NEWS MOBILE APPLICATIONS
Webasto uses SFC unit for motor homes
n Germany, automotive supplier Webasto AG has further enhanced its gas-free motor home concept using an EFOY fuel cell from SFC Smart Fuel Cell. The silent, independent and environmentally friendly fuel cell can be easily integrated even into the smallest motor home, says Webasto, which develops and produces convertible, roof and body systems as well as heating, cooling and ventilation systems for passenger cars and commercial vehicles. Full cell technology complements Webasto’s new DualTop system which, it says, provides a clean break from traditional systems in which most devices on board a motor home are powered by gas. In a gas-free motor home the heating system and the stove are operated on diesel fuel from the vehicle’s tank. The power for the refrigerator’s compressor comes from a service battery, which is continually and automatically recharged by the on-board EFOY direct methanol fuel cell system. Webasto says that its gas-free concept will ensure that motor home owners experience the comfort they expect along with a fully independent, autonomous power supply. This frees them from relying on refill utilities for gas bottles or worrying about reaching a campground with power outlets in time. The EFOY fuel cell is reliable, economical (10 liters of methanol provide up to four weeks of autonomous power) and maintenance-free. In addition, without gas bottles, there is more space inside the motor home, resulting in more spacious vehicle layouts. All Webasto heating systems are designed to be mounted externally, which also saves space. The elimination of the gas bottles saves additional weight, which, in turn, reduces energy costs. The two companies have also signed a distribution partnership – making the EFOY fuel cell available through the Webasto retail network. Distribution has already started in Europe and will be successively rolled out internationally, including the US. ‘A fuel cell using the liquid, easy-to-transport alcohol methanol that can be produced from renewable resources is a consistent step towards a sustainable mobile energy concept,’ comments Dr Joachim Damasky, director of the Global Comfort Solutions business unit of Webasto. ‘And with the distribution of the EFOY fuel cell we are adding another impor-
tant and innovative module to our gas-free concept.’ Contact: Webasto AG, Stockdorf, Germany. Tel: +49 89 857940, www.webasto.com Or contact: SFC Smart Fuel Cell AG, Brunnthal-Nord, Germany. Tel: +49 89 673 5920, www.sfc.com
Exergy fuel cells for recreational vehicles
talian-based Exergy Fuel Cells has entered into a cooperation agreement with French firm Narbonne Accessoires, a leading distributor of accessories for recreational vehicles. Exergy – a subsidiary of Sweden’s Morphic Technology – has signed a letter of intent covering the exclusive distribution of its power systems via Narbonne Accessoires’ network in France and Spain. Following the verification and approval of the products, Narbonne Accessoires will work with Exergy to introduce the latter’s fuel cell systems by fulfilling various marketing activities. These include installing a display in each of its stores to demonstrate the products and its technology, and training sales personnel on the benefits of using fuel cell systems compared with traditional ones. It will also offer fuel cartridges in all stores and promote the Exergy brand in the Narbonne catalog and the French and Spanish press. In addition it will introduce the power systems at major fairs covering recreational vehicles in Europe. ‘This agreement means a real breakthrough for fuel cell power systems for the recreational vehicles market segment,’ says Angelo D’Anzi, managing director of Exergy Fuel Cells. ‘For Exergy it is a major achievement to have been selected by a leading supplier of accessories for recreational vehicles like Narbonne Accessoires.’ Morphic Technologies has been developing energy systems for different purposes based on fuel cell and energy conversion technologies pioneered by its subsidiaries Exergy Fuel Cells, Helbio and Accagen, which were acquired in late 2007 [FCB, February 2008]. Several of these products are now ready for commercialization and volume production. German-based direct methanol fuel cell developer SFC Smart Fuel Cell has pioneered the installation of fuel cell systems in recreational vehicles (also known as motor homes). SFC has signed deals with several major European motor home manufacturers, including Burow-Mobil [FCB, October 2008], Rapido SAS [FCB, August 2008], and Dethleffs and Niesmann+Bischoff [FCB, September 2007].
otor homes – or recreational vehicles (RVs), in North America – seem an unlikely early adopter market, on the face of it. I don’t want to offend anyone, but there’s no denying that in the mind of the general public, these behemoths of the open road aren’t normally seen as the cutting edge of white-hot technology. But guess what? This is turning out to be a good little niche for a few enterprising fuel cell companies. SFC Smart Fuel Cell has long been ploughing this furrow, with its EFOY series of direct methanol fuel cell systems. In its 2008 annual report the company said that ‘37 European makers of recreational vehicles offer EFOY fuel cells in their lines of vehicles, either as standard or optional equipment.’ It must be a nice little earner. The global economic downturn will probably cut back the fairly dramatic growth rate of this particular sector, but even if it levels off for a couple of years, it’s still a good little niche. Of course, SFC isn’t alone in identifying RVs as a promising early market for fuel cells. This issue carries an item on Exergy Fuel Cells’ foray into this market, with its hydrogen PEM fuel cell technology. And we recently reported on Protonex showing a 250 W vehicle power system at an RV industry show [FCB, January 2009]. I recall talking to Stephen Voller of the eponymous – and now-defunct – fuel cell integrator, in a vast motor home sitting outside the Grove Fuel Cell Symposium, probably back in 2005. The use of a fuel cell to keep the vehicle’s batteries charged up seemed such an obvious application for a zero-emissions, silent power source… On a similar note, I remember chatting with someone at a Fuel Cell Seminar quite a few years ago, and he was very enthused about the market potential for fuel cell power units in luxury motor yachts. After all, if you can afford a million dollars (or more, often a lot more) for a luxury vessel, a few thousand extra for a fuel cell – with its novelty, as well as its ‘green’ credentials, and hence bragging rights – isn’t going to cause you sleepless nights. Voller Energy ventured into this market – and even sailed in a transatlantic race [FCB, January 2008] – and a few others have tried demonstration units, but this market seems to offer ‘potential’ rather than significant revenue opportunities. Steve Barrett
Fuel Cells Bulletin
NEWS Contact: Exergy Fuel Cells Technology Srl, Cadriano di Granarolo (Bologna), Italy. Tel: +39 051 675 1129, www.exergyfuelcells.com Or contact: Morphic Technologies AB, Karlskoga, Sweden. Tel: +46 586 67390, www.morphic.se
Nuvera, East Penn conclude forklift agreement
assachusetts-based Nuvera Fuel Cells’ joint development agreement with motive power battery maker East Penn Manufacturing in Pennsylvania has come to the end of its planned term. Initiated in November 2004, the firms have worked together to develop hybrid fuel cell/battery systems for Class I and II forklift trucks as an alternative to standard lead-acid batteries. As the joint development phase concludes, Nuvera and its partner have reached a mutual agreement on fuel cell hybrid power products that meets the strategic objectives of both parties, and accelerates the availability of commercial products to the market place. East Penn will continue on its current fuel cell hybrid development path. In parallel, Nuvera will manufacture and market its own brand of fuel cell hybrid products, along with its PowerTap™ onsite hydrogen generator and dispensing system for truck OEMs and end-user customers. In developing the fuel cell hybrid power product, a disciplined product development process was followed, involving extensive customer input and close relationships with suppliers. The placement of units in real-life operation at the East Penn Distribution Center in Topton, Pennsylvania during 2006, was a key component of the process. Feedback given by forklift operators and maintenance staff was invaluable in shaping the product development. As of December 2008, the Topton distribution center logged over 13 000 h on 15 trucks, consuming over 5300 kg of hydrogen with more than 4700 refilling events provided by PowerTap. Nuvera Fuel Cells recently deployed ReadyPower hybrid fuel-cell ‘engine’ units at the Susquehanna Defense Distribution Supply Depot (DDSP) in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania [FCB, February 2009]. Working with East Penn, the PEM fuel cell/battery hybrid units have been installed in 20 Yale forklift trucks as part of a twoyear demonstration project run by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA).
Contact: Nuvera Fuel Cells, Billerica, Massachusetts, USA. Tel: +1 617 245 7500, www.nuvera.com
Fuel Cells Bulletin
ElectroPS unveils Electro3 prototype at GSMA
talian-based Electro Power Systems (ElectroPS), a designer and manufacturer of fuel cell systems for backup power units, used the recent GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain to introduce its Electro3™ prototype cell system. With a power output of 3 kW, Electro3 was designed to meet the express needs of the mobile telecoms sector, and is the result of more than four years of market testing within some of the world’s largest telecoms infrastructures. Based on a proprietary technology platform, Electro3 is the first fuel cell system to replace more than 65 internal parts with a single primary component, according to ElectroPS. This improves reliability and performance, and lowers overall maintenance requirements. The system, which can be mounted in a standard 19-inch rack enclosure, can be deployed within virtually any pre-existing infrastructure. It is fully functional in almost any environment (from –20°C to 45°C) and under any working conditions, including harsh environments. Its modular design and ‘soft-configuration’ capabilities enable it to seamlessly adapt to specific and often unique customer needs. The commercial version will be available in May. ‘Electro3 is highly innovative, even if significantly more simple than any other fuel cell system on the market,’ says Adriano Marconetto, CEO and co-founder of ElectroPS. ‘It is also very robust, and features evolved electronics that make it flexible and enable it to be remotely managed.’ Founded in Turin in 2005, the firm launched its first commercial product, the Electro7™ system, a year later [FCB, February 2007]. The Electro7 is a 7 kW multi-voltage fuel cell system designed for business continuity applications.
Contact: Electro Power Systems SpA, Alpignano (Torino), Italy. Tel: +39 011 978 4511, www.electrops.it
Dantherm backup power for McKesson
antherm Power Inc, the North American subsidiary of Denmark’s Dantherm Power A/S, has delivered a PEM fuel cell backup
power system to McKesson Canada, a provider of logistics services, software applications and automation systems within the local healthcare marketplace. McKesson is one of the largest suppliers of services to the health sector and distributors of pharmaceutical products in the US and Canada. The system will ensure the organization’s data servers and call center, which provide critical service and distribution in Toronto, are continually supplied with power. ‘On its own, this is a small order. However, it is particularly significant for Dantherm Power,’ comments Per Albæk, the firm’s CEO. ‘The fact that we are beginning to supply backup power to indoor IT and data installations, in addition to our already well established outdoor network systems, is an important step as far as our growth and development is concerned.’ ‘The application of fuel cell technology in uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems looks set to be a cost-effective way of providing reliable power for all our needs at McKesson,’ says Dimitris Polygenis, vice president of McKesson Specialty in Canada. ‘The system functions seamlessly with our existing UPS system, which provides constant, stable power, regardless of what happens with the electricity grid. Our customers can be safe in the knowledge that we are always accessible in critical situations.’ The McKesson Canada project is supported by the Ontario Fuel Cell Innovation Program and has approvals from the Technical Standards & Safety Authority (TSSA). In addition to the backup system from Dantherm Power, a hydrogen-generating system manufactured by local Ontario firm, Electric Hydrogen Inc of Burlington, has also been installed [FCB, January 2009]. The McKesson data center project is part of Dantherm Power’s participation in CanDan, the joint Canadian-Danish initiative for hydrogen and fuel cell technology [FCB, June 2008]. Ontario – in conjunction with the Hydrogen Village project [FCB, November 2006] – and British Columbia are the first provinces to benefit from the initiative, with three sites planned or operational. Contact: Dantherm Power Inc, Spartanburg, South Carolina, USA. Tel: +1 864 595 9800. Or contact: Dantherm Power A/S, Hobro, Denmark. Tel: +45 8843 5500, www.dantherm-power.com For more on the CanDan Joint Fuel Cell Initiative, go to: www.candan.dk For more on the Canadian Hydrogen Village project, go to: www.hydrogenvillage.ca