Saturday, March 8, 2014

A novel multistep dip-coating method for the fabrication of anode-supported microtubular solid oxide fuel cells

A novel multistep dip-coating method was developed and successfully applied to the fabrication of anode-supported microtubular solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) using carbon rods as combustible cores. The fabricated microtubular SOFCs consisted of Ni-yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ), YSZ, strontium-doped lanthanum manganite (LSM)-YSZ, and LSM as the anode, electrolyte, cathode, and cathode current collector materials, respectively. To investigate the role of anode porosity on cell performance, two types of anode supports were prepared: one without a pore former and the other with a 10 wt.% graphite pore former. The microstructural features of the microtubular SOFCs were examined using scanning electron microscope images whereas the electrochemical performance was characterized by electrochemical impedance spectroscopy measurements as well as I-V characteristic curves. The results showed that the method used is a simple and low-cost alternative to conventional methods for the fabrication of microtubular SOFCs. We found that the anode porosity played an important role in improving the overall performance of the microtubular SOFC by reducing the concentration polarization.

Click here to access the full article published in Journal of Solid State Electrochemistry.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Performance enhancement of strontium-doped lanthanum manganite cathode by developing a highly porous microstructure

Abstract from the article published in Journal of Applied Electrochemistry

A simple and promising template method was applied for the development of a highly porous microstructure, referred to as a macroporous structure (having pore size >50 nm), for a solid oxide fuel cell strontium-doped lanthanum manganite (LSM) cathode. Using poly(methyl methacrylate) beads of 2.9 μm size as the pore-forming templates, a porosity value of ca. 63 % was achieved. The electrochemical performance of the developed macroporous cathode was evaluated by measuring electrochemical impedance spectra of the symmetrical cells as well as power density of the full cells. The results indicated that due to enhanced oxygen diffusion and reaction kinetics, the macroporous structure was effective in reducing the interfacial polarization resistance of the LSM cathode and hence attaining a higher cell performance.

The full article can be accessed from here. Happy reading! :)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Fuel cells for future power generation: A Nepalese perspective

[Originally published in NEA-JC Newsletter (Year 4, Issue 2) (pp. 15-16)]

It has now become a well accepted scientific fact that human activities, particularly the burning of fossil fuels, are responsible for the greenhouse effect in the earth’s atmosphere resulting in global warming and climate change. Moreover, the reserve of fossil fuels itself is depleting continuously thereby making the issue of energy security more critical. Thus, there has been an urgent need to come up with the alternatives to the existing fossil-based energy systems. In order to address the environmental as well as energy security concerns, deployment of new energy conversion systems with higher efficiency and widespread exploitation of renewable energy resources seem indispensable. Fuel cell technology is expected to play a vital role in this regard.

What is a fuel cell?
A fuel cell is an electrochemical device that generates electricity directly from the chemical energy in fuels. The fuel generally used is hydrogen; however, depending upon the type of fuel cell, hydrocarbon fuels can also be used. When hydrogen is used as fuel, what happens inside a fuel cell is essentially the reverse process of electrolysis. In electrolysis, water molecules split into hydrogen and oxygen molecules by consuming electricity whereas in fuel cell reaction, hydrogen and oxygen molecules combine to produce water and electricity. In other words, fuel cells are batteries running on the continuous supply of fuel and oxidant (pure oxygen or air). Unlike conventional power generation systems, fuel cells do not involve intermediate conversion of chemical energy to thermal and mechanical energies. Consequently, of all the existing energy conversion systems, fuel cells offer the highest efficiency along with the lowest levels of pollutant emissions.

Nepal’s case
Being a developing country where majority of the population relies on subsistence farming in rural areas, per capita energy consumption of Nepal is one of the lowest in the world. According to the Economic Survey of the Ministry of Finance [1], total energy consumed in the fiscal year 2008/09 was reported to be 9,396 thousand Tons of Oil Equivalent (TOE) (where 1 TOE = 42 GJ), 87.1% of which was obtained from traditional sources comprising fuel wood, agricultural residues and livestock residues. Figure 1 summarizes the share of different energy sources used in Nepal in the fiscal year 2008/09 [1].

Figure 1. Share of energy sources in Nepal: (a) contribution in total consumption; (b) breakdown of traditional sources; (c) breakdown of commercial sources.

Although current energy supply is dominated by traditional sources, with the growing trend of urbanization and industrialization, commercial sources are becoming more important. In 1988, the share of commercial sources in total energy consumption was only 5.2% [2], which has been more than double by now. As Nepal does not have any commercially exploitable fossil fuel reserves, the only domestic source of commercial energy is the electricity generated from hydroelectric power plants. In fact, Nepal is known for its tremendous potential for hydroelectricity, thanks to more than 6,000 rivers flowing from the high mountains in north to the plain land in south. Total hydropower potential of Nepal is estimated to be 83,000 MW, of which 42,000 MW is considered technically and economically feasible [3]. Unfortunately a very small portion of the total potential (<1%) has been harnessed so far.

As of the fiscal year 2008/09 data, Nepal’s total installed capacity for electricity generation was 714 MW, of which 661 MW was shared by hydroelectricity [1]. This installed capacity, however, was not sufficient to meet the customer demand. Annual Report of the Nepal Electricity Authority [4] shows that the annual electricity demand for the fiscal year 2009/10 was recorded 4367.13 GWh whereas domestic generation could supply only 3076.69 GWh. This resulted in up to 12 hours of rolling blackouts a day in the country. While such mismatch in demand and supply is primarily due to lack of enough installed capacity, poor load factor of the installed plants is also equally responsible. Most of the hydroelectric plants in Nepal are based on run-of-the-river scheme giving rise to significant fluctuation in the actual electricity generation in wet and dry seasons. Moreover, there exist significant diurnal variations in the supply to demand ratio.

Considering the above scenario, Ale and Shrestha [5] proposed to utilize the surplus power from hydroelectric plants in wet season and off-peak hours to produce hydrogen by electrolysis which could be subsequently used to substitute the existing fossil fuels in transportation, cooking, etc and also to meet the peak demands by converting hydrogen back to electricity with the help of fuel cells. Their study showed that 27,000 tons to 140,000 tons of hydrogen could be produced annually by utilizing the surplus energy from hydropower at 20% and 100%, respectively by 2020. Moreover, it suggested that it is financially lucrative to invest on new hydropower plants for producing hydrogen in order for the complete replacement of petroleum products considering the revenue generated from Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), electricity sale and saving on fuel import. Ale and Shrestha [6] also looked into the possibility of using hydrogen produced from hydropower surplus to replace the fossil fuel based transportation system in Kathmandu valley and concluded that all the vehicles in the valley can be powered by hydrogen produced from only 50% of the surplus energy by 2020. Thus, hydropower is the one potential sector where Nepal can get benefitted by adopting hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.

Furthermore, fuel cells can play a key role in the effective utilization of intermittent renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Nepal’s total solar energy potential is estimated to be as high as 26.6 million MW [7] as there are about 300 sunny days a year with an average solar radiation of 3.6 –6.2 kWh/m2/day [8]. On the other hand, wind energy potential of Nepal is anticipated to be more than 3,000 MW [9]. However, both solar and wind energy systems need high capacity energy storage mediums to supply stable power. Therefore, production of hydrogen as an intermediate energy carrier and subsequent conversion of hydrogen to electricity is a possible approach for such renewable energy facilities in future.

Another renewable energy source, biomass also offers possibilities for the application of fuel cells. Though traditional biomass sources like firewood are infamous for their adverse impact on environment and human health, modern forms of biomass energy such as biogas, gasifier gas and biofuels are viewed as sustainable alternatives. The potential of biogas production in Nepal is estimated to be around 12,000 million m3 per year which is equivalent to 29 million GJ [10]. Gasifier gas which is obtained from the thermochemical conversion of solid biomass [11], and different kinds of liquid biofuels such as bioethanol [12] and Jatropha (Sajiwan) oil [13] also show good prospects in Nepal. As certain kinds of fuel cells such as the Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) can run on direct hydrocarbon fuels, these biomass sources (with minimum processing) can be fed to fuel cells to generate electric power with high efficiency and minimum emissions.

To sum up, fuel cells can be expected to find their applications in several sectors in Nepal. Deployment of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies will help not only to produce clean and sustainable power but also to reduce country’s over-dependence on imported petroleum products.  

References
[1] Economic Survey: Fiscal Year 2009/10, Ministry of Finance, Kathmandu, Jul. 2010.
[2] S. Pokharel, “An econometric analysis of energy consumption in Nepal,” Energ. Policy, vol. 35, pp. 350–361, 2007.
[3] H. M. Shrestha, “Cadastre of hydropower resources,” Ph.D. dissertation, Moscow Power Inst., Moscow, 1966.
[4] A Year in Review: Fiscal Year 2009/10, Nepal Electricity Authority, Kathmandu, 2010.
[5] B. B. Ale and S. O. Bade Shrestha, “Hydrogen energy potential of Nepal,” Int. J. of Hydrogen Energ., vol. 33, pp. 4030–4039, 2008.
[6] B. B. Ale and S. O. Bade Shrestha, “Introduction of hydrogen vehicles in Kathmandu Valley: A clean and sustainable way of transportation,” Renew. Energ., vol. 34, pp. 1432–1437, 2009.
[7] Energy Sector Synopsis Report – 1992/93, Water and Energy Commission Secretariat, Kathmandu, 1994.
[8] Economic Survey: Fiscal Year 2001/2002, Ministry of Finance, Kathmandu, Jul. 2002.
[9] Achievements in Wind Energy (2011, Apr. 18). [Online]. Available: http://www.aepc.gov.np/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=167&Itemid=173
[10] Energy Synopsis Report – 1994/95, Water and Energy Commission Secretariat, Kathmandu, 1996.
[11] Biomass Gasification for Thermal Application and Electricity (2011, Apr. 18). [Online]. Available: http://www.redp.org.np/phase3/latestupdates/news.php?n=5
[12] D. Khatiwada and S. Silveira, “Net energy balance of molasses based ethanol: The case of Nepal,” Renew. Sustain. Energ. Rev., vol. 13, pp. 2515–2524, 2009.
[13] Biodiesel in Nepal (2011, Apr. 18). [Online]. Available: http://www.nepalitimes.com/issue/2006/09/08/Nation/12461

Friday, December 17, 2010

Different types of fuel cells: which one will dominate the future?

Fuel cells are classified based on the electrolyte material they use – i) alkaline fuel cell (AFC), ii) phosphoric acid fuel cell (PAFC), iii) polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC), iv) molten carbonate fuel cell (MCFC), and v) solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC). Besides, there are a couple of fuel cells which take their names from the fuel used, e.g. direct alcohol/methanol fuel cell (DAFC/DMFC) and direct carbon fuel cell (DCFC). In fact, DAFCs/DMFCs represent a special subcategory of PEFCs whereas DCFCs refer to the conceptual fuel cells (usually MCFCs or SOFCs) which make use of solid carbon fuel such as coal and biomass directly without an intermediate gasification step.

Here is an overview of the different types of fuel cells:

Alkaline fuel cell (AFC)



Electrolyte: Potassium hydroxide (KOH) solution retained in an asbestos matrix
Electrodes: Transition metals loaded with platinum or other electro-catalysts
Fuel: Hydrogen
Operating temperature: 65-220 deg. C
Electrical efficiency: ~60%
Applications: Military, space

Advantages
- Superior cathode reaction kinetics
- Quick start-up due to low temperature operation
- Low weight and volume

Disadvantages
- Extremely intolerant to carbon dioxide (as a result pure oxygen or the air free of carbon dioxide should be used as the oxidant)
- Electrolyte handling problems
- Relatively short lifetime

AFCs are widely known for space applications since their first use in NASA’s Apollo program in 1965. However, terrestrial applications of AFCs seem too costly due to the strict requirement of CO2-free fuel and oxidant. As a result, R&D work on AFCs has gone down in recent years.

Phosphoric acid fuel cell (PAFC)


Electrolyte: Liquid phosphoric acid soaked in a silicon carbide (SiC) matrix
Electrodes: Carbon loaded with platinum
Fuel: Hydrogen
Operating temperature: 150-220 deg. C
Electrical efficiency: ~40%
Applications: Distributed power generation

Advantages
- Less sensitive to CO poisoning than PEFC and AFC
- Waste heat can be utilized in combined heat and power (CHP) applications/bottoming Rankine (steam turbine) cycle

Disadvantages
- Corrosive nature of electrolyte which necessitates the use of expensive materials in the stack
- Poor operating reliability in the long term

PAFC represents the first fuel cell technology that was developed commercially and is still the only commercially available one. Over 250 units of PC-25, a 200 kW PAFC system developed by UTC Fuel Cells, are reported to have been sold and installed in different countries around the world since the early 1990s. Despite the success PAFCs achieved, interest in them started declining in the late 1990s mainly owing to their high cost coupled with insufficient operating reliability in the long-term.

Polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC)
(Also known as proton exchange membrane/polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell (PEMFC))

Electrolyte: Fluorinated sulfonic acid polymer (commonly Nafion)
Electrodes: Carbon loaded with platinum
Fuel: Pure hydrogen
Operating temperature: 40-80 deg. C
Electrical efficiency: 40-60%
Applications: Automotive systems, portable applications, small scale distributed power

Advantages
- No corrosion and electrolyte management problems
- Quick start-up due to low temperature operation
- High power density (over 2 kW/l and 2 W/cm2)

Disadvantages
- Highly sensitive to impurities of hydrogen (does not tolerate >50 ppm of CO and has a low tolerance to sulfur particles and ammonia)
- Difficulty in water management ensuring sufficient hydration of the electrolyte membrane against flooding

With the availability of more stable proton exchange membranes such as Nafion (1960s) and the development of modern membrane electrode assembly (MEA) with reduced catalyst loadings (mid-1980s), PEFC technology has become potentially attractive especially for automotive applications. However, further reduction in system cost (such as the development of non-platinum catalysts and cheaper membranes) as well as improvement in long-term performance (mainly CO tolerance) is imperative in order to penetrate the markets.

Molten carbonate fuel cell (MCFC)


Electrolyte: Mixture of molten carbonate salts (lithium carbonate + potassium carbonate/sodium carbonate) retained in a ceramic matrix (LiAlO2)
Electrodes: Nickel (anode) and nickel oxide (cathode)
Fuel: Hydrogen, CO, methane, etc
Operating temperature: 600-700 deg. C
Electrical efficiency: ~60%
Applications: Electric utility, large scale distributed power

Advantages
- No need of expensive electro-catalysts
- Fuel flexibility (spontaneous internal reforming of hydrocarbon fuels)
- High grade waste heat (suitable for CHP applications/bottoming cycles)

Disadvantages
- Very corrosive nature of the electrolyte
- Material problems due to high temperature operation
- High intolerance to sulfur (1.5 ppm max.)
- Slow start-up

MCFCs, one of the earliest fuel cells used in practical applications, are preferred for natural gas and coal-based power plants. However, poor long-term reliability has been the major hindrance to their commercialization, which is associated with the issues such as gradual dissolution of nickel oxide from the cathode, anode creep and corrosion of metal parts. Consequently, research and engineering work on MCFCs has gradually shrunk since the early 2000s and the interest of developers has shifted to another high temperature fuel cell, SOFC.

Solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC)


Electrolyte: Ceramics (mainly yttria stabilized zirconia (YSZ))
Electrodes: Composite of ceramics and metal (mainly Nickel-YSZ cermet) as anode and perovskite ceramics (mainly strontium doped lanthanum manganite (LSM)) as cathode
Fuel: Hydrogen, CO, methane, etc
Operating temperature: 600-1000 deg. C
Electrical efficiency: ~60%
Applications: Electric utility, large scale distributed power, auxiliary power units (APUs)

Advantages

- No corrosion and electrolyte management problems
- No need of expensive electro-catalysts
- Fuel flexibility (spontaneous internal reforming of hydrocarbon fuels)
- High grade waste heat (suitable for CHP applications/bottoming cycles)

Disadvantages
- Material problems due to high temperature operation
- Slow start-up

Elimination of electrolyte management problems, fuel flexibility and high electrical efficiencies have all made SOFC an attractive emerging technology for future power generation, especially in stationary applications. Though most of the benefits of SOFCs result from their high temperature operation, cost and durability issues associated with such high temperatures are yet to be solved. Therefore, current research on SOFCs in academia, industry and governmental laboratories is primarily focused on developing intermediate temperature SOFCs (IT-SOFCs) (operating at < 700 deg. C) which allow the use of low cost materials with improved durability and offer the same advantages as the conventional SOFCs do.

Direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC)

Electrolyte: Fluorinated sulfonic acid polymer
Electrodes: Carbon loaded with platinum
Fuel: Methanol
Operating temperature: 50-130 deg. C
Electrical efficiency: ~40%
Applications: consumer electronics (as a replacement of batteries)

Advantages
- Direct use of liquid fuel (can be recharged like batteries by simply changing the cartridge of fuel)

Disadvantages
- Lower efficiency due to methanol crossover problem
- Higher cost due to increased loading of noble metal at anode

Despite their low efficiency, DMFCs are expected to find their applications in consumer electronic products such as mobile phones, digital cameras and laptop computers in which energy density, compactness in design and convenience of refilling the fuel are of prime concern. To make DMFCs competitive with state-of-the-art lithium-ion batteries in consumer electronics, current research is focused on finding suitable electrolyte materials so as to minimize the fuel crossover problem and developing more active anode catalysts to enhance methanol oxidation.


TREND OF RESEARCH PUBLICATIONS

Following bar graph shows the trend of research publications on various fuel cell technologies from 1970 until the current year based on the data obtained from Web of Science.


As there might be some alterations depending on the search keywords, it should be noted that for the above data, search keywords used are:

AFC – “Alkaline fuel cell”
PAFC – “Phosphoric acid fuel cell”
PEMFC – “PEM fuel cell”
MCFC – “Molten carbonate fuel cell”
SOFC – “Solid oxide fuel cell”
DMFC – “Direct methanol fuel cell”

TREND OF FUEL CELL VEHICLES AND POWER PLANTS

Light duty vehicles

Following graph from Fuel Cell Today illustrates the annual growth of new units of fuel cell light duty vehicles from 1997 to 2007.


Large stationary power plants (> 10 kW)

Annual number of units and MW installed:


Annual technology mix, by percentage adopted:


Further surveys on fuel cell and hydrogen markets can be searched by topic here.

To sum up, there has been a considerable increase in the work on fuel cells over the past few decades indicating the inevitability of transition to fuel cells from the existing power generation technologies. During the course of technological development, some fuel cell technologies have gained more attention while others have lost their charm. Currently PEFCs and SOFCs seem to be the most promising candidates for mobile and stationary applications, respectively. Thus, it seems that these two fuel cell technologies are going to dominate not only the fuel cell industry but also the entire energy sector of the future. Nevertheless, other kinds of fuel cells such as AFCs may still be preferable for some niche applications.

Note: The first four illustrative figures are taken from FCTec.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Nakoso IGCC plant

On the last day of the 10th China-Japan Symposium on Fluidization, today I got an opportunity to visit the Nakoso IGCC (Integrated coal Gasification Combined Cycle) demonstration power plant located in Fukushima Prefecture of Japan. It was a great experience to have direct acquaintance with a clean coal power generation technology which is still under R&D stage worldwide.



Coal is a widely distributed and abundantly reserved fossil fuel that can ensure stable supply for future power generation. However, conventional coal combustion steam-electric plants make use of heat produced from burning coal, which results in low efficiency and high emission of pollutants including carbon dioxide. Therefore, clean coal technologies such as IGCC and IGFC (Integrated coal Gasification Fuel Cell) have been the focus of current R&D in this field. In IGCC technology, coal is converted into gaseous products, known as syngas (composed of hydrogen and carbon monoxide). Before the syngas is burned in a gas turbine to produce electricity, impurities can be removed from the fuel and turned into re-usable byproducts. This results in lower emission of pollutants such as particulates, sulfur dioxide and mercury. This capacity for pre-combustion clean-up of pollutants is one of the technology’s primary advantages over conventional coal combustion approaches. Moreover, to improve overall process efficiency, heat is recovered from both the gasification process and also the gas turbine exhaust in waste heat boilers producing steam. This steam is then used to produce additional electric power.

Several IGCC demonstration plants are now under construction or undergoing demonstration operation across different parts of the world. In Japan, as a national R&D project, a 200 ton/day entrained bed coal gasification combined cycle pilot plant (25 MW) was constructed and operated for 4770 h from 1991 to 1996 by the IGC Research Association under the sponsorship of NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization), and was successfully completed in March 1996. Based on this experience, Clean Coal Power R&D Co. Ltd. was founded in 2001 in collaboration between Japanese government and Japanese electric power companies to construct a 250 MW IGCC demonstration plant. It is the same demonstration plant which is now commonly known as “Nakoso” from the name of the place where it is located. It has come into operation from September 2007.

Process flow diagram of the Nakoso IGCC plant

Details of the Nakoso IGCC plant as well as some basics of IGCC technology can be found here.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fuel cells in action

A recent report entitled "The Business Case for Fuel Cells: Why Top Companies Are Purchasing Fuel Cells Today" by Fuel Cells 2000 features 38 US companies, including 11 Fortune 500 ones, that are making substantial benefits by using fuel cells in their facilities. The applications of fuel cells in these companies range from motive power like vans and forklifts to combined heat and power (CHP) to backup power for telecom equipment.

Here is an interesting video that shows the application of hydrogen-powered lift trucks at a distribution center of the United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI). With 65 lift trucks powered by hydrogen fuel cells, the company expects to cut carbon emissions by approximately 132 metric tons annually along with annual energy savings of approximately 640,000 kWhs.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

History of fuel cell development at a glance

The history of fuel cells dates back to 1839 when a Welsh judge and physical scientist, Sir William Grove, conducted the first known demonstration of the fuel cell by reversing a water electrolysis reaction. Below is a quick summary of the landmarks in the history of fuel cell technologies:

1839 – Demonstration of the first fuel cell (called “gas voltaic battery” at the time) by William Grove

Sketch of Grove's original fuel cell (with four cells in series and a water electrolyzer as the load). Fuel cell technology remained just as a scientific curiosity without much success in practical applications for almost a century after this invention.

1889 – Coining of the term “fuel cell” by Ludwig Mond and his assistant Carl Langer who attempted to use air and coal gas (also referred to as “fuel gas”) to generate electricity

1894 – Theoretical explanation of the operation of fuel cells and manifestation of the advantages of producing electricity directly via fuel cells instead of conventional steam engines by Wilhelm Ostwald

1899 – Demonstration of the yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ) solid-state ionic conductor by Walther Nernst, which is still used as the electrolyte of solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs)

1921 – Development of the first molten carbonate fuel cell (MCFC) by Emil Baur of Switzerland

1932 – Research on alkali electrolyte fuel cells (AFCs) started by Francis T. Bacon

Late 1930s – Experimentation with solid oxide electrolytes using materials such as zirconium, lanthanum and yttrium by Emil Baur and H. Peris

1955 – Invention of the polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC) by William Grub at General Electric

1960 – Successful operation of an MCFC continuously for 6 months reported by Dutch scientists G. H. J. Broers and J. A. A. Ketelaar

1961 – New promise in phosphoric acid electrolytes revealed by G. V. Elmore and H. A. Tanner of Kettering Foundation (USA) leading to the development of phosphoric acid fuel cells (PAFCs)

1962 – Demonstration of the first practical SOFC by the scientists at Westinghouse Electric Corporation (now Siemens Westinghouse)

1965 – First commercial use of PEFCs in NASA’s Gemini space program

1966 – First application of AFCs, manufactured by Pratt and Whitney based on Bacon’s patents, in NASA’s Apollo space program

1966 – First hydrogen fuel cell car, Electrovan, built by the General Motors by employing PEFCs supplied by the Union Carbide

1970s – Invention of the electrochemical vapor decomposition (EVD) process by Arnold Isenberg at Westinghouse thereby opening the door to the development of thin film electrolytes for SOFCs

1983 – PAFC pilot plant of 4.8 MW built in New York City by UTC Power

Mid 1980s – Development of electrode assembly techniques in PEFCs resulting in reduced catalyst loading at Los Alamos National Laboratory

1990 – Invention of the direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC), a sub-category of PEFCs, by Surya Prakash and George A. Olah of the University of Southern California’s Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute

1993 – Demonstration of fuel cell-powered buses by Ballard Power Systems

1993 – Demonstration of the first passenger car running on PEFCs by Energy Partners

1996-97 – Operation of a 2 MW MCFC demonstration plant in Santa Clara, California by Energy Research Corp. (now Fuel Cell Energy Inc.)

2000 – Proof-of-concept demonstration of the first SOFC/gas turbine hybrid system with a design output of 220 kW at the University of California, Irvine’s National Fuel Cell Research Center

2007 – Announcement of the first mass production of fuel cell cars (FCX Clarity) by Honda

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Details on the history of fuel cells can be found in:

J. M. Andujar and F. Segura, Fuel cells: History and updating. A walk along two centuries, Renewable and Sustaible Energy Reviews 2009, 13, 2309–2322

Leo J. M. J. Blomen and Michael N. Mugerwa, Fuel Cell Systems, New York: Plenum Press, 1993

M. L. Perry and T. F. Fuller, A historical perspective of fuel cell technology in the 20th century, Journal of The Electrochemical Society 2002, 149, S59-S67

http://americanhistory.si.edu/fuelcells/index.htm