Did you know…

Fuel Cells UK has prepared a couple of factsheets to demonstrate the real status of fuel cells deployment and commercialization.

Factsheet 1: Did you know that…

Transport Applications

…more than 14,000 fuel cells units for the niche transport application have been sold internationally, including materials handling devices such as forklifts [1]

…75% of fuel cells systems manufactured for niche transport applications in the period 2008-2009 [2] were produced in Europe

…fuel cell cars powered with renewable hydrogen have zero well-to-wheel emissions …fuel cells produce between 0g (for hydrogen produced from renewable sources) and ~85g (for hydrogen produced from fossil fuels) of CO2/km, compared to a gasoline internal combustion engine, which produces approximately ~170g of CO2/km [3]

…hydrogen fuelled transport fuel cells improve general air quality by eliminating oxides of nitrogen and particulate matter from exhausts

…neither biofuels, Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs), Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) nor Fuel Cell Vehicles (FCVs) can be commercialised in large scale without significant further development

…by 2017, nearly 50,000 California customers could be driving fuel cell vehicles [4]

…to date, 250 demonstration fuel cell vehicles—passenger and transit buses—have been deployed on California’s roads [5]

…a mass produced fuel cell vehicle with 350-mile all-electric range is projected to cost less than plug-in hybrid and full battery-electric vehicle [6]

…Germany already has over 300 fuel cells vehicles on the road.

Stationary Applications

… more than 11,000 small stationary fuel cells units have been deployed globally [7]

… in 2008, the installed capacity of fuel cells in large scale stationary applications reached 170MWe [8]

…Japan has 5,862 stationary fuel cells units under operation [9]

… 6,000 fuel cell CHP units, commercially available today, rated at 400kWe (sufficient to power a supermarket or school) would deliver the same level of CO2 reductions as the proposed Severn Barrage, and could be in place in 5 years at more than 3 times lower capital cost [10]

…if 5.6 million homes had microCHP installed by 2020, the saved CO2 emissions would be equivalent to the emissions from eight new 750MW Combined Cycle Gas Turbine power stations [11]

…a 2kW stationary fuel cell CHP unit can save up to 5 tonnes of CO2 per household per annum depending on the installation [12]

…fuel cells enable wider uptake of combined heat and power generation at 80-90% overall efficiency [13]

Portable Applications

…more than 10,000 fuel cells units for portable applications were sold in 2008 alone [14]

Hydrogen

…more than 150 hydrogen refuelling stations have been in operation worldwide [15]

…for a given quantity of energy storage, compressed hydrogen storage costs are expected be 1/20 that of advanced lithium-ion batteries ($15/KWH vs. $320/KWH) [16]

…European research conducted as a part of the European HyWays project has shown that hydrogen deployment could reduce oil consumption in road transport by 40% by 2050 [17]

Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Industry

…the global fuel cell market could be worth over $26bn in 2020 and over $180bn in 2050. The UK share of this market could be $1bn in 2020 rising to $19bn in 2050 [18]

…the global fuel cell and hydrogen market is projected to be worth $8.5billion (CAD) (£4.89billion) in 2016 [19]

…the fuel cell sector is expanding rapidly, and experienced a 22% gain in fuel cell specific employment in 2006, building on a 12% increase in 2005 [20]

…between 2003 and 2008 the fuel cell and hydrogen industry created 2,000 green collar jobs in Canada alone [21]

…In the USA, more than 630 companies and laboratories in 47 states are investing $1 billion a year in fuel cell and hydrogen [22]

…in 2008, approximately 3,870 organizations worldwide were involved in fuel cells, hydrogen energy and related nanotechnology; associated spending was an estimated $8.4 billion [23]

Research and Academia

…1 in 9 universities in the UK has active R&D programmes in hydrogen and 1 in 20 undertakes research into fuel cells [24]

…in 2008, this community provided 344 full time jobs and postdoctoral positions [25]

…total university funding in FY2008 for hydrogen and fuel cell research topped £29 million; over 9% of this came from industry, and well over 75% came from UK sources [26]

…15 spins out have been created so far from the research being done in UK universities, with at least 5 more in the pipeline [27]

International Support for Fuel Cells [28][29][30]

Country Government support for fuel cells in GBP
USA £368m annually until 2014 and £1,727.78/kW purchase incentive tax credit
India £28.7m per year for R&D and commercialization
China £34.5m per year for R&D and commercialization
Denmark £17.29m per year
EU £461.22m over six years
Germany £0.63 billion until 2017
Japan £219m in 2008 for R&D and commercialization
Korea £57.63m per year for R&D and commercialization

 

…in twenty-seven US states electricity from fuel cell stationary power plants is eligible for clean electricity feed-in tariff programs [31]

Fuel Cells and Green Job Creation

…a DOE study estimates a net increase of fuel cell related jobs of 361,000 in the US by 2050 [32] …California alone could see up to 25,000 new jobs within the fuel cell supply chain by 2050 [33]

Factsheet 2: Myths vs. Reality

Myths Realities
1. Fuel cells are not available commercially Tens of thousands of units are already bringing efficiency, carbon saving and fuel diversity benefits to the energy landscape. Of these, over 11,000 stationary fuel cell systems have been deployed. In a number of niche applications – for example, in fork-lift trucks, fuel cell powered units are becoming the option of choice. Stationary fuel cells are presently generating over 180MW of electricity globally in CHP and CCHP applications, and approximately the same amount is currently on order.
2. Fuel cells have to be fuelled by hydrogen Fuel cells can be installed to operate on today’s fuels, such as natural gas, as well as a wide range of other fuels such as bio gas, bio ethanol and future renewable fuels. Commonly available fuels, such as natural gas, are facilitating the roll-out of stationary systems and enabling them to compete with conventional technologies. Linking fuel cell CHP installations to Anaerobic Digestion Biogas (ADG) via the gas grid (in an analogous way to renewable electricity purchased on the electricity grid) would allow accelerated deployment of both technologies, assuming that the existing ADG-derived electricity feed-in tariff was available to such combinations. Where hydrogen is the preferred fuel, for example in transport, infrastructure is developing to meet new demand.
3. Fossil fuel derived hydrogen is inefficient and provides no benefit to the environment Hydrogen from renewable sources can be produced today and has no carbon footprint; however, like renewable electricity, it is more expensive than the fossil fuel equivalent. The decarbonisation of electricity through pre-combustion carbon capture and storage will result in large amount of carbon-free hydrogen at a lower cost than CCS electricity. In addition, because of the greater efficiencies of fuel cells, when compared to conventional gas turbines or internal combustion engines, fuel cell power provides significant CO2 emissions savings, even when powered with fossil fuel directly. Compared to grid electricity and gas, a fuel cell will reduce the CO2 emissions by 40% for the same amount of electricity produced. The current use of fossil fuels provides a practical interim step on route to the low carbon future. When biogas is available, fuel cells produce at least 20% more green electricity than any other generating medium.
4. Hydrogen is not safe Hydrogen is no more or less hazardous than other high energy content fuels, such as petrol and methane. For more than half a century, it has been produced, stored, and used safely following well established practices in a variety of industrial applications. A particular advantage of hydrogen is that, because of its low molecular weight, it tends to dissipate rapidly through the air in the event of an accident.
5. Electrolysis is costly and inefficient Electrolyers are efficient at both retaining the original energy they absorbed and converting it into high value, widely applicable fuel. Today’s larger electrolysers typically show a stack efficiency of around 75% to 84% (HHV) for modest output pressures of 10–30 bar . The key to affordable and reliable energy supplies in 2050 is likely to be a route by which low cost renewable energy, generated at the whim of sun and wind, can be stored and used as and when required. This frequently demands storage, or time shifting of loads, over periods of several days or even weeks. Such a need can be met by hydrogen produced by electrolysis. Even if the process consumes (perhaps) 15% of primary energy, system and stand-by losses are much less than an electricity infrastructure of vastly greater size, cost and complexity, making hydrogen the preferred vector.
6. Fuel cells are very expensive Some types of fuel cells contain costly materials such as membranes and platinum catalysts, and these contribute significantly to today’s cost. Research on reducing platinum content and other material costs is already well advanced and costs continue to fall. Today’s fuel cell costs also reflect low production volumes and further significant reductions will be achieved through mass production. The cost of production for fuel cells has reduced, on average, by 25% per annum for about the last ten years. Looking ahead, the costs of fuel cell systems for vehicles are expected to decrease by 90% by 2020
7. Fuel cells have a short lifetime Like conventional energy generators, fuel cell lifetimes vary according to specific technology, fuel type and operating conditions. All types of fuel cells increase their stack lives with each iteration. This notwithstanding, stationary fuel cells with a warranted 10 year lifespan are commercially available today and automotive fuel cells are demonstrating lifetimes equal to those of conventional engines. For comparison, the lifetime of normal batteries is between 2 and 5 years and no reciprocating engine will last for more than 5 years with its original componentry.
8. There is not enough platinum to deploy fuel cells Platinum, unlike many other metals, is almost always recycled. As a result, most of the platinum ever mined is still available and primary mined platinum is only a small part of total resource. For example, it has been used in catalytic converters in internal combustion engines for many years. Platinum extraction from used fuel cell stacks is likely to be more efficient than from autocatalysts and, therefore, recovery rates from fuel cells will be >95%. A study conducted for the Department for Transport [34] supports this and states that under any of the analysed fuel cell deployment scenarios, availability of platinum should not be a constraint to the introduction of fuel cell cars on a wide scale.
9. Fuel cells require new re-fuelling infrastructure As mentioned under (2), many stationary fuel cell systems can be fuelled using a variety of existing fuels, thus contributing to energy security and facilitating roll-out. Deployment of almost any new technology for transport applications requires new refuelling infrastructure. Development of infrastructure for hydrogen fuelled vehicles may be far more cost effective than that needed for electric vehicles. The high energy density and rapid refuelling times for hydrogen vehicles mean that approximately 9,000 hydrogen refuelling stations would be needed across the whole of the UK. This is modest compared to electric vehicle charging point networks;, almost three times as many charging points for electric vehicles are being planned in London alone. Over 150 refuelling stations have already been built worldwide.
10. Fuel cells cars are not a viable replacement for conventional vehicles Fuel cells represent the only technology that can today achieve significant carbon emission reductions without compromising the range and quality of driving. Fuel cell vehicles offer longer driving range and are faster refuelling than battery electric vehicles. Major OEMs plan to launch of tens of thousands of fuel cells vehicles in 2015.

References

[1] 2009 Niche Transport Survey; Adamson K-A. ,Callaghan Jarram L.; Fuel Cell Today, August 2009

[2] 2009 Niche Transport Survey; Adamson K-A. ,Callaghan Jarram L.; Fuel Cell Today, August 2009

[3] Well-to-Wheels analysis of future automotive fuels and powertrains in the European context Well-to-Wheels Report version 2b, May 2006

[4] Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle and Station Deployment Plan: A Strategy for Meeting the Challenge Ahead Action Plan, February 2009

[5] Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle and Station Deployment Plan: A Strategy for Meeting the Challenge Ahead Action Plan, February 2009

[6] Kromer & Heywood, “Electric Powertrains: Opportunities & Challenges in the U.S. Light-Duty Vehicle Fleet Report # LFEE 2007-03RP, MIT, May, 2007, Table 53

[7] Small Stationary Survey 2009, Adamson K-A, Fuel Cell Today, March 2009

[8] Large Stationary Survey 2008, Adamson K-A., Fuel Cell Today, August 2008, Graph 3: Annual and Cumulative MWe Installed

[9] Personal communication with Ryozo Tanaka, Climate Change and Energy Team Leader, Science and Innovation Section, British Embassy Tokyo

[10] (Calculation compares the total power output from a 400kWe rated CHP fuel cell unit, operating at 80% efficiency, with 40% electrical efficiency, assuming a 40% efficiency saving over fossil fuel grid power. Cardiff- Weston crossing of the Severn Barrage is estimated at 17TWh, as determined by Parsons and Brinckerhoff and DECC, see http://www.pbworld.co.uk/index.php?doc=627; Assumes installed cost of single 400 kWe fuel cell CHP unit at $1 million (currency exchange rate adopted at 1$ = 0.62676 GBP, as on 09.10.2009 www.xe.com) and Severn Barrage costs at £15 billion)

[11] http://www.centrica.co.uk/index.asp?pageid=39&newsid=1175

[12] www.cfcl.com.au; http://cerespower.com

[13] http://www.cfcl.com.au/Value_Proposition/

[14] Portable Fuel Cell Survey 2009, Butler J., Fuel Cell Today, April 2009

[15] 2009 Hydrogen Infrastructure Survey, Callaghan Jerram L. & Dehamna A., Fuel Cell Today, June 2009

[16] Kromer & Heywood, “Electric Powertrains: Opportunities & Challenges in the U.S. Light-Duty Vehicle Fleet Report # LFEE 2007-03RP, MIT, May, 2007, Table 53

[17] IMF, 2006; IEA, 2004; Greene, 2005 in HyWays; The European Hydrogen Roadmap; 2008

[18] http://www.carbontrust.co.uk/News/presscentre/091009_Polymer_fuelcell_challenge.htm

[19] 10 Reasons to Support Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Funding, CHFCA, Available from http://www.chfca.ca/files/10%2520Reasons%2520Brochure.pdf

[20] http://www.usfcc.com/resources/2007worldwide_survey_final_low.pdf

[21] 10 Reasons to Support Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Funding, CHFCA, Available from http://www.chfca.ca/files/10%2520Reasons%2520Brochure.pdf

[22] Five Reasons to Restore Hydrogen and Fuel Cell in FY 2010 Budget; US FCC; 2009

[23] Fuel Cells, Hydrogen Energy and Related Nanotechnology—A Global Industry and Market Analysis, iRAP, http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2279493/nanotechnology_critical_to_future_180.html?cat=3

[24] Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Research Activities in UK Universities – the Value to the UK Economy, Admson K-A & Butler J., Fuel Cell Today, May 2009, Low Carbon and Fuel Cell Technology KTN

[25] Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Research Activities in UK Universities – the Value to the UK Economy, Admson K-A & Butler J., Fuel Cell Today, May 2009, Low Carbon and Fuel Cell Technology KTN

[26] Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Research Activities in UK Universities – the Value to the UK Economy, Admson K-A & Butler J., Fuel Cell Today, May 2009, Low Carbon and Fuel Cell Technology KTN

[27] Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Research Activities in UK Universities – the Value to the UK Economy, Admson K-A & Butler J., Fuel Cell Today, May 2009, Low Carbon and Fuel Cell Technology KTN

[28] 10 Reasons to Support Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Funding, CHFCA, Available from http://www.chfca.ca/files/10%2520Reasons%2520Brochure.pdf

[29] As on 30th November 2009, 1 CAD = 0.576369 GBP, www.xe.com

[30] Courtesy of Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Association

[31] 10 Reasons to Support Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Funding, CHFCA, Available from http://www.chfca.ca/files/10%2520Reasons%2520Brochure.pdf

[32] Effects of a Transition to a Hydrogen Economy on Employment in the United States, Department of Energy, July 2008

[33] Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle and Station Deployment Plan: A Strategy for Meeting the Challenge Ahead Action Plan February 2009

[34] http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/roads/environment/research/cqvcf/platinumandhydrogenforfuelce3838