Ballard secures materials handling contract, backup power order

Ballard secures materials handling contract, backup power order

NEWS fuel cell components, and is currently concluding the selection of final designs and materials with the subcontractors who will produce the compo...

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NEWS fuel cell components, and is currently concluding the selection of final designs and materials with the subcontractors who will produce the components. This effort targets the movement of fuel cell component production out of the lab and into a high-volume production environment. Using the newly produced parts, performance tests will be conducted this spring. Another team, comprising Protonex Technology (www.protonex.com) and Parker Energy Systems (www.parker.com), addressed cost-effective manufacturing methods for high-reliability components of PEM fuel cells for portable applications by applying design-for-manufacturability principles. Protonex’s fifth-generation fuel cell stack architecture was optimized, and manufacturability of multiple 300 W stacks was demonstrated using a novel, single-step production process. A significant reduction in part count and cycle time was realized. The NCMS is the largest cross-industry collaborative R&D consortium in North America, and is the only consortial effort in the US devoted exclusively to manufacturing technologies, processes and practices. It has 20 years’ experience in the formation and management of complex, multi-partner collaborative R&D programs, and is backed by corporate members representing virtually every manufacturing sector. Contact: National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. Tel: 1 800 222 6267 (tollfree in US) or +1 734 995 0300, www.ncms.org

IdaTech wins Japanese H2 purification contract

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S-based IdaTech has signed a multi-year contract with partners in Japan to develop a large-scale hydrogen purification system. The project will focus on purifying hydrogen from industrial processes based on IdaTech’s patented HyPurium™ metal membrane. The Japanese project expands on IdaTech’s technology of hydrogen purification for applications in sustainable energy systems. The simplicity of the HyPurium™ membrane and its ability to generate high-purity hydrogen enables its use in a number of new applications. Having a simple, efficient method of extracting pure hydrogen from a variety of fuels directly supports the development of more sustainable, hydrogen-based systems. ‘Our development program with the Japanese demonstrates the versatility of the IdaTech metal membrane,’ says Harol Koyama, the firm’s new president/CEO. ‘The target of this program is to scale up to greater than 10 times the current purification capacity for large-scale uses,

May 2007

extracting pure hydrogen from gas streams that are otherwise very difficult to handle efficiently.’ Harol Koyama was recently appointed as IdaTech’s new president/CEO, following the resignation of Claude Duss, who cited ‘personal and lifestyle reasons’ for his decision to quit. Duss will provide transition support until the end of 2007. Contact: IdaTech LLC, Bend, Oregon, USA. Tel: +1 541 383 3390, www.idatech.com

Ballard secures materials handling contract, backup power order

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anadian-based Ballard Power Systems has been awarded an R&D contract from the US Department of Defense (DoD) for a materials handling equipment application cost reduction and demonstration program. Ballard has also signed a supply agreement with Dantherm Air Handling A/S in Denmark, to supply 300–400 Mark 1020 ACS fuel cells, comprising a mixture of 1 kW and 2 kW units, for integration into Dantherm’s backup power products for European telecoms customers. The purpose of the DoD program is to further develop and demonstrate PEM fuel cell solutions for the materials handling market that can benefit the logistics operations of US armed forces, as well as promote widespread commercialization of PEM fuel cell technology. The effort is part of a broader fuel cell initiative involving the US Army TACOM, the Interagency Technical Support Working Group (TSWG), Kettering University, Macomb Community College, and Selfridge Air National Guard Base. The contract is valued at up to US$5.88m, about half of which will go directly to Ballard. The DoD program has two objectives: • Cost reduction: Ballard will engage in technology and product development activities to further reduce the cost of its Mark 9 SSL™ fuel cell product, which is designed primarily for the materials handling market. • Development and demonstration program: The effort will also support a field trial program to demonstrate and validate the value proposition for fuel cells in a large, high-throughput distribution center environment in Michigan. Cellex Power Products, one of Ballard’s lead customers in this market, will receive approximately half the contract value to implement a 40-unit commercial trial of its fuel cell power units (using Ballard’s Mark 9 SSL™ fuel cell) for class 3 lift truck applications.

IN BRIEF Haldor Topsoe to invest in pilot fuel cell production facility The Danish catalyst company Haldor Topsoe is to invest DKr100 million (US$18 million) on establishing a pilot fuel cell production plant at its headquarters in Lyngby, north of Copenhagen. Following on from the pilot, a full-scale plant is expected to be established by 2010, according to a Fuel Cell Today report. The firm’s subsidiary Topsoe Fuel Cell (www.topsoefuelcell.com) will use the investment to focus on the production of solid oxide fuel cells, with the aid of the Risø National Laboratory. ‘Now we are beginning to move forward,’ comments Claus Olsen, managing director of Topsoe Fuel Cell. ‘If things go according to plan, we expect to achieve revenues of DKr1–2 billion ($180–360m), or perhaps even more, in 2015.’ Earlier this year Topsoe Fuel Cell announced that it was reorganizing its technical activities into stack development, manufacturing, and technology demonstration [FCB, FCB, March 2007]. FCB GSI Creos seeks fuel cell applications for cup-stacked carbon nanotubes In Japan, GSI Creos (www.gsi.co.jp) plans to accelerate its development of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) for fuel cell applications, by focusing on the use of its cup-stacked CNTs (CSCNTs) in membrane-electrode assemblies for PEM fuel cells, according to a report in Japan Chemical Week. The company’s Carbere line comprises cupshaped CNTs stacked without bottoms to control diameter and length, while allowing treatment of the cups’ surfaces. The Carbere CSCNTs also have a highly crystalline structure, for improved conductivity. GSI hopes to position its CSCNTs as an alternative carbon material in PEM fuel cells. The company plans to initially use the CSCNTs as catalyst carriers, because of their high catalytic reaction efficiency. Paper deadlines approaching for two fuel cell conferences this fall The organizers of the 2007 Fuel Cell Seminar, taking place 15–19 October in San Antonio, Texas are inviting prospective authors to submit abstracts by Friday 18 May, via the event website. For more information, go to: www.fuelcellseminar.com Meanwhile, The Knowledge Foundation is organizing its 3rd Annual Conference on Fuel Cells Durability & Performance for 14–16 November in Miami, Florida. There are opportunities to speak, and the deadline for abstract submission is Saturday 5 May. More details are available at: www.knowledgefoundation.com

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NEWS The deal with Dantherm is worth approximately US$1m, and extends to mid-2009. Ballard expects to ship 70–100 Mark 1020 ACS units under this agreement in 2007. ‘We are very excited to have Dantherm as a lead customer for the Mark 1020 ACS in the backup power market,’ comments Noordin Nanji, Ballard’s chief customer officer. ‘The company is a highly respected supplier of complete power supply solutions for fixed and wireless telecommunications mobile networks.’ The Mark 1020 ACS fuel cell provides a number of significant advantages to power subsystem integrators compared with conventional batteries and diesel generators, and enables an extremely compact and cost-effective backup power solution with its air-cooled design. Contact: Ballard Power Systems Inc, Burnaby, BC, Canada. Tel: +1 604 454 0900, www.ballard.com Or contact: Dantherm Air Handling A/S, Skive, Denmark. Tel: +45 9614 3700, www.dantherm-air-handling.com/ Products/Power_Division/Power_backup.aspx

Ceres wins development contract with EDF

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K-based solid oxide fuel cell developer Ceres Power has entered into a program with EDF Energy Networks to design and build innovative power generation appliances to provide backup electricity for the home. This new commercial relationship is part of Ceres’ strategy for providing ‘on-site’ power generation from cylinder gas, and will help create a new range of products in addition to its existing combined heat and power (CHP) initiatives running on the natural gas network. EDF Energy Networks – the UK’s largest electricity distributor, and part of Electricité de France – will be funding the project through Ofgem’s Innovation Funding Incentive mechanism. It will pay more than £600 000 (US$1.2m) to Ceres, representing its 50% share of the £1.2m ($2.4m) costs of the first phase of the program. Ceres will design and build initial prototype products available for evaluation during 2008 and 2009. These products will combine its unique intermediate-temperature SOFC technology with batteries in a hybrid format. Initial users are expected to be vulnerable customers for whom the security of a dependable home power supply in the event of grid interruption is extremely important. The next phase of the agreed program covers the delivery of production-ready units to EDF Energy Networks, and entry into a volume supply contract. 8

Fuel Cells Bulletin

Similar products can be used for related ‘on-site’ applications including uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs), load-shedding solutions, remote power generation and battery-charging. The contract with EDF Energy Networks accelerates the introduction of Ceres products into a variety of sectors and regions, representing a substantial new opportunity for the company. Contact: Ceres Power Ltd, Crawley, UK. Tel: +44 1293 400404, www.cerespower.com

materials, and the chemical engineering aspects of the mechanisms in cathode catalysis,’ explains Willis. ‘Once the right material has been identified, it will be given to Ballard Power Systems for production on a larger scale.’ Contact: Professor Jingguang G. Chen, Center for Catalytic Science & Technology, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware, USA. Tel: +1 302 831 0642, Email: [email protected], www.che.udel.edu/ccst

efc now Baxi Innotech, Delaware team studying reports on field trials tungsten carbide for developer of ThefuelGerman-based cell combined heat and power cathode catalysts

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wo University of Delaware professors are part of a research team that has been awarded a $4.6m research grant by the Department of Energy to find ways in which hydrogen fuel cells can be made less costly and more stable. The researchers will look at the use of materials such as tungsten carbide modified with low concentrations of platinum instead of pure platinum. The team expects to provide a demonstration of a commercially feasible design within four years. Jingguang Chen, professor of chemical engineering and director of the Center for Catalytic Science & Technology, and Brian Willis, assistant professor of chemical engineering, will be working in conjunction with Pacific Northwest National Lab (PNNL), Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL) and Canadian-based Ballard Power Systems. The UD team aims to find less expensive and more stable alternatives to replace pure platinum for cathode catalysts in PEM fuel cells. The proposed research is based primarily on promising results from a decade of UD research on the activity and stability of tungsten carbide, and the use of platinum with tungsten carbide as an electrocatalyst. The UD team will work with PNNL and ORNL researchers on the development of larger scales of the catalytic materials, and Ballard will perform tests for the commercial feasibility of the new catalysts. Based on the promising preliminary results of platinum supported on tungsten carbides, the UD team will make model systems on thin films about 1 cm × 1 cm, put them through an electrochemical fuel cell environment, and then use spectroscopy to measure the electrochemical activity and stability of tungsten carbide and platinum after mimicking the operating conditions of fuel cells, explains Chen. ‘We will be studying the reaction chemistry and synthesis conditions for the tungsten carbide

systems, european fuel cell gmbh, has been renamed Baxi Innotech, reflecting its key position as a subsidiary of the UK-based Baxi Group. Baxi Innotech presented the results of its first successful field tests at the recent ISH international trade fair for construction and energy technologies in Frankfurt. Following on from lab tests and virtual simulations, 15 of the firm’s Beta 1.5 field test units (featuring a 1.5 kW PEM fuel cell and an integrated 15 kW auxiliary boiler) have been deployed under real-life conditions. The first such unit was installed a year ago, and has already seen more than 5000 h of operation. ‘We are still working with field test products,’ says managing director Guido Gummert. ‘The new Beta 1.5 Plus unit looks just the same as its predecessor from the outside. But inside it has been improved and streamlined, with fewer components, most of which have reached a status almost ready for series production, so that they can in future be manufactured in large numbers.’ Baxi, the third-largest manufacturer of domestic heating equipment in Europe, has substantially financed the development of this 25m project at its subsidiary. The Future Investment Programme of the German ministry of economics has contributed around 7m. The fuel cell’s design parameters have been set to cover slightly more than the basic heat requirement, rather than the maximum heat requirement. In this way single-family households can generate around two-thirds of their hot water and heat needs, and as much as threequarters of their own electricity, from CHP. The key to the effectiveness of the complete system is in the integration of the fuel cell, its auxiliary boiler and the heat storage device. The heat storage device removes the interdependency between heat requirement and heat production. With its help the fuel cell can operate comfortably at between 50% and 100% of demand, and excess heat can be stored.

May 2007