NewEnergyNews: TODAY’S STUDY: TRENDS IN HYDROGEN FUEL CELL STORAGE

NewEnergyNews

Gleanings from the web and the world, condensed for convenience, illustrated for enlightenment, arranged for impact...

The challenge: To make every day Earth Day.

YESTERDAY

  • LABOR DAY STUDY: CHINA NEW ENERGY MOVES AHEAD
  • NO QUICK NEWS TODAY. BACK TOMORROW.
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • Weekend Video: The Economic Opportunity In The Climate Fight
  • Weekend Video: The Future Of Energy
  • Weekend Video: Advances In BioEnergy
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    GET THE DAILY HEADLINES EMAIL: CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS OR SEND YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS TO: herman@NewEnergyNews.net

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    THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-CLIMATE CHANGE – IT GETS WORSE
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-WHERE AND HOW WIND IS GROWING IN THE WORLD
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-CHINA TO LEAD SOLAR MARKET GROWTH DESPITE OBSTACLES
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-THE ENORMOUS POTENTIAL OF WORLD GEOTHERMAL
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, August 28:

  • TTTA Thursday-PRESIDENT TO TAKE ACTION ON CLIMATE
  • TTTA Thursday-BIRDS AND ENERGY, THE BIGGER STORY
  • TTTA Thursday-NEW CA LAW STREAMLINES SOLAR PERMITTING
  • TTTA Thursday-DATA CENTER EFFICIENCIES CAN SAVE U.S. $3.8BIL/YR
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • THE STUDY: THE RISKIEST ENERGY IN THE WORLD
  • QUICK NEWS, August 27: VERIZON’S $40MIL SOLAR BUY; WIND PRICES HIT RECORD LOWS; NUKE INSPECTOR SAYS DIABLO CYN IS UNSAFE
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • THE STUDY: U.S. WIND RIGHT NOW
  • QUICK NEWS, August 26: CLIMATE MODELS PROVE RIGHT AGAIN; ABOUT INVESTING IN SOLAR; GM VS TESLA IN THE 200 MILE RACE -

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    Anne B. Butterfield of Daily Camera and Huffington Post, is a biweekly contributor to NewEnergyNews

  • Another Tipping Point: US Coal Supply Decline So Real Even West Virginia Concurs (REPORT)

    November 26, 2013 (Huffington Post via NewEnergyNews)

    Everywhere we turn, environmental news is filled with horrid developments and glimpses of irreversible tipping points.

    Just a handful of examples are breathtaking: Scientists have dared to pinpoint the years at which locations around the world may reach runaway heat, and in the northern hemisphere it's well in sight for our children: 2047. Survivors of Superstorm Sandy are packing up as costs of repair and insurance go out of reach, one threat that climate science has long predicted. Or we could simply talk about the plight of bees and the potential impact on food supplies. Surprising no one who explores the Pacific Ocean, sailor Ivan MacFadyen described long a journey dubbed The Ocean is Broken, in which he saw vast expanses of trash and almost no wildlife save for a whale struggling a with giant tumor on its head, evoking the tons of radioactive water coming daily from Fukushima's lamed nuclear power center. Rampaging fishing methods and ocean acidification are now reported as causing the overpopulation of jellyfish that have jammed the intakes of nuclear plants around the world. Yet the shutting down of nuclear plants is a trifling setback compared with the doom that can result in coming days at Fukushima in the delicate job to extract bent and spent fuel rods from a ruined storage tank, a project dubbed "radioactive pick up sticks."

    With all these horrors to ponder you wouldn't expect to hear that you should also worry about the United States running out of coal. But you would be wrong, says Leslie Glustrom, founder and research director for Clean Energy Action. Her contention is that we've passed the peak in our nation's legendary supply of coal that powers over one-third of our grid capacity. This grim news is faithfully spelled out in three reports, with the complete story told in Warning: Faulty Reporting of US Coal Reserves (pdf). (Disclosure: I serve on CEA's board and have known the author for years.)

    Glustrom's research presents a sea change in how we should understand our energy challenges, or experience grim consequences. It's not only about toxic and heat-trapping emissions anymore; it's also about having enough energy generation to run big cities and regions that now rely on coal. Glustrom worries openly about how commerce will go on in many regions in 2025 if they don't plan their energy futures right.

    2013-11-05-FigureES4_FULL.jpgclick to enlarge

    Scrutinizing data for prices on delivered coal nationwide, Glustrom's new report establishes that coal's price has risen nearly 8 percent annually for eight years, roughly doubling, due mostly to thinner, deeper coal seams plus costlier diesel transport expenses. Higher coal prices in a time of "cheap" natural gas and affordable renewables means coal companies are lamed by low or no profits, as they hold debt levels that dwarf their market value and carry very high interest rates.

    2013-11-05-Table_ES2_FULL.jpgclick to enlarge

    2013-11-05-Figure_ES2_FULL.jpg

    One leading coal company, Patriot, filed for bankruptcy last year; many others are also struggling under bankruptcy watch and not eager to upgrade equipment for the tougher mining ahead. Add to this the bizarre event this fall of a coal lease failing to sell in Wyoming's Powder River Basin, the "Fort Knox" of the nation's coal supply, with some pundits agreeing this portends a tightening of the nation's coal supply, not to mention the array of researchers cited in the report. Indeed, at the mid point of 2013, only 488 millions tons of coal were produced in the U.S.; unless a major catch up happens by year-end, 2013 may be as low in production as 1993.

    Coal may exist in large quantities geologically, but economically, it's getting out of reach, as confirmed by US Geological Survey in studies indicating that less than 20 percent of US coal formations are economically recoverable, as explored in the CEA report. To Glustrom, that number plus others translate to 10 to 20 years more of burning coal in the US. It takes capital, accessible coal with good heat content and favorable market conditions to assure that mining companies will stay in business. She has observed a classic disconnect between camps of professionals in which geologists tend to assume money is "infinite" and financial analysts tend to assume that available coal is "infinite." Both biases are faulty and together they court disaster, and "it is only by combining thoughtful estimates of available coal and available money that our country can come to a realistic estimate of the amount of US coal that can be mined at a profit." This brings us back to her main and rather simple point: "If the companies cannot make a profit by mining coal they won't be mining for long."

    No one is more emphatic than Glustrom herself that she cannot predict the future, but she presents trend lines that are robust and confirmed assertively by the editorial board at West Virginia Gazette:

    Although Clean Energy Action is a "green" nonprofit opposed to fossil fuels, this study contains many hard economic facts. As we've said before, West Virginia's leaders should lower their protests about pollution controls, and instead launch intelligent planning for the profound shift that is occurring in the Mountain State's economy.

    The report "Warning, Faulty Reporting of US Coal Reserves" and its companion reports belong in the hands of energy and climate policy makers, investors, bankers, and rate payer watchdog groups, so that states can plan for, rather than react to, a future with sea change risk factors.

    [Clean Energy Action is fundraising to support the dissemination of this report through December 11. Contribute here.]

    It bears mentioning that even China is enacting a "peak coal" mentality, with Shanghai declaring that it will completely ban coal burning in 2017 with intent to close down hundreds of coal burning boilers and industrial furnaces, or shifting them to clean energy by 2015. And Citi Research, in "The Unimaginable: Peak Coal in China," took a look at all forms of energy production in China and figured that demand for coal will flatten or peak by 2020 and those "coal exporting countries that have been counting on strong future coal demand could be most at risk." Include US coal producers in that group of exporters.

    Our world is undergoing many sorts of change and upheaval. We in the industrialized world have spent about a century dismissing ocean trash, overfishing, pesticides, nuclear hazard, and oil and coal burning with a shrug of, "Hey it's fine, nature can manage it." Now we're surrounded by impacts of industrial-grade consumption, including depletion of critical resources and tipping points of many kinds. It is not enough to think of only ourselves and plan for strictly our own survival or convenience. The threat to animals everywhere, indeed to whole systems of the living, is the grief-filled backdrop of our times. It's "all hands on deck" at this point of human voyaging, and in our nation's capital, we certainly don't have that. Towns, states and regions need to plan fiercely and follow through. And a fine example is Boulder Colorado's recent victory to keep on track for clean energy by separating from its electric utility that makes 59 percent of its power from coal.

    Clean Energy Action is disseminating "Warning: Faulty Reporting of US Coal Reserves" for free to all manner of relevant professionals who should be concerned about long range trends which now include the supply risks of coal, and is supporting that outreach through a fundraising campaign.

    [Clean Energy Action is fundraising to support the dissemination of this report through December 11. Contribute here.]

    Author's note: Want to support my work? Please "fan" me at Huffpost Denver, here (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/anne-butterfield). Thanks.

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    Anne's previous NewEnergyNews columns:

  • Another Tipping Point: US Coal Supply Decline So Real Even West Virginia Concurs (REPORT), November 26, 2013
  • SOLAR FOR ME BUT NOT FOR THEE ~ Xcel's Push to Undermine Rooftop Solar, September 20, 2013
  • NEW BILLS AND NEW BIRDS in Colorado's recent session, May 20, 2013
  • Lies, damned lies and politicians (October 8, 2012)
  • Colorado's Elegant Solution to Fracking (April 23, 2012)
  • Shale Gas: From Geologic Bubble to Economic Bubble (March 15, 2012)
  • Taken for granted no more (February 5, 2012)
  • The Republican clown car circus (January 6, 2012)
  • Twenty-Somethings of Colorado With Skin in the Game (November 22, 2011)
  • Occupy, Xcel, and the Mother of All Cliffs (October 31, 2011)
  • Boulder Can Own Its Power With Distributed Generation (June 7, 2011)
  • The Plunging Cost of Renewables and Boulder's Energy Future (April 19, 2011)
  • Paddling Down the River Denial (January 12, 2011)
  • The Fox (News) That Jumped the Shark (December 16, 2010)
  • Click here for an archive of Butterfield columns

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    Some details about NewEnergyNews and the man behind the curtain: Herman K. Trabish, Agua Dulce, CA., Doctor with my hands, Writer with my head, Student of New Energy and Human Experience with my heart

    email: herman@NewEnergyNews.net

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    Your intrepid reporter

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  • Wednesday, February 13, 2013

    TODAY’S STUDY: TRENDS IN HYDROGEN FUEL CELL STORAGE

    The Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Industries: 10 Trends to Watch in 2013 and Beyond

    Kerry-Ann Adamson, Lisa Jerram and Mackinnon Lawrence, 1Q 2013 (Pike Research/Navigant)

    Introduction

    The fuel cell and hydrogen industries had a dynamic year in 2012. As Pike Research forecast in the 2012 iteration of this white paper, the year was marked by restructuring, the increased rollout of new business models, a sharp increase in sales and interest in the residential combined heat and power (resCHP) market, and overall revenue generation of over $1 billion.

    Today, at the start of 2013, Pike Research is looking at a fresh new page and presenting the top 10 trends for the next 12 months. The trends in this white paper were generated by drawing together information from Pike Research’s body of research on the fuel cell and hydrogen markets and its industry involvement. Note that due to the emerging nature of the industries, one of the trends is the same as for 2012.

    The 10 key trends for 2013, in no particular order, are:

    » Annual installed capacity from the stationary fuel cell sector will top 200 megawatts (MW)

    » Funding pace for hydrogen refueling stations will increase in Europe and Asia Pacific

    » An increasing number of companies will nudge toward overall profitability

    » Private equity and corporate investments from Russia, South Africa, and Asia Pacific will rise

    » Independent power producer (IPP) and energy service company (ESCO) partnerships with utilities will increase (also one of Pike Research’s top 10 trends in 2012)

    » Global revenue from the fuel cell sector will exceed $2 billion

    » Platinum and palladium shipments into the fuel cell industry will increase

    » The strongest shipment increase will occur with islanding-capable systems

    » Market penetration for fuel cell vehicles will remain low

    » Progress in the portable fuel cell sector will remain slow

    10 Key Trends in the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Industries

    1. Annual Installed Capacity from the Stationary Fuel Cell Sector Will Top 200 MW

    In 2012, the stationary fuel cell industry experienced both growth and a period of deep restructuring. Megawatts shipped between 2009 and 2012 grew at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 47%, with 160 MW of stationary fuel cell power shipped in 2012. New installed capacity will more than double in the stationary fuel cell sector in 2013. For the first time, annual installed capacity in the sector will top 200 MW.

    The key development in the market in the last year has been the sharp increase in market demand created by government policy. Table 2.1 shows the countries that have created direct or indirect policy affecting the stationary fuel cell market.

    Together, these policy instruments represent a market potential of over 3 gigawatts (GW) in 2013, increasing to over 50 GW by 2020. Pike Research defines the two types of policies as follows:

    » Direct policy includes all policies that specifically mention stationary fuel cells. An example of this is the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) in South Korea, where fuel cell adoption receives double credits.

    » Indirect policy does not specifically mention fuel cell technology, but does affect the relevant markets. Examples include policy for distributed generation and policy that requires the increased resilience in off-grid power for the telecom towers markets.

    Due to increases in government policies, decreases in costs, and increasing market demand, Pike Research forecasts that capacity shipments in the stationary fuel cell sector will reach 275 MW under the business-as-usual scenario in 2013.

    2. Funding Pace for Hydrogen Refueling Stations Will Increase in Europe and Asia Pacific

    The pace of funding for the design and rollout of hydrogen refueling stations will pick up in 2013, especially in Asia Pacific and Europe. Strong interest in hydrogen refueling stations was apparent in 2012. Japan, for example, released subsidies in 2013 to kick-start the building program of hydrogen refueling stations. Called “Subsidy for Hydrogen Supply Facility Preparation,” the Japanese government has set aside a war chest of $0.5 billion for 2013. The program will provide for half a station construction cost. With stations also planned in the United Kingdom, Germany, the United States, and Canada, Pike Research expects to see a flurry of activity in 2013 in preparation for the 2015 rollout of fuel cell vehicles.

    The other interesting aspect of this trend is the continued development of different concepts for a hydrogen refueling station. Projects such as ITM Power’s Hydrogen On-Site Trials (HOST) have shown the technical feasibility of onsite hydrogen creation and orders for Hydrogenics’ electrolyzer systems have increased. Thus, Pike Research anticipates a sharp rise in the number of hydrogen refueling stations in 2013 that produce hydrogen onsite rather than transporting it from another site.

    3. An Increasing Number of Companies Will Nudge toward Overall Profitability

    In 2012, fewer than five companies were selling a fuel cell system at a profit. Fewer than four companies were earnings before tax (EBITDA) profitable and none were making an overall profit. By contrast, in 2013 Pike Research expects an increase to almost 15 companies with profit per system sold, an increase in the number of companies making EBITDA profit, and the first overall profit-making fuel cell company.

    4. Private Equity and Corporate Investments from Russia, South Africa, and Asia Pacific Will Rise

    In 2012, investments in fuel cell technology from Russia surged. The major deals included:

    » RUSNANO invested $25 million, out of a $60 million funding round, in Lilliputian. The strings attached to the deal are that Lilliputian will open an office in Russia and undertake some research and development (R&D) there.

    » Ervington Investments, owned by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, made a £8.7 million ($13.96 million) investment in U.K. fuel cell firm AFC Energy and then bought a 10% stake in Waste2Tricity (to which AFC Energy is also related). Ervington investments has the right to place two directors on the AFC Energy board.

    » I2BF, a Russian venture capital fund, increased its investment in ACAL Energy, a U.K. fuel cell component manufacturer.

    Pike Research’s analysis highlights two key points in these deals:

    » Technology transfer and cross-pollination of R&D between Russian fuel cell and electrolyzer scientists and their colleagues in Europe and North America is likely to increase – especially in the alkaline fuel cell (AFC) sector.

    » Palladium is increasingly being used in conjunction with platinum for fuel cell catalysts. It is known that the palladium industry, headed by Norilsk Nickel, is looking at the fuel cell industry for a potential new high-volume market for the metal. With Abramovich holding a 5.87% stake in Norilsk Nickel, collaboration could increase between Russian investors, the palladium industry, and the fuel cell industry.

    For 2013, Pike Research expects to see continued strategic interest from Russian investors in fuel cell companies, especially those developing systems that could use palladium. Moreover, there is strong potential to see investment in alkaline electrolyzer firms. Pike Research also expects South African firms to use their links with the platinum industry and increase their investment into the (high temperature) polymer electrolyte membrane ([HT] PEM) fuel cell and PEM electrolyzer sectors.

    5. Independent Power Producer and Energy Service Company Partnerships with Utilities Will Increase

    Independent power producer (IPP) and energy service company (ESCO) partnerships with utilities will continue to be a key trend in 2013. (Note that in the United States, an IPP is also known as a non-utility generator [NUG].) In other words, the number of IPPs and ESCOs leveraging fuel cells for baseload power production will increase in 2013. The benefits of this form of relationship are clear for utilities in that it de-risks any use of new technology and they can specify, in the form of buyout rates, the price they will pay for the power.

    6. Global Revenue from the Fuel Cell Sector Will Exceed $2 Billion

    In its 2012 iteration of this white paper, Pike Research stated:

    “Pike Research forecasts that the combined revenue of the fuel cell industry and demand for hydrogen from fuel cells and internal combustion engines (ICEs) will reach $785 million globally in 2012.”

    Initial data shows that during the 2012 calendar year, the combined industries generated revenue of more than $1 billion. Note that this figure came from sales of fuel cells and hydrogen systems and does not take into account any R&D funding a company received.

    For 2013, Pike Research forecasts that revenue will jump again to more than $2 billion in one year. As can be seen in Chart 2.2, which includes historical data from 2009, stationary fuel cells will generate the lion’s share of this revenue at more than $1.5 billion.

    7. Platinum and Palladium Shipments into the Fuel Cell Industry Will Increase

    The development of relationships between the platinum and palladium industries and the fuel cell and electrolyzer industries will be quite interesting in 2013. It is known that platinum loadings in low temperature fuel cells are going down and are now below 0.2 gPt/kW. However, due to the growth in shipments and the increased collaboration between the two industries, Pike Research expects that in 2013 there will be a sharp rise – albeit from a low base – of platinum and palladium shipped in the fuel cell and electrolyzer industries.

    8. The Strongest Shipment Increase Will Occur with Islanding-Capable Systems

    Due to the impact of continued black swan events, a sharp increase has occurred in the development of fuel cell systems that are married with energy storage to provide islanding capability. This is different from black-start capability, which is when a system can start without any network connection or, in simpler terms, start to produce power from cold during a grid blackout. Interest is increasing in enabling systems that are already running to continue to run during grid-level power outages.

    In 2013, Pike Research anticipates a year of policy redirection with government-level encouragement for the development and deployment of systems with islanding capability. Companies that already have this capability in place are ahead of the curve and will see strong order books for 2013. Overall, in the stationary fuel cell sector, Pike Research forecasts that systems with islanding capability will experience the strongest increase in shipments.

    9. Market Penetration for Fuel Cell Vehicles Will Remain Low

    Although large amounts of publicity and interest will be generated in niche fuel cell vehicles, the reality is that mass-market penetration by these vehicles is still down the road a bit. Unlike the rollout of fuel cell light duty vehicles, which is still on target for 2015, the niche transport sector is falling some way behind. Fuel cells for recreational vehicles (RVs) and forklifts are selling, but are not enough to pull this sector into the mainstream.

    Outside of RVs and forklifts, the marine sector is gathering an increasing number of press column inches. With fuel cell ferries being developed or launched in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Turkey, the attendant press machine is creating a somewhat false illusion that the technology is closer to the mainstream than it actually is and of its normalization in the short term. Since a large number of technical and regulatory barriers have yet to be dismantled and removed, a mass market for the marine sector is still some time away.

    Trains and light rail systems, which are among the more practical of the many applications for fuel cells, seem to have ground to a halt. Again, they continue to gather press interest, but without a significant jump-start, they risk remaining a micro-niche in 2013 and beyond.

    10. Progress in the Portable Fuel Cell Sector Will Remain Slow

    The portable sector in 2013 will continue to be the unloved child of the fuel cell industry. Although Lilliputian gathered significant press coverage for the launch of its Nectar at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show, it is still a limited run, expensive gadget that is for sale only in the United States. It joins the myFC PowerTrekk, the Aquafairy AF-M300, and the Horizon MiniPak, all selling into this space.

    While useful, it is clear that none of these systems have a unique selling point that is strong enough to challenge the existing paradigm. Therefore, Pike Research forecasts that sales will remain marginal overall. If one of these companies is able to produce a system that can charge a laptop, then it could be “game on” for the portable fuel cell sector.

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