Fuel Cell Technologies Office Newsletter: February 2012

The February 2012 issue of the Fuel Cell Technologies Office newsletter includes stories in these categories:

In the News

Hawaii Announces the Deployment of 16 GM Equinox FCEVs

On Wednesday, February 22, Senator Inouye of Hawaii announced the demonstration of 16 GM Equinox fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) at Fort Shafter in Oahu, Hawaii. Data collected from the FCEVs will be used for early market evaluation. On December 8, 2010, ten companies, as well as agencies and universities, joined an initiative between The Gas Company (TGC) and General Motors to enable hydrogen infrastructure and the use of FCEVs in Hawaii by 2015. This deployment project was a collaboration of initiative supporters including the DOE, DOD, NREL, the University of Hawaii, and the University of California at Irvine.

Element One, Inc. Named Runner-Up in DOE's "America's Next Top Energy Innovator" Competition

This month, Element One, Inc. of Boulder, Colorado, finished as a runner-up in the Department's "America's Next Top Energy Innovator" competition. Element One developed a unique hydrogen leak detection technology that can indicate the presence of hydrogen down to concentrations as low as 0.04%, or 1/100 of the lower flammability limit. The technology is based on thin films and coatings of transitional metal oxides, which change color and can be used as the sensing element for very low cost detectors that can be incorporated into wireless networks. The color changing coatings visually indicate the presence of a hydrogen leak and may be used as aerosol spray, marking pens, or inks. The company's technology has been tested at NASA and, more recently, Element One has initiated field testing of its coatings at several industrial sites under contract to Sandia National Labs with funding from the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

Coca-Cola Continues to Convert Fleet to Fuel Cell-Powered Forklifts

Coca-Cola unveiled a fleet of 37 fuel cell forklifts and 19 fuel cell pallet jacks at its San Leandro bottling plant at a green ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, February 10. Plug Power supplied the GenDrive fuel cells, which are designed as drop-in replacements for the lead-acid batteries used in electric lift trucks. With this conversion, Coca-Cola will be able to eliminate their battery room and open up the valuable floor space for storing and moving product. According to Coca-Cola, fuel cells increase productivity by 15% on average and lower operational costs by up to 30%.

Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technical Advisory Committee Meeting

The winter Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technical Advisory Committee (HTAC) meeting was held via webinar on Thursday, February 9. HTAC's 2011 Annual Report to the Secretary of Energy is expected to be delivered this spring. The next HTAC meeting is scheduled for May 9–10, 2012. HTAC was established under Section 807 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to provide technical and programmatic advice to the Energy Secretary on DOE's hydrogen research, development, and demonstration efforts.

DOE's LBNL to Hold Flow Cells Workshop March 7–8

DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will hold a Flow Cells for Energy Storage Workshop on March 7–8, 2012, at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington, D.C. Flow cells combine the unique advantages of batteries and fuel cells and can offer benefits for multiple energy storage applications. The purpose of the workshop is to understand the applied research and development (R&D) needs and the challenges for the use of flow cells as energy storage devices. The workshop will begin with a series of speaker presentations discussing past and current R&D. Two separate breakout sessions will then be held to discuss flow cell phenomena and components.

Fuel Cell Technologies Fellowship Opportunities Available

EERE is seeking applicants for a Fellowship Program in multiple areas within EERE, including the Fuel Cell Technologies Office. One position is available in the Fuel Cell Technologies Office in the area of Systems Analysis. Application forms are now available and are due May 1, 2012. Applicants must have U.S. citizenship or Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status by September 30, 2012.

Request for Information About Commercial Readiness of Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies

The Fuel Cell Technologies Office has issued a Request for Information (RFI) seeking feedback from stakeholders regarding the commercial readiness of fuel cell and hydrogen technologies. DOE is asking for industry information about transportation electrification using fuel cells, specifically on-board refrigeration auxiliary power for heavy duty road vehicles, fuel cell rechargers for battery electric vehicles used for transporting cargo or passengers, and technology deployment opportunities for other on- or off-road transportation markets. For details see the RFI announcement. All responses must be provided no later than 11:59 p.m. EST on March 2, 2012.

Funding Opportunities

Department of Energy Announces up to $6 Million to Collect Performance Data on FCEVs

As part of President Obama's all-of-the-above energy strategy to reduce America's reliance on foreign oil, the Energy Department on March 1 announced up to $6 million available this year to collect and analyze valuable performance and durability data for light-duty FCEVs. The projects selected for funding will collect data from next-generation FCEVs as they are operated in real-world conditions to identify ways to lower costs and improve fuel cell durability and overall vehicle performance. Upcoming FOAs will be posted to the FCT financial opportunities website.

Recent Blogs

Leaders of the Fuel Cell Pack

The Energy Department's "Business Case for Fuel Cells 2011" report illustrates how top American companies are using fuel cells in their business operations to advance their sustainability goals, save millions of dollars in electricity costs, and reduce carbon emissions by hundreds of thousands of metric tons per year. Read a recent posting on Energy.gov about the "Leaders of the Fuel Cell Pack."

Webinars and Workshops

Upcoming Webinar: Federal Facilities Guide to Fuel Cells

The Fuel Cell Technologies Office announces the completion of "Procuring Fuel Cells for Stationary Power: A Guide for Federal Facility Decision Makers." This guide offers step-by-step guidance on implementing a fuel cell stationary power project. The announcement will be marked by a webinar summarizing the guide.

Webinar February 14: 2013 Budget Briefing for Stakeholders

Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the FY13 Budget Request on Monday, February 13. Fuel Cell Technologies Office Manager Sunita Satyapal provided a hydrogen and fuel cells stakeholder briefing on Tuesday, February 14, that was hosted by the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association.

Webinar February 6: Learning Demonstration Project Updates

On Monday, February 6, the Fuel Cell Technologies Office and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory hosted a webinar titled "National Hydrogen Learning Demonstration Status." During the webinar, NREL researchers reported on progress the lab has made in deploying fuel cell electric vehicles and hydrogen fueling stations through DOE's National Hydrogen Learning Demonstration. Participants were also updated on the metrics used by DOE and industry to evaluate the performance of fuel cell electric vehicles and fueling infrastructure in terms of fuel economy, fuel cell durability, refueling time, and fueling station use. A recording of the webinar and the slides are available.

Events Calendar

Check out our events calendar to see an up to the minute listing of our upcoming events.

Studies, Reports, and Publications

Visit our website to access technical information about hydrogen and fuel cells. This information is provided in documents such as technical and project reports, conference proceedings and journal articles, technical presentations, and links to other websites.

Manufacturing Workshop Proceedings Posted

Proceedings from the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Manufacturing R&D Workshop are now available. The workshop was hosted by NREL August 11–12, 2011, in Washington, D.C., following the ASME 2011 Energy Sustainability and Fuel Cell Conference. The goal of the workshop was to bring together key industry, university, and government representatives to discuss the critical issues facing aspects of manufacturing of hydrogen and fuel cell products, including hydrogen production and delivery, hydrogen storage, and fuel cell components and systems.

Federal Facilities Guide to Fuel Cells

Read Procuring Fuel Cells for Stationary Power: A Guide for Federal Facility Decision Makers for step-by-step guidance on implementing a fuel cell stationary power project. Attend the upcoming webinar for additional information.

DOD's Manufacturing Fuel Cell Manhattan Project Report Released

The Office of Naval Research recently completed the Manufacturing Fuel Cell Manhattan Project. Utilizing experts from industry, government, and academia, the Navy Manufacturing Technology Program's Benchmarking Best Practices Center of Excellence, in conjunction with Montana Tech, determined the major fuel cell manufacturing cost drivers, gaps, and best practices. As a result, the subject matter experts produced a roadmap to address the various manufacturing issues that were important for the cost reduction of fuel cells to the Navy, Department of Defense, and commercial interests.

Natural Gas and Hydrogen Infrastructure Opportunities Workshop

Argonne National Laboratory held a Natural Gas and Hydrogen Infrastructure Opportunities Workshop October 18–19, 2011, in Lemont, Illinois. The workshop objectives were to convene industry and other stakeholders to share current status and state-of-the-art technologies for natural gas and hydrogen infrastructure; identify key challenges, both technical and non-technical (i.e., permitting, installation, codes and standards, etc.) preventing or delaying widespread deployment of natural gas and hydrogen infrastructure; identify synergies between natural gas and hydrogen fuels; and identify and prioritize opportunities to address the challenges reported and determine roles and opportunities for both government and industry stakeholders. Workshop proceedings will be posted soon.