UTC auxiliary power in BMW hybrid car

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  • NEWS / EDITORIAL

    April 2010 Fuel Cells Bulletin3

    E D I T O R I A L

    Social networking provides a variety of ways for both experts and newbies to find out more about fuel cells and hydrogen energy, and is facilitating the increasing interest in and applications of these technologies.

    While Facebook provides a channel for companies or organizations (so far, just a few in the fuel cells arena) to highlight their activi-ties, it is probably the more newsy networking media that offer the most useful insight into how fuel cells and hydrogen energy are per-ceived among the interested masses.

    Twitter has established a reputation as a medium for very fast, global dissemination of news and information, and this holds for fuel cells just as much as breaking headline news or showbiz gossip. FCB has a Twitter account (http://twitter.com/FCBulletin), which I use to provide brief headlines and links to topical news items that are posted on www.RenewableEnergyFocus.com (in the sec-tion on Energy storage including fuel cells). Sometimes these include hashtags such as #fuelcells, #fuelcell, or #hydrogen, which are labels included in the tweet that can help read-ers trawling the Twitterverse to pick out tweets of particular fuel cell interest. It must be said that being strictly limited to 140 characters certainly focuses the mind on what you want to convey

    And there is certainly plenty of interest in fuel cells and hydrogen energy, going way beyond those with a professional inter-est in research & development and com-mercialization. As well as a multitude of normal people posting items on news and articles they have found, there are also posts from the likes of the California Fuel Cell Partnership and Fuel Cell Today. The lat-est news from the BC Hydrogen Highway in Vancouver comes via PoweringNow, which was tweeting fit to burst about fuel cell vehicles, displays and outreach activities during the 2010 Winter Olympics a couple of months back.

    You may be aware that my LinkedIn page (http://uk.linkedin.com/in/barrettsteve) also has regular news updates, along the same lines as my Twitter updates. LinkedIn is a more business-like medium, and allows you to create a network that can be kept up to date with what you are working on, or want to tell people about. It also hosts groups of like-minded professionals, such as the Fuel Cell & Hydrogen Network (1400 members) and the Fuel Cell Technology group (220 members), which offer a forum for discussions or indeed business connections to be made.

    Steve Barrett

    US National Fuel Cell Bus Program: www.calstart.org/projects/low-carbon-bus-program/National-Fuel-Cell-Bus-Program.aspx

    BAE Systems, HybriDrive Propulsion Systems: www.baesystems.com/ProductsServices/bae_prod_eis_hybridrive.html

    UTC auxiliary power in BMW hybrid carBMW Group Research and Technology has unveiled a new hybrid electric vehicle that uses a UTC Power PEM fuel cell system as an auxiliary power unit. The vehicle was unveiled at the recent 25th anniver-sary BMW ZT celebration in Munich, Germany.

    The 5 kW UTC Power fuel cell system is completely self-contained, and features simple vehicle interfaces, which allow for easy integra-tion and installation. For more than a decade UTC Power part of United Technologies Corporation has been working with BMW to develop highly efficient, zero-emission, and freeze-capable fuel cell systems.

    Ken Stewart, vice president of the UTC Power transportation business, says the fuel cell system in the BMW 1 Series car represents the culmination of more than 10 years of develop-ment work on durability and freeze capability technology.

    From a fully frozen state, the fuel cell is halfway to full power in less than 30 seconds, says Stewart. The system uses UTC Powers proprietary ambient pressure technology, which does not require a compressor to deliver air to the cell stack. This results in a quieter, more efficient system.

    UTC Power has been working with BMW since 1999, and has developed and delivered PEM fuel cell auxiliary power units (APUs) for demonstration in several BMW vehicles. The first unit was demonstrated at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 1999, in a BMW 7 series car. The hydrogen-fueled 5 kW APU provided energy for all of the cars onboard electrical needs, including climate control even when the engine was off.

    BMW has performed durability testing on the third-generation UTC Power APU. To date, the unit has achieved more than 3000 h of operation, well above expectations.

    UTC Power, South Windsor, Connecticut, USA. Tel: +1 860 727 2200, www.utcpower.com

    BMW Group Research & Technology: http://ow.ly/1s8JT

    Food distributor calls on Plug, Air Products to power lift trucks

    United Natural Foods Inc (UNFI) has announced plans to adopt hydro-gen fuel cell technology to power the lift truck fleet at its Sarasota, Florida food products distribution center. The company will mobilize 65 GenDrive fuel cell powered lift trucks at the facil-ity, with completion targeted for June.

    As part of the Sarasota initiative to replace lead-acid batteries and their associated charg-ing equipment with hydrogen fuel cells, UNFI has partnered with a number of companies to implement the rollout, including fuel cells from Plug Power, hydrogen refueling by Air Products, and Abel Womack Inc for the materi-als handling equipment.

    UNFI will add 29 new hydrogen fuel cell-powered lift trucks to its fleet, and 36 existing lift trucks will be retrofitted with Plug Powers PEM fuel cell technology.

    By converting its Sarasota lift truck fleet to hydrogen fuel cells, UNFI expects carbon emis-sions will be reduced by approximately 132 tonnes annually, an amount equivalent to the emissions of 35 automobiles. The 352 000 ft2 (32 700 m2) Sarasota facility serves as a regional distribution hub for customers in the southeastern US.

    Hydrogen fuel cells not only provide greater productivity and lower operating costs, but will be an important component of a clean energy future, and we are happy to be pioneering the use of this technology in Florida, comments Tom Dziki, UNFIs senior vice president of sustainable development. Once implemented, this fuel cell project is expected to create annual energy savings of approximately 640 MWh.

    Plug Power Inc: www.plugpower.com

    Air Products, Hydrogen Energy Solutions: www.airproducts.com/h2energy

    Abel Womack Inc: www.abelwomack.com

    United Natural Foods Inc: www.unfi.com

    Germany welcomes Still fuel cell materials handling

    The first fuel cell powered reach truck in Germany, an FM-X 20 reach truck from Still GmbH, has joined an

    MOBILE APPLICATIONS