RESCUING RENEWABLES: how energy storage can save green power

Summary of a report by Tony Lodge, Chairman, Bow Group Energy and Transport Committee

At present the demand for electricity fluctuates and may double at peak times, but the supply is always available so that blackouts are very rare.   The electricity industry works hard to ensure that they meet this fluctuating demand, but the introduction of intermittent energy from wind and solar sources means that supply and demand are both fluctuating at different times.  This causes inefficiencies and could damage the grid and lead to blackouts when supply is not sufficient to meet demand. To avoid this happening, fossil fuel plants are used as a back-up when the wind is not blowing and there are already instances when wind turbines have had to be closed down when demand was low. This means that the full benefit of a green unit of electricity, a kilowatt hour (kWh), entering the grid cannot be realized because 1kWh of green energy cannot displace 1kWh of fossil generated electricity.

Hydrogen ‘warehouse’

Balance is the key to the electricity industry.  The production and consumption of electricity are dynamically coupled; supply must match demand in a sub-second timescale.  The addition of new unpredictable components, like weather dependent wind and solar energy, undermines the balance. Even small variations in system voltage and frequency can cause damage to modern electronics and other electrical equipment.  When electricity is made it must be delivered, so a ‘warehouse’, or electricity storage system, would be of great value to the electricity industry.

The present means of storing renewables include pumped storage, like the Dynorweg hydro-pumped storage power plant in Wales, which is 74% efficient.  However, there are few suitable sites for pumped storage in the UK. The inertia in large rotating steam turbines powered by coal is also a form of energy storage when these plants are kept active as a ‘spinning reserve’, but there are fewer of these stations as coal is now being phased out.  Gas turbines do not provide spinning reserve, nuclear power can only be used to provide base load as it cannot be ramped up and down and oil fired plants are expensive, inefficient and carbon intensive.   Batteries are only suitable for small scale, short term storage, but hydrogen storage is feasible at multi megawatt (MW) wind farm sites and, on the distributed level, for districts, streets, farms, villages and homes. This mass storage deployment would enable reductions in capital costs.

For comparison, the Scottish island of Eigg uses batteries for storage and the Norwegian island of Utsira uses hydrogen.  Eigg found that its storage was not sufficient and is now considering an Utsira-style hydrogen storage system, which has provision for three days of stored power if a wind-free period occurs and this can be increased as required by expanding the hydrogen storage capability. Utsira could also boost its renewable energy portfolio with the installation of solar PV, wave and tidal capability.   Denmark has a large number of wind farms which could in theory meet 70% of the country’s peak demand, but this is rarely matched by supply when it is needed.  Averaged over the last five years, wind power has only provided 9.7% of Denmark’s annual electricity demand.  Denmark therefore exports much of its surplus electricity via the grid to neighbouring countries at a discount to the cost of generation.

Cost benefit analysis

Over a 20 year period the net cost benefit of the UK Government’s renewable energy policy is negative.   This could be improved if local hydrogen storage is introduced with the following benefits:

  • improved efficiency as supply matches demand
  • the need for fossil fuel back-up is removed
  • lower carbon emissions
  • less investment in infrastructure costs
  • reduced stress to the system as ramping up and down is minimized
  • grid stability and continued freedom from blackouts
  • community, business and individual self-sufficiency

Renewable energy storage incentive (RESI)

However, further technical improvements and cost reductions are necessary to make wind power with hydrogen storage more viable and competitive against diesel generators.  For this reason there is a strong argument for fostering a distributed renewable system which generates, stores and utilizes green energy at the point of use.  As with other immature renewable technologies, initial financial incentives will be required to help cover the cost of systems of renewable energy plus storage.   Alongside Feed in Tariffs for renewable energy, it is proposed that there should be a Renewable Energy Storage Incentive (RESI), which would offer huge potential benefits to the operational effectiveness of the grid.  The value of storage from the commercial point of view is illustrated when at times of peak demand the electricity price can jump in half an hour from around £35 per megawatt hour (MWh) up to £140.   There is little to be gained if homes export electricity to the grid at times when availability is high and demand is low.   Energy storage would address this by mopping up intermittency in the form of a clean fuel consumed at household level.  The Government should add a 10p tariff for storing green electricity to the present FIT rates, as renewable storage will reduce rather than increase fuel bills.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has published their Low Carbon Transition Plan, which recognizes the problem of back-up power for intermittent renewable energy but does not solve it. There is also likely to be an energy gap from 2017 as oil, coal and nuclear plants close down, even if wind power meets its targets. Biomass power plants are not the answer as they could cause significant pollution in urban areas and mis-spent Government subsidies on biofuels have encouraged the cultivation of non-sustainable crops, they have driven deforestation and caused rises in food prices. Local renewable energy storage is the only viable way both to slash UK carbon emissions in the short term and to meet strict renewable targets. The mismatch between electricity supply and demand occurs with high peaks for a few hours per day and particularly at weekends.  The peaks can be reduced by demand side management, but are best dealt with locally through the use of energy storage.

British policy lead

One British company is taking the lead with hydrogen for transport.  Yorkshire-based ITM Power is developing a hydrogen infrastructure for transport operators and has a demonstration home powered by hydrogen at its factory. They are working with the global wind turbine manufacturer, Vestas, which is aiming to generate the most sustainable return on wind for their customers. The electricity industry is extremely conservative and is reluctant to take on the risk of developing new technologies, so the Government should encourage the energy storage sector in the same way as it has done with the Renewable Obligation Certificates.   The UK currently has less than a 5% share of the global market for green technology – less than Japan, France, Germany, Spain or the US.  Analysis of R & D investment indicates that UK companies invest less in R & D regardless of their size as compared to their G8 competitors.

The proposed renewable electricity storage incentive (RESI) should now be made available for the micro-generation of green hydrogen by electrolysis.  Various studies have shown that this route of absorbing excess renewable electricity at times of peak supply for use at times of high demand offers flexibility – for example, in emergency backup power and car refuelling. It is likely that a significant proportion of consumers will discover that they have a new role as micro-generators of green energy as well as users.  It would help those who wish to achieve more autonomous energy solutions and a low carbon footprint with the installation of suitable equipment such as a home hydrogen refueller.  Green energy storage provides a ‘localist bottom-up’ solution for the Coalition Government towards energy and environment policies, without Ministers having to cherry-pick technologies or pick winners.

Scotland has set a target to become 80% self sufficient in renewable energy by 2025, but this would not work without renewable energy storage.  If the wind’s power can be harnessed as stored energy to be used later, when it is required to meet demand, the potential for Scotland and the rest of the UK is huge. Countries that are early adopters of these energy storage technologies will benefit most in the development of hydrogen and fuel cell industries.  The flexibility of hydrogen energy storage is that it can do more than just clean up the power system, it can also clean up the transport system, improve air quality in towns and cities, dramatically reduce carbon emissions and provide the UK with a global manufacturing and engineering edge. Unlike batteries, hydrogen is a fuel which can be stored for long periods  and therefore provides the security that society seeks, as well as independence from diminishing oil and gas reserves.

www.bowgroup.org

VISIT TO TOKYO FUEL CELL EXPO 2011

By Ronald Hodkinson, Diverse Energy Ltd

What started as the Fuel Cell Expo (FC Expo) has now grown into the Japan Renewable Energy Week, with six concurrent exhibitions filling the halls at Tokyo Big Sight.  Alongside the FC Expo were the Intelligent Grid Expo, the Eco House and Building Expo, Photovoltaic (PV) Expo, PV System Expo and the Battery Japan Rechargeable Battery Expo.   There is also a world class conference on renewable energy.      Japan Renewable Energy Week   attracts more          than 100,000 professional visitors from around the Globe and is undoubtedly the premier event in the fuel cell calendar.  This year the fuel cell exhibits were slightly reduced in number, but this was deceiving because of a significant number of National Pavilions.  Canada, Finland, Fukuoka Prefecture, the USA, Taiwan, France,  Germany,  Kanawa Prefecture and Okaya City all  had pavilions.  The Japanese Domestic CHP Program continues to make headway under the auspices of the New Energy Coalition.

Two fuel cell technologies could be seen to be making headway, the solid oxide (SOFC) for domestic CHP and PEM for the latest fuel cell vehicles.  Whilst PEM Systems running on natural gas give circa 37% efficiency fuel to electricity, the latest SOFC plants are now achieving 50% (Tokyo Gas) and both types achieve 85% efficiency including waste heat recovery.

Practical fuel cell vehicles

There were six vehicles for demonstration at the Japan Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Demonstration Project.  My colleague, Dr Mike Rendall, and I drove the Honda FCV Clarity and the Toyota FCHV-adv electric vehicles.  Both vehicles performed faultlessly in bitter northerly wind conditions, but the Honda had the edge on performance being a newer design.

FCV’s have arrived as practical driving propositions – the Clarity gives 400km range on a 350 bar hydrogen tank and can be refuelled in less than 5 minutes. The Japanese car industry estimates that these vehicles currently cost around £75,000 to manufacture and intend to halve this figure for market launch in 2015, due to economies of scale and simplified fuel cell architecture. Other vehicles available for demonstration were the Nissan X Trail FCV and the Mazda 5 Premacy FCV.

Reliable balance of plant

For those interested in balance of plant (BOP) this show was an Aladdin’s Cave.  All the tier one suppliers showed their latest products.  At last we can have pumps and blowers which are efficient and reliable for continuous duty operation.  We are even beginning to see good quality hydrogen pumps such as the Agura units used on Ballard’s fuel cell buses.  There were also specialist steels and ceramics for high temperature fuel cell components.

Distributed generation and storage

The Smart Grid Expo was dominated by the big electrical names in Japan such as Toshiba, Hitachi, Fuji, NEC and Mitsubishi – all keen to provide solutions for grids with millions of consumers and distributed generating sources – as opposed to a few central ones.  This involves forced commutation of the frequency sync signal and the ability to isolate zones to prevent islanding, with signalling for controlling power demand and measuring kilowatt flows.

Fuel cells will have a major role in distributed energy generation, either powered by natural gas or biogas. Hydrogen fuel cells will also have an important role in balancing the electrical load from intermittent renewable energy sources.  The PV System Expo was about large scale solar systems – megawatt scale inverters, steerable mirror arrays and similar techniques.    At last year’s Expo the 2×1 metre 250 watt panel was the new standard.  This year there were a thousand stands of PV solar, with a truly global spectrum of companies present.  There were three main themes:

(1)   System efficiency is being improved by developing panels that respond further into the infra red spectrum.    This means that the best designs can have up to 30% conversion efficiency.

(2)   Development of see-through solar panels – the panel looks like a green windscreen tint on a transparent sheet and the light goes all the way through.

(3)   Development of flexible solar panels which permit lightweight and complex shapes to be constructed.

There is no doubt that solar power is expanding fast due to reductions in capital cost per watt.  The Eco House and Building Expo was about efficient insulation, lighting, air conditioning, solar blinds and other techniques.  The West Halls were entirely occupied by the Rechargeable Battery Expo, now in its second year.  The ground floor was dedicated to battery production equipment and the upper floor to the battery technologies themselves.  There was a global presence but Lithium Ion was the dominant technology and Japanese/Chinese companies dominate this area of activity.  One interesting growth area is the big improvement in the use of ultra-capacitors.

Related Conference

Overall it was a fantastic exhibition with a great deal to study.  There was also an interesting conference.  We were not able to attend all the concurrent presentations but Mike attended those on the subject of PEM and I attended those on solid oxide fuel cells. In the PEM area, the main theme at present is work to eliminate humidification and reduce platinum loading, in order to get stack costs lower in anticipation of the 2015 launch of fuel cell vehicles in Japan, Europe and the United States.  The key to achieving this is to increase the stack temperature from 65ºC to 90º/100ºC.   All the car manufacturers have working fuel cell vehicles and, apart from stack cost, the other area of significance is cost reduction of the high pressure hydrogen storage system. Latest designs perform well across a wide envelope of environmental conditions, but there is more work to be done on self humidifying stacks in hot, dry conditions.

Solid oxide fuel cells

The presentations on solid oxide fuel cells showed that there has been solid progress with both small domestic CHP units and large industrial systems.   Ceramic Fuel Cells and the Japanese company, NGK, gave presentations on their recent experiences.

Adobe gave a very interesting paper on how a building energy management system significantly cuts electricity demand and costs at its headquarters in San Jose, California. The key is to synchronise the switching of the various loads to minimise overlap and reduce peak demand.  Bloom Energy’s 1.2 MW fuel cells provide approximately a third of the electricity requirements at Adobe’s HQ.

In the big SOFC stakes, Rolls Royce is back on track with its 1Megawatt fuel cell in a container system which has been achieved by introducing a two-loop system to overcome problems with humidity control under hot humid conditions.   Wartsila reported on its fuel cell activities, especially in ships in Finland and last but not least Mitsubishi gave a paper on a 400 Megawatt solid oxide fuel cell it is developing to replace steam turbine generating sets. It is interesting to note that their control scheme is a three-loop system. The first full scale working model is planned for 2020.  If you want to attend next year’s event, be sure and pack a comfortable pair of shoes – you will need them as there is a great deal to study and take in in just 3 days!

www.fcexpo.jp/en/ www.diverse-energy.com

FUEL CELLS IN CARBON CAPTURE RESEARCH PROJECT

FuelCell Energy, Inc. has announced their participation in a research contract with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to evaluate the effectiveness of Direct FuelCells® (DFC®) to efficiently separate carbon dioxide from the emissions of industrial operations such as refineries, cement kilns and pulp and paper mills.  These industrial operations generate flue gas, a waste product that contains CO2. The award from the EPA will fund initial testing of the ability for Direct FuelCells to consume flue gas instead of ambient air for the power generation process and their ability to cost effectively separate the CO2 within the flue gas.

Efficiently and effectively separating the CO2 enables sequestration, preventing the release of this greenhouse gas into the atmosphere.  Chris Bentley, Executive Vice President Government R&D Operations, FuelCell Energy, said that carbon capture is an important area of focus for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and their team is excited to be undertaking this leading edge research. The research under Phase I is expected to take up to six months. Successful results may lead to a demonstration project at an industrial site using a DFC power plant to provide ultra-clean electricity and usable heat for the industrial operation, while separating CO2 from the flue gas for sequestration. Capturing CO2 for sequestration is a potentially large global market.

Biogas processing

FuelCell Energy is also participating in a contract with the U.S. Department of Energy to demonstrate advanced biogas desulfurization technology.   Direct FuelCells can be fuelled by renewable biogas generated by industrial processes such as food processing, agriculture and wastewater treatment.  However, the biogas contains a high level of sulfur that must be removed prior to being used as a fuel. The biogas demonstration projects will determine the market feasibility of a new high capacity, expendable sorbent developed by TDA Research, which efficiently removes sulfur from renewable biogas.   If successful, the sorbent could reduce the cost of fuel cells operating on biogas, as it has an expected lifespan that is up to thirty times longer than the technology currently in use.

FuelCell Energy currently has 20 megawatts of DFC biogas power plants installed and in backlog.  TDA Research, Inc., the prime contractor under this U.S. Department of Energy program, developed the sorbents for the projects, which will be demonstrated at a wastewater treatment facility and a family-owned dairy farm, both located in California. The demonstration projects are expected to last 18 months.   www.fce.com

RETAILER JOHN LEWIS PLANS FUEL CELL TRIALS

John Lewis has signed a deal that could lead to it trialling alkaline fuel cell technology to generate low carbon electricity at one of its Waitrose stores.  The company has signed a commercial memorandum of understanding with Surrey based AFC Energy to evaluate the economic potential of its technology. Following successful evaluation, John Lewis will order and demonstrate the system in store as part of an integrated low carbon energy project.

John Lewis Partnership has pledged to deliver an absolute reduction in its carbon emissions of 15% by the end of its 2020/21 trading year, while at the same time targeting a doubling of revenue. This commitment is supported by a range of initiatives and targets covering operational emissions from energy, refrigeration and cooling, transport, waste and water.

The retailer says it could save a potential 200,000 tonnes in carbon emissions by taking 150 stores off grid to generate their electrical and thermal energy. Toby Marlow, engineering manager, John Lewis Partnership, said: “AFC Energy’s alkaline fuel cell gives us the opportunity to make clean electricity on site: it is a revolutionary prospect with exciting potential. This first demonstration could be the beginning of a mutually beneficial long-term relationship.”

AFC Energy’s alkaline fuel cell has the capability to significantly reduce carbon emissions for commercial buildings. An integrated system powered from bio-methane with carbon capture and storage (CCS) offers the ultimate prospect of carbon negative energy generation. www.afcenergy.com

FUEL CELL HYDROGEN BUSES IN EUROPEAN CITIES

The Clean Hydrogen in European Cities Project (CHIC), is the essential next step leading to the full market commercialization of Fuel Cell Hydrogen powered (FCH) buses. The project involves integrating 26 FCH buses in daily public transport operations and bus routes in five locations across Europe – Aargau (Switzerland), Bolzano/Bozen (Italy), London (GB), Milan (Italy), and Oslo (Norway). The CHIC project is supported by the European Union Joint Undertaking for Fuel Cells and Hydrogen (FCH JU) with 26 million Euros, and has 25 partners from across Europe, along with industrial partners for vehicle supply and refueling infrastructure. The project is based on a staged introduction and build-up of FCH bus fleets and the supporting hydrogen refuelling stations and infrastructure, in order to facilitate the smooth integration of the FCH buses in Europe’s public transport system.

Fuel cell buses now in service in London

Three CHIC fuel cell hydrogen buses are now in service in London and by the end of 2011 there will be a total of 8 in operation there.  The buses are running on the RV1 route, which takes passengers to Covent Garden, the Tower of London and the South Bank.  Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, said: “These buses are a marvel of hydrogen technology, emitting only water rather than belching out harmful pollutants. They will run through the most polluted part of the city, through two air pollution hotspots, helping to improve London’s air quality.”

Kit Malthouse, Deputy Mayor for policing and Chair of the London Hydrogen Partnership, is seen here at the driving wheel. He said: “The arrival of a flagship fleet of hydrogen powered buses places London at the forefront of this revolutionary fuel cell technology. We are thinking big and have ambitious plans to promote the use of hydrogen on the ground, propelling vehicles and powering buildings. With these buses, people can now see, touch and feel this technology for themselves and help play an exciting part in London’s energy future.”

David Brown, Managing Director for Surface Transport at Transport for London (TfL), added: “London faces many environmental challenges but we believe alternative fuels, such as hydrogen, will bring genuine long term benefits in tackling CO2 emissions. The arrival of these hydrogen hybrid fuel cell buses marks an exciting new chapter for London Buses as we embrace new technologies to further build on the excellent work we are doing to improve air quality for Londoners.”

The buses will run from a specially designed maintenance facility housed in First’s bus depot at Stratford in east London. This will include the UK’s largest permanent hydrogen refuelling station to be maintained by Air Products.  London has always been at the forefront in using and developing new technology, initially pioneering hydrogen buses in the UK when it took part in the Cleaner Urban Transport for Europe (CUTE) trial.  TfL operated three trial hydrogen buses on the route RV1, using the findings from these trials and that of European partners to seek out the suppliers who have developed these next generation hydrogen fuel cell buses to operate in central London.

The latest bus project is jointly funded by TfL, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the European Union via the Clean Hydrogen in Cities (CHIC) project.

The London Hydrogen Partnership (LHP) launched an action plan in early 2010 setting out ambitions to create a ‘Hydrogen network’ by 2012, to help accelerate the wider use of this zero-polluting, zero-carbon energy. The LHP is working with London boroughs and private landowners on plans to deliver six refuelling sites to run hydrogen-powered vehicles in the capital over the next two years. It also aims to encourage a minimum of 150 hydrogen-powered vehicles on the road in London by 2012, including 15 hydrogen powered taxis.  www.london.gov.uk/lhp

SCANDINAVIAN HYDROGEN HIGHWAY PARTNERSHIP

The Scandinavian Hydrogen Highway Partnership (SHHP) is working towards making Scandinavia a region where hydrogen is available and used in a network of re-fuelling stations.

One of the first fuelling stations has been operating for several years in Malmö with hydrogen from wind power. The aim is to have a network of hydrogen stations ready by 2015 for 100 buses, 500 cars and 500 speciality vehicles.  The SHHP constitutes a transnational network that catalyses and coordinates collaboration between three national bodies, HyNor of Norway, Hydrogen Link of Denmark and Hydrogen Sweden. Within the Nordic countries there is a long standing and strong collaboration between Icelandic New Energy and the Scandinavian Hydrogen Highway Partnership, with the purpose of deploying fuel cell vehicles and constructing and clustering hydrogen fuelling stations in a cross country infrastructure network.

From December 2011 Hynor Oslo Buss will operate 5 fuel cell buses, with hydrogen as the fuel.  The project includes the building of a hydrogen station and is part of the European demonstration project (CHIC) of fuel cell buses.

SHHP has announced that Hyundai Kia Motors and key hydrogen stakeholders from the Nordic countries, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Iceland have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the aim of collaborating towards market deployment of zero emission hydrogen powered fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV).   The Memorandum was signed in the Swedish Embassy in Seoul, Korea.

Following the signing of the Memorandum, Hyundai  Kia and the Nordic partners plan to collaborate on advancing the deployment of an increasing volume of FCEV’s and widespread hydrogen infrastructure in the Nordic countries, setting the scene for commercialization  in 2015, as announced by most of the key automotive players.

http://www.scandinavianhydrogen.org

HYDROGEN + FUEL CELLS 2011, CANADA

Hydrogen + Fuel Cells 2011 (HFC2011) is one of the leading international events for the hydrogen and fuel cell industry. The event will be celebrating its fifth edition and will be held from May 15 – 18, 2011. It will take place at the Vancouver Convention Centre in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

HFC2011 will feature keynote addresses from prominent industry, academic and government speakers as well as topical parallel sessions focusing on key issues in the sector. The event will also feature an extensive exhibition where hydrogen and fuel cell companies and research institutions will have an opportunity to demonstrate their latest efforts. There will be numerous opportunities to network and partner with global leaders in the business, government and scientific communities.

HFC 2011 at a Glance:

  • Canada’s premier hydrogen and fuel cell event attracts approximately 1,000 participants from countries most active in the sector, including the US, Germany, Japan, Denmark, Korea, India, China.
  • Extensive exhibition that covers technologies and services across the hydrogen and fuel cell value chain – from component supply, to fuel cell development, to hydrogen infrastructure.
  • Comprehensive, peer-review technical tracks to ensure ‘latest and greatest’ conference programming.
  • Event takes place in a spectacular setting along the downtown waterfront of Vancouver, Canada. The region is also an acknowledged hub for hydrogen and fuel cell development and deployment.

Participants in Canada’s premier hydrogen and fuel cells event will work together to foster Partnerships for Global Energy Solutions and will have the opportunity to:

  • Experience the latest in hydrogen and fuel cell products, including portable fuel cell devices, back-up power, materials handling, stationary power generation, hydrogen fueling and hydrogen powered vehicles.
  • Engage end users, purchasers and integrators of hydrogen and fuel cell products, including original equipment manufacturers, utilities, transit authorities, government purchasing agencies, fleet managers and warehouse operators.
  • Understand the latest scientific breakthroughs, commercial opportunities and policy developments from the world’s prominent hydrogen and fuel cell experts.
  • Visit pioneering companies and ground-breaking research facilities in Vancouver’s world-renowned hydrogen and fuel cell cluster.
  • Network and partner with global leaders in the business, government and scientific communities.

www.hfc2011.com

LONDON MAYOR WELCOMES HYDROGEN FUEL CELL TAXIS

Intelligent Energy has announced that their Fuel Cell Black Cabs have taken to the roads of London for the first time since being awarded Road Legal status by the UK Vehicle Certification Authority (VCA). At an event on 22nd March, one of the Intelligent Energy powered taxis travelled from Forbes House, headquarters of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) and the taxi’s base for the day, to some of London’s most iconic landmarks.

The project to deliver a fleet of the zero emission taxis to the streets of London in time for 2012 is on track, with the first Fuel Cell Black Cabs covering a combined total of over 8,000 miles in road and test track testing conditions. During its first tour of London’s roads, one of the Fuel Cell Black Cabs excelled in rush-hour traffic, with smooth and responsive acceleration provided by the fuel cell and electric motors.

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, wants to make Britain a leader in fuel cell technology and has already announced plans to increase hydrogen refuelling stations around the capital. He said, “These prototype zero-emission taxis are a shining example of British ingenuity, combining revolutionary fuel cell technology with an iconic design classic. This marks an important milestone in my goal to create a cleaner cab fleet, firstly through introduction of the first ever age limits moving towards zero-emission vehicles as they come to market. Affordable and low polluting cabs are within our grasp and I urge manufacturers to accelerate efforts to produce them.”

The zero emission taxis have been developed by a consortium, led by Intelligent Energy, which includes Lotus Engineering, London Taxis International and TRW Conekt with part-funding from the UK Government’s Technology Strategy Board. The fuel cell and battery powered hybrid taxi provides a 250 mile driving range with rapid refuelling, all within the confines of the body of a conventional London taxi. Now that fully functional, validated, proven vehicles have been produced, the consortium plans to push ahead with the delivery of a fleet to London in time for 2012.

“The Fuel Cell Black Cabs are now road proven with thousands of miles of operation. Indeed, many people may have seen them as they have been driven around various parts of the UK, but we are now happy to formally announce their road legal status and that you will be seeing more of them in the coming months,” noted Dr. Henri Winand, Chief Executive of Intelligent Energy. “At a time when London will soon be demonstrating its commitment to excellence in the sporting arena, we are proud to show that the UK can also deliver world-leading zero emissions, fuel cell electric vehicle technology that will make a real difference both to lowering carbon emissions and improving air quality.”

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne said: “Green vehicles are taking to the streets in a big way.  High petrol prices and the desire to clean up our air quality make them the smart choice. The zero emissions London taxi looks and performs just like a conventional taxi, even over long distances.  It’s a great British innovation and I look forward to seeing them in service in London next year.”

Paul Everitt, Chief Executive of SMMT, said:  “The UK is at the heart of the global low carbon industry and is a leader for research and development into new technologies. Over the coming years the low carbon sector is set to become increasingly important for manufacturers and motorists. The Fuel Cell Black Cab is a terrific example of British engineering skills and pioneering innovation.”

INTELLIGENT ENERGY MOVES TOWARDS THE LOW CARBON ECONOMY

Suzuki Burgman Scooter Obtains Whole Vehicle Type Approval

Intelligent Energy and Suzuki Motor Corporation, have announced that the jointly developed Suzuki Burgman Fuel Cell Scooter has obtained Whole Vehicle Type Approval (WVTA) – the first time any fuel cell vehicle has achieved this level of certification in Europe. WVTA qualifies the Suzuki Burgman Fuel Cell Scooter design as safe to use on public roads without having to be inspected and tested individually, and brings zero emission motorcycles a step closer to becoming commercially available.

First exhibited at the 41st Tokyo Motor Show in October 2009, the Suzuki Burgman Fuel Cell Scooter, equipped with the latest version of Intelligent Energy’s unique, air-cooled hydrogen fuel cell system, has been participating in a UK public road testing program run by Intelligent Energy and supported by the UK Government’s Technology Strategy Board. The Suzuki Burgman Fuel Cell Scooter design has now met with specified EU performance standards meaning that the vehicle and its components are approved for production and sale within Europe.

Chris Huhne MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change visited Intelligent Energy and is seen here on the WVTA Certified Suzuki Burgman Fuel Cell Scooter. Also in the photograph are from left to right, Yasuhara Osawa, Managing Director of Suzuki GB, Dr. Henri Winand, Chief Executive of Intelligent Energy, and Dennis Hayter, VP Business Development, Intelligent Energy.

The Chairman and CEO of Suzuki Motor Corporation, Mr. O. Suzuki, stated: “Suzuki Motor Corporation is pleased to announce that the Suzuki Burgman Fuel Cell Scooter has become the world’s first fuel cell vehicle to earn Whole Vehicle Type Approval in the European Union.  Our aim is to make eco-friendly fuel cell scooters increasingly common in Europe, in line with the establishment of hydrogen filling stations and other necessary infrastructure.”

The city-friendly Suzuki Burgman Fuel Cell Scooter was jointly launched in Europe at London’s City Hall in February last year. At the event, the Chair of the London Hydrogen Partnership and London’s Deputy Mayor for Policing, Kit Malthouse, hailed the zero emission scooter as a “fantastic piece of kit which shows how we can combat climate change.” A fleet of the scooters will now undergo a further test program in various public road conditions at sites in the East Midlands and London.

Chris Huhne also had an opportunity to test drive the Fuel Cell Black Cab – a fleet of which is targeted to hit the streets of London for 2012. “The zero emissions London taxi, developed here in Loughborough, looks and performs just like a conventional taxi, even over longer distances,” he said.  “It’s a great British innovation and I look forward to seeing them in service in London next year.  Low carbon energy is a big growth sector and firms like Intelligent Energy, who are taking innovative ideas out of the lab and putting them into practice, are going to be the big names of the new economy.”

Earlier Dr. Winand and Rolls Royce Chairman, Sir John Rose, had briefed UK Government Cabinet Ministers, including the Prime Minister David Cameron, the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, the Business Secretary, Vince Cable and the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Chris Huhne. The briefing followed news earlier this year that Dr. Winand had joined the Government’s new Green Economy Council, composed of senior business leaders across the industrial sector, including Ford, Centrica, and IBM.   “Ministerial visits such as these help us to convey both the significant progress Intelligent Energy is making towards the commercialisation of clean technologies on an international stage, and support our shared goal to position the UK as a leader in the deployment and manufacture of low carbon technologies,” explained Dr. Winand.     http://www.intelligent-energy.com

HFUEL HAS ACHIEVED ROAD COMPLIANCE

ITM Power has announced that its HFuel transportable hydrogen refueling product has satisfied the requirements of the UK’s Department for Transport for road use.

In preparation for the HOST (Hydrogen On Site Trials), ITM Power has undertaken a thorough assessment of system safety and the required approvals. This has generated a suite of documentation to evidence the legal transportation of HFuel on UK public roads with a full inventory of hydrogen and to satisfy local fire and Health & Safety authorities. As part of the assessment, the Company has created a documentary resource covering the elements required by the Dangerous Goods Division of the Department for Transport. This has involved independent pressure testing to 1.5 times working pressure, assessment by an independent ADR Notified Body and interaction with specialist chemical plant consultants. Similarly, Revolve Technologies has subjected the hydrogen internal combustion engine Transit vans to the appropriate level of assessment. This has included independent leak testing of on board pressure systems, crash test simulation and the implementation of a dynamic leak detection strategy. This has resulted in the vehicles being granted a Vehicle Special Order Type Approval by the Department for Transport to enable them to be used on the road whilst transporting goods for trials and demonstration purposes.    http://www.itm-power.com