For the last seven years, the Cygnus Atratus (Black Swan) Group has been developing a number of clean energy technologies.  Decades of developments by earlier companies have now matured with results that have been immensely encouraging and innovative.   Commercialisation of our fuel cell and allied technologies rests in two areas. The first is in community power based on waste to energy, the second is for transportation applications on land and sea.



A new organisation was set up at the recent NEC Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Conference in Birmingham. Dr Michaela Kendall of Adelan  explained that there is a global energy trilemma with climate change, urban air pollution and energy security and energy prices as 1.7 billion more people newly access electricity by 2030.



The latest issue of Fuel Cell Power is now available to download.

Fuel cells are beginning to replace the internal combustion engine in many applications.  They are providing zero emission transport in polluted cities and reliable off-grid power.   Utilised alongside variable solar or wind power, fuel cell systems store energy as hydrogen for use when it is needed.   Fuel cells are also being powered by energy from waste in a carbon neutral process.  They have no emissions of carbon dioxide (if powered by pure hydrogen) nitrogen or sulphur oxides nor particulate matter.  The electro-chemical process is so clean and quiet that fuel cells are being utilised inside or adjacent to buildings.  The efficient process is providing both electricity and heat in homes, schools, hospitals, data centres, and industrial buildings.

The growing use of fuel cells will help to eliminate air pollution in cities and keep the global temperature increase to 1.5°C.  Fuel cells are now reaching technical maturity and fossil fuels are beginning to cover their real costs.  Transport operators and users of mobile or stationary electricity and heat generators can begin to plan for the change from combustion to electro-chemical energy conversion.



ITM Power has officially launched its third public access hydrogen refuelling station in the UK at the Centre of Engineering Manufacturing Excellence (CEME) at Rainham in East London.  The station was opened to the public by Bill Williams, CEO of CEME and Prof Roger Putnam, Chairman of ITM Power. The opening was supported by the manufacturers of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, Toyota, Hyundai, Symbio FCell Renault, as well as  vehicle owners JCB, Anglo American, Johnson Matthey, Green Tomato Cars and ITM Power.



The hydrogen refuelling station is the first of its kind using

energy from a solar PV array at CEME to make renewable

hydrogen on-site.






Preceding the station opening, a hydrogen rally took place from a hydrogen station in South Yorkshire, where the hydrogen is produced by electricity generated from wind power.  Journalists and transport industry commentators, were amongst those making the 186 mile drive from the wind hydrogen station to the solar hydrogen station in London.  They demonstrated how excess renewable energy can be used and stored as hydrogen gas to refuel fuel cell electric vehicles  in three minutes.

The new solar hydrogen station lies just off the A13, linking London City Airport and the M25, and is now available for public and private fleets operating fuel cell electric vehicles.    It is part of the pan European HyFive project, which was funded by the European Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCHJU) and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV).


Another rally commenced at ITM Power’s hydrogen station in Teddington, West London, crossing central London to CEME and highlighting zero emission driving across the Capital’s Low Emission Zone.  Bill Williams said: “As London’s Centre for Engineering and Manufacturing Excellence, CEME is very proud to be able to offer a site for this hydrogen fuel station and utilise our solar energy to make a fuel for vehicles. It is perfectly located to offer a clean hydrogen source and improve air quality for London”.

Paul Van der Burgh of Toyota (GB) said: “This new facility demonstrates the growing momentum in the development of a new hydrogen fuel infrastructure in the UK. This is good news for customers who are keen to adopt the new technology and for the manufacturers of zero-emission fuel cell vehicles, such as our own Mirai saloon.”

Richard Kemp-Harper of Arcola Energy said that ITM’s  two hydrogen fuel stations  enable Londoners to meet their business, climate and air quality emissions targets. They present a solution for improving air quality in direct competition to the incumbent diesel powered vehicles.

Julia Thomas, Managing Director, Green Tomato Cars, added: “We are delighted to have another hydrogen fuel station open to support our small fleet of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles. We have found the stations easy to use and our customers really enjoy riding in a hydrogen vehicle producing zero emissions.”


ITM Power has signed a fuel contract with Arcola Energy to supply hydrogen at £10/kg. The fuel will be supplied from ITM Power’s growing hydrogen refuelling infrastructure, part funded by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV), the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCHJU) and InnovateUK. This is a follow-on agreement to that signed with Symbio FCell and Arcola Energy to provide an integrated package of zero emission commercial vehicles, on-site fuel and after-sales support for UK commercial fleet operators. The fuel agreement provides commercial fleet operators with a secure fuel price to implement their business models.

Dr Ben Todd, CEO Arcola Energy commented: “We are delighted that we can now offer our commercial fleet operators a contract for hydrogen fuel. The price of £10 per kg for green hydrogen supports many of our customers’ business models and is the lowest priced hydrogen in the UK. Key to commercial deployment of hydrogen for fleet operators is a secure contracted price for the fuel and so we are delighted to have signed this agreement which can be passed through to our customers.”

Dr Graham Cooley, CEO, ITM Power, added: “This agreement with Arcola, the exclusive importer of the Symbio FCell range-extended Renault Kangoo ZE van, is another step in building a portfolio of fuel customers. Following on from the contracts with Toyota and Commercial Group, we are very pleased to be working with Arcola and to be supporting their fleet customers at our hydrogen refuelling stations.”


ITM is also supplying hydrogen to Commercial Group, the  largest independently owned business services company in the UK.  Simone Hindmarsh-Bye said that they are delighted that they can now  extend their low-carbon hydrogen delivery services to more customers nationwide by utilising the expanding network of hydrogen refuelling stations.   The use of hydrogen continues to demonstrate Commercial’s commitment to reducing the carbon footprint of their operations and exploring new and innovative technologies to reduce the UK’s dependency on fossil fuels.


The Toyota Mirai at an ITM Power refuelling station


In a joint announcement at the launch of Europe’s first megawatt scale fuel cell,   Friatec (part of the Aliaxis Group), E.ON and Fuelcell Energy Solutions stated that  fuel cell technology will be key to providing clean low carbon power in the energy-intensive sector.

Energy history is in the making in Mannheim, they said, as the first European fuel cell of megawatt size is now operating there. Unlike conventional power plants, this delivers heat and electricity in a process that is virtually free from pollutants, making it a milestone for the green energy of the future. Over the course of at least ten years, this innovative plant will provide clean energy for the production processes of materials specialist Friatec.


With a capacity of 1.4 megawatts, this fuel cell power plant is the only one of its kind in Europe to date. In terms of technology and environmental protection, fuel cells represent a promising alternative to conventional combined heat and power plants. In comparison with other decentralized technologies such as gas turbines, they use fuel sources far more efficiently. In addition, they generate power in a non-combustion process which is virtually free from pollutants. By using this fuel cell, Friatec will be able to reduce its CO2 emissions by approximately 3,000 tons per year.

The fuel cell power plant was installed in only nine months by E.ON Connecting Energies and FuelCell Energy Solutions, who have entered into a long-term energy partnership to offer high-performing, clean fuel cell technology to customers in energy-intensive sectors.

Klaus Wolf of Friatec stated:  “E.ON and   FuelCell Energy Solutions are our long-term partners. Sustainability is at the top of our agenda and the construction of this fuel cell power plant is a great opportunity to make our stance publicly known. This environmentally friendly power plant was a logical step on our way to continually improve our production processes in the context of our environmental   management.”

Karsten Wildberger, a member of the E.ON SE Board of Directors, added: “Fuel cells are one of the key technologies for the clean energy world of tomorrow. The inauguration of this plant is a very special occasion for us, since such highly innovative, economical, and clean solutions are at the core of the new E.ON.”

Chip Bottone, CEO of FuelCell Energy, stated: “Together with E.ON, we are able to implement fuel cell power plants with capacities in the multi-megawatt range.   This partnership allows us to introduce our fuel cell power plants, which have already proven themselves in many locations around the world, into new markets.”


FuelCell Energy has developed a power project which will enable utilities to affordably and cleanly solve power generation challenges where land space is limited.  This  is a breakthrough in transforming power generation networks to a cleaner, more affordable and capital efficient model that meets the needs of global economies today.

Construction is beginning of a 3.7 megawatt fuel cell power plant in Danbury, Connecticut, following approval by the Connecticut Siting Council.   “We are enhancing the electrical efficiency of this fuel cell power plant by configuring the fuel cell modules in a series to utilize the fuel to the greatest degree possible,” said Tony Rauseo, Chief Operating Officer of FuelCell Energy.  “This is a really innovative design targeting utility and data center applications.”

FuelCell Energy’s standard 2.8 megawatt DFC3000® power plant utilizes two fuel cell modules operating in parallel. The new 3.7 megawatt configuration adds a third module that utilizes unused fuel from the other two fuel cell modules as well as heat, along with some natural gas input to economically and efficiently produce additional power.

The 3.7 megawatt power plant, adequate to power approximately 3,700 average size homes, will occupy only a ¼ of an acre of an industrial lot near an existing electrical substation. FuelCell Energy has executed a long term lease for the land and expects to sell the power to the local utility, supplying the power to a nearby electrical substation.

Multi-megawatt fuel cell installations solve power generation challenges as the combination of near-zero pollutants, modest land-use needs, and the quiet operating nature of fuel cell power plants facilitates their siting in urban locations.  Construction is rapid, with one 59 MW fuel cell park being built and operational in only 14 months.


“Our business model of locating clean and affordable power near where the power is used acts to spur urban redevelopment by enhancing local infrastructure and generating property and sales tax revenue for municipal and state governments to a degree that other clean distributed power generation projects have difficult matching,” said Michael Bishop, Chief Financial Officer of FuelCell Energy. “The high availability of fuel cells drives significant  renewable energy credit generation, supporting both project economics and state-level renewable power standards.”


FuelCell Energy has commenced commercial operation of a megawatt-class fuel cell power plant at the Riverside Regional Water Quality Control Plant in Riverside, California. The project is structured so that the City of Riverside pays for the power produced, achieving immediate operating cost savings without any capital outlay and in a manner that supports the City’s sustainability goals.

The water treatment process generates methane, a greenhouse gas. If this is recycled to produce energy, the process is carbon-neutral.  Through the use of anaerobic digesters, the water quality plant captures the methane, which FuelCell Energy then cleans and uses as the fuel source to generate power for the wastewater treatment process, as well as heat needed by the  anaerobic digesters.

The biogas must be cleaned before being directed into the fuel cells, which requires a separate system.  “Previously our customers had to obtain this themselves,” said Tony Rauseo.  “Based upon decades of wastewater industry experience and comprehensive engineering and design capabilities we now manufacture our own gas clean-up system, he added.  This enables us to ensure the quality of the clean-up and to take responsibility for the entire solution for our customer.”

The Riverside wastewater treatment facility can process approximately 40 million gallons of wastewater per day in an around-the-clock operation. The continuous power profile of the fuel cells supports the treatment process, utilizing approximately two thirds of the biogas generated which provides about one third of the power needed by the facility.


FuelCell Energy converts the problem of disposing of wastewater emissions  into cost savings for municipal water treatment facilities.   The advantages of using their system to obtain clean energy from waste water are:

Complete turn-key wastewater solution for cleaning the biogas, generating ultra-clean power and heat, and operating and maintaining    the gas clean-up system and the fuel cell power plant.

Power purchase agreements that avoid any need for the municipality to invest  directly in the power generation or gas clean-up equipment.

Avoidance of clean air regulations as fuel cells utilize an electrochemical process that produces power in a manner that is virtually free from criterion pollutants such as nitrogen oxide (NOx) that causes smog, sulfur dioxide (SOx) that contributes to acid rain, or particulate matter that can aggravate asthma.

Improved  reliability of energy production with affordable on-site power.


FuelCell Energy has a complete system generating clean power from waste water.  It cleans the gas and generates electricity and heat on site.









Riversimple – makers of the hydrogen fuel cell Rasa, a car that emits just a spoonful of water – has been awarded two grants worth £325,000. The grants were announced at the UK’s premiere low carbon vehicle event, LCV2016, in association with Cenex, held at Millbrook, Milton Keynes.

A grant of £200,000, to work in collaboration with engineering company Presreg and the University of South Wales, will be used to develop a hydrogen container manifold and regulators for use in niche hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.  This means that hydrogen components can be made in the UK – rather than overseas, helping to create jobs and set up a national supply chain.

The innovative car maker is also part of a consortium with NetComposites and KS Composites that has been awarded funding worth £125,000 to develop a bio-carbon fibre made from flax, helping to reduce noise vibration and cost.   If adopted by niche and mainstream car makers this new technology could lead to the creation of 7,000 jobs and generate revenues of £520 million a year.

Hugo Spowers of Riversimple said: “The two grants will enable us to further refine our components and ensure that we can make more of the parts in the UK in the future, which is great news for local communities.”

Riversimple were also runners up for the national award for Low Carbon Innovation by a SME at the Low Carbon Champions Awards, an event set up to celebrate achievement and innovation in low carbon road transport.  It was a far cry from its appearance at last year’s show, where Riversimple unveiled the chassis of the Rasa car, now believed to be the greenest car currently on the road and weighing just 580kg.

The Rasa spent 15 years in development by a team that includes ex-F1 and aerospace engineers and former Fiat design chief, and was launched in the spring to huge acclaim.

The company has since started crowdfunding to build 20 cars for a public trial in 2017, before starting commercial production in 2018.   The two-seater Rasa has a range of 300 miles and refills in a few minutes. It will be offered on a total service arrangement, similar to the cost of a family hatchback, with the cost of fuel included making it an affordable alternative.    The  Rasa is seen here travelling at night in London.




The EFOY ProCabinet Hybrid enables yearly reduction in operating expenditure (OPEX) of up to 90 % over gas generator solutions.   The eco-friendly integrated solution was selected by Christiansen Engineering Group for a major midstream company in the western Canadian oil and gas sector in line with their environmental stewardship initiatives to minimize impact. Additional customer benefits are few emissions and increased site autonomy capabilities.

The 500W fuel cell EFOY Pro 12000 Duo will power remote densitometers and associated heaters along pipelines.

The EFOY ProCabinet Hybrid uses SFC Energy’s most powerful fuel cell to date, the EFOY Pro 12000 Duo, combined with solar panels and batteries for a 12/24 Volt DC power system.    The system was developed for extreme temperatures from -40°C to +50°C.     Remote operation capabilities enable data collection, system configuration, and monitoring. All components are housed in a weatherproof enclosure.


Hybrid cabinet with integrated fuel cell

“The EFOY ProCabinet Hybrid Solution is the latest addition to our successful portfolio of fully integrated plug & play EFOY Energy Solutions”, says Dr. Peter Podesser, CEO of SFC Energy. “With it, operators of off-grid equipment can reduce their yearly OPEX by up to 90 % compared to gas generators due to the very high energy density and efficiency of the fuel methanol. Our hybrid fuel cell solution is eco-friendly: it produces very few emissions and no harmful emissions like CO, NOx, and CH4. These major advantages helped us win this important order.”


           Pipeline application








During the high solar energy months of the year the solar input will maintain the battery bank to cover the load. When the solar system is unable to deliver enough power in winter and bad weather, the EFOY Pro fuel cell will automatically switch on and reliably bridge the energy gap. This prevents the battery bank from deep cycling or freezing, ensuring optimal battery health and lifespan. Hybridization also allows complex and oversized solar system designs to be streamlined, reducing solar array and battery bank sizing by up to 75 %.

The new solution features substantially longer system autonomy with less frequent re-fueling requirements, thus eliminating costly site visits in the middle of winter.

EFOY Pro 12000 Duo is the world’s first stationary direct methanol fuel cell with an output power of 500W to have received the TUEV octagon for fuel cell systems for Europe (IEC 62282-3-100:2012), the US (UL60950-1:2007/R:2014-10) and for Canada (CAN/CSA C22.2 No60950-1:2007/A2:2014-10). The certificates were issued by TUEV Sued Industrie Service GmbH.    35,000 SFC fuel cells are already providing off grid power,  for security and safety, oil and gas, wind, traffic management, environmental and telecommunications applications.


SFC Energy’s popular EFOY Pro fuel cells are being used by Volkswagen for mobile event monitoring systems on board their Amarok Pickup, which is a pilot for future mobile utility vehicles.

The Amarok Pickup with its mobile monitoring system is part of Volkswagen’s security strategy. Video systems on board use their proprietary technology, developed for autonomous, mobile operation with maximum flexibility in any terrain and independent from the grid. The system features immediate readiness with minimum personnel. The integrated fuel cell is responsible for the power supply. Equipped with two 28 litre cartridges it will reliably power the on-board systems for up to six days without any user intervention.

The video system with the fuel cell is installed in the vehicle’s interior for protection. With a set-up time of merely 10 minutes, rapid response crews can react fast to incidents. The vehicle’s instruments communicate with Volkswagen headquarters via standard interface.

The Amarok uses SFC Energy’s most powerful fuel cell to date, the EFOY Pro 12000 Duo. Fuel cell operation is fully automatic and intervention-free. The fuel cell constantly monitors the system batteries’ charge state. Once a critical threshold is reached, the fuel cell automatically starts operation. In operation the fuel cell produces almost zero noise and exhaust emissions, making it the ideal power source for undercover operations.

“We selected the EFOY Pro 12000 Duo for two reasons”, says Andreas Fietze, Group Security Volkswagen. “In operation, it is silent and environmentally friendly.  No noise, no emissions! The decisive advantage for us, however, is the tripled autonomy of the on-board systems thanks to the fuel cell. Up to now our teams had to maintain and refuel a generator every second day.  Now, the fuel cell powers the monitoring systems on board for up to six days, without us having to do a thing. We can minimize our personnel resources and use them instead for other important tasks.”

Dr. Peter Podesser, CEO of SFC Energy said: “The German Federal Office of Goods Transport has been equipping the complete fleet of their toll inspection vehicles with EFOY Pro fuel cells for several years now. The reliability, maintenance and user free operation of our fuel cells, and the extremely long system autonomy they enable, create real added value for operating electric and electronic devices on board special vehicles.”


VW Amarok with mobile event monitoring equipment












The production of fuel cells is growing at an increasing rate around the world.  Ballard Power Systems and Synergy have their first order for 10,000 fuel cells for the motor industry.  POSCO and FuelCell Energy are building more fuel cell parks generating both electricity and heat in South Korea.   Intelligent Energy’s fuel cells are unlocking the full potential of the mobile economy. SFC Energy is expanding global sales of off-grid power. Bloom Energy is working with India’s leading natural gas supplier to transform India’s energy future.  ITM Power is extending the hydrogen infrastructure for road vehicles with EU colleagues. The Cygnus Atratus Group is building the future now with hydrogen and ethanol fuel cells powered by domestic, industrial, agricultural and forestry waste.

The summer issue of Fuel Cell Power  explains how fuel cells are meeting demands for clean, low carbon energy and is now available to download.



Fuel  cells are leading the transition to clean, safe energy with the following attributes:  carbon dioxide neutral with renewable energy;   efficiency;  conserves existing stocks of fossil fuels;  useful by-products including high quality heat;   no pollution of atmosphere, soil or oceans;   balancing  intermittent supplies of solar and wind energy;   recycling energy from landfill, agricultural and forestry waste;  water conservation;  and no extensive infrastructure required.

Fuel cells are operating reliably in many applications.  If the real costs of fossil fuels are taken into account, fuel cells can already provide a cost effective alternative and there will be further cost reductions as production increases.


Fuel Cell Power Spring 2016 is now available to download.


Following the deployment of the largest hydrogen fuel cell bus fleet in Europe, Aberdeen is making another clean energy first as the city council’s flagship hydrogen programme introduces hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to the city’s car club.

The availability of the Hyundai ix35 cars will enable many more people to experience the excellent performance of hydrogen fuel cell cars.

schfa aberdeen councilAberdeen City Council secured Transport Scotland funding to buy two Hyundais. This will  encourage businesses and individuals to try out and buy hydrogen vehicles and will also be the next step in building a hydrogen infrastructure in the city and extending the use of hydrogen-fuelled transport throughout Scotland.

The fuel cell cars will be made available for public use on a pay-as-you-go basis later this year, following an initial testing period and a series of promotional events. Councillor Barney Crockett, who chairs the European hydrogen association (HyER) said:  “Once again we are demonstrating that by taking the lead on developing and using new and innovative technologies, we can offer environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional methods of transport which rely on fossil fuels.

Managing director of Co-wheels, Richard Falconer, added:  “Co-wheels has always  pioneered cleaner and greener travel  options, and these hydrogen powered cars are another step toward improving air quality and reducing  COemissions in the city.

We are delighted to be working with Aberdeen City Council to enable residents, council staff and local businesses access to this cutting-edge green driving technology.”

The Hyundai ix35 fuel cell car has similar levels of convenience and performance to conventional internal combustion cars. Its hydrogen capacity gives it a driving range of 525km (326 miles) on a single fuelling. Unlike traditional cars, the hydrogen fuel cell cars produce no harmful emissions, and in fact only produce water vapour at the tail pipe.  Once in full operation, the Hyundais will be fuelled using locally-produced hydrogen.

Derek Mackay, Minister for Transport & Islands said: “Transport Scotland have supported the introduction of these cars to complement Aberdeen’s growing fleet of ultra-low emission vehicles, including buses and vans. The fact that they will be deployed in the car club and be so accessible by the public and council staff as well as by local businesses, means that many more people will be able to experience the benefits of clean and green motoring first hand”.


The Aberdeen hydrogen fuel cell bus project celebrated its first successful year of operation. The fleet travelled 250,000 miles and carried more than 440,000 passengers.

22/02/15 Hydrogen Bus fleet

The buses produce no harmful emissions and have proven to be almost four times more fuel efficient than their diesel equivalents. The hydrogen production and refuelling station achieved 99.9% availability.  It is owned and operated by BOC, a member of the Linde Group.




Councillor Barney Crockett said: “The Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project has been a great success story for Aberdeen and all of the partners and funders involved in it. In the space of just a year since we moved into the operational phase, the project has outperformed expectations. It’s been very well received by the bus drivers and members of the public, and has created a real buzz about the city’s hydrogen capabilities. These vehicles have replaced 10 diesel buses on the city’s streets, cutting the amount of toxins polluting our air on a daily basis and helping us work towards making Aberdeen a cleaner, greener city, with a clear focus on low-carbon technologies.

Steve Walker, Managing Director for Stagecoach North Scotland said: “Reaching the first year of operation is a huge milestone for the Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project. We are really pleased with how the vehicles are performing on the road and we have had a significant amount of positive feedback from our passengers on the quality of the buses. We are looking forward to the next year of operating the hydrogen powered vehicles.”

David Phillips, First Aberdeen managing director, said: “We are proud of our role as an operator of these ground-breaking hydrogen vehicles and I’m delighted to mark the one year anniversary today. They’ve been an effective addition to our Aberdeen fleet and the feedback we’ve had from both passengers and the drivers who’ve had them on the roads every day has been extremely positive. More public transport journeys are made by bus than any other mode and it’s important we continue to embrace changes that benefit both the passenger and the environment. We are keen to continue to work closely with our partners to ensure that together we achieve real and lasting modal shift.”