2013 was a big year for hydrogen and fuel cell technology. Let’s take a look back over the past year and highlight the big events that made the last 12 months memorable.
Nuvera officially launched its newest generation fuel cell stack, the Nuvera Orion. Orion delivers higher productivity, lower cost of ownership and reduced emissions and is easily integrated by forklift manufacturers and other industrial vehicle OEMs into their product suite.
Major automakers entered into strategic partnerships to push fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) development. Daimler AG, Ford, and Nissan signed an agreement to develop a common fuel cell system for use in separate mass-market cars from 2017. A similar agreement was reached between Toyota and BMW.
Hyundai became the world’s first automaker to begin assembly-line production of zero-emissions, hydrogen-powered vehicles for fleet use. The company’s first ix35 FCEV rolled off the assembly line at their Ulsan, Korea headquarters.
Dept. of Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced that he would not seek a second term. In 2012, Sec. Chu made headlines when he announced he had changed his view on hydrogen as a transportation fuel. The abundance and low cost of natural gas, technological developments in fuel cell technology, and faster refueling times helped change his perspective.
Rumors started to spread about a new government initiative to push hydrogen infrastructure in the United States (called H2USA). Automotive News reported that the DOE would create a partnership between the automakers and other stakeholders to promote FCEVs throughout the nation.
The White House published more details about President Obama’s Energy Security Trust. The Trust would take revenues from profitable oil and gas companies and re-invest the money into alternative transportation fuels and technologies, like hydrogen fuel cells.
Nuvera launched Massachusetts’ first FCEV program. Since April, Nuvera has been operating and maintaining two Toyota Advanced Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicles (FCHV-adv) at its headquarters in Billerica, Massachusetts.
BMW announced that it doubled its fleet of fuel cell-powered forklifts at its manufacturing plant in Spartanburg, S.C. BMW deployed its fleet in 2010 with about 100 hydrogen-powered vehicles. Since then, the company has expanded its fuel cell fleet to approximately 230 vehicles.
Massachusetts celebrated its 2nd annual Clean Energy Day at the State House in Boston.
The DOE officially launched H2USA, a public-private partnership to advance the development of hydrogen infrastructure across the United States. H2USA brings together automakers, government agencies, gas suppliers, and the hydrogen and fuel cell industries to coordinate research and identify cost-effective solutions to deliver affordable, clean hydrogen fuel in the United States.
Dr. Ernest Moniz became the new Secretary of Energy in the U.S.A.
Nuvera joined the H2USA partnership. The 13 founding members of the H2USA partnership were the AGAS, Association of Global Automakers, CaFCP, the DOE, the Electric Drive Transportation Association, FCHEA, Hyundai, ITM Power, Massachusetts Hydrogen Coalition, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Proton OnSite, and Toyota. Since its introduction, 12 additional organisations have signed up to H2USA: Nuvera Fuel Cells, Air Liquide, Honda, ARC: Hydrogen, Argonne National Laboratory, Chrysler, GM, Hydrogenics, NREL, Plug Power, SCRA and Sandia National Laboratories.
Ace Hardware selected Nuvera’s PowerTap hydrogen infrastructure solution for its new Retail Support Center in Wilmer, Texas. PowerTap will produce up to 50 kg of hydrogen per day to refuel a fleet of fuel cell-powered lift trucks. Ace Hardware elected to power its material handling equipment with fuel cells after comparing its costs and performance with standard and fast charge lead acid batteries. The facility is expected to be up and running in early 2014.
Also this month, Honda and GM announced a co-development agreement to collaborate on next-generation fuel cell technology.
Nuvera joined forces with the DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and Thermo King to use advanced fuel cell technology to power transport refrigeration units (TRUs) on tractor trailers. Nuvera’s Orion™ fuel cell will do the work normally done by a small diesel engine, which keeps food and beverage cargo at the proper temperature while the tractor trailer is making deliveries. The Energy Department-supported demonstration will be conducted by Sysco Corp. and HEB Grocery Company (H-E-B), both based in Texas.
Nuvera launched their new mobile-friendly website, which is becoming the go-to information source for people wanting to learn more about hydrogen and fuel cell technology. The website highlights how Nuvera’s PowerTap and Orion solutions deliver value to customers in the industrial mobility, automotive, aerospace and other industries. These include the use of hydrogen for chemical, manufacturing, and other processes such as glass production, metals treatment, power generation, solar manufacturing, and food production.
This month, Boston was named the No. 1 energy efficient city, beating out Portland, New York City, San Francisco, and Seattle.
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick joined governors from seven other states to pledge to get 3.3 million zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) on roadways by 2025 in an effort to curb greenhouse gas pollution from transportation sources. The Governor said more electric vehicles are key to the state’s efforts to grow the region’s economy.
Also in October, Toyota unveiled its new FCEV prototype during an exclusive media event prior to the official debut at the Tokyo Motor Show. Toyota’s new model holds around 5 kg of compressed hydrogen in tanks that can be refueled in three minutes.
Nuvera will begin an exciting adventure with Italian-shipbuilder, Fincantieri to power high-end marine vessels with fuel cells. Nuvera’s Orion will be used as a range extender for use on marine vessels, and provide air-independent propulsion (AIP), which will make sea travel cleaner and quieter.
Honda unveiled its FCEV Concept at the Los Angeles International Auto Show.
Hyuandai announced that its FCEV Tucson will be available to lease in California for $499/month.
Toyota announced that it will bring its FCEV concept vehicle to the Las Vegas CES show in January.
Hyundai’s FCEV Intrado was revealed ahead of the 2014 Geneva Motor Show.
The U.S. Naval Research demonstrated the launch of an all-electric, fuel cell-powered, unmanned aerial system (UAS) from a submerged submarine.
Starting in December 2013, Nuvera will begin an exciting adventure with Italian-shipbuilder, Fincantieri to power high-end marine vessels with fuel cells. Let’s explore what gives hydrogen fuel cells their sea-legs for marine-based applications.
Using hydrogen fuel cells in marine vessels reduces the exhaust emissions, vibrations, noise, and costs associated with diesel-powered sea travel. And since fuel cells are solid state electricity-generating devices with no moving parts, they are exceptionally quiet in terms of machinery noise compared to conventional diesel engines.
Interest in hydrogen fuel cells for marine applications has grown as the marine industry looks for new ways to tackle environmental concerns and improve engine-reliability.
For this particular program, Fincantieri will integrate Nuvera’s Orion fuel cell stack technology into high-end, luxury marine vessels. Fincantieri selected Nuvera’s Orion fuel cell stack technology for its performance and durability. Orion will act as range extenders and provide air-independent propulsion (AIP) as the ships move through the water. AIP is the same technology used in non-nuclear submarines, and allows the vessel to operate without the need to surface for oxygen. AIP generates electricity, which in turn drives an electric motor for propulsion or for recharging the boat’s batteries. The outcome of using this technology is silent operation, a major benefit in the world of luxury sea travel.
Nuvera is excited to be working with a partner like Fincantieri for this program. Fincantieri has coordinated the building of more than 7,000 seagoing vessels spanning its 200 year history, giving the shipbuilder an unrivaled understanding of the sea travel industry.
Yesterday marked a major victory in the march towards a cleaner transportation future for the United States. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick joined governors from seven other states Thursday to pledge to get 3.3 million zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) on roadways by 2025 in an effort to curb greenhouse gas pollution from transportation sources.
Massachusetts Gov. Patrick said more electric vehicles are key to the state’s efforts to grow the region’s economy.
“Diversifying transportation fuels and providing drivers with options will help reduce vulnerability to price swings in imported oil that hurt consumers and our economy,” Patrick said in a statement.
Collectively, the eight states — California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont — represent about 23 percent of the U.S. auto market, according to information the group released Thursday.
Zero-emission vehicles include battery electric vehicles (BEVs), plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles (PHEVs), and hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs).
So, what needs to happen between now and 2025 to hit the goal of 3.3 million ZEVs?
“This is not just an agreement, but a serious and profoundly important commitment,” said California Governor Jerry Brown. “From coast to coast, we’re charging ahead to get millions of the world’s cleanest vehicles on our roads.”
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Don’t let its disguise fool you. Under that psychedelic print is a prototype of Toyota’s first production fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) called the FCV-R.
Select members of the media were invited to Toyota’s headquarters in Japan to see the exciting new cars firsthand. Writer, Eric Rogell wrote about his experience in a recent article on the news site, TreeHugger.
Nuvera Fuel Cells has been driving two of Toyota’s FCHV-adv cars for about 6 months now. To a passerby, Nuvera’s FCHV-advs look like white Toyota Highlander SUVs. But Toyota’s new prototype is different - a sedan, similar in shape to the Lexus HS, which will provide better airflow and aerodynamics.
The Toyota FCV-R has two spun-carbon and aluminum tanks holding hydrogen gas pressurized to 700 bar (10,000 psi). And as far as power density goes, the car generates 3 kW per liter. In Toyota’s testing, the FCEV can go over 310 miles before needing to be refueled with hydrogen.
Based on this week’s press surrounding the new prototypes, it is clear that Toyota is excited about the new addition to their product lineup.
The Telegraph, “Toyota FCV-R prototype review” (October 21, 2013)
Autocar, “Toyota FCV First Drive Review” (October 22, 2013)
Treehugger, “Toyota’s New Fuel Cell Vehicle: What it is, how it works, and how it drives” (October 21, 2013)