NEWS The company’s fuel cell solutions are based on a flexible modular design, supporting interchangeable components. Its portfolio of fuel cell solutions is based on its proprietary multi-fuel fuel processing technology, its own fuel cell stack and power module, and fuel cell system integration capabilities. Contact: IdaTech LLC, Bend, Oregon, USA. Tel: +1 541 383 3390, www.idatech.com
EU funding for SOFC research led by VTT
he European Union has awarded a grant of 5.8m to a Finnish-led consortium to develop large solid oxide fuel cell power plants. The total budget of the three-year project, which was launched on 1 January, is 11m. The project, called Towards a Large SOFC Power Plant, is focused on materials, components and systems required for efficient, reliable and cost-effective large-scale SOFC power plants. Systems design, balance-of-plant component engineering (such as heat-exchangers), and the processes and materials required for low-cost stack production are included in the project. The consortium is being coordinated by the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, with eight other participants: Wärtsilä in Finland, UK-based Rolls-Royce Fuel Cell Systems, Topsoe Fuel Cell in Denmark, Forschungszentrum Jülich in Germany, the Dipartimento di Ingegneria Chimica e di Processo of the Università di Genova in Italy, Belgian-based exhaust systems company Bosal Research, Finnish power electronics manufacturer Verteco, and the German ceramic materials developer Inmatec Technologies. Stack production will be critical for successful commercialization of the concept. Therefore, the project is focused among other things on the production of large numbers of stacks for non-pressurized combined heat and power (CHP) units and for pressurized units producing only electric power. The project will also review the issues of grid connection, fuels and environmental impact. SOFC-based power plants are currently under rapid development. First demonstrations can be expected by the end of the decade. The plants will range from 20–50 kW to 250 kW and up to 1 MW, using pressurized and non-pressurized technologies. These units will be suitable both for CHP and power-only in distributed generation applications. The units are expected to be commercialized by about 2015. Their success will be based on the operational benefits of high fuel efficiencies, low emissions, multi-fuel capabilities and utilization of biofuels, including gas from biomass gasification and natural gas.
Contact: Dr Rolf Rosenberg, Chief Research Scientist, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, VTT, Finland. Tel: +358 20 722 6342, Email: [email protected]
EnerFuel wins fuel cell development contract
lorida-based EnerFuel has been awarded a one-year subcontract by R&D company American Science and Technology Corporation (AST) for fuel cell system design work. The work supports AST’s position as a subcontractor to Chicago State University for a prime contract from the Aviation Applied Technology Directorate (AATD) of the US Army to develop lightweight fuel cells for mobile robotics applications. The work provides EnerFuel with the opportunity to expand its efforts in collaboration with other organizations and companies in the fuel cell industry, and under US government contracts, while continuing development of its fuel cell systems for specific applications that may be commercialized in the future. In other news, EnerFuel’s parent company Ener1 Group reports that it has completed a $5.5m private placement transaction to provide further investment capital for its alternative energy investment portfolio. Approximately $4m of the proceeds was invested in Ener1 Inc, which is developing lithium battery technology for hybrid electric vehicles and fuel cells. Under the structure of the private placement, Ener1 Group sold 22m unregistered shares of previously issued and outstanding common stock of Ener1. Contact: EnerFuel Inc, West Palm Beach, Florida, USA. Tel: +1 561 868 6720, www.enerfuel.com Or contact: American Science and Technology Corporation, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Tel: +1 312 433 3800, www.amsnt.com
Hydrogenics, Heliocentris agree distribution deal
anadian fuel cell manufacturer Hydrogenics has entered into a distribution agreement with Germanbased Heliocentris Energiesysteme. Under the agreement Heliocentris, which develops and distributes fuel cell and hydrogen technology to the education, scientific and demonstration markets, will add Hydrogenics’ fuel cell power modules and small-scale PEM electrolyzers to its product mix.
Heliocentris says that through this partnership, it is now equipped to be a systems provider for customers that demand a higher power range of 4–16 kW. ‘The inclusion of Hydrogenics’ modular designed fuel cell power modules in our product portfolio enables us to develop and offer complete systems to our current education customers, as well as to early adopters in industry,’ says Dr Henrik Colell, CEO of Heliocentris. Daryl Wilson, president/CEO of Hydrogenics, comments that this arrangement will provide an interesting revenue-generating niche for the company. ‘At the same time, another important objective for us is to educate and foster a working knowledge of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies worldwide,’ he adds. ‘We can expect such users to take this product in many directions that are not part of our current focus.’ Heliocentris and Angstrom Power in Vancouver, BC recently formed a partnership to develop and market educational products, using the Canadian firm’s micro fuel cell technology. Angstrom supplies stacks and data acquisition technology, while Heliocentris handles educational product design, system integration and global distribution. Contact: Hydrogenics Corporation, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. Tel: +1 905 361 3660, www.hydrogenics.com Or contact: Heliocentris Fuel Cells AG, Berlin, Germany. Tel: +49 30 6392 6325, www.heliocentris.com Or contact: Angstrom Power Inc, North Vancouver, BC, Canada. Tel: +1 604 980 9936, www.angstrompower.com
AFC Energy teams up with Akzo Nobel
K-based AFC Energy has entered into a cooperation agreement with Dutch company Akzo Nobel to generate electricity from hydrogen – produced as a by-product of an electrolysis process – using alkaline fuel cell technology. Akzo Nobel will test AFC Energy’s lowcost fuel cell technology at its Bitterfeld site in Germany, to generate clean energy from the large quantity of hydrogen currently made as a byproduct of chlorine production. The economic feasibility of using larger units to generate hydrogen from an electrolysis process, to then produce electricity and useful heat, will be evaluated. According to Akzo Nobel, the excess hydrogen it currently produces would allow 5–10 MW of ‘clean’ electricity to be generated at the Bitterfeld site, and the AFC business model will offer a capital payback within three years, after which the cost of the electricity would effectively drop to zero. Replaceable electrode technology will also enable the units to be maintained well past their five-year guaranteed operating period.
Fuel Cells Bulletin