DRI Hosts Fuel Cell Conference in Tahoe
Karen Miller, Program Manager, National Hydrogen Association
The latest advances in technology and applications
for all types of fuel cells were discussed on 26-29 July 1998 at the Desert
Research Institutes Fuel Cell Conference held in Lake Tahoe, Nevada,
U.S.A. Over 70 participants attended this conference sponsored by the W.
Alton Jones Foundation and The Energy Foundation. Highlights of some of
the presentations are included below.
LocomotivesThe advantages to using fuel cells in locomotives include reduced fuel
consumption by up to 50% and reduced emissions by 45%. They have a long
operating life and are much quieter than diesel systems, making them particularly
good for residential neighborhoods. They are modular and can therefore be
just-right sized. They have a lower profile as well as a separate
hotel load/auxiliary power. They also require low maintenance.
Bob Wichert, DRI
Marine ApplicationsDCH Technology is forming a Maritime Hydrogen Technology Development
Group, to demonstrate a variety of clean energy applications on a maritime
platform. (See related story.)
David Haberman, DCH Technology
Europe Market AssessmentA key driver for fuel cells in Europe is the lower allowable sulphur
levels in vehicle emissions. Less than 200 grams per kilometer is permissible
now, but the limit is expected to drop to 140 g/km by 2008.
The European Union (EU) population is 372 million. The GDP is $8.4
trillion. The new EU FC RD&D Strategy includes a short term focus on
applications expected to be competitive by 2005: CHP (combined heat and
power), mobile, portable, and remote applications.
Mike Walsh, consultant; and Robert Rose, Fuel Cells 2000
India Market AssessmentIndia per capita consumption is 170 kilowatt-hours. In the U.S.A., it
is 10,000 kWh; in Japan, 5,000 kWh; in Germany, 6,000 kWh; and in Sweden,
Delhi is considered the worst-polluted city in the world, with three
million vehicles and emissions of 900 tons per day. Other large cities in
India are on the way to reach these levels in the near future.
Fuel cells for rural areas are needed. Eighty percent of the population
is considered low income, with only 20% having electricity. Out of this,
17% is used for irrigation, requiring only low power systems (1 kW needed).
India uses a lot of methanol. A carbonate fuel cell might be a good
fit. India is considering several fuel cell types, but presently there is
no commercially available technology. There are several interested private
industries and several R&D institutions engaged in fundamental work.
India also is interested in fuel cells and batteries for two-wheeled
power transportation, such as scooters and mopeds.
K. Vijayamohanan, Sojourner; Krishna Sapru-Energy Conversion Devices
Mexico Market AssessmentIn Mexico, electricity cost is about 7-8 cents/kW based on fossil fuels,
with a projected annual growth of 4.6% (1993-2003). The power generation
capacity growth is 29,204 MW to 44,000 MW.
Utilities in Mexico have been recently deregulated. There are 500,000
kilometers of transmission lines, which results in a loss of energy. There
is a rural need for electrification (domestic and agriculture activities),
as well as premium power for banks and other centers requiring reliable
and quality power. Mexico is interested in facilitating demonstration projects
in these areas.
Ulises Cano, Sojourner
Argentina Market AssessmentArgentina has an increasing number of vehicles and, therefore, pollution.
They do use clean alternatives for stationary power applications, with over
40% coming from hydro power, as well as nuclear. In Buenos Aires, electricity
is very expensive. There are many communities without grid power. There
is an opportunity for fuel cell technology for agricultural uses in the
north and northwest regions, and especially in Patagonia (south) for wind
hydrogen distributed power generation.
Hernan Peretti, Sojourner, Centro Atomico Bariloche
The World BankGlobalized Environmental Facilities are specialized new
technologies for eligible developing countries, including Argentina, China,
etc. The partners are UNDP (technical), UNEP (scientific and technical),
and The World Bank (investment operations, funds administrator).
The program provides incremental cost financing (portion not justified
in the domestic context) to obtain global benefits, and funds projects in
response to government requests or funds may go directly to private sector
with government approval.
The program elements include:
Jitendra (Jitu) Shah
- concept development;
- pre-investment and feasibility;
- $2.8 billion over four years available;
- 40-50% for climate change;
- uses funding leverage (5:1 or better);
- remove barriers (such as inability to analyze nontraditional projects).
International Finance CorporationIFC exclusively invests in private sector groups in developing countries.
IFC makes money on investments (venture capitalists). IFCs power department
is interested in fuel cells, but they need manufacturing support for project
CO2 Trading OptionsThe basic concept is that the government sets the rules. Environmental
goals are met separately. In an open market, credits are established, like
a bond. It is run like a consumer product.
A closed market relies on the government and increases confidence.
It is less risky than an open market. The World Bank CO2
credit Mutual Fund is an example of financial innovation.
A credit system must be created which is meaningful. For example,
a $20 credit on a motorized scooter wont provide much incentive to
the purchaser. However, if the manufacturer gets the credit, the incentive
is greater, based on volume. These dollars may then be invested into R&D.
Robert Rose, Fuel Cells 2000
©1998. All Rights Reserved. A Publication of
the National Hydrogen Association.
This material may not be reproduced in any form without permission.
Home Page Return to NHA News Index