ITM Power, Hardstaff partner on hydrogen CNG for heavy trucks

ITM Power, Hardstaff partner on hydrogen CNG for heavy trucks

NEWS / EDITORIAL 2011, p8]. At the site, Air Products is supplying its hydrogen compression, storage, and dispensing technology to fuel the bus with h...

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NEWS / EDITORIAL 2011, p8]. At the site, Air Products is supplying its hydrogen compression, storage, and dispensing technology to fuel the bus with hydrogen produced from a PEM electrolyser provided by Connecticutbased Proton OnSite. Air Products already provides hydrogen fuelling and infrastructure for several of Michigan’s automakers. The MTA’s hybrid-electric fuel cell bus was constructed by the Belgian bus builder Van Hool, and is powered by a 120 kW PureMotion® PEM fuel cell system supplied by UTC Power in Connecticut. The vehicle will be based at the Grand Blanc Service Center and Alternative Fuel Facility. The fuelling facility – the first of its kind in Michigan – will generate sufficient hydrogen for the fuel cell bus. Modelled on a facility in Toronto, Canada, it will also serve as an educational training ground for Kettering University students and the wider community. The station will also be designed to generate compressed natural gas, which will be used in five CNG vehicles purchased for MTA’s regional transportation. The Grand Blanc service centre garage will be expanded to provide storage for hydrogen and CNG vehicles, and provide a work bay for maintenance. The MTA aims to procure additional hydrogen vehicles shortly, through the issue of a request for proposals to purchase additional hydrogen vehicles within the next year. During the second phase of facility construction, the MTA plans to include an educational research facility and a public fuel station operated by the private sector. This is expected to be ready by autumn 2013. The third phase of construction includes plans to use solar energy to generate the electricity needed to power the Proton OnSite electrolyser. The MTA will build a new alternative fuel maintenance facility, which will include the installation of a stationary fuel cell that will generate electricity for the fuelling facility as well as hot water for use onsite. Flint Mass Transportation Authority: Air Products, Hydrogen Energy: Proton OnSite: UTC Power: Van Hool, fuel cell buses:

Vision receives $27m purchase order for 100 fuel cell Class 8 trucks


n California, Vision Industries Corporation has finalised the

June 2012

purchase order agreement for 100 Tyrano Class 8 trucks with Total Transportation Services Inc (TTS-I), worth $27 million. The heavy-duty fuel cell hybrid electric truck is powered by a battery that is recharged by a 65 kW hydrogen fuel cell. ‘It has been a long road from our letter of intent signed a year ago to the closing of definite agreements,’ says Martin Schuermann, CEO of Vision Industries [FCB, August 2011, p2]. ‘However, it was a very productive process in which we could identify specific needs of the trucking industry, and translate those needs into our technology.’ The purchase agreement also allows TTS-I to purchase an additional 300 Vision trucks, bringing the total value of the contract to approximately $108 million. Vision Industries is developing zeroemission electric/hydrogen hybrid powered vehicles and turnkey hydrogen fuelling systems. The company’s proprietary electric/ hydrogen hybrid drive system combines the superior acceleration of a battery-powered electric vehicle with the extended range provided by a hydrogen fuel cell – up to 200 miles (320 km) with the truck’s standard hydrogen fuel tank configuration. Vision Industries Corporation, Torrance, California, USA. Tel: +1 310 450 0299, Total Transportation Services Inc:

ITM Power, Hardstaff partner on hydrogen CNG for heavy trucks


n the UK, ITM Power has signed a memorandum of understanding with transport technology company The Hardstaff Group, to develop and market a hydrogen compressed natural gas (HCNG) fuel system for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs). Natural gas or biomethane may be combined in various ratios with hydrogen to produce HCNG, which offers significant benefits in the emissions performance and efficiency of internal combustion engines (ICEs). These improvements not only reduce the tailpipe emissions of CO2, NOx, CO and hydrocarbons, but also allow for increased engine speed operation, enabling the downsizing of engines. ITM Power designs and manufactures hydrogen energy systems for energy storage and clean fuel production, based on water electrolysis, for use in ICE and fuel cell



hicken and egg: it is now starting to look as though we’ll be getting both, at more or less the same time. Major automakers are clearly committed to getting viable numbers of fuel cell electric vehicles on the road in selected regions by about 2015. And the hydrogen refuelling infrastructure is making strides towards having enough stations available to give drivers an acceptable range and the confidence to venture further afield. As we report in this issue, both Germany [page 1] and Japan [page 11] have government support for industrial partners to add dozens of hydrogen stations over the next three years. It makes sense for these stations to be established in metropolitan areas, or along corridors joining such areas, since this gives a better volume of use for both stations and vehicles. This has been the case in California for several years, which began with the Greater Los Angeles region and planned subsequent expansion to San Francisco and Sacramento [see the California Fuel Cell Partnership feature in FCB, November 2009]. Other countries and regions are making big efforts to roll out hydrogen refuelling networks. The Nordic region is blazing quite a trail [see pages 2 and 9], and Switzerland has just opened its first hydrogen station, as part of the Clean Hydrogen in European Cities (CHIC) project [see the CHIC feature in FCB, November 2010]. The Swiss station is part of an increasing trend to produce hydrogen using renewable energy sources, as we saw with the solar-powered station at AC Transit’s new facility in Emeryville, California [FCB, May 2012, p13], and the Enertrag wind-hydrogen power plant in Prenzlau, Germany that is providing ‘green’ hydrogen for Total stations in Berlin [FCB, May 2012, p14]. One enterprising team has tested the ability to make a long journey from Norway to Monte Carlo by refuelling at existing hydrogen stations [see page 2] – albeit with a few tense kilometres occasionally as they tried to reach an in-service hydrogen station. Such a trip will be much easier in a couple of years… The feature article in this issue reports on the use of fuel cells for air-independent propulsion in submarines built by the German shipbuilder HowaldtswerkeDeutsche Werft (HDW). These submarines can take advantage of the heavy metal hydride storage containers to increase their stability. HDW is also participating in the SchIBZ project to develop, manufacture, and demonstrate a 500 kW SOFC power generator running on low-sulfur marine diesel in a merchant ship.

Steve Barrett

Fuel Cells Bulletin


NEWS electric vehicles. The Hardstaff Group has expertise in the use of natural gas and biomethane in HGVs, from infrastructure to custom-designed vehicles. ‘Partnering with The Hardstaff Group allows for the staged rollout of hydrogen technology to heavy goods vehicles – a market driven by cost reduction and improvements in efficiency,’ says Dr Graham Cooley, CEO of ITM Power. ‘By providing HCNG solutions for HGVs, ITM Power is able to access a huge market and make significant reductions to the haulage sector’s carbon footprint, and increase operational efficiency.’ ITM Power has developed a flexible hydrogen generation and refuelling platform which offers a sustainable supply of hydrogen for transport vehicles, as well as meeting the challenge of integration with renewable energy [see the feature on ITM Power in FCB, January 2012]. In other news, ITM Power is opening an office within the facilities of Aberdeen City Council in Scotland, to develop a critical mass of opportunities in the country’s rapidly expanding renewable energy industry. ‘The Scottish renewables sector is growing at an astonishing rate, with many opportunities for energy storage and clean transport fuel, and this year’s All-Energy conference has been incredibly successful for ITM Power,’ says CEO Cooley. ‘There are a growing number of opportunities for hydrogen made from renewable energy in Aberdeen, and the city will be a key first-mover in this area of technology,’ adds Yasa Ratnayeke, senior sustainability executive at Aberdeen City Council. ‘The sustainable development team at the Council is dedicated to making Aberdeen the leading force in the achievement of carbon reduction targets in Scotland, and ITM Power can play a major role in achieving those targets.’ ITM Power was recently awarded a grant for a project to investigate the feasibility of injecting hydrogen into the UK gas network [FCB, April 2012, p1], utilising electrolysis powered by excess renewable energy. The company has also linked up with Edinburghbased Logan Energy to jointly tender for hydrogen energy storage projects in Scotland [FCB, February 2012, p8], and signed a deal with the Dutch Fuel Cell Consortium to cooperate on developing hydrogen energy system projects in the Benelux region [FCB, October 2011, p1]. ITM Power Plc, Sheffield, UK. Tel: +44 114 244 5111, The Hardstaff Group:


Fuel Cells Bulletin


SFC’s EFOY fuel cell supplying power in transatlantic yacht race


n EFOY direct methanol fuel cell generator supplied by Germanbased SFC Energy is again playing a key role in a transatlantic yacht race. Andrea Mura is utilising an EFOY Comfort 210 fuel cell to power equipment onboard his Open 50 sailboat, Vento di Sardegna, during the two-handed TwoStar 2012 race. The TwoStar Two Handed Transatlantic race for sailboats from 27 to 60 ft (8 to 18 m) started on 3 June in Plymouth, UK and finishes in Newport, Rhode Island. It will have no stops, which makes reliable onboard power a major challenge. To provide his vital electric and electronic systems onboard with electricity and to save weight, Andrea Mura has installed an EFOY Comfort 210 fuel cell generator. ‘Solar or wind generators are weather-dependent, diesel generators are heavy and require 200 litres fuel for each race,’ says Mura, who won the 2010 Route du Rhum transatlantic yacht race. ‘The EFOY is lightweight and needs only four M10 [10 litre] EFOY cartridges.’ The EFOY Comfort fuel cell is not just the choice of champion sailors, says Dr Peter Podesser, CEO of SFC Energy. ‘More and more hobby sailors, too, are using our lightweight, efficient, silent, environmentally friendly power generator on their boats worldwide.’ The EFOY Comfort series of DMFCs is part of SFC’s portfolio for consumer applications like motor homes, sail boats, and holiday or mountain cabins. The series consists of three models with a charging capacity of 80, 140 or 210 Ah per day for ultimate flexibility in power supplies. In January 2010 a yacht skippered by Tom Sperrey, MD of UK-based UPS Systems, won the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) racing division, using an EFOY 1600 fuel cell from SFC to provide onboard auxiliary power [FCB, February 2010, p5]. The month before, a yacht equipped with an EFOY 2200 fuel cell managed second place overall in the harsh race conditions of the Transat 6.50 solo transatlantic sailboat race [FCB, January 2010, p4]. SFC Energy is a market leader for offgrid and stationary power generation and distribution, with facilities in the Netherlands and Romania, and a sales organisation in the US. The

company has sold nearly 25 000 fuel cells into the global consumer, industry, and defence & security markets. The group also develops, produces, and distributes worldwide its higher level power management components, e.g. converters and switched-mode power supplies. SFC Energy AG, Brunnthal/Munich, Germany. Tel: +49 89 673 5920, or TwoStar Two Handed Transatlantic Race: Vento di Sardegna: (in Italian)

NexTech wins ONR contract to develop UUV energy system


hio-based NexTech Materials has been awarded a contract from the US Office of Naval Research (ONR) for a Future Naval Capability (FNC) project for the design, development, and demonstration of a compact energy system for unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs). In the project, NexTech and its partners will complete a comprehensive design of an energydense power system for a 21 inch (53 cm) diameter UUV. This system will be based on solid oxide fuel cell power generation using liquid hydrocarbon fuel (JP-10) and liquid oxygen reactants. NexTech’s collaborators on the FNC project include Northrop Grumman as the lead in system engineering and future UUV energy system integrator; ATK for the design and manufacture of the cryogenic dewar system; Precision Combustion Inc to develop and manufacture fuel processors and reformers for logistic fuels; and pH Matter LLC to support system design activities. The project provides follow-on funding to three years of previous development work under a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) project (Phases I and 2) funded by the Office of Naval Research. The starting point system design was established during this project, including a CAD model of the system and an analysis of system energy density over a range of conditions. In addition, a breadboard SOFC system was built and tested at the 1 kW scale. For UUV applications, fuel cell based systems offer much higher energy density than can be achieved with batteries, as well as a refuelling capability. The use of SOFCs in conjunction with liquid hydrocarbon fuels offers extremely high electrical efficiency. This reduces the volume and weight of fuel and oxygen that needs to be stored.

June 2012