Connecticut ponders fuel cells for rail line

Connecticut ponders fuel cells for rail line

NEWS A worldwide leader in turf maintenance equipment and irrigation solutions, Toro will gain valuable field experience in real-world customer applic...

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NEWS A worldwide leader in turf maintenance equipment and irrigation solutions, Toro will gain valuable field experience in real-world customer applications, including operation in various climate conditions and terrain. It is expected the utility vehicles will be used by Niagara Falls State Park and Beaver Island State Park & Golf Course to shuttle workers and grounds equipment, drag infields, haul turf materials, and assist with refuse and snow removal. NYSERDA is responsible for implementation of Executive Order 111 across all state agencies, as well as developing innovative solutions to energy and environmental challenges through R&D, and energy efficiency projects. To meet production and storage needs, fueling stations are being developed using clean energy from the New York Power Authority’s Niagara hydropower project to produce the hydrogen needed to power the utility vehicles. In fall 2004 Canadian-based Hydrogenics supplied a HyPM™ fuel cell power module to Toro for integration into grounds maintenance equipment [FCB, November 2004], which was subsequently compared with an H2e™ power module from Nuvera in Massachusetts [FCB, January 2005]. No supplier has been identified as yet for the fuel cell being used in the New York project.

that of conventional technology, and its quiet operation is particularly advantageous in urban applications. MTU CFC Solutions was jointly managed by MTU Friedrichshafen GmbH (a Tognum subsidiary) and RWE Fuel Cells GmbH from 2003 onwards [FCB, September 2003]. It is based in Ottobrunn, near Munich, currently employs 85 staff, and is one of the world’s leading specialists for high-temperature fuel cells for the environmentally friendly generation of electricity and heat. MTU CFC Solutions has so far installed more than 40 plants worldwide, together with its license partner FuelCell Energy. Just a few weeks ago, MTU CFC Solutions delivered the world’s first large-scale biogas fuel cell plant, generating up to 1.4 million kWh per annum of CO2-neutral electricity in Leonberg, near Stuttgart, using biogas created from fermented organic waste.

Contact: The Toro Company, Bloomington, Minnesota, USA. Tel: +1 952 888 8801,


CFC Solutions changes name as separate brand


erman-based MTU CFC Solutions GmbH has changed its name to CFC Solutions GmbH. The name change follows the acquisition of RWE Fuel Cells’ 18.1% minority share by Tognum GmbH on 1 January, ending the previous joint venture between the two companies. CFC Solutions will continue to focus on the further development of its HotModule molten carbonate fuel cell technology for power and heat cogeneration. The HotModule gets its name from the compact arrangement of all the hot components in a cylindrical vessel containing the equipment’s core: the fuel cell stack, which is supplied by US-based FuelCell Energy. A key feature of the HotModule is the horizontal layout of the stack, which allows an extension of the stack without height limits. In a typical application, the HotModule fuel cell generates 245 kW of electricity and 180 kW of heat (cogeneration). Its high electrical efficiency of nearly 50% is far better than


Fuel Cells Bulletin

Contact: CFC Solutions GmbH, Ottobrunn, Germany. Tel: +49 89 607 31500,

Connecticut ponders fuel cells for rail line he Connecticut Department of Transportation is studying how fuel cell technology could be used to power trains and stations on Metro-North Railroad’s New Haven Line. According to a report in The Stamford Advocate, the DOT wants to determine whether a fuel cell power station could replace some of the electric substations now used, taking the strain off Fairfield County’s power grid. ‘We already know that fuel cells can generate power,’ says Rick Strauss, executive director of the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering, the group conducting the study. ‘What we need to figure out is if it makes sense for the state.’ The study team will include representatives of Metro-North Railroad, Connecticut Light & Power and Georgia-based LoganEnergy, which has designed and installed fuel cell power systems in other parts of the country [FCB, December 2005]. For the New Haven Line, the state will study using natural gas to power the fuel cell. The state spent about $50m to power the New Haven Line in 2004, according to the DOT’s most recent data. The rail system is reportedly one of Connecticut Light & Power’s biggest customers.

If it goes ahead, the New Haven Line would become the second transportation system in Connecticut to use the technology. Last year, CTTransit secured $2.4m in federal funds to develop the Northeast’s first hydrogen fuel cell bus for the Hartford division [FCB, December 2006]. CTTransit will unveil the bus in April, according to Stephen Warren, assistant general manager for maintenance services for the stateoperated bus company. Employees and mechanics are being trained to use the bus, which will be stored and recharged at UTC Power in South Windsor, which manufactures fuel cell modules for cars and buses. Rail advocates said bringing the technology to the New Haven Line could be worthwhile. ‘Anything we can do to take the burden off the grid might be an important service,’ comments Jim Cameron, chairman of the Connecticut Rail Commuter Council. He adds that using fuel cell power could improve the service, because trains may not have to reduce voltage during high demand on the grid. Contact: Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering, Hartford, Connecticut, USA. Tel: +1 860 527 2161,

Acta demos ammonia catalyst for automotive fuel cells


talian-based catalyst developer Acta demonstrated its new catalyst for hydrogen generation at the recent Fuel Cell Expo 2007 in Tokyo. The company has developed a catalyst that releases hydrogen from ammonia (NH3). Ammonia is one of the most practical hydrogen carriers available, and is already one of the world’s most widely used and transported chemicals. It is much easier and safer to handle than pure hydrogen, and contains no carbon. Acta’s breakthrough means that a fuel cell car could store ammonia on board. Its ammonia electrolyzer catalyst would break down the ammonia into nitrogen and hydrogen. The hydrogen would feed the fuel cell, generating electricity to power both the car and the electrolyzer. This is possible because Acta’s electrolyzer uses less power than is generated by the fuel cell, unlike a water electrolyzer that uses more power than is generated. The catalyst aroused significant interest at the FC Expo from global automotive companies as well as from other hydrogen users, says

April 2007