Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association

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Clean Energy Perspectives:
The CHFCA Blog

Clean Energy Perspectives

How Hydrogen Storage Can Save the World and the World Will Thank Canada

April 02, 2012
How Hydrogen Storage Can Save the World and the World Will Thank Canada

While a lot of hydrogen and fuel cell analysts were quite rightly getting excited about fuel cell applications in transport (buses, cars, forklifts etc) and in backup power and stationary power applications, the sleeper technology now emerging as the darling of the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell sector is yet another in the never-ending series of Canadian success stories: Hydrogenics' storage solutions for renewables.


Hydrogenics Corporation is pioneering "Power-to-Gas" - the world's most innovative way to store and transport large quantities of energy. Power-to-Gas is the process involving the use of excess electrical power to produce hydrogen by electrolyzing water. The hydrogen gas is then co-mingled with natural gas in the existing natural gas infrastructure, namely the gas pipeline network and its associated underground storage facilities.


The Hydrogenics solution takes excess wind or solar power--power not needed off peak and therefore not utilized at all. In Germany's case, they pay to have their power shipped to neighbouring countries for storage to eventually convert this excess electrical power as hydrogen gas into the natural gas grid. Now, this is done simply by using Hydrogenics' large electrolyers to take excess power and, using water, convert it to hydrogen.


The stored energy is not restricted to the site of generation. Separating generation and utilization offers power grid operators more flexibility and thus a higher overall system efficiency, because the hydrogen can be stored and fed back into the grid through fuel cells or, in a novel and more immediate twist, put into the natural gas grid.


The scale of the solution offers grid operators a significantly larger grid management tool compared to conventional solutions like pumped-hydro or compressed air energy storage.
Storage has always been the holy grail of renewable power--what do you do with all that off peak wind and solar? Large scale hydrogen storage itself, in tanks on site, has been the primary goal of researchers and business development workers---but all the time there was an even simpler storage mechanism for large scale storage--natural gas pipelines and the underground caves in which natural gas is stored in.


By putting hydrogen into natural gas pipelines in amounts up to as much as 10 per cent,  in countries where natural gas is expensive and is transported into the country, zero emission hydrogen (produced from renewable power like wind) is able to potentially pull down a significant level of the GHG's in the natural gas. This is then burned in a combined cycle plant which produces reliable, clean, local hydrogen. This partially replaces expensive, imported natural gas from unreliable foreign sources.


The convergence of the electrical grid with the natural gas distribution network will allow grid operators to manage energy flow from electricity to gas and then from gas back to electricity, when and where these energy conversions are most beneficial to the power grids.


The benefits of Power-to-Gas are numerous:


Transporting energy via a gas pipeline is several times less expensive than transporting electricity

The ability to perform fast regulation services

Improved utilization of existing generating assets

Ability to perform energy time arbitrage

Ability to perform energy spatial arbitrage

Offset of new electrical transmission requirementsIncreased grid flexibility

Infrastructure for energy transmission, storage and distribution immediately available


Is the real world excited? You bet your hedge fund they are.

While many researchers and business development workers were toiling to find ways to create large, on-site hydrogen storage in tanks (good work that continues), a simpler, off-site solution was sitting under everyones' nose--storing the electrolyzed hydrogen in natural gas pipelines. This is possible at up to perhaps 10% or more eventually in natural gas storage caverns which already exist and act like bladders as gas is pumped in and pumped out for use.

Using this method, expensive natural gas imported from unreliable foreign countries and shipped over long distances is partially replaced with zero emission hydrogen from wind powered, renewable off peak power. The result is a partial replacement of expensive foreign fuel and a potential significangt lowering of GHG's as natural gas up to 10% is replaced with hydrogen and then the combined product is  burned in a combined cycle power plant.

Folks in urban areas next to a combined cycle power plant would appreciate the lower GHG's. For example, countries, such as Germany, importing expensive natural gas would appreciate the benefit of being able to use wind power they are now paying other countries to take when they have excess to create local jobs, local fuel and local zero emission solutions.

Germany is so excited that the first order of what may be a trend to come was placed late last year from a major German wind farm producer for a Hydrogenics' solution.

Hydrogenics was awarded a contract to deliver and install a 1MW HySTAT® electrolyzer in an industrial scale renewable energy storage project, the largest of its kind in Germany. The system will have the capacity to store up to 27 MWh of energy as hydrogen. 

The full-scale project, by the name RH2-WKA, will be located in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in northern Germany where the wind regimes are highly favorable. The project owner of the wind-hydrogen system is German-based WIND-projekt GmbH ( www.wind-projekt.de ), a leading European turn-key provider and operator of wind energy parks and stand-alone plants. To date WIND-projekt has delivered just under 300 MW of installed wind energy generation onshore and has received building permission for approximately 1 MW offshore. The electrolyzer purchase is funded by the German NIP (Nationale Innovationsprogramm f?r Wasserstoff- und Brennstoffzellentechnologie). 

Power to operate the electrolyzer, including an integrated compressor to store hydrogen at elevated pressure, will be provided by WIND-projekt's newly installed 140 MW wind farm, harvesting wind energy from an array of 7.5 MW wind turbines. By incorporating hydrogen generation and storage in the system design, the wind's fluctuating energy is balanced. At the same time energy can be stored for long periods of time. For end-users this ensures a supply of high quality, reliable power from renewable energy sources. 

"The electrolysis of water into hydrogen using excess energy from wind and solar sources is the optimal pathway to increase the renewable content in our energy system mix," said Daryl Wilson, President and CEO of Hydrogenics. "For a renewable energy project of this scale, WIND-projeckt's choice of a hydrogen technology storage solution is great validation for this capability. It tells us that Hydrogenics' long-standing dedication to this market opportunity has been well-placed." 

The stored hydrogen will be used as needed to generate electricity for the RH2-WKA project. The system will also allow the hydrogen to be used for transport and be fed to the natural gas network. Wind energy is considered to have significant potential as part of Germany's announced commitment to phase out all nuclear power by 2020. 

Firms like Hydrogenics and Ballard Power started the hydrogen and fuel cell revolution and Canada has come to be a continued "look to" country for innovation sector solutions. We have the Ballard Power fuel cell-powered world's largest zero emission hydrogen fuel cell bus fleet at Whistler, Canada, with more than a million miles under the belt of the 20 buses.

We have Greenlight Innovation, the world's best fuel cell testing company, and Powertech, the world's most successful clean energy consulting firms with a strong speciality in hydrogen and a host of other companies, from Dynatek (manufacturers of hydrogen storage tanks) to Versa, an SOFC company, that continue to lead the way.

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Versa Power Systems - A Canadian success story you may not have heard

February 02, 2012
Versa Power Systems - A Canadian success story you may not have heard

A powerful story is emerging in Western Canada’s solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) centre, which is yet another example of the “hey, I didn’t know that” world of the Canadian hydrogen and fuel cell sector.

Versa Power Systems has 35 employees seeking to crack some of the biggest SOFC challenges in the world. Operating in Calgary’s southeast industrial sector, Versa has accumulated millions of dollars of the world’s most sophisticated SOFC development, testing, and manufacturing equipment.

Like other Canadian world leaders in the field, Versa has established itself internationally as the “go to” firm in SOFC pre-commercialization research and development. Versa has a strong position and knowledge base in cell materials, cell manufacturing, stack design and stack module engineering. Among their accomplishments is a planar SOFC stack that has been scaled-up to 25 kW, which is attractive for larger stationary power plants.

Versa’s significant projects are:

  1. A demonstration 10 kW natural gas powered SOFC system with VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland;
  2. A demonstration of a natural gas powered system and joint development of SOFC power plants for stationary and marine applications with Wärtsilä, the multi-billion-dollar revenue Finnish company;
  3. A 60 kW SOFC system capable of being operated using natural gas or gasified coal for the U.S. Department of Energy, National Energy Technology Laboratory
  4. A reversible SOFC/SOEC materials development and stack demonstration project for the U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. An SOEC is an energy conversion devices that can integrate renewable production of electricity and hydrogen; and
  5. The development and delivery of a high efficiency energy storage system using SOFC/SOEC for unattended aerial vehicles for Boeing. The project is also prime for the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

The company’s Calgary development facility was established in 1997. Versa is headquartered in Littleton, Colorado, where an additional nine employees develop SOFCs. The company is owned by a consortium of private investors, research institutes and universities. Versa has been actively seeking strategic partnering opportunities with companies that have a fuel cell vision and established market channels.

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Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association Announces Appointment of Dr. Andreas Truckenbrodt as New CEO

November 30, -1
Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association Announces Appointment of Dr. Andreas Truckenbrodt as New CEO

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire – July 31, 2017) - The Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association (CHFCA) today announced that its board of directors has named Dr. Andreas Truckenbrodt to serve as the organization's new President and Chief Executive Officer of the CHFCA effective August 1st.

Dr. Truckenbrodt formerly served as Chief Executive Officer for the Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation (AFCC), a Joint Venture of Daimler AG and Ford Motor Company, based in Vancouver, Canada.  The CHFCA and Canada’s hydrogen and fuel cell sector will benefit from Truckenbrodt’s depth of experience in providing leadership and direction in raising local and worldwide awareness of the economic, environmental and social benefits of hydrogen and fuel cells.

Instrumental in collaborating with global organizations to promote the commercialization of electric vehicles, Dr. Truckenbrodt led Daimler’s and Chrysler’s Hybrid Development Center in Troy, Michigan, in cooperation with General Motors and BMW AG. Prior to that he was responsible for Daimler Chrysler’s Center for Fuel Cell and Alternative Powertrain Vehicles and worked with Ballard Power Systems. Truckenbrodt has held various positions in the automotive and aeroengine industry, including companies BMW, BMW Rolls-Royce, Daewoo and Daimler Chrysler. Dr. Truckenbrodt holds a degree in Aeronautics and Aerospace Engineering from the Technical University of Munich, Germany, and a PhD in Mechanics and Control Systems.

“As a former Chair of both the CHFCA and California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP), Dr. Truckenbrodt holds a deep understanding of the hydrogen and fuel cell industries,” says CHFCA Chairman, and CEO of Greenlight Innovation, Ross Bailey. “We are fortunate to have Andreas take the helm at such a critical time for our industry. The need for commercializing clean energy technology has never been greater,” says Bailey, “and the opportunities we’re seeing in transportation and energy storage for hydrogen and fuel cells are enormous.”

 

About the CHFCA

The Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association is the national association representing Canada's world-recognized, clean energy hydrogen and fuel cell sector. Its members represent an important, strategic "green jobs" base, and contribute to Canada's clean technology economy. Hydrogen and fuel cell technology has a vital role to play in the transportation, stationary power, logistics and alternative energy sectors.

 

For further information, please CONTACT

Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association (CHFCA)

Nicolas Hilario

Manager, Government Relations & Communications

Office: (604) 283-1040   Fax: (604) 683-6345  Email: nhilario@chfca.ca

CHFCA.ca

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Leading Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Companies Embark on a Trade Mission to the Fifth World Energy Technology Conference in Shanghai, China.

November 30, -1
Leading Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Companies Embark on a Trade Mission to the Fifth World Energy Technology Conference in Shanghai, China.

SHANGHAI, September 25th, 2013--The Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association (CHFCA) is currently in China with a delegation of leading Canadian hydrogen and fuel cell companies to discuss the importance and significance that leading, non-emitting Canadian technology can have to meet China’s energy requirements.

The association members currently with CHFCA are Canadian companies including; Ballard Power Systems, Mercedes-Benz Canada, Hydrogenics Corporation, Greenlight Innovation, Air Liquide, Western Hydrogen and ITM Power.

The trade mission is designed to showcase Canada’s non-emitting technology and the capabilities for establishing renewable power integration, energy reliability, energy security and significant waste reduction.

Eric Denhoff, President and CEO of CHFCA states that “China is a key stakeholder in the clean technology sector and has become focused on renewable energy as pollution rockets to new heights. China is working towards reducing carbon emissions and our Canadian technology can provide China with the necessary tools to reduce emissions. China has already shown interest in our member’s technology and this trade mission will provide for new opportunities.”

Canadian company Ballard Power Systems recently signed an MOU with Azure Hydrogen Corporation of Beijing, China for Azure to develop fuel cell bus capabilities in China with Ballard’s technical support- this project could lead to the deployment of non-emitting buses in China.

“It is an exciting time for Canadian companies as more and more companies are looking to Canada for technology and R &D expertise.”- Eric Denhoff.

The Government of Canada and Government of British Columbia are sponsoring major pavilions at the World Hydrogen Technical Conference 2013 in Shanghai, with thousands of delegates from around the world attending.


About the Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association

The Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association (CHFCA) is a national, non-profit association that supports Canadian corporations, governments and educational institutions that are developing, demonstrating and deploying hydrogen and fuel cell products and services in Canada.

CHFCA members work on hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, components, systems supply and integration, fuelling systems, fuel storage, and engineering and financial services.Globally, hydrogen and fuel cell products are moving towards commercialization.

The Canadian sector is a global leader as a result of pioneering technologies, world-renowned expertise, and a 25-year history of partnerships between industry, academia and Canadian governments. The CHFCA is playing a key role in this leadership.

Contact Information:

Roxanne Le-Goff

Manager, Marketing and Communications

rlegoff@chfca.ca

604-283-1041

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