Contact: Hydrogenics Corporation, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. Tel: +1 905 361 3660, www.hydrogenics.com
3D electrodes porous enough for nano fuel cells. ‘The trick we used was to adapt our technique for making copper-platinum [alloy] nanowires,’ says Lux, who worked with University of Puerto Rico doctoral candidate Karien Rodriguez. ‘By removing the copper atoms from the alloy we basically destroy the nanowire, but what’s left behind is a highly porous 3D electrode.’ They found the best way to make the electrodes is to soak Cu-Pt alloy nanowires in nitric acid, removing their copper. Later, they found they could create nano fuel cells by merely laying them out lithographically so their anode and cathode electrodes protruded from the same side, with a liquid electrolyte reservoir that bent to chemically connect them. Lux aims to replace the liquid electrolyte with a solid oxide, enabling future remote sensor chips to potentially integrate all the components for arrays of on-chip fuel cells. The cell array has two arrays of electrodes – one for the anodes, one for the cathodes – with an electrolyte sandwiched in between. The anodes share the same fuel reservoir and the cathodes share the same air reservoir, but the two reservoirs are separated. In this way the nano fuel cells share common reservoirs of hydrogen and oxygen, while eliminating the bulky manifolds that PEM fuel cells conventionally need to supply fuel and remove waste. The nano fuel cells can also be easily wired in series or in parallel. The resulting cylindrical nano fuel cells measured only 200 nm in diameter. In the demonstration, Lux and Rodriguez stacked 109 of these cells next to one another to achieve a power density of 1 mW/cm2 – well below the 500 mW/cm2 of a conventional PEM fuel cell, but in a much smaller and longer-lived device.
Nano fuel cells could provide remote power
Contact: Kenneth W. Lux, Materials Sciences, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California, USA. Tel: +1 510 486 5304, Email: [email protected]
Hydrogenics backup power for telecoms site
n Ontario, Hydrogenics has delivered and commissioned a hydrogen fuel cell backup power generator at a Bell Canada telecoms site in Burlington. The backup power generator, developed in collaboration with Emerson Network Power, uses Hydrogenics’ 8 kWe HyPM® XR PEM fuel cell power module. This project, part of Toronto’s Hydrogen Village initiative [FCB, October 2004], was made possible through an investment from the Canadian federal government’s Hydrogen Early Adopters (h2EA) program. Hydrogenics has also been contracted to supply a similar DC backup power system to a leading (but unnamed) US telecoms carrier for a pilot project. This telecom unit is scheduled for delivery in the spring. Meanwhile, Hydrogenics has appointed John Werderman as VP of business development, to lead market development and sales efforts for the Power Systems business unit. This unit is currently developing products and markets for fuel cell applications that include AC and DC backup power, materials handling and auxiliary power. Werderman was previously president/ CEO of ReliOn, a fuel cell developer based in Spokane, Washington, which is also doing good business in marketing emergency and backup power solutions to the telecoms industry.
researcher now with Lawrence Berkeley National Lab in California has demonstrated a fuel cell measuring just 200 nm across that potentially can be integrated on-chip to supply power from a hydrogen reservoir, according to an EETimes.com report. Future applications could combine thousands of these nano fuel cells to provide mW of power from an external reservoir of hydrogen, potentially powering remote sensors for decades. In work to make metallic nanowires conducted while at the University of WisconsinMadison, Kenneth Lux hit on a way to build
Ballard reduces losses, increases sales
anadian-based Ballard Power Systems has reported a significantly improved net loss of $87.0 million (all amounts in US dollars) for the year to 31 December 2005, compared with the previous year’s net loss of $175.4m. The company’s operating cash consumption was $83.3m, including operating cash consumption of Ballard Power Systems AG; excluding BPSAG,
IN BRIEF BC optimistic of seeing fuel cell buses in time for 2010 Winter Olympics In Canada, BC Transit officials are apparently still optimistic that the province will be the site of the world’s largest hydrogen fuel cell bus pilot project in 2008, and that Whistler will become the northern terminus of the so-called ‘Hydrogen Highway’ in time to showcase the technology during the 2010 Winter Olympics [FCB, June 2004]. According to a Whistler Question report, BC Transit’s Steve New believes the project to bring 20 fuel cell buses to Whistler, Victoria and other communities in BC has the support of both the federal and provincial governments, in spite of the recent election of a new Conservative government in Ottawa. He says that BC Premier Gordon Campbell recently reiterated his government’s support for the seven-year, C$89 million (US$76m) bus project, which was spearheaded by Industry Canada under the old Liberal government. ‘This remains a high priority at Industry Canada,’ says New. ‘The signs are still positive – it’s still early to say that with much confidence, but the signs are positive.’ The fueling facility in Whistler would be among the first hydrogen fueling sites along the Hydrogen Highway, which would stretch south from Whistler, perhaps as far as California. While other countries have showcased fuel cell buses, these have typically featured two or three buses per location, notes New. ‘This project really moves fuel cell technology into operational mode in terms of infrastructure, which right now is limited,’ he adds. Plug Power announces year-end results NY-based Plug Power has reported a slightly increased net loss of US$51.7 million for the year to 31 December 2005, compared to $46.7m for 2004. The 2005 net loss includes a non-cash expense of $4.0m to write off the company’s investment in an affiliate, GE Fuel Cell Systems. Total revenue for the year was $13.5m, against $16.1m in 2004; deferred revenue was $3.1million at year-end. Net cash used in operating activities for 2005 was $39.9m, compared to $33.9m during 2004. During 2005 the company tripled the number of orders received for its GenCore® backup power product family to more than 300, and reduced the GenCore direct material cost by more than 25% from 2004 levels. The company also began field-testing its next generation continuous-run fuel cell system at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia, and secured and executed against contracts with Honda R&D for Phase III of the Home Energy Station and more general research.
Fuel Cells Bulletin