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Newsletter 08, Autumn 2016

52nd Executive Committee Meeting – Zaragoza, Spain, June 2016

A new name - Technology Collaboration Programme

Book - Fuel Cells: Data, Facts and Figures

National updates from Japan and Sweden

National Strategies and Plans report published

Annex 33, Annex 36 and Annex 37 updates

Fuel cell news

Forthcoming Expert Annex meetings

Join our work

Special thanks


52nd Executive Committee Meeting – Zaragoza, Spain - June 2016

The 52nd Executive Committee (ExCo) Meeting of the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Technology Collaboration Programme on Advanced Fuel Cells (AFC TCP) was held at the Hotel Eurostars Zaragoza, Spain on the 16 and 17 June 2016. The event was well attended with representatives coming from Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Sweden and the US, and guests from China and Spain.

A warm welcome to all was given by Detlef Stolten, the AFC TCP Chairman.  

Members of the AFC TCP were delighted to welcome three representatives from the Spanish Hydrogen Association (AeH2): Maria Jaen Caparros, (General Manager of the National Hydrogen Center (CNH2)), Lourdes Rodríguez Mayor (Director of the CNH2) and Antonio Martinez Chaparro (Researcher from the Centre for Energy, Environment and Technology (CIEMAT)). Maria Jaen Caparros gave an update on the AeH2, which was founded in 2002 and is a non-profit organisation. Its main aims are to boost development of hydrogen technologies, and to stimulate their industrial and commercial uses. There is a considerable focus on applications as well as hydrogen technologies. AeH2 members have strong capabilities in hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, and include the most active Spanish companies, public and private institutions, and researchers.

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A new name - Technology Collaboration Programme

The Implementing Agreements have been rebranded as Technology Collaboration Programmes (TCPs), so we are now known as the Technology Collaboration Programme on Advanced Fuel Cells. The new branding aims to more accurately represent the activities of the different programmes rather than the legal text (Implementing Agreement) itself. This terminology will hopefully be more understandable for potential partners and audiences that are not familiar with the IEA or the Energy Technology Network. The IEA also wants the rebranding to mark the beginning of a ‘new era of technology collaboration’, which is intended to lead to stronger cooperation, and increased impact and visibility for TCPs worldwide.

The IEA TCPs are international groups of experts that enable governments and industries from around the world to lead programmes and projects on a wide range of energy technologies and related issues – from building pilot plants to providing policy guidance in support of energy security, economic growth and environmental protection. Today, TCP participants represent more than 300 public and private-sector organisations from over 50 countries. TCPs are governed by a flexible and effective framework and organised through an Implementing Agreement. TCP activities and programmes are managed and financed by the participants. To learn more about the TCPs, please consult the short promotional film, the Frequently Asked Questions brochure or the IEA website www.iea.org/tcp

Members of the AFC TCP are encouraged to use the new branding. Further information on how to do this is included in the Members Area of the AFC TCP website.

The term ‘Implementing Agreement’ still exists and will continue to be used to describe the legal text and underlying mechanism for each programme. The IEA Framework for International Energy Technology Co-operation (the Framework) also still refers to Implementing Agreements. As such, the term Implementing Agreement may still be used in formal legal documents, IEA Committee documents and official correspondence (such as formal letters related to participation).


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Book - Fuel Cells: Data, Facts and Figures

In January 2016, Wiley published ‘Fuel Cells: Data, Facts and Figures’, which is available in hardback and online. The book was initiated by the AFC TCP and is a comprehensive handbook detailing data on what is feasible and realistic in modern fuel cell technology. The book compiles cutting-edge research to comprehensively convey the current status of the technology. It is intended as a data reference book for people familiar with energy analyses and/or fuel cells and hydrogen. It includes economic data for cost considerations and a full overview of demonstration data, covering fuel cells for transportation, fuel provision, codes and standards.

The aim is to provide facts and figures which engineers, researchers and decision makers can rely on. A second edition of the book is anticipated, perhaps in 4 to 5 years’ time.

Fuel Cells: Data, Facts and Figures

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National update: Japan

Presented by Mr Katsumi Yokomoto of the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), Japan

Japan has a very proactive policy on hydrogen energy, embedded in a strategic roadmap for hydrogen and fuel cells, which provides a step-by-step approach to realise a hydrogen society. This is driven by the need to address climate change and energy security. The initiatives have been good examples of public and private sector cooperation. Phase 1 of the road map initially focuses on introducing fuel cells into the market, via fuel cell installation, then Phase 2 seeks to develop hydrogen power plant and develop new hydrogen energy demand. Phase 3 envisages a mass supply chain and leading to carbon free hydrogen, produced by combining carbon capture and storage and renewable energy.

There has been a significant increase in residential fuel cells in Japan over the last few years.  The ENE_FARMs programme has supported the deployment of residential fuel cells and as of January 2016, over 150,000 had been installed. New residential fuel cell models coming on the market are smaller, more efficient, cheaper and more easily installed than in the past. Models are also being offered as a customer option by apartment complex developers, along with other appliance options.

Fuel cells vehicles are also a reality. In 2016, Honda launched its Clarity Fuel Cell car, the first car to house the entire fuel cell stack and drivetrain under the bonnet. It has a range of over 400 miles. In October 2015, the Toyota Motor Corporation announced it aims to be selling around 30,000 fuel cell vehicles a year worldwide by 2020.

NEDO is carrying out research on transportation uses for polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEFC) to achieve cost reduction and better durability. Other areas of research include commercial uses for solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC), working to reduce the cost of hydrogen refuelling stations, developing the hydrogen supply chain and enhancing hydrogen utilisation.

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National update: Sweden

Presented by Dr Kristina Difs, Swedish Energy Agency and Bengt Ridell, Sweco

Sweden has set a target of having a vehicle fleet that is independent of fossil fuels by 2030 and zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Fuel cell technology can help reach these goals. The Swedish Energy Agency’s focus is primarily on basic research of materials for fuel cells and demonstration in niche areas, such as auxiliary power units (APUs) and trucks.

Figure 1 Fuel Cell Taxi

Fuel Cell Taxi

There have been demonstrations of fuel cells (ranging from 1 kWe to 10 kWe) including being back-up systems for relay stations and telecommunications. Transport demonstrations include 10 Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell Vehicles (FCVs), 4 public hydrogen refuelling stations (HRS) and a mobile HRS –. One major taxi company already operates 3 FCVs.

Public finance for university research is continuing and increasing. Research is focused on the development of materials, including reducing the use of platinum group metals (PGM) and the development of metal coatings. KTH Royal Institute of Technology is co-ordinating a joint university/industry programme of research on developing new components for PEFCs.

Chalmers University of Technology, Sandvik, Elcogen and Volvo are carrying out a research programme to improve the lifetime, cost and performance of SOFC for Truck APUs. New coatings are being developed with substantially thinner oxide scale and lower area specific resistance (ASR). Volvo is providing realistic operating conditions.

International collaboration is important to Swedish companies and organisations, and this is demonstrated by being members of more than 10 EU initiatives including the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking and the EuHIT, HIT-2-Corridors and H2 Moves Scandinavia projects.

There are several growing fuel-cell related companies in Sweden including PowerCell, myFC, Impact coating, and Cell impact. The main focus is on the export market, where Swedish businesses are important suppliers to the international market especially for materials, components and fuel cell systems. Sandvik, Volvo, Hoganas and Cellkraft are also active in developing fuel cell technology.

myFC is developing the world’s smallest pocket-sized fuel cell charger, the JAQ. This is safe for air travel and is compatible with most mobile devices. It will be available at a low monthly charge rather than to buy upfront.

Fuel cell charger

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National Strategies and Plans report published

National Strategies and Plans report published

The AFC TCP has published a report entitled 'National Strategies and Plans for Fuel Cells and Infrastructure'. The report summarises the strategies, plans, programs and projects of the member countries and aims to provide as complete an overview as possible.

The report is available from http://www.ieafuelcell.com/publications.php

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Annex 33: Fuel Cells for Stationary Applications

Presented by Bengt Ridell of Sweco, Sweden

The aim of Annex 33 is to understand better how stationary fuel cell systems may be deployed in energy systems. The focus is on the market requirements; both opportunities and obstacles that must be overcome will be investigated and discussed. The market development is followed closely with a special focus on renewable fuels, environment and competiveness.
The key focus areas are:

  • Fuel cells for buildings – small houses and apartment buildings.
  • Different fuels for fuel cells.
  • Influence of directives, subsidies and regulations.
  • System optimisation.
  • Follow up the real status of stationary fuel cells technology.

The Annex is well supported with participants from Austria, Finland, France, Denmark, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Sweden, Switzerland and the US.

During the 52nd ExCo Meeting, Mr Bengt Ridell summarised the latest achievements for fuel cells in stationary applications:

The number of stationary fuel cell installation is increasing significantly. By December 2015, more than 154,000 fuel cells had been sold in Japan. The experiences gained by Japan through large-volume manufacturing and operation has created an export market for the Japanese fuel cell industry.

Mr Ridell expressed the opinion that new directives from EU and other regions can facilitate the market expansion of stationary fuel cells. A recent report from this Annex presents the competiveness of fuel cells plants compared with competing technologies in respect of the EU directives.

Annex 33 image

However, the successful fuel cell market in the USA is strongly dependant on public support, especially the federal tax credit system that will end December 2016 and has not yet been renewed. This will concern molten carbonate fuel cells (MCFC), phosphoric acid fuel cells (PAFC), fork-lifts, backup power for all fuel cells over 0.5 kWe.

It is important for fuel cell manufacturing companies to be profitable as soon as possible – and it is often a matter of volume (a large number of small fuel cells or a small number of large fuel cells). The companies that deliver large volumes are most successful. This is valid for PEFC and high temperature fuel cells.

Several publications will be produced by the Annex:

Subtask 1 Fuel cells in buildings, scheduled to be ready in 2019.
Subtask 2 Renewable fuels for fuel cells, scheduled to be printed before the end of 2016.
Subtask 3 EU Directives, scheduled to be ready before the end of 2016.
Subtask 4 Fuel cells in future energy systems, to be presented in 2019.

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Annex 36: Systems Analysis

Collaboration under Annex 36 on systems analysis will be carried out over the remainder of the year. Potential participants are welcomed and should contact Detlef Stolten: d.stolten@fz-juelich.de

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Annex 37: Modelling

Presented by Professor Dr Steven Beale of Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, Germany

Annex 37 focuses on the design, development, and application of suites of open source computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software for application to fuel cells, as well as electrolysers and other electrochemical applications. In total, 29 people from Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Korea, Sweden and the USA contribute to the Annex.

Professor Dr Beale described how virtual prototyping is a cost-effective method to optimise fuel cell designs scientifically. In particular, computer models go hand-in-hand with (physical) laboratory experiments.

Professor Dr Beale explained:

  • Open-source software is the ‘wave of the future’.
  • By pooling resources organisations can share the interface (public), but not the application (private).
  • The IEA is an excellent vehicle to coordinate such a dialogue.
Annex 37 image

Three tasks are being carried out:

Subtask 1: Code development – focused on the development of open source software at the cell/stack levels for PEFC and SOFC. Key developments include:

  • DuMuX, DUNE for Multi-{Phase, Component, Scale, Physics, ...}, 2-D multi-phase PEM code.
  • openFuelCell/OpenFOAM single-phase code for SOFC and PEFC.
  • TRUST -TRio_U Software for Thermohydraulics.

Subtask 2: Experimental validation – the subtask gathers experimental data for model validation for SOFCs and PEMFCs. The scope includes the development of common experimental protocols. Key progress includes:

  • The EU Joint Research Centre (JRC) has a two-phase straight single-pair channel PEFC for validation of PEFC codes. There will be a ‘CFD challenge’ led by some Annex 37 members.
  • A draft SOFC protocol has been synthesised and circulated for discussion.
  • FZ-Juelich to provide Mark-F data experimental sets for validation.
  • All US Department of Energy experimental data to be templated and publicly available via the internet.

Subtask 3: Model equations: best practices – the main focus will be to produce reports outlining recommended state-of-the-art physics/mathematics. A review paper on the state of the art of SOFC modelling is being prepared by Annex participants and a review paper on multi-phase flow in PEFC has been submitted.

Publications include:

  • Open-source Computational Model of a Solid Oxide Fuel Cell. S.B. Beale, H.-W. Choi, J.G. Pharoah, H.K. Roth, H. Jasak, D.H. Jeon.
    Computer Physics Communications, 200, 15-26. 2016.
  • Validation of a Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Model on the International Energy Agency Benchmark Case with Hydrogen Fuel. A.D. Le, S.B. Beale, J.G. Pharoah.
    Fuel Cells - from Fundamentals to Systems, 15, 1, 27-41, 2015.
  • Effective diffusivity in Partially-saturated Carbon-fibre Gas Diffusion Layers: Effect of Local Saturation and Application to Macroscopic Continuum Models, P.A. Garcia-Salaberri, J.T. Gostick, G. Hwang, A.Z. Weber, M. Vera, Journal of Power Sources, in press.
Resistornetwork modeling of ionic Conduction in Polymer Electrolytes, J.T. Gostick, A.Z. Weber, Electrochimica Acta, 179, 137-145, 2015.

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Fuel cell news

HYACINTH Project

Successfully embedding hydrogen and fuel cell technologies in society will require acceptance by the general public, the key companies in the supply chains, governments, regulators and state agencies. The HYACINTH project, aims to gain a deeper understanding of the social acceptance of hydrogen technologies across Europe. The project will produce two studies – one for the general public and one for stakeholders – and a software toolbox to implement these results to help stakeholders place their products, services or projects on the market. These will be produced during autumn/winter 2016 and will be free to access. The project is funded under the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH-JU). For further information see the project website http://hyacinthproject.eu/ or contact Daniel Esteban (daniel.esteban@cnh2.es).

Fuel cells for carbon capture

The use of fuel cells for carbon capture is being explored by US-based company FuelCell Energy (FCE) in partnership with ExxonMobil. The aim is to extract carbon dioxide (CO2) from coal- or gas-plant flue gas. FCE produces carbonate fuel cells, which reform methane to create CO2 and hydrogen gas (H2). In the new application, the fuel cell will still be powered by methane, but will use flue gas instead of air, and so will concentrate up to 90% of the incoming CO2. The incoming CO2, along with the CO2 generated in the reforming process, can be separated from the water vapour in the exhaust stream. Unlike conventional carbon capture technologies, which have a significant energy penalty, this direct fuel process produces additional power. More information can be found on the FCE website.

The AFC TCP Publication International Status of Molten Carbonate Fuel Cells Technology published in 2015 and available on the AFC TCP website gives more information on MCFC systems including their use for CO2 separation.

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Forthcoming Expert Annex meetings

The following meetings are planned:

  • Annex 30: Electrolysis - 20 and 21 October 2016, Kjeller, Norway.
  • Annex 31: Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells - 8 to 10 November 2016, Beijing, China.
  • Annex 32: Solid Oxide Fuel Cells - 23 July 2017, Florida, USA (provisional).
  • Annex 33: Fuel Cells for Stationary Applications - October 2016, Switzerland
  • Annex 34: Fuel Cells for Transportation - 9 to 10 November 2016, Beijing, China.
  • Annex 35: Fuel Cells for Portable Applications - 9 to 10 November, 2016, Beijing, China.
  • Annex 37: Modelling of Fuel Cells Systems - 9 to 10 November, 2016, Beijing, China.

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Join our work

We welcome new participants to our work at expert, company and country levels. Participants from our member countries (ieafuelcell.com/contact) may join the work of our Annexes, please contact the following people:

Annex 30: Electrolysis, Jürgen Mergel: j.mergel@fz-juelich.de
Annex 31: Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells, Dr Di-Jia (DJ) Liu: djliu@anl.gov
Annex 32: Solid Oxide Fuel Cells, Dr Jari Kiviaho: jari.kiviaho@vtt.fi
Annex 33: Fuel Cells for Stationary Applications, Bengt Ridell: bengt.ridell@grontmij.com
Annex 34: Fuel Cells for Transportation, Dr Rajesh Ahluwalia: walia@anl.gov
Annex 35: Fuel Cells for Portable Applications, Dr Fabio Matera: fabio.matera@itae.cnr.it
Annex 36: Systems Analysis, Dr Can Samsun: r.c.samsun@fz-juelich.de
Annex 37: Modelling of Fuel Cells Systems, Professor Dr Steven Beale: s.beale@fz-juelich.de

If you are from a non-member country, please contact Secretariat-AFCIA@ricardo-aea.com who would be delighted to discuss membership with you, either on a country basis or on a sponsorship basis. Please visit ieafuelcell.com/joining to see the benefits of joining our work.

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Special thanks

Thanks to John Wiley & Sons, Inc and MyFC and for their permission to use their pictures in this newsletter.

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