FC on board – MFC & SOFC in maritime applications

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The SOFC system from sunfire©

Fuel cells are considered to be all-round talents. That is why their use in the maritime sector is being continuously tested out. Until now, however, a successful breakthrough is yet to have occurred in this field. Nonetheless, as before, a variety of companies are trying to gain a foothold in this challenging area of potential application

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The optimized use of HT-PEM fuel cells in CHP units

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Reformer, developed by ICI-Caldaie Spa

Intelligent power networks and smart grid systems are demanding increasingly decentralized technologies that combine the storage and conversion of energy. Before this backdrop, in the scope of the EU’s CISTEM project (Construction of Improved HT-PEM MEAs and Stacks for Long Term Stable Modular CHP Units), a combined heat and power technology (CHP) has been developed on the basis of high temperature polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (HT-PEM FCs), which is able to provide an electrical output of up to 100 kWel. In addition to electricity generation, the heat produced by the HT-PEM fuel cell is used locally

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116 radio masts are equipped with FC systems

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BOS in Brandenburg, ©: CPN

The area of USV systems – along with the mobility sector and the supply of domestic energy – offers a wide range of possible applications to fuel cells. Since 2010, the Clean Power Net (CPN) sector network has been focusing on companies which work in the areas of the uninterrupted and off-grid supply of electricity, or Smart Grids. One of the most important projects in this field is the large-scale order to the value of 6.6 m. Euros for equipping more than 100 radio masts in Brandenburg, Germany, with fuel cell systems for the purpose of emergency power supply.

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H2 production under way in Dormagen

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Reformer in Dormagen (Source: Air Liquide)

Over a construction period lasting two years, Air Liquide has constructed a new natural gas reformer in Dormagen. The French gases company has invested approximately 100 million Euros in the facility which is situated at the Chempark industrial park near Leverkusen, Germany, with the goal of producing hydrogen

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Plug Power takes over HyPulsion

The HyPulsion joint venture has now been owned in full by Plug Power since August 2015. As announced by the American (USA) company on July 27th 2015, it has acquired all of the shares in its former partner Axane, a subsidiary of the gases company Air Liquide. The New York-based manufacturer of fuel cells paid US-$ 11.5 m. for 80 % of the shares. In 2012, Plug Power and Axane joined forces to form HyPulsion, primarily with the goal of kick-starting the market for fuel cell forklift trucks. Andy Marsh, managing director of Plug Power, made the following comments: “We are now moving ahead with optimism to extend our presence in the European materials handling market. […] I am pleased that our collaboration with Air Liquide for the further development of the hydrogen sector in Europe is continuing.”

Power-to-gas is now en vogue in Europe

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ITM-system in Ibbenbueren (Source: ITM-Power)

The political statements are now being trotted out on an almost weekly basis. This should come as no surprise, since more power-to-gas projects are now starting than ever before. We repeatedly hear things like “PtG technology has the potential to lead the energy transition to success.” Such statements were to be heard most recently, for example, at the commissioning of the facility in Ibbenbüren and in Mainz, and also at the initialization of the project in Solothurn, Switzerland.

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Development of a European FC Stack at ZSW

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Stack installation in a test stand

The Auto Stack Core (Automotive Fuel Cell Stack Cluster Initiative for Europe II) cooperation project is a merger between 14 European auto manufacturers, suppliers, system integrators and research institutes. Working together, their goal is to develop a fuel cell stack (FC stack) for vehicle applications which satisfies the most advanced international aspirations in terms of performance, performance density, lifespan and effectiveness. On the basis of cooperation between these differing participants, the most optimum possible combination of the existing know-how should be achieved and the critical development interfaces coordinated efficiently.

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Japan is leading in building H2-stations

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(Source: JX Nippon Oil & Energy, Kyodo)

In the good-natured international race to deploy hydrogen fueling stations for fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV), Japan has taken a clear lead, with 74 stations approved to date, a dramatic jump from the 45 stations operating or under construction at the end of 2014. By comparison, California and Germany have about 50 stations in operation or under development.

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A pauper’s oath for the automotive industry

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Toyota Mirai during IAA 2015

Seldom before was it evident just how big the gap between theory and practice can get than it was at the 66th International Motor Show (IAA). Indeed, in the run up to the IAA 2015, the show organizers, the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) had said clearly and repeatedly that electric mobility would be a key topic again at this year’s event. In reality, things were very different, however: neither fuel cells nor battery powered vehicles proved to be a major topic at any of the auto manufacturers. Of those present, only Toyota made a clear focus on hybrid vehicles, presenting the new Mirai

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Plug Power: Home-made price weaknesses?

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Courses of the share prices of four listed companies

It may well be the case that Plug Power has itself triggered the fall in the price of its shares that occurred in recent weeks, as described in detail and substantiated by a report (Seeking Alpha dating from 2.9.2015). In detail: 1. The takeover of HyPulsion, the European joint venture with Air Liquide for US-$ 11.5 m. was settled in shares (6.4 m. units due to the fall in the share price instead of the originally planned 4.8 m. shares), whereby it had already been made clear that the Air Liquide subsidiary, Axane SA, would register these shares and sell them on the stock exchange. Plug would have been better off paying the US-$ 11.5 m.

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