The production of ammonia for the fertilizer industry is, according to the IEA (International Energy Agency), the second most important area of hydrogen utilization. We therefore presented some concrete projects for the production of green ammonia in the July 2021 issue of H2-international. But what about the user side? Up to now, ammonia has hardly played any role as an energy carrier, although it could become an important source of energy, especially in transport by ship. The compound has numerous advantages over other energy mediums. At the same time, however, there are still many technical and logistical challenges to be solved, which are being addressed by, among others, the research projects ShipFC and Campfire.
What a roller-coaster ride: from US$ 5 at the low in 2020 to over US$ 44 at the beginning of 2021 and now at US$ 22. I did not expect such a sharp decline, but the upward exaggeration has now been followed by a downward one, which may have been helped along by the fact that around 18.4 million shares were sold short (July 2021).
Alkaline fuel cells, with their very low use of precious metals, are an alternative to PEM fuel cell technology. Another benefit is the higher tolerance to impurities in the supplied hydrogen. The focus of their work is particularly in the stationary sector. Two current projects with systems from AFC Energy bring dynamism to the still rare project landscape with alkaline fuel cells: The cooperation with ABB on their HPC charging solution for electric vehicles and the future project LLEC at the Jülich Research Centre.
Handheld charger still in the works
A plague of trademark disputes and court cases took eZelleron and its kraftwerk product virtually off the grid for five long years. Then, last October, kraftwerk TUBES chief executive Sascha Kühn informed H2-international that the business is coming out of “stealth mode” to demonstrate the fruits of quiet progress.
On March 19, German heating manufacturer Viessmann, based in Allendorf, announced it would shut down Hexis, its subsidiary in charge of developing SOFCs. The headline of the press release sounded rather innocuous: “Viessmann takes new path to implementing future-proof technology.“ However, in the third paragraph, the company then said it “will discontinue operations at Hexis.“
In December 2017, there were 91 public hydrogen refueling stations operating in Japan, with another 10 in development, putting the country well on its way to its short-term goal of 160 by 2020. The deployment of stations has been one of Japan’s hydrogen success stories, despite daunting costs and a lack of initial demand.
In the future, high-temperature fuel cells should pave the way for new energy solutions in emerging countries. At least, this is the plan of several Indian investors who founded mPower in November 2015. Trusting in the SOFC know-how of Fraunhofer’s IKTS and the interconnects by Plansee, they want nothing less than to set out from Dresden and revolutionize the energy world.
The US Department of Energy intended to issue a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) early in December 2015 offering up to $ 35 million over several years for various research, demonstration and analytical topics. Most of the effort is focused on hydrogen station cost reduction and improvements in fuel cell performance and durability. The projects would take place over one to five years; with multiple winners contemplated in each area of interest
Fuel cells are considered to be all-round talents. That is why their use in the maritime sector is being continuously tested out. Until now, however, a successful breakthrough is yet to have occurred in this field. Nonetheless, as before, a variety of companies are trying to gain a foothold in this challenging area of potential application
Japan’s ENE-FARM program is arguably the most successful fuel cell commercialization program in the world. ENE-FARM has supported the deployment of well over 120,000 residential fuel cell units and is providing proof that long term public-private partnerships can push new technology into the marketplace. New models coming on the market in 2015 are smaller, more efficient, cheaper and more easily installed than previous models.