Looking back to some of the leading business stories in 2017 related to hydrogen and fuel cells across the world:
China’s city of Wuhan announces plans to build fuel cell industrial base
– China will not sit on the sideline and expect battery-only powered EVs to dominate the future. This is a clear hedge for national policy to ensure China has a seat at the table with fuel cell manufacturing capabilities.
Ballard Opens Joint Operation Manufacturing Facility in China
– Ballard holds a 10% stake in ‘Synergy’ to assemble FCvelocity fuel cell stack for buses and vehicles. The facility has capability to produce 20,000 fuel cell stacks per year.
Sweden’s myFC announces MOU with Chinese manufacturer to embed fuel cells in electronic devices
– MyFC is a leader in embedded and micro fuel cell systems. This partnership to test embedding fuel cells inside smartphones is a weak signal for major disruptions ahead. It strengthens scenario that ‘refueling’ electronic devices could help consumers unplug from battery power.
Ceres Power awarded “Innovative Product of the Year” at the IChemE Global Awards 2017
– Industry recognition for Ceres’ spending years to develop low cost SteelCell plates used in solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) which are able to use natural gas to generate heat and electricity. SOFCs are a favored fuel cell platform for stationary power generation but can also be in mobility-transportation applications. One distant future possibility is a natgas or gasoline fueled EV using solid oxide fuel cells.
Italy-based SolidPower secures 40M Euro to Expand Capacity
– SolidPower’s BlueGen is a micro CHP (combined heat and power) fuel cell system currently used in European projects. This investment helps SolidPower move toward the vision of producing 16,000 fuel cell generators (SOFCs) per year by 2020. (Up from current production of 1,500 units!)
Microsoft Integrates Fuel Cells into Data Centers
– Microsoft is eager to show data center managers that the integration of fuel cells into their hardware can help save them money while bringing resiliency to operations. According to an Bloomberg article Microsoft believes fuel cell integration could ‘double efficiency’. (Daimler’s fuel cell subsidiary NeCellSys is also exploring integration into data center equipment.)
Fiat Chrysler and Hyundai Collaborate on Fuel Cells
– Automotive industry is moving toward electric motors powered by batteries and fuel cells. Hyundai has a head start around hydrogen fuel cell propulsion systems and is looking to recoup its investment.
UPS Tests Fuel Cell ‘Range Extender’ on Class 6 Delivery Trucks
– ‘Electric’ vehicles refer to the electric motor – not the battery! This is a signal that the future of EVs is likely to be based on the integration of battery plus fuel cells.
GM Reveals SURUS Autonomous All Terrain Fuel Cell Platform
– GM was an early leader in fuel cell systems. In 2017 it unveiled SURUS as flexible autonomous fuel cell platform aimed initially at military customers.
Hydrogenics Unveils 3 Megawatt PEM Electrolyzer Stack
– Hydrogen produced from PEM electrolyzers is a ‘holy grail’ category innovation for the industry. Hydrogenics 3MW unit is capable of refueling 280 vehicles per day.
Alstom Bullish on Hydrogen Power Trains
– European rail industry leaders are now investing in a future where electric trains do not require above ground electric lines. HyRail – or Hydrogen powered trains are now being brought to market by integrator Alstom.
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