Plug Power backup power for T-Mobile

Plug Power backup power for T-Mobile

NEWS Motor. The hybrid system provides the ship with a non-polluting and virtually silent drive. It uses up to 50 kg of gaseous hydrogen stored in on-...

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NEWS Motor. The hybrid system provides the ship with a non-polluting and virtually silent drive. It uses up to 50 kg of gaseous hydrogen stored in on-board tanks, sufficient to provide fuel for around three days’ use. This marks the first use of fuel cell systems in marine passenger transport, and represents a major milestone for Proton Power Systems. To date, fuel cell systems of equivalent performance level in maritime applications have only been realized for military submarines. The ZemShip project, which began in November 2006, has been coordinated by the city of Hamburg, and has received the support of eight other partners in addition to Proton Motor. The European Union is funding the ship’s line operations on the Alster until 2010. The EU is investing a total of 2.4 million in the project. One of the partners is industrial gases company Linde, which has built a hydrogen fueling station in a side channel of the Alster where the ship can refuel. For fueling, liquid hydrogen stored at –253°C is transformed into hydrogen gas in an evaporator and then compressed to 450 bar (6400 psi) using a two-stage compressor system. The complete fueling station was designed and built by Linde.

Innovation Research program. The blower was used successfully in the test to recycle hightemperature fuel exhaust flows back to the fuel reformer. The proof-of-concept system met the US Navy’s targets for system size, power output and efficiency. SECA fuel cells are well suited to unmanned undersea vehicles because they can operate on logistic fuels (such as jet fuels), tolerate fuel impurities, generate high-quality heat for fuel reforming, and are highly efficient in converting fuel energy into electricity. Their use in unmanned undersea vehicles represents a spin-off application of the technology. Further spin-offs into a variety of other applications and markets are being encouraged because they enable increased manufacturing production volumes and lower costs. SECA was established by DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy in 2000 to research and develop low-cost, modular, fuel-flexible SOFC systems by 2010. In early 2005, the program was accelerated to deliver MW-class SOFC systems in response to emerging national needs for low-cost carbon-capture technologies, more efficient and cost-effective use of fuels abundantly available in the US, and reduced water use by power plants. For more on SECA, go to: www.seca.doe.gov

Contact: Proton Motor Fuel Cell GmbH, Puchheim, Germany. Tel: +49 89 1276 2650, www.proton-motor.de Or contact: Linde Gas Division, Hydrogen Solutions, Pullach, Germany. Tel: +49 89 7446 2351, www.linde. com/hydrogen

Navy tests underline versatility of SECA technologies

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wo technologies developed under the US Department of Energy’s Solid State Energy Conversion Alliance (SECA) program recently passed successful proof-of-concept tests by the US Navy’s Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division located in Newport, Rhode Island. The tests mark a breakthrough for power systems based on solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs), and also reflect the potential of this technology for other spin-off market applications. The proof-of-concept tests incorporated two technologies developed under the SECA program – SOFC stacks manufactured by Flint, Michigan-based Delphi Corporation, and a specialized blower developed for SOFC systems by R&D Dynamics in Bloomfield, Connecticut, under DOE’s Small Business

October 2008

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Plug Power backup power for T-Mobile

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n the US, Plug Power has successfully commissioned for T-Mobile the first backup power fuel cell for a wireless application in Connecticut. The 5 kW GenCore® hydrogen PEM fuel cell was purchased by the national wireless carrier to provide reliable backup power for its cell tower in Storrs. The GenCore installation, located on Connecticut State property at the University of Connecticut campus, was approved by the Connecticut Siting Council (CSC) as a viable source of backup power for the tower. The CSC must approve all applications for tower sites in the state. ‘This installation serves as a milestone for Plug Power, T-Mobile and the state of Connecticut,’ comments Andy Marsh, president/CEO of Plug Power. ‘With the use of Plug Power’s dependable fuel cell, T-Mobile will be able to protect revenue by ensuring uninterrupted service to its subscribers.’ He continues: ‘Plug Power applauds the work done by T-Mobile and the CSC to successfully implement fuel cell technology into their infrastructure – driving further

IN BRIEF Nippon Oil set to mass-produce residential fuel cells In Japan, Nippon Oil Corporation is planning to start mass-production of residential fuel cells during April 2009, manufacturing 10 000 units in fiscal 2010, according to Japanese press reports. To make the fuel cells, the company recently established a subsidiary, Eneos Celltech Company, in partnership with Sanyo Electric. The Japanese oil distributor owns 81% of the operation, which will require an investment of ¥2 billion (US$20m) through fiscal 2009, with total capital expenditures likely to reach ¥10bn ($100m) by fiscal 2015. With high crude oil prices causing sales of petroleum products to slump, the company is positioning fuel cells as the core of its newenergy operations. It is already involved in an experiment with Saibu Gas Energy Co [FCB, April 2008], which aims to prove the practicality of the technology for producing electricity and heat for homes. The fuel cells would currently cost at least ¥2m ($20 000) per household, but Nippon Oil is aiming to reduce the price through mass production to about ¥500 000 ($5000) by fiscal 2015. Nisshinbo reorganizes domestic operation, boosts fuel cell separator production Tokyo-based Nisshinbo Industries is to restructure its domestic manufacturing operations, to boost its energy-related business and reduce textile products output. A Nikkei report reveals that the company is planning to build a new factory in Chiba Prefecture to manufacture fuel cell separators. Scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2010, the factory is expected to cost about ¥3.5 billion (US$35m) and make enough separators for 20 000 residential fuel cells per annum. This is double the annual separator output from the firm’s Miai factory in Aichi Prefecture, whose manufacturing equipment will be transferred to Chiba. The firm recently boosted separator production in Miai by 30% to keep pace with growing demand from fuel cell manufacturers [FCB, August 2008]. At the same time, it plans to reduce textile operations, shifting production of commodity products overseas while manufacturing high-value-added products in Japan. DOE website aids hydrogen site permitting The US Department of Energy has established a new ‘Permitting Hydrogen Facilities’ website that features databases of model codes applicable to the use of fuel cells in telecoms facilities, as well as to hydrogen fueling stations. The website also includes overview information on these increasingly common types of hydrogen facilities and other information useful to local permitting officials, project developers etc. Go to: www.hydrogen.energy.gov/permitting

Fuel Cells Bulletin

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NEWS commercialization within the industry and in the State of Connecticut, which is already a hub for hydrogen technology.’ Contact: Plug Power Inc, Latham, New York, USA. Tel: +1 518 782 7700, www.plugpower.com

Contact: Hydrogenics Corporation, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. Tel: +1 905 361 3660, www.hydrogenics.com Or contact: American Power Conversion Inc, West Kingston, Rhode Island, USA. Tel: 1 800 788 2208 (tollfree in US), www.apc.com

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Mission-critical backup Hydrogenics supplies applications rely on electrolyzer to produce Hydrogenics fuel cells hydrogen for remote merican Power Conversion Inc community in BC

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(APC), part of Schneider Electric, is to launch an extended-run backup power system that is powered by Hydrogenics’ HyPM® XR PEM fuel cell power modules. The Fuel Cell Extended Run (FCXR), developed in collaboration with Hydrogenics, provides uninterruptible backup power for mission-critical applications. It produces highly efficient, emission-free electrical backup power using air and stored hydrogen. In addition to being environmentally friendly, the use of hydrogen fuel cells lowers operating costs, increases reliability, extends run-times and reduces maintenance costs. Compared with lead-acid batteries it offers a lower total cost of ownership for run-time requirements greater than 2 h. In addition it is ideal for customers with space constraints, or for companies that cannot operate a diesel generator because of noise or emissions concerns. APC’s next-generation FCXR product is available in units of 10 kW increments up to 30 kW, and is contained in a single, 19-inch (48 cm) rack. This development follows an existing agreement covering fuel cell power modules that has been in place for two years [FCB, October 2006]. This system includes power electronics, cooling and system controls in a standard APC modular rack mount. The FCXR supports APC’s three-phase Symmetra PX product line for uninterruptible power, and adds a further dimension to APC’s InfraStruXure architecture. ‘APC’s next-generation fuel cell backup product represents one of the first commercial uses of fuel cell technology for data center environments,’ says John DiPippo, senior vice president for APC Data Center Solutions, Software and Services. ‘The next-generation FCXR incorporates key improvements based on the successful commercial trials of our earlier fuel cell system deployed during the past two years. We believe APC’s new fuel cell product provides the right combination of power capacity and innovative hydrogen-based technology to meet market demand.’ 6

Fuel Cells Bulletin

system will require long-term storage – where hydrogen significantly outperforms batteries,’ says Daryl Wilson, president/CEO of Hydrogenics. ‘[Batteries] incur significant energy loss over time, and are relatively expensive options for large-scale energy storage. By comparison, stored hydrogen does not dissipate energy over time, and the cost of storage is relatively low.’ Funding for the project comes from BC Hydro, Sustainable Technology Development Canada and GE Canada. Contact: Hydrogenics Corporation, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. Tel: +1 905 361 3660, www.hydrogenics.com

commercialization

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n Canada, Ontario-based Hydrogenics, a designer and manufacturer of hydrogen electrolyzers and fuel cell systems, has been selected by Powertech Labs, a wholly owned subsidiary of utility company BC Hydro, to provide an electrolyzer for a hydroelectric-hydrogen-diesel system serving Bella Coola, a small, remote community on the central coast of British Columbia. Hydrogenics says that it is aiming to deliver its HySTAT™ on-site electrolyzer to Powertech Labs within nine months. By adding zero-emission hydrogen generation, storage and power generation, Bella Coola is expecting to increase the proportion of electricity derived from its run-of-the-river hydroelectric power-generating system. This increased penetration of renewable resources will reduce the community’s dependence on diesel fuel. Like many communities, Bella Coola is isolated from the main electrical grid. It depends on its run-of-the-river hydroelectric station to generate electricity. Harnessing power in this way is an ideal approach for such communities, but it is limited by a river’s inherent fluctuation. During periods of low river flow, the community is dependent on diesel generators. Introducing hydrogen technologies allows energy to be stored and redeployed to supply a greater percentage of the community’s power requirements. Reducing the dependence on diesel fuel also cuts costs, while providing a clean, environmentally friendly power system. As reported previously [FCB, August 2008], the Danish company Dantherm Power is supplying hydrogen and fuel cell power units to Powertech Labs, for use in a pilot project at Bella Coola. Its power supplies use stored hydrogen to generate electricity during periods when the hydroelectric plant is unable to meet demand. ‘Hydrogen storage is highly scalable, and ideal for storing large amounts of energy for long periods. This is particularly significant at Bella Coola, where the intermittency of the run-of-the-river

Protonex partners with Ensign-Bickford Aerospace & Defense

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n the US, Massachusetts-based fuel cell systems provider Protonex Technology Corporation has received a subcontract worth $301 000 from Ensign-Bickford Aerospace & Defense (EBA&D) in Connecticut, to co-develop an advanced fuel cell power source. The goal of the overall program, awarded to EBA&D by the US Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC), is to develop a high-performance, portable power supply, rated at 100 W, for select military applications. Under the subcontract, Protonex will provide a specially designed fuel cell system that will be combined with a fueling subsystem developed by EBA&D to produce an efficient, reliable, next-generation power source. The subsystem designed by EBA&D will convert ammonia borane, a hydrogen-rich chemical compound, into hydrogen. The Protonex fuel cell system will then convert the hydrogen into electricity, which can be used by soldiers to power a variety of military devices and equipment. The military has selected EBA&D and Protonex to develop this advanced power system to meet the need for a portable power source that can provide long-duration power without increasing soldiers’ logistical burden. Protonex says that it will take advantage of its ongoing work with the US military on highperformance power sources for unmanned aerial vehicles and other portable fuel cell systems to meet the aggressive milestones of this program. ‘EBA&D specifically chose Protonex as a partner for this effort based on the company’s existing military products and our ability to

October 2008