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8Fuel Cells Bulletin March 2013
and this will allow the company to target the Middle East and South American markets.
‘The acquisition of SPower allows Proton Power to enlarge its offering for stationary power solutions,’ says Dr Faiz Nahab, CEO of Proton Power. ‘We can importantly offer complete systems to our customers. The new battery storage solution of SPower for solar systems will have an extremely positive impact on our business.’
Nahab and fellow Proton Power director Thomas Melczer each held approximately 42% of SPower share capital, and will each receive a nominal total consideration of E1 for their SPower shares. Nahab has also provided, and will continue to provide, a guarantee for a E2.2 million bank loan to SPower; he is also connected to Roundstone Properties Ltd, a substantial shareholder in the company.
Proton Motor offers complete fuel cell and hybrid systems, from development and production to the implementation of customised solutions. The company recently supplied a 5 kW PEM fuel cell module for E.ON’s Bachhausen power grid substation in Bavaria [FCB, January 2013, p3], which is being tested as a grid-independent auxiliary backup power supply under a pilot project set up with the company’s new partner, Modl GmbH [FCB, September 2012, p4].
Proton Power Systems Plc, UK: www.protonpowersystems.com
Proton Motor Fuel Cell GmbH, Puchheim, Germany. Tel: +49 89 1276 2650, www.proton-motor.de
SPower GmbH, Herzogenaurach, Germany. Tel: +49 9132 732560, www.spower.de
ClearEdge Power completes acquisition of UTC Power
Oregon-based ClearEdge Power has closed on its previously announced
acquisition of UTC Power in Connecticut [FCB, January 2013, p8]. The deal marks a major milestone for the manufacturer of scalable distributed power systems, and strengthens its position in the commercial fuel cell industry. UTC Power, formerly a subsidiary of industrial conglomerate United Technologies Corporation, has decades of experience as a leader in fuel cell systems in a wide range of applications.
ClearEdge Power says that the infusion of talent and complementary products resulting from the UTC Power acquisition significantly advance the expanded company’s leadership at a time when the fuel cell industry is poised
for growth. ‘The integration of our teams will build upon our rich history and talented work-force, and best positions us to meet growing market demand,’ says Joe Triompo, chief oper-ating officer of ClearEdge Power, formerly VP and general manager of UTC Power.
ClearEdge Power provides clean, reliable power systems from 5 kW continuous onsite power systems utilising high-temperature PEM fuel cell technology [see the feature on ClearEdge Power in FCB, July 2011], to the PEM and phosphoric acid fuel cell systems that UTC Power has developed at various scales and for applications ranging from transportation to MW-scale distributed generation [see the feature on UTC Power’s PureCell Model 400 power plant in FCB, February 2012].
ClearEdge Power, Hillsboro, Oregon, USA. Tel: +1 877 257 3343 (tollfree in US), www.clearedgepower.com
UTC Power, South Windsor, Connecticut, USA. Tel: +1 860 727 2200, www.utcpower.com
AlumiFuel Power, Genport merging to pursue hybrid power
Pennsylvania-based AlumiFuel Power Technologies Inc (APTI) is merging
with the Italian fuel cell/battery hybrid power solutions company Genport Srl to form a new US corporate entity, NovoFuel Inc. The focus of NovoFuel is to pursue backup and portable power applications and business opportunities in the US, Europe, and other market areas, as well as establishing a new lab facility in the Philadelphia area.
The parties are finalising a definitive merger agreement through which each would own 50% of NovoFuel before any future financings. NovoFuel would encompass the capabilities of both companies, including APTI’s AlumiFuel powder and cartridge-based hydrogen generation for fuel cell power, and unmanned undersea vehicle (UUV) power. AlumiFuel had been developing a soldier/man-portable PEM fuel cell hydrogen generator, based on its aluminium-water technology, to generate enough hydrogen to power a 25–500 W fuel cell [FCB, September 2010, p8]. Genport would bring its PEM fuel cell power systems, hydrogen generation and storage systems, solar cells and lithium-ion battery packs.
Genport’s current flagship product is the G300 Hybrid Fuel Cell, a European certified 400 W system that can take energy inputs from hydrogen, solar panels, and lithium-ion battery packs and deliver electricity for a variety of applications including military,
emergency telecoms, PCs, battery charging, electro-medical devices, and auxiliary power. NovoFuel will integrate the GEN300 Hybrid Fuel Cell with the AlumiFuel Power hydrogen generation system, and pursue the engineering development of an integrated 5 kW backup power system for telecom facilities.
Genport – a spinoff from the Politecnico di Milano technical university – has established customer relationships with electronic components supplier Arrow Europe, Italian motorway network operator Autostrade SpA, and Italy’s largest power company ENEL Group. (ENEL Labs is sponsoring a US$1 million competition, for which Genport has been selected as a finalist.) APTI – a subsidiary of AlumiFuel Power Corporation – continues to attract international interest in its Portable Balloon Inflation System (PBIS) products.
‘NovoFuel will offer significant new power solutions for portable electronics, backup power, and micro-grid users,’ says Paolo Fracas, CEO of Genport. ‘The introduction of our new multi-technology, extended runtime fuel cells for various critical mission applications will offer tremendous new market opportunities for us.’
Genport Srl, Vimercate (MB), Italy. Tel: +39 039 6396 500, www.genport.it
AlumiFuel Power Corporation, Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, USA. Tel: +1 610 660 7775, www.alumifuelpowertech.com
Suzuki, Intelligent Energy set up Japan fuel cell assembly line
SMILE FC System Corporation, the joint venture created a year ago
between UK-based Intelligent Energy and Suzuki Motor Corporation in Japan, has successfully established a ready-to-scale-up production plant for its PEM fuel cell systems in Yokohama.
The production line marks the successful transfer of proven semi-automated production technology, developed and utilised by Intelligent Energy. This represents the next stage in high-volume production of fuel cell systems, with associated reduction of manufacturing and assembly costs as well as improved cycle times and enhanced product quality.
The manufacturing centre will be scaled up to supply fuel cell stacks for integration with Suzuki vehicles. The joint venture has access to Intelligent Energy’s fuel cell technology under a non-exclusive licence, thereby accelerating the commercialisation of Suzuki’s fuel cell electric vehicles.
March 2013 Fuel Cells Bulletin9
‘The Yokohama production line is testament to the rigorous, results-oriented collaboration between Intelligent Energy and Suzuki Motor Corporation – one that brings us a step closer to the commercialisation of fuel cell electric vehicles,’ says Dr Henri Winand, CEO of Intelligent Energy. ‘This demonstrates how our focused commercial approach accelerates and de-risks our partners and customers’ deployment plans.’
Based at Suzuki headquarters in Hamamatsu City, Shizuoka Prefecture, SMILE FC was established in February 2012 to develop and manufacture PEM fuel cell systems for a range of industry sectors, including automotive [FCB, February 2012, p3]. The joint venture provides Suzuki with access to Intelligent Energy’s air-cooled PEMFC technology through partnering and licensing. This will drive benefits such as early volume production, economies of scale, and avoiding the higher costs associated with in-house development.
IE and Suzuki have already developed the Suzuki Burgman Fuel Cell Scooter, which two years ago was granted Whole Vehicle Type Approval to qualify the design as safe to use on public roads across the European Union [FCB, April 2011, p2]. Intelligent Energy is also commercialising its fuel cell technology in other applications, including backup power systems for telecom towers in India [FCB, November 2012, p10], and even to power portable consumer electronics through a new collaboration with Cable & Wireless Communications [see page 6].
Intelligent Energy, Loughborough, UK. Tel: +44 1509 271271, www.intelligent-energy.com
Suzuki Motor Corporation, Fuel Cell Vehicles: www.globalsuzuki.com/Burgman_Fuel-Cell_Scooter
Ballard wins extra funding to advance bus fuel cell modules
Vancouver-based Ballard Power Systems has been awarded C$2
million (US$1.9 million) in funding from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), for a one-year extension to a project that is furthering commercialisation of the company’s PEM fuel cell power module for use in the transit bus market.
Three years ago, SDTC awarded Ballard C$4.8 million (US$4.7 million) for a development project under which Ballard has now completed the design, testing, and implementation of new subsystems for its
FCvelocity™-HD6 power module [FCB, February 2010, p9]. The project has improved the durability and reliability of the power module, as well as reducing its cost.
Many of these design improvements were successfully implemented into the BC Transit fuel cell hybrid bus fleet in Whistler, British Columbia, leading to improved overall performance. As a testament to its operation, Whistler’s 20-bus fleet has now surpassed the 1.7 million mile (2.8 million km) threshold for revenue service to that community, since entering service in early 2010 [FCB, November 2009, p2].
During the project extension, to run through October 2013, Ballard will focus on standardisation of certain product components and optimisation of the power module’s balance-of-plant and control systems, to further reduce cost as well as improve manufacturability of the FCvelocity-HD6 module.
Tony Guglielmin, CFO of Ballard, emphasises that the continued federal support is helping to accelerate product cost reductions. ‘In turn, this enables more competitive positioning relative to incumbent diesel buses, which will further the adoption of clean energy fuel cell products for mass transit in Canada, the US, Europe, and other locations around the globe,’ he says.
SDTC is also supporting Ballard for the development of its ClearGen™ distributed generation system [FCB, March 2011, p6 and see page 4 in this issue].
Ballard Power Systems, Burnaby, BC, Canada. Tel: +1 604 454 0900, www.ballard.com
Sustainable Development Technology Canada: www.sdtc.ca
ACAL passes 8000 h with zero degradation, appoints new CEO
UK-based ACAL Energy reports that its low-cost liquid cathode PEM fuel cell
has achieved 8000 h of continuous use with no degradation, confirming the inherent ability of the FlowCath® technology to address the long-term performance issues of conventional PEM fuel cells. The company has also appointed Greg McCray as its new CEO, who will lead the company through its next round of funding and product trials in the automotive and stationary power industries as it moves towards commercialisation.
ACAL Energy has developed a novel fuel cell technology that cuts costs and boosts the durability of hydrogen fuel cells, by replacing the fixed platinum catalysts on the cathode
of a traditional PEM fuel cell with a liquid regenerating catalyst system [see the ACAL feature in FCB, April 2011].
Conventional PEM fuel cells degrade by approximately 28 mV per 1000 h – a key barrier to their widespread adoption. But ACAL’s FlowCath system bypasses the issues that cause degradation, while also making a 25% cost saving through the reduced need for platinum.
By using a liquid system and carrying out the oxygen side of the reaction outside the fuel cell stack, the system addresses the durability problems caused by unwanted oxidation reactions occurring in the cell, degradation of the membrane through repeated drying, and degradation of the catalyst. The system is also far simpler than most PEM fuel cells, requiring no air compressor or humidity control, and the liquid catalyst is able to act as a coolant, which also reduces volume and cost.
A year ago ACAL unveiled a new, compact stack design with a rated power of 12 kW and improved power density at the Fuel Cell Expo in Tokyo [FCB, March 2012, p9]. ACAL believes that with a range from 1 kW to 200 kW, its product has applications from combined heat and power for homes and businesses, to backup power for mobile networks or computer systems, or even as a replacement for diesel generators. The company is already in discussion with several automotive companies about commercialising the technology for use in fuel cell electric vehicles.
In other news, ACAL has appointed Greg McCray as its new chief executive. McCray was previously CEO of wireless components company Antenova Ltd, which he transformed into the world’s fastest-growing innovative antenna business. Before that, he was CEO and chairman of PipingHot Networks, a UK broadband startup, which he saw raise US$27 million in venture capital investment before being acquired by Motorola.
McCray’s primary role at ACAL will be to begin the mass-market deployment of the company’s technology, via licensing agreements with the automotive industry. His experience will also be key as ACAL also looks to raise £15 million ($23 million) in the first half of this year.
ACAL Energy, Runcorn, Cheshire, UK. Tel: +44 1928 511581, www.acalenergy.co.uk
Tanaka builds plant to develop, manufacture fuel cell catalysts
Tanaka Precious Metals, a leading global producer of fuel cell