Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Tuesday's News rife with FC Commercialization

I hope to make some individual posts on the recent news, perhaps tonight. But to sum up:

FuelCell Energy, while still waiting on orders for its CT Project 100 68 MW worth of installations and the still holding Freedom Tower potential, has had its partnership with German Gas Giant Linde bear its first fruit. Linde secured 4 orders for California wastewater treatment totaling 3.9 megawatts. the units are the new technology (20% more power) DFCs, 3/1.2 MW and 1/300 kW. Linde has a bunch (100's) of ww plants as customers, primarily in Germany, but otherwise scattered around the world. CA offers the biggest subsidy, but this bodes well for the future.

Hydrogenics, following fellow canuck Ballard's lead by leaning down its non-FC power business, recently laying off a bunch test equipment employees, has received a follow-on order for 3 of its German midi-buses. The buses will be used in a high-profile Water and Clean development conference in Spain next summer. It's still a shame that FCs remain so low-profile in the US.

In Japan, Matsushita(Panasonic) and Toshiba FC both announced plans for gearing up to mass-produce their mCHP systems to the order of 10,000/year by 2010/2011. Ebara made a similar non-specific announcement with their own Ballard-licensed production, and Nippon Oil clearly has plans (and the resources) to do the same with its recently purchased Sanyo technology and production facilities. They are all assuming they will be able to bring down the reformer cost by then, whether they move to HT PEM or find another solution. Or else they'll have a lot of residential fuel cell systems for sale cheap to anyone with a bunch of hydrogen.

And lastly, on my home front, UMass Amherst garnered a seed grant from the NSF of $1.5M to begin a fuel cell research program, with $10's of millions more in a couple years if they do it right. They'll be trying to figure why fuel cell electrolytes work. I say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. But then again, I wouldn't turn down the money.