Fuel Cell info; DOE DP Program

In the Jan 23 UFTO Note about the Fuel Cell Seminar, several sources of information on Fuel cells were provided. Here is some additional clarification of how four separate publications are related.

Fuel Cells 2000 is an activity of the Breakthrough Technologies Institute (BTI), a non-profit organization formed to promote the development and early commercialization of fuel cells and related pollution-free, efficient energy generation, storage and utilization technologies and fuels. http://www.fuelcells.org

They publish “Fuel Cell Connection”, a monthly sponsored by USFCC, NFCRC, and NETL
(subscribe at http://fuelcellnews.listbot.com)
This will also get you the quarterly “Fuel Cell Catalyst”, (the Winter 2001 issue arrived this afternoon) and access to back issues:

Fuel Cells 2000 also publishes and distributes its own monthly “Technology Update”, summarizing recent events in the fuel cell industry
(subscribe: fuelcell-subscribe@yahoogroups.com)

And, they publish “Fuel Cell Quarterly” — subscription requires a paid contribution of $25 or more.

All of the above mentioned organizations have extensive websites with lots of documents, links, lists, etc.
USFCC http://www.usfcc.com
NFCRC http://www.nfcrc.uci.edu
NETL http://www.netl.doe.gov


The January 2001 issue of Fuel Cell Connection arrived today, with 28 separate items. Here are two that are noteworthy.

9. NREL Establishes Center for Distributed Power
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has established a new “Distributed Energy Resources Center” to conduct research and provide information needed to efficiently develop additional power supplies from small, decentralized generating units. Research on fuel cells and microturbines will fall under the “Hydrogen and Natural Gas Systems” section of the center.

10. Guide to Doing Business with DOE’s National Laboratories Now Available
The Laboratory Coordinating Council of the DOE has prepared a guide to “Doing Business with the Laboratories of the Laboratory Coordinating Council. (LLC)” The guide is available online through the DOE Office of Industrial Technologies.

Even though the “LLC” is focused specifically on the Office of Industrial Technologies, this new document appears to be a good new resource about the whole subject.


Speaking of Distributed Power and NREL, the DOE program is really taking off.

On December 4, 2000, DOE released its “Strategic Plan for Distributed Energy Resources,” (dated September 2000) which outlines a national effort to develop clean, reliable and affordable distributed energy technologies over the next two decades. The goal of the plan is eventually to allow industrial, commercial and residential customers to choose from an array of distributed energy resource products and services. The Strategic Plan will focus initially on developing “next-generation” distributed energy technologies and addressing the institutional and regulatory barriers that interfere with the development of dis-tributed energy resources. The DOE also outlined six separate strategic areas it plans to address in the near future.

“The Strategic Plan for Distributed Energy Resources” can be found on the Internet at
(Generally thislast website is the one to pay attention to.)

The DP Program Review meeting was just held the week before last in Washington. Very soon I hope to be able to pass along detailed notes from the NREL folks who are handling the website.

Fuel Cell Seminar, CADER/DPCA

Fuel Cell Seminar http://www.gofuelcell.com
30 Oct – 2 Nov 2000, Portland, OR

This is the major Fuel Cell event, held every two years. The last one was in Palm Springs. There was a huge turnout -over 2000 people, with lots of financial types and corporations represented. It was a strange kind of transitional hybrid between a professional technical conference and an industry trade show. The exhibitions were far more lavish than ever before.

My own foremost impression – it is not about fuel cells. It’s about the fuel. The fuel cell is the easy part. Getting fuel for it (espec PEM) is the hard part. The great majority of papers and discussion revolved around fuel processing.

Most often heard new (to me) jargon — “fromwellhead to wheel”. This refers to need to take the efficiency of entire fuel cycle into account– for example methanol has already sacrificed energy content by the time it’s made. Reformer hydrogen has less energy content than the fossil fuel you start with.


Abstracts of the 2000 Fuel Cell Seminar. The book given to attendees is about 1.5 ” thick. Also on a CD. ( a set of 250 pdf files, totalling over 83 MB) The book or the CD may be available for purchase from the conference sponsors. Contact:
“Wiesenfeld, Susan”
The new 5th edition of the DOE Fuel Cell Handbook (Oct 2000) was handed out at the Seminar. Will be available on the NETL website. http://www.netl.doe.gov (I have the CD…main pdf file is 3.5 Meg which I can email on request)
To order the CD

[web tip] — The NETL website has its fuelcell materials under the Strategic Center for Natural Gas/End-Use. The “News” is particularly useful:
A couple of choice items:
–The Fall 2000 issue of Fuel Cell Catalyst [PDF-70KB] is now available. This is a new free quarterly newsletter for the fuel cell industry, reporting on government and industry fuel cell issues, including: special themes focused on particular segments of the industry, in-depth looks at federal fuel cell programs, and reports from companies on the status of their own research.
Subscribe at http://fuelcellnews.listbot.com/
–The final solicitation [PDF-498KB] for DOE’s Strategic Center for Natural Gas new fuel cell initiative, called the Solid State Energy Conversion Alliance, or SECA, was posted 11/3/00. The goal of SECA is to accelerate the development of the industry based needed to produce low-cost solid-state fuel cells.
Several key reports are available at the DOE Office of Transportation website:

-Challenges for Transportation Fuel Cells: Fuel Processing and Cost – October 2000

-A.D. Little Fuel Cell Cost Study–Cost Analysis of Fuel Cell System for Transportation – March 2000
Solicitation Number: DE-RP04-01AL67057
Description: Solicitation for financial assistance applications for research, development and analysis of automotive and stationary fuel cell power systems, fuels for fuel cells, and Compression Ignition Direct Injection (CIDI) engines.
(download full solicitation document available 851 KB)