Hydrogen Fuel Project in Hawaii

Hawaii’s race to adopt green-energy automobiles picked up speed yesterday with the announcement of a collaboration between The Gas Co. and General Motors Corp. for vehicles powered by hydrogen.

The companies agreed to work in concert, with The Gas Co. pledging to provide the fueling network for the cars, and GM saying it may send dozens of its hydrogen fuel-cell cars here.

“We’re not doing this to show what the technology can do,” said Charlie Freese, executive director of GM’s global fuel cell activities. GM hopes to start commercial production of hydrogen fuel cell cars in the next five years.

“We want to make it part of growth. We want it to be a beginning.”

The partnership was the latest in a series of Hawaii announcements this year related to the ramping up of vehicles using renewable sources of power.

Hawaii is becoming one of the leaders nationally in alternative fuel vehicles, with Nissan announcing that its much-anticipated electric car, the Leaf, will be sold here starting early next year and South Korean automaker CT&T saying it wants to build a $200 million electric-car assembly plant here.

Hawaii, as the most oil-dependent state in the nation, has announced an ambitious plan to wean itself off of petroleum-based energy, including electrical generation and transportation needs. About one-third of the petroleum consumed here goes to ground transportation, according to the state.

The Gas Co.-GM announcement marks the first significant hydrogen-fuel effort aimed at consumers in the state. GM said Hawaii presents an unusual situation for its hydrogen cars because a network of fueling stations can easily be developed.

There has been a chicken-and-egg dilemma to the advent of hydrogen-powered vehicles, because unlike electric cars that can be plugged in, a network of service stations where people can gas up with hydrogen is needed.

Drivers won’t buy the cars without the fueling stations available and fueling stations won’t be built without the cars being sold.

“The goal here is to provide an attractive place for hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles and other fuel cell technology,” said Jeffrey Kissel, Gas Co. president and chief executive officer.

GM is seeing the collaboration with The Gas Co. as the start of a hydrogen fueling infrastructure that could support tens of thousands of fuel cell vehicles eventually.

For more info click here


New Platinum Could be Cheaper for More Efficient Fuel Cells

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and the University of Houston are talking about a new form of platinum that might be helpful in making cheaper, more efficient fuel cells. This work has been published in the April 25th issue of Nature Chemistry.

The team is trying to modify the platinum’s reactivity. This step will enable the researchers to cut back the quantity of platinum required by 80 percent. They are also quite positive about minimizing the quantity by another 10 percent. This will reduce the overall cost of the fuel cells. Nilsson says, “I think with a factor of ten, we’ll have a home run.”

Fuel cells work much like batteries. An anode gives out electrons and a cathode collects those electrons thus forming a circuit. So what is the difference between a fuel cell and a battery? Fuel cells use hydrogen and oxygen to complete their energy-producing reactions. The by-product is water and heat.

What metal is chosen for cathode is extremely important. Because some of the metals can’t break the oxygen molecule into atoms. And some bind strongly with oxygen so the important reactions don’t take place. Scientists are trying to attain a balance so that the number of oxygen bonds broken is maximized and the oxygen atoms attach feebly to the catalyst. Platinum helps the scientist in attaining that balance. It breaks the oxygen bonds but does not fasten to the free oxygen atoms too powerfully.

Water into Hydrogen Fuel to recycle waste energy.

Materials scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have taken the help of piezoelectric effect to harness random energy available in the atmosphere to turn water into usable hydrogen fuel. It might prove a simple, efficient method to recycle waste energy. The research team is led by Huifang Xu, who is a UW-Madison geologist and crystal specialist. They took nanocrystals of zinc oxide and barium titanate. These two nanocrystals were put in water. When these crystals received ultrasonic vibrations, the nanofibers flexed and catalyzed a chemical reaction. This whole process resulted in splitting the water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen.

“This study provides a simple and cost-effective technology for direct water splitting that may generate hydrogen fuels by scavenging energy wastes such as noise or stray vibrations from the environment,” the authors write in a new paper, published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters. “This new discovery may have potential implications in solving the challenging energy and environmental issues that we are facing today and in the future.”

The researchers, led by UW-Madison geologist and crystal specialist Huifang Xu, grew nanocrystals of two common crystals, zinc oxide and barium titanate, and placed them in water. When pulsed with ultrasonic vibrations, the nanofibers flexed and catalyzed a chemical reaction to split the water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen.

But scientists didn’t utilize this electrical energy straightaway. They use this energy in breaking the chemical bonds in water to split oxygen and hydrogen. Xu explains, “This is a new phenomenon, converting mechanical energy directly to chemical energy.” Xu calls it a piezoelectrochemical (PZEC) effect. Why it seems that scientists are beating around the bush? Because chemical energy of hydrogen fuel is more stable than the electric charge. Storage of hydrogen fuel is easy and would not lose potency over time.

With the right technology, Xu foresees this method to be utilized where small amount of power is needed. Now we can imagine charging a cell phone while taking our morning walk or we can enjoy cool breeze that can power street lights. Xu says, “We have limited areas to collect large energy differences, like a waterfall or a big dam. But we have lots of places with small energies. If we can harvest that energy, it would be tremendous.”

Laser Hydride CD Storage hydrogen!

Did you ever heard about laser hydride compact disc (CD) storage before?.  Me neither, but I found  a company called Plasma Kinetics.

Laser Hydrides are fabricated into compact disks which share similar properties with audio CDs.  They react when exposed to laser light by changes at the molecular level.  These changes allow hydrogen trapped within the disk to be set free.  The hydrogen is then delivered to a fuel cell which powers an electric motor.  The only exhaust is pure water.

Hydrogen is pumped from a nozzle like a conventional gasoline pump.  The hydrogen is ionized by a microwave and pulled into the CDs.  The whole process takes only a few minutes and is equivalent to popping a few bags of popcorn in the microwave.  The hydrogen can be generated with water and electricity from windmills or solar cells.

A laser hydride powered fuel cell car is less expensive to build than one with a  gasoline engine or battery.  Today the cost of hydrogen gas is slightly more than gasoline, but with scaled production, it will soon cost less per fill-up.

The cost to bring the prototype to market requires an investment.  Plasma Kinetics  is seeking partners to assist with completion of a vehicle ready prototype in late 2010.  We may see vehicles on the road as early as 2015.

Plasma Kinetics has come up with a novel way to store hydrogen for cars that can reduce the weight of the storage tanks by as much as 400 lbs as compared to a conventional automobile and 500 lbs as compared to a Tesla Roadster.

The novel approach is to use Laser hydride CD storage. What this means is that a hydrogen car owner will refuel their vehicle at a regular hydrogen fueling station. The compressed hydrogen fuel will flow into the car and microwaves will ionize the H2 onto CD, similar to what we would put into a CD player in which to listen to music.

And much like the process of listening to music, the device would use a laser to release the hydrogen on demand from the magnesium CD as the car needs it for fuel. The CD’s would be stacked in a series and could provide a range of over 300 miles for the average hydrogen fuel cell car.

Plasma Kinetics is currently displaying their laser hydride H2 storage device at the U. S. Department of Energy’s Arpa-e Summit, which was developed to showcase leading edge and breakthrough clean energy technology. Plasma Kinetics is currently looking for investors to bring their product to the next level of development.

For investment and info click here

Japan’s fuel cell market estimated to expand 99 times by 2025

A research firm has estimated Japan’s market for fuel cells will expand 99-fold from fiscal 2009 to 1.61 trillion yen in fiscal 2025 due to uptake of the technology for housing and vehicles. an increase of $17.7 billion USD. Housing fuel cell systems and hydrogen cars will account for most of the increases.

From now, to 2025, the trend is supposed to reverse with the demand for hydrogen fuel cell cars overtaking the initial demand of fuel cells for housing accounting for about $1 billion USD in sales on that date.

As the fuel cell vehicle diffusion gains momentum later, fuel cell demand may reach 990 billion yen for automobiles and 507 billion yen for housing in fiscal 2025.

Fuel cells for vehicles and housing may thus account for more than 90 percent of the market in fiscal 2025. The remaining fuel cells may be used for mobile phones and other portable machines.

High costs have so far prevented fuel cell demand from expanding fast. A fuel cell system for housing now costs as much as 3.5 million yen.

Honda release new Solar Hydrogen Station

The new Solar Hydrogen Station  is smaller than previous models and enables an electric car owner to refill their fuel cell overnight. The unit should easily fit into a homeowners’ garage taking up significantly less space than previous models.

The older model required a compressor and electrolyzer for it to be operational. One of the reasons the units were so big was because of the compressor that was required to run the unit. Not only that, the compressor was also the reason that the units were so expensive to produce and purchase.

The idea behind the Honda Solar Hydrogen Station is to complement fast filling public H2 refueling stations and not compete with them. The Honda Solar Hydrogen Station does not store hydrogen, but creates it on demand and thus is considered a slow filling (overnight) means of refueling one’s fuel cell vehicle.

The station uses 48 panels of thin-film Honda-developed cells to produce six kilowatts of electricity. It’s designed to complement the network of public stations that California has endeavored to create as part of its “Hydrogen Highway,” but which in practice is developing slowly.

Honda’s Soltec panels are also being used by Dongfeng Honda in China, the company said, providing lighting and air-conditioning at an administrative facility. According to Honda, the Chinese panels are capable of generating 100,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, and can displace 101 tons of carbon dioxide.

In addition to installation in the garages of those who own fuel cell electric vehicles, the Honda Solar Hydrogen Station was also designed with the intention of being employed at fast fuel hydrogen stations. For an idea of the distance users will be able to eek out of such vehicles, the Honda FCX Clarity electric vehicle, which is fast fill capable, offers an estimated distance of 240 miles before refueling is required.


New meeting in the California Hydrogen Business Council

California is where hydrogen gets down to business. And the California Hydrogen Business Council (CHBC) is the vital link between hydrogen-technology developers, businesses, energy leaders, government, and infrastructure providers. A non-profit organization, members share a common vision of clean energy and transportation fueled by hydrogen.

If you are interested about the hydrogen business technology, this is the place to be. Some of the goals of the council is promote the conduct and growth of hydrogen business, support access to hydrogen business information, identify opportunities for hydrogen technology and coordinate with and support the National Hydrogen Association.

The next month the council promote this meeting.

Hydrogen: The Next Step for Infrastructure and Fuels

when:Thursday, March 4, 2010

where: SCAQMD in Diamond Bar, California

Starts promptly at 9:00 A.M. and concludes at 4:30 P.M.

9:00 A.M. – 9:20 A.M.

Introductory Comments, Paul B. Scott, D.Sc, President, California Hydrogen Business Council
9:20 A.M. – 9:50 A.M.

South Coast Air Quality Management District Hydrogen Infrastructure Projects, Dipankar Sarkar, Technology Demonstration Manager, Technology Advancement Office, South Coast Air Quality Management District
9:50 A.M. – 10:20 A.M.

Progress and Next Steps for the CaFCP Action Plan, Bill Elrick, Technical Program Manager, California Fuel Cell Partnership
10:20 A.M. – 10:50 A.M.

Self-Introductions, Coffee and Conversation
10:50 A.M. – 11:20 A.M.

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Mobile Lighting: A Market Transformation Partnership, Lennie Klebanoff, Principal Member of the Technical Staff, Sandia National Laboratories
11:20 A.M. – 11:50 A.M.

Hydrogen Highway Review and Update, Gerhard H. Achtelik, Jr. , Manager, Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure, California Environmental Protection Agency Air Resource Board
11:50 A.M. – 12:20 P.M.

End-user Requirements for the Tri-generation Fuel Cell Power Model, Darlene Steward, Senior Analyst, Hydrogen Infrastructure Analysis Group, National Renewal Energy Laboratory
12:20 P.M. – 1:30 P.M.

Lunch (1 hr 10 min)

1:30 P.M. – 2:00 P.M.

The BNSF Hydrogen Fuel Cell Switch Locomotive, Mark Stehly, Assistant Vice-President, Environment and Research and Development, BNSF
2:00 P.M. – 2:30 P.M.

Bringing Hydrogen to the Fuel Retailer: Focus Group and Workshop Results, Chris White, Communications Director, California Fuel Cell Partnership
2:30 P.M. – 3:00 P.M.

Afternoon Break
3:00 P.M. – 3:30 P.M.

New Directions for the Clean Fuels Outlet Regulation, Leslie Goodbody, Air Pollution Specialist, Sustainable Transportation Technology Branch, California Air Resource Board
3:30 P.M. – 4:00 P.M.

Review of BC Transit and London Fuel Cell Bus Programs, Paul B. Scott, Sc.D, Chief Scientist, ISE Corp.
4:00 P.M. – 4:20 P.M.

Closing Remarksv

CHBC General Meeting Reservations and Info

Some Facts About Hydrogen

Hydrogen is Clean and Safe

1. Fuel cell vehicles powered by hydrogen produce ZERO green house gases – the only emissions are a bit of clean water that come out of the “tailpipe.”

2. Hydrogen fuel can be produced with zero air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions using renewable energy like sun, wind, hydro and geothermal to separate hydrogen from water by water electrolysis.

3. When hydrogen is made on-site from water and using a renewable energy source (solar, wind, etc.) no fossil fuels are involved.

4. Hydrogen is the lightest gas known and is non-toxic, non-poisonous and will not create ground water or other pollution.  Any leaks are diluted up and away.

Hydrogen is Efficient and Safe

5. One kilogram of hydrogen fuel is the energy equivalent to one gallon of gasoline, yet in a fuel cell vehicle it affords the range of approximately 2.2 gallons of gasoline.

6. Fuel cell vehicles are exceeding 400 miles on a single H2 filling.

7. Hydrogen is a major industrial commodity that has been used in various industries for more than  100 years.

What is the hydrogen fuel?

Ok maybe a lot of people don’t know about the big issue of hydrogen fuel,  well , we need learn about the basics.

What is the hydrogen?

Hydrogen is one of two natural elements that combine to make water. Hydrogen is not an energy source, but an energy carrier because it takes a great deal of energy to extract it from water. It is useful as a compact energy source in fuel cells and batteries. Many companies are working hard to develop technologies that can efficiently exploit the potential of hydrogen energy.

and what’s the hydrogen fuel?

In a flame of pure hydrogen gas, burning in air, the hydrogen (H) chemically combines with oxygen (O) to form water (H2O) plus a lot of heat is produced. It does not produce other chemical by-products. Hence a key feature of hydrogen as a fuel is that it is non-polluting (since water is not a pollutant). Pure hydrogen does not occur naturally; it takes energy to manufacture it. The energy is eventually delivered as heat when the hydrogen is burned. The heat in a hydrogen flame is a radiant emission from the newly formed water molecules. The water molecules are in an excited state on initial formation and then transition to a ground state, and the transition unleashes thermal radiation. This heat can provide motive power for cars, boats and airplanes. Smaller devices can also be powered by hydrogen through the use of hydrogen fuel cell batteries, which can power an electric motor.

At the gas pressure that hydrogen is typically stored at, hydrogen requires four times more storage volume than the volume of gasoline that produces the equivalent energy, but the weight of this hydrogen is nearly three times lighter than the gasoline.With regard to safety from unwanted explosions, hydrogen fuel in automotive vehicles is at least as safe as gasoline.The advantages and disadvantages of hydrogen fuel compared to its competitors are discussed at hydrogen economy.

The new hydrogen highway

Everyone is excited about hydrogen cars, but there is always the challenge of how they are going to fill up. Most cars are restricted by the distance that they can travel on a full tank and nothing more. Few places, especially on the East Coast, offer a refueling station to allow the cars to travel any further. If the hydrogen highway plan comes to fruition, that will finally change

The reality of the situation is that something has to change if we are going to cut back on the massive carbon footprint that is being left because of daily commuting. There has been a lot of progress in the electric cars, but there are still a lot of challenges. There is a nice little niche of green people that believe that the hydrogen powered cars are the true out to get away from gasoline powered vehicles.

The challenge of course is that they can only travel where a single tank will take them. SunHydro is trying to change all of that as they are making plans to literally create a hydrogen highway that will enable cars on the East Coast to travel from the tip of Maine to the southern-most point of Florida. All in all, the plan calls for 11 solar refueling stations.

There will need to be some public support if they are going to be successful. The stations are not exactly cheap and need public funding in order for them to be installed. At $3,000,000 each, it is quite a bit to ask from John Q. Public. For this to work, we will need private investors and companies that have the foresight to invest in something that is obviously the future of motor vehicles. Things are going to change, it just a matter of who is going to be smart enough to jump on ship and make it happen sooner.

For more info click here

Some stations location are

Phase 1

Portland, ME
Braintree, MA
Wallingford, CT
S. Hackensack, NJ
Claymont, De
Richmond, VA
Charlotte, NC
Atlanta, GA
Savanah, GA
Orlando, FL
Miami, FL