen from a feedstock of hydrocarbon fuel. Before this discovery, designing affordable, leak free, and high-flux membranes was much more difficult, he said.

    “While it is a significant milestone, the research is in its early stages. Fuel reforming is a complex problem that we don’t expect to solve quickly,” Dunbar said.

    The team tests materials that may reduce the sulfur concentration in JP-8. Dr. Dat Tran has tested at least 300 different combinations of materials during the last four years he has been investigating with the team, he said.

    A large palladium membrane, like the one shown here, uses less than $1 worth of palladium metal, due to the ultrathin deposition processes used for its fabrication in the Army Research Laboratory Clean Room. U.S. Army Research Laboratory photo

    A large palladium membrane, like the one shown here, uses less than $1 worth of palladium metal, due to the ultrathin deposition processes used for its fabrication in the Army Research Laboratory Clean Room. U.S. Army Research Laboratory photo

    “JP-8 is a complicated and dirty fuel. The sulfur is a huge problem because it can hurt the fuel cells,” Tran said. “Sulfur has many different compounds that behave differently. The compounds in sulfur make it hard to find an agreeable material.”

    JP-8 is a logictical fuel for the Department of Defense under its one-fuel policy. It is a unique problem for the Army. Industry is focused on natural gas, Chu said.

    The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command’s Communications-Electronics Center (CERDEC), Command, Power and Integration (CP&I) experts are integral to the research because they transition mobile power systems from the lab to the field, said Dr. Terry Dubois, fuel reforming and combustion engineer at CERDEC.

    Everything from man-worn to multikilowatt systems comes through CERDEC, he said.

    CERDEC CP&I enables the quick transition of optimum capabilities to the Warfighter in support of ongoing operations.

    Army units often wind up in places overseas with no infrastructure and limited supplies. We need to explore and develop high-efficient fuel cell systems to reduce logistical supply. Scientists continue to grapple with the question of the best way to rid JP-8 of its organic sulfur compounds after it is in theater, Chu said.

    Fuel Reforming for Better Energy Conversion on the battlefield is the fourth and last article in a series of four stories about the U.S. Army Research Laboratory’s far-reaching concepts for Army operational energy. Scientists and engineers at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory forecast energy solutions into the future with a portfolio of basic and applied science.

    The U.S. Army Research Laboratory is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to develop technology and engineering solutions for America’s Soldiers.

    RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC). AMC is the Army’s premier provider of materiel readiness — technology, acquisition support, materiel development, logistics power projection and sustainment — to the total force, across the spectrum of joint military operations. If a Soldier shoots it, drives it, flies it, wears it, eats it or communicates with it, AMC delivers it.

    October 9, 2013 - 8:31 AM No Comments

    KBSI Develops Graphene-based Catalyst for Hydrogen Production

    Replacement of Platinum Catalyst

    Business Korea–The mass-production of hydrogen will be made possible with the development of a grapheme-based catalyst for hydrogen production that can replace existing platinum catalysts.

    The Korea Basic Science Institute (KBSI) announced on October 8 that a team led by Dr. Lee Jou-hahn from the Division of Materials Science at KBSI developed the world’s first nitrogen-doped monolayer graphene catalyst for hydrogen production in collaboration with a team headed by Professor Nam Ki-tae and Professor Hong Byung-hee at Seoul National University.

    Lee’s team proved the chemical makeup of N-doped graphene structure and the protection role of silicon surface. Based on this verification, Nam and Hong’s team succeeded in realizing efficiency of photo electrochemistry that can replace platinum catalysts for hydrosilation by applying N-doped grapheme to silicon photocathode.

    This study was published online in the September issue of chemical, physical and biotechnological science journal “Energy & Environmental Science.”

    October 9, 2013 - 7:01 AM No Comments

    Motorbike Generates Electricity Using Its Exhaust Gas

    Honda Motor's 248cc motorbike equipped with Atsumitec's

    Honda Motor's 248cc motorbike equipped with Atsumitec's "Exhaust Gas Power Generation System"

    Tetsuo Nozawa, Nikkei Electronics

    Atsumitec Co Ltd showed a motorbike equipped with the “Synergy Cell,” which is made by combining thermoelectric conversion elements and a fuel cell, and the “Exhaust Gas Power Generation System,” which is made by using the Synergy Cell.

    The motorbike was exhibited at Innovation Japan 2013, which took place from Aug 29 to 30, 2013, in Tokyo. It can generate power of up to 200W, improving mileage by 2-3%, Atsumitec said. It was developed with help from a support program of Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST).

    The Synergy Cell consists of an SOFC (solid oxide fuel cell) tube and oxide-based thermoelectric conversion elements. Specifically, the high-temperature parts of n- and p-type thermoelectric conversion elements are attached on the SOFC tube. And the motorbike came with about 300 cells.

    The power generation system

    The power generation system

    Both remaining materials, heat used for power generation

    Atsumitec combined the SOFC and thermoelectric conversion element, considering that they will produce a synergy effect at the time of using exhaust gas. Specifically, the SOFC generates power by using remaining hydrogen and carbon hydride in exhaust gas. Moreover, the temperature of motorbike’s exhaust gas is as high as 650°C, which is within the operating temperature range of SOFC.

    The

    The "Synergy Cell" is made by combining thermoelectric conversion elements and an SOFC.

    On the other hand, the thermoelectric conversion element generates power by using not only the heat of exhaust gas but also the heat generated by the reaction in the SOFC (150°C). Even when exhaust gas is stopped and the SOFC is not functioning, the element generates power by using remaining heat. Therefore, power can be continuously supplied, Atsumitec said.


    October 9, 2013 - 6:16 AM No Comments

    E3 Clean Technologies’ Revolutionary GreenBox™ Technology to Be Utilized by South African Hydrogen Research Center as a Hydrogen Generation Device

    E3 CLEAN TECHNOLOGIES AMMONIA

    ATHENS, Ohio– E3 Clean Technologies Inc. has concluded the sale of an Ammonia GreenBox™ to the Hydrogen South Africa (HySA) Infrastructure Center of Competence (COC) to be used as a hydrogen generation device. Located in Potchesfstroom, South Africa, the newly formed center is part of a national initiative to position South Africa as a key player in the global hydrogen market by delivering “novel technologies for hydrogen production, storage, and distribution infrastructure that meet the set cost targets.”

    E3’s Ammonia GreenBox™ converts ammonia to CO-free hydrogen through a patented electrochemical process. The unit boasts low capital and operating costs compared to other methods of generating hydrogen, along with low electricity usage, a small footprint, and fast installation that requires no additional infrastructure.

    “We believe our Ammonia GreenBox™ is a great fit for HySA both in performance and cost competitiveness,” said Kent Shields, CEO of E3 Clean Technologies. “The GreenBox™ was developed as a way to clean up ammonia contamination in waste water at a fraction of the cost of traditional biological methods while producing hydrogen fuel as a free byproduct. However, we are also seeing applications where hydrogen production is the main goal. The ability of the GreenBox™ to potentially meet the application needs of HySA demonstrates the flexibility of this revolutionary technology.”

    Please visit www.e3cleantechnologies.com to learn more about the Ammonia GreenBox™ and other products based off of E3’s innovative electrochemical platform technology.

    About E3 Clean Technologies:

    E3 Clean Technologies Inc. is an electrochemical technology company focused on providing high-performance solutions to key environmental and measurement challenges.

    Contact:
    Sonita Uijt de Haag
    740-249-1095

    October 9, 2013 - 6:04 AM No Comments

    State approves SW film studio’s plan for fuel cell component

    By Gail Montany Journal Inquirer

    SOUTH WINDSOR — The state has approved a power purchase agreement between Connecticut Studios developers and Connecticut Light & Power Co.

    In an Oct. 3 letter, the state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority approved Connecticut Studio’s $30 million fuel cell electric generation facility, CTS Energy LLC, and the 20-year contract with CL&P.

    Connecticut Studios plans to construct and operate CTS Energy on the grounds of a multimillion-dollar film studio complex yet to be built on John Fitch Boulevard near the Interstate 291 exchange.

    October 9, 2013 - 5:51 AM No Comments