Scribner membrane measurement project

Scribner membrane measurement project

NEWS reduction reaction (ORR) catalysis. The ORR activity of each sample was then compared to that of Pt single crystals and Pt–C catalysts. The resea...

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NEWS reduction reaction (ORR) catalysis. The ORR activity of each sample was then compared to that of Pt single crystals and Pt–C catalysts. The researchers identified the Pt–Ni alloy configuration Pt3Ni(111) as displaying the highest ORR activity yet detected on a cathode catalyst – 10 times better than a single crystal surface of pure Pt(111), and 90 times better than Pt–C. In this (111) configuration, the surface skin is a layer of tightly packed Pt atoms that sits on top of a layer made up of equal numbers of Pt and Ni atoms. All of the layers under these top two layers consist of three atoms of Pt for every atom of Ni. The Pt3Ni(111) configuration acts as a buffer against hydroxide and other Pt-binding molecules, blunting their interactions with the cathode surface and allowing far more ORR activity. The reduced Pt-binding also cuts down on the degradation of the cathode surface. The next step, says Stamenkovic, will be to engineer nanoparticle catalysts with electronic and morphological properties that mimic the surfaces of pure single crystals of Pt3Ni(111). Contact: Dr Vojislav R. Stamenkovic, Materials Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California, USA. Tel: +1 510 486 4581, Email: [email protected], Web: Or contact: Dr Nenad M. Markovic, Synchrotron Radiation Studies Group, Materials Science Division, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Illinois, USA. Tel: +1 630 252 5181, Email: [email protected], Web:

Hydrogen energy demo for Scotland


lans for an energy-efficient hydrogen office and demonstration center have been unveiled for an energy park in Scotland. The project will integrate proven renewable energy technologies – solar, wind and geothermal heat pumps – with hydrogen and fuel cell energy storage technologies. The development in Methil, Fife will cost £2.8m (US$5.4m) and is expected to be complete later this year. The office unit and demonstration center, powered by a renewable energy and hydrogen fuel cell system, will help illustrate the role that energy efficiency, renewables and hydrogen can play in protecting the environment and reducing dependence on imported energy. The project, financed by Scottish Enterprise, Alsherra Investments and the European Regional Development Fund from the East of Scotland Programme, will work towards meeting the Scottish Executive’s targets of generating 18% of Scotland’s electricity by renewables by 2010, rising to 40% by 2020. 6

Fuel Cells Bulletin

It is anticipated that the project will result in considerable economic benefits for Scotland’s economy over the next 25 years, potentially creating around 1350 new jobs and up to £81m ($156m) in gross value added through new businesses starting up to further develop, manufacture, assemble, install and maintain office facilities powered by hydrogen and renewable energy. ‘Novel energy systems and the emerging hydrogen and fuel cell sectors offer substantial prospects for Scotland,’ says Joe Noble, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise Fife. ‘Investing in this worldleading demonstration project will mean that we can start to realize some of the benefits that these new industries will bring, not just in commercializing new technology, but in developing knowhow about how to put these complex energy systems together and make them work effectively.’ For more information on the Hydrogen Office, go to:

Scribner membrane measurement project


orth Carolina-based Scribner Associates has been awarded a Phase I Small Business Innovative Research grant by the US Department of Energy for a project covering the research and development of a measurement system that supports fuel cell membrane manufacturing operations. Reducing the cost of membrane materials, in part through improved quality control and quality assurance, is a prerequisite to successful fuel cell commercialization. During Phase I, Scribner will demonstrate the feasibility of measuring key properties – through-thickness conductivity and fuel permeability – on as-manufactured, bare membrane materials. Analytical instrumentation and diagnostic techniques are being developed to enable reliable, accurate and rapid assessment of these key membrane material properties in a high-volume production environment. During Phase II the company will work with industry partners to develop a prototype online measurement system. ‘The cost target for the transportation market is $30/kW by 2015,’ says Scribner’s Kevin Cooper. ‘That is an exceptionally aggressive goal, which requires stringent manufacturing quality control throughout the supply chain, including the heart of a polymer electrolyte fuel cell – the membrane.’ To achieve this price point, mass production will require specialized test tools for lot acceptance, while ensuring the highest possible performance and the lowest number of defects. Contact: Scribner Associates Inc, Southern Pines, North Carolina, USA. Tel: +1 910 695 8884,

HyRadix orders QuestAir hydrogen purifiers


C-based QuestAir Technologies has received a follow-on order from HyRadix in Illinois for ten H-3200 hydrogen purifiers, for use in HyRadix’s Aptus® and Adéo® hydrogen generators. HyRadix will take immediate delivery of the first two H-3200 units, manufactured to CE specifications for the European market. The H-3200 purifies hydrogen-containing gas streams to high-purity hydrogen for use in industrial processes, on-site hydrogen plants and hydrogen fueling stations. The unit’s optimized pressure swing adsorption (PSA) process and proprietary rotary valve technology are claimed to deliver higher efficiency than conventional PSA systems in a more compact, cost-effective package. Since it was launched in 2003, QuestAir has sold more than 40 H-3200 systems to customers in Europe, Japan and North America. Contact: QuestAir Technologies Inc, Burnaby, BC, Canada. Tel: +1 604 454 1134, Or contact: HyRadix Inc, Des Plaines, Illinois, USA. Tel: +1 847 391 1200,

FCE receives orders from European partner


S-based FuelCell Energy has received orders from its European distribution partner, MTU CFC Solutions in Germany, for molten carbonate fuel cell stack components capable of generating a total of 1.5 MWe. FCE will deliver the stack components to MTU CFC in the current fiscal year, fabricating them at its manufacturing facilities in Connecticut. MTU CFC will use the components to construct HotModule fuel cells that it manufactures for the European market. MTU CFC combines FCE’s Direct FuelCell (DFC) stacks with systems and plant designed specifically for the European market. Since 1989, the company has been a co-developer of FCE’s DFC technology, and has installed more than a dozen DFC power plants in Germany. Contact: FuelCell Energy Inc, Danbury, Connecticut, USA. Tel: +1 203 825 6000, Or contact: MTU CFC Solutions GmbH, Ottobrunn, Munich, Germany. Tel: +49 89 607 31500,

March 2007