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NEWS 1 kW systems for the German residential market [FCB, May 2007]. The NetGenPlus unit has been installed at the premises of Bruns Heiztechnik. CFCL has already installed one NetGen unit at Bruns and one at EWE as part of the first phase of their three-way agreement to develop m-CHP products for Germany. The CFCL units are being integrated with the partners’ high-efficiency boiler units to create m-CHP products for homes across their markets. This work is being conducted under product development agreements with the appliance partners and utility customers in each market – EWE in Germany, Gaz de France in France, E.On UK in the UK and Nuon in the Netherlands – which together have more than 20m customers across Europe. The NetGenPlus is CFCL’s next-generation m-CHP system, and is designed to generate electricity and provide hot water and central heating for homes and small businesses. It features the firm’s advanced metal-ceramic SOFC stack, and can be easily connected to existing natural gas and electricity networks. The unit was recently awarded CE approval, enabling the units to be deployed throughout Europe [FCB, January 2008]. Contact: Ceramic Fuel Cells Ltd, Noble Park, Victoria, Australia. Tel: +61 3 9554 2300, www.cfcl.com.au Or contact: Ceramic Fuel Cells (Europe) Ltd, Chester, UK. Tel: +44 1244 893781, Email: [email protected]
IdaTech launches 250 W system for industrial, military applications
O
regon-based IdaTech has introduced the iGen™ fuel cell system, a CE-certified 250 W integrated power generation solution for charging batteries in industrial or military applications. Operating on a liquid fuel, the compact new system is the newest addition to IdaTech’s family of reliable PEM fuel cell power products for critical power applications. The iGen system is designed to work with battery packs and renewable energy systems such as solar and wind power, and incorporates IdaTech’s patented fuel processor, purifier and fuel cell stack in a compact, rugged, outdoor package. By operating on HydroPlus, the company’s methanol-water fuel mixture, the iGen system is claimed to provide a dependable and flexible solution for critical power needs. Potential applications include automated battery-charging in signaling, sensing and telemetry, security, and telecoms applications, 4
Fuel Cells Bulletin
including solar PV and wind hybrid configurations. IdaTech’s president/CEO, Hal Koyama, says that the new compact system significantly extends the firm’s product and market capabilities, to address the sub-kW power range. Contact: IdaTech LLC, Bend, Oregon, USA. Tel: +1 541 383 3390, www.idatech.com
Acumentrics SOFC hits efficiency threshold in Japanese tests
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solid oxide fuel cell system developed jointly by US-based Acumentrics and Nippon Steel in Japan has demonstrated a net electrical efficiency of 52% DC (42% AC) in extended operation, and an overall efficiency of 83% in tests conducted as part of the Japanese New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) program. The 8.8 kW system, which uses Acumentrics’ tubular technology, successfully completed 3000 h of operation fueled with natural gas using steam reforming. Steam reforming is considered by many to be superior to the commonly used method of partial oxidation, as it allows the system to achieve higher efficiencies, which is key to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. ‘The achievement of over 50% electrical efficiency in a small-scale system is well above what is achievable by similar-sized diesel generator sets, which typically operate at an efficiency less than 30%,’ comments Dr Norm Bessette, CTO and senior vice-president of Acumentrics. He adds that the 52% net DC efficiency rate could represent a new record for generators smaller than 10 kW. The firm’s subsidiary, Acumentrics Japan, collaborated with Nippon Steel Engineering Co Ltd on the tests. ‘Now that we have demonstrated this efficiency rate in a small system, broader use of SOFC fuel cell units for distributed residential power and heating, and for MW-size commercial and utility applications, has moved within reach,’ continues Bessette. ‘The NEDO tests show the increased efficiency that can be achieved by moving from partial oxidation to steam reforming – from 37% to 52% – and demonstrates that the natural gasto-AC electricity efficiency of 50% long promised by SOFCs is achievable in small-scale sizes.’
Contact: Acumentrics Corporation, Westwood, Massachusetts, USA. Tel: +1 781 461 8251, www.acumentrics.com Or contact: Nippon Steel Engineering Co Ltd, Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan. Tel: +81 3 3275 5111, www.nsc-eng.co.jp
large stationary
FCE sells further 4.8 MW to Korean power firm
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S-based FuelCell Energy has sold another 4.8 MW worth of its Direct FuelCell® power plants to its alliance partner in Korea, POSCO Power. This order brings POSCO Power’s total orders to 12.6 MW since March 2007. The Korean power company is purchasing two DFC3000™ power plants, which will be sold to two independent power purchasers (IPPs), and are slated for delivery and installation in 2009. The units will export power to the local grid, as required under Korea’s incentive program, initiated by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry & Energy (MOCIE) to stimulate the deployment of new and renewable energy sources. ‘FuelCell Energy’s reliable, ultra-clean fuel cells will enable us to make a meaningful reduction in greenhouse gases over time,’ comments Seung-Woo Lee, president/CEO of POSCO Power. ‘We believe that DFC power plants, with their 24/7 operation, near-zero emissions and low carbon output, are an excellent choice for multi-MW, high-efficiency power.’ MOCIE has been a strong proponent of Korean energy independence. In 2006, it modified the renewable energy subsidy program, under which fuel cells powered by biogas and natural gas now receive subsidies in excess of the amounts allocated to wind power, biomass, and hydro, and second only to solar power. For fuel cells running on natural gas, the current subsidy is $0.28/kWh, and $0.23/kWh for those running on biogas. In early 2007 FuelCell Energy established a 10-year manufacturing and distribution agreement with POSCO Power to provide DFC power plants in South Korea [FCB, April 2007]. POSCO has since broken ground on a 100 MW manufacturing facility for building reduced-cost, fuel cell balance-of-plant equipment for FuelCell Energy power plants that it will sell in the Asian market [FCB, December 2007]. Contact: FuelCell Energy Inc, Danbury, Connecticut, USA. Tel: +1 203 825 6000, www.fuelcellenergy.com
portable & micro
MTI Micro, Trident sign joint team agreement
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Y-based MTI MicroFuel Cells, which is developing the Mobion® micro direct methanol fuel cell technology, is
February 2008
NEWS teaming with Trident Systems in Virginia to pursue opportunities to leverage MTI Micro’s consumer market platform into low-power military markets. The teaming opportunities include demonstrations of unattended ground sensor prototypes powered by Mobion, and evaluations and potential submissions of proposals for military programs. Unattended sensors are power-hungry devices often situated in remote strategic locations where changing batteries may not be ideal. MTI Micro will work with Trident, a leader in the development of unattended ground sensors, to determine and evaluate the use and integration of Mobion technology into Trident’s sensors to create a long-lasting, unattended ground sensor product. Mobion-powered sensors could offer the military longer device use time, uninterrupted intelligence data, less dangerous missions, and lower costs as a result of less frequent battery replacements. ‘The small form-factor MTI Micro’s Mobion micro fuel cell, initially designed for handheld consumer devices, is an emerging high-density power supply that can further extend mission time for our unattended ground sensors,’ says Walter Pullar, vice president for Trident’s Networks & Sensors Division. ‘MTI Micro is committed to leveraging its consumer program to a selected number of sensor applications in the military market,’ adds Peng Lim, CEO of MTI. ‘We consider the opportunity to provide next-generation power sources for such applications to be a great fit for our Mobion technology.’ This additional agreement with an OEM for low-power products follows MTI Micro’s continuing collaboration covering cell phone and cell phone accessories with its Korean partner and an agreement with DaeHong, its Korean representative. MTI Micro expects to begin shipping products in the consumer market in 2009. Contact: MTI MicroFuel Cells Inc, Albany, New York, USA. Tel: +1 518 533 2222, www.mtimicrofuelcells.com Or contact: Trident Systems Inc, Fairfax, Virginia, USA. Tel: +1 703 273 1012, www.tridsys.com
PNNL demos portable system using JP-8 fuel
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uel desulfurization and reforming systems developed at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in the US were instrumental in the recent demonstration of an auxiliary power unit operating on JP-8, a fuel commonly used in military operations.
February 2008
Portable fuel cell power units have several advantages over standard diesel generators, but are challenged when used with JP-8 because of its sulfur content. The desulfurization and reforming systems developed at PNNL reduce the sulfur content of JP-8 and generate a hydrogen stream compatible with an integrated fuel cell. Although currently under development for military use, the desulfurization and reforming technologies can be used with different liquid fuels to provide portable power almost anywhere that small size and high performance are important. PNNL’s researchers are also extending the desulfurization technology for use with diesel. The fuel cell-centric APU is modular, and can be reconfigured for a variety of applications. Researchers envision the technology being used to supply auxiliary power and heat for longhaul commercial trucks, which would replace the need to run internal combustion engines while the vehicle is stopped. Last fall Battelle, which operates PNNL for DOE, operated a prototype system demonstrating these technologies during the 2007 Fuel Cell Seminar, using an integrated 5 kW electric power system to power lights and a refrigerator. A unique catalytic hydrodesulfurization process developed by PNNL removes sulfur from the JP-8 fuel using syngas as the co-reactant in place of hydrogen. Gas-phase operation of the process gives a significant increase in throughput, and a reduced operating pressure, compared with conventional technology. The process does not require consumables or periodic regeneration. The system was developed with funding from the US Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) in Michigan. Contact: Dale A. King, Process Science & Engineering Division, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington, USA. Tel: +1 509 376 6282, Email: [email protected], Web: procscieng.pnl.gov
Trulite orders for beta KH4 portable power
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exas-based Trulite has received multiple orders from customers to purchase beta units of the company’s new KH4 portable clean power generator, together with Trulite fuel cartridges. The orders come from companies in industries including telecoms and remote monitoring, portable power generation, emergency response, and off-grid shelters. The firm has also received beta unit orders from two government agencies. The KH4 beta units will be evaluated by customers for use both in backup power
IN BRIEF FCE’s 1.2 MW power plant attains California certifications Connecticut-based FuelCell Energy (www.fce. com) has received three certifications to confirm that its 1.2 MW-scale DFC1500MA™ power plant meets California’s emission regulations, and complies with both requirements for connecting to power grids and national product safety standards. The DFC1500MA system met stringent air quality rules set by the California Air Resources Board (CARB, www.arb.ca.gov); was certified by the Rule 21 Working Group to technical requirements for interconnecting to California’s power grid; and was approved by CSA International for its adherence to the American National Standard for Stationary Fuel Cell Power Systems operating and safety standards. These certifications will simplify the approval process for installing on-site power generation such as Direct FuelCell® power plants. Their comprehensive pre-qualification tests reduce or eliminate the need to obtain certain permits, and confirms the ability to connect safely with the existing power infrastructure. Ceres, BG clean energy award for micro-CHP In the UK, Ceres Power (www.cerespower.com), which is developing intermediate-temperature solid oxide fuel cell technology, and domestic energy supplier British Gas have jointly won the Rushlight Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Award, a major new award for clean energy innovation. The firms won for their collaboration on combined heat and power (micro-CHP) systems for small-scale residential microgeneration. The work, started in August 2005, recently resulted in the demonstration of a wall-mountable micro-CHP unit, integrating the fuel cell and all other components to provide heating, hot water and electricity to a home [FCB, August 2007]. The UK government’s recently published Microgeneration Strategy highlights the potential for microgeneration to provide 30–40% of the UK’s total electricity needs. Fuel cell micro-CHP could significantly reduce residential carbon emissions and energy costs through efficient generation of electricity and heat at the point-of-use in the home. Bharat Petroleum, Nippon Oil in discussions on PEM fuel cell technology India’s state-run Bharat Petroleum Corporation (www.bharatpetroleum.com) is in talks with Nippon Oil Corporation in Japan (www.eneos. co.jp) about a technology-sharing agreement to develop PEM fuel cell technology, according to a report in The Business Standard in New Delhi. Three years ago Nippon Oil unveiled its PEM fuel cell in what it claims is the world’s first residential-use cogeneration system using liquefied petroleum gas [FCB, February 2005].
Fuel Cells Bulletin
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