NEWS notebooks, would simply carry spare cartridges in their pocket or purse – a practice that has already been approved for commercial aircraft by the various regulatory bodies around the world. The firm’s strategy is to share its MEA, stack and systems reference design technologies under simple licensing arrangements with its customers and partners, supported by the sales of its novel, hydrocarbon-based fuel cell membrane materials. Contact: PolyFuel Inc, Mountain View, California, USA. Tel: +1 650 429 4700, www.polyfuel.com
SFC claims technology breakthroughs
erman-based SFC Smart Fuel Cell reports that it has achieved further significant breakthroughs in its ongoing technology and product development programs, through continued efficiency improvements of major system components. Enhanced, highly efficient EFOY direct methanol fuel cell systems have repeatedly demonstrated an energy density of 1.580 kWh electric per kg of fuel. The company believes that this is the highest energy density achieved so far. The company says that the new technology will offer additional weight savings, cost savings and simplified logistics for its already successful product range of mobile and portable fuel cells. It adds that customers who operate safety-critical remote or defense applications will especially appreciate the significantly reduced detectability of such fuel cells due to even lower infrared and noise signatures. Another significant improvement is successful long-term operation of DMFC systems on undiluted (neat) methanol at ambient temperatures as high as 55°C (131°F). Until recently, state-of-the-art methanol fuel cell systems required dilution of the fuel with approximately 36 wt% of water (‘pre-mix fuel’) for stable operation in desert climates, while ‘reformed methanol’ fuel cells require such pre-mix fuel at all temperatures, according to SFC. Mixing water with the fuel is undesirable because it increases volume, weight and cost of the power source, and also makes the logistics more cumbersome. With SFC’s latest technology breakthrough, the maximum energy density of undiluted fuel can now be obtained even at extreme temperatures, including harsh desert climates. This enhancement is a significant advantage for endusers who require reliable power sources under such conditions, especially in defense applications and remote industrial markets. SFC will introduce the two new technology improvements into all SFC fuel products over 8
Fuel Cells Bulletin
the next 12–18 months, including its EFOY fuel cell family, its EFOY Pro series of fuel cells for remote industrial applications, its innovative portable fuel cell line for defense applications, and its 250 W and Emily vehicle-based fuel cells. Contact: SFC Smart Fuel Cell AG, Brunnthal-Nord, Munich, Germany. Tel: +49 89 673 5920, www.sfc.com
Daimler, UNEP call for FCV infrastructure
t a recent environmental forum staged by Daimler and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Magdeburg, Germany the two host partners called for the establishment of an infrastructure for electric and fuel cell vehicles. The call is linked to extending Daimler’s 2005 memorandum of understanding with UNEP, to reinforce dialogue and the joint commitment for emission-free mobility. ‘As an automotive manufacturer, we see our responsibility in the development of innovative technologies and components for emission-free mobility such as the lithium-ion battery or the fuel cell stack in close cooperation with our suppliers,’ says Dr Thomas Weber, board member of Daimler AG with responsibility for group R&D for Mercedes-Benz Cars. ‘By introducing electric and fuel cell vehicles on the market already in 2010, we are demonstrating our intention to fulfill this responsibility.’ ‘The technology is in the starting blocks,’ adds Dr Dieter Zetsche, chairman of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, in describing the planned market introduction. ‘It is now time for the energy providers and petroleum companies, to show proof of their commitment as well. We have been approaching possible partners and taking the initiative.’
For more on Daimler’s fuel cell program, go to: www.daimler.com/technology
ITM Power launches home hydrogen station
K-based ITM Power has unveiled a hydrogen home refueling station, which it paired at the launch with a gasoline-engined Ford Focus car converted to run on hydrogen. The station aims to help overcome the lack of a hydrogen refueling infrastructure and utility supply network.
The company has been working for eight years to create a low-cost means of manufacturing hydrogen, at its research base in Sheffield. Its patented electrolyzer-based refueling station uses a unique, low-cost polymer which dispenses with the need for expensive platinum, and which can be manufactured at 1% of the cost of traditional membrane materials, according to ITM. Test production of the new station is already under way. The result is a hydrogen production system small enough for home or business use, which can generate the gas from water and off-peak or renewable electricity. The hydrogen can then be used in converted cars or fuel cell vehicles, or to provide domestic or commercial power. ITM has established a showcase ‘hydrogen apartment’ at its Sheffield facility where hydrogen is used for heating, cooking and to operate a fridge, while a hydrogen internal combustion generator provides power for lighting and to operate a television, computer and DVD player. The company is also developing PEM fuel cells for a variety of applications, including unmanned undersea vehicles (UUVs) for the US Navy [FCB, February 2008]. Contact: ITM Power Plc, Saffron Walden, Essex, UK. Tel: +44 1799 542222, www.itm-power.com
Quantum composite H2 storage for Suzuki
alifornia-based Quantum Technologies has designed, developed and shipped a new generation of ultralightweight advanced composite hydrogen storage units for Suzuki Motor Corporation’s fuel cell vehicle program. These unique systems for Suzuki were developed, analyzed and tested to meet Japanese government requirements. The company says that its new generation of Type IV (polymer-lined, all-composite) ultralightweight tank has been successfully tested and validated to operating conditions beyond current industry and government standards. The systems exhibit exceptional fast-fill performance and low permeation levels. Quantum was also able to achieve further reductions in material cost and improvements in both material utilization and manufacturing efficiency compared with previous-generation tanks. The higher fuel density of Quantum’s hydrogen tank systems allows efficient on-board packaging without intrusion into the passenger and cargo areas, without compromising on vehicle range.
Contact: Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide Inc, Irvine, California, USA. Tel: +1 949 399 4500, www.qtww.com