Thinking of getting in on a venture on them, I would be an investor as well as an advisor to how to run the business and financial side of things. The head engineer is responsible for developing some new solar cell technology years ago, and has played with TDP as well. Now his focus is fuel cells.
I have enough chemistry background to know the basics, but I am having a hard time finding out the economics of this technology. Seems that stuff like proton exchange membrane material is hellishly expensive, and will remain so until economic quantities can be made.
FYI, I generally do not subscribe to the "Hydrogen Economy" line of bullshit, because the people who are proponents for such a thing can never tell me where all this hydrogen is supposed to come from. They are rabidly opposed to nuclear generation, which pretty much leaves solar.
I worked for a company that manufactured fuel systems for automotive/small engine applications.
A few years ago, we were approached by GM to work on the plates for hydrogen fuel cells.
Seems as if they were wanting us to copper hydrogen braze these plates there were very long and very thin to each other with a gap of .005" between the plates.
We worked on it for about 3 months and finally gave up.
Too much variation form the brazing process would cause the plates to warp drastically.
The gap between the plates was very important to the entire system.
I don't know what happened after that, but our president was not very happy with the results.
I remember making a comment about sow's ears and silk purses to my boss after it was all over, and he replied that we just should have given them sheets of stainless steel with $100 bills taped on it.
We would have been money ahead instead of all the time and effort we put into it.
Don't know how much this will help you with your situation...
Hydrogen and fuel cells are what the car companies are using to deflect public pressure away from their lack of effort into viable fuel saving measures. The technology and support apparatus is probably 50+ YEARS [ if ever ] away from being a viable alternative to fossil fuels and electric. What is needed is more nuke electric generation plants and more research in: modern electron storage cells [ batteries ] , more modern brushless motors and controllers, computer controlled chargers for the new batteries, lighter composite construction techniques for automotive structures, advanced traffic routing to keep large trucks away from the new light weight vehicles.
Love the part in red.
Be careful in all your investments. I was not aware that AR15.com was an investment counseling service.
To whom and to which firm are you referring?
Consider these questions. If their lead has been in solar cells, why is he not still in solar cells? If their lead is in TDP (whatever that is), why is he not still in it? With that track record, why would you expect a different outcome for his fuel cell venture?
Hydrogen economy is total BS because hydrogen is a secondary energy source. You still have to generate the hydrogen by burning oil/coal. You could do it with nuclear power but we as a nation do not currently have the will to do that.
No problem. I'm an accredited investor.
Just some people. If an entity is formed, I would be the one to form it.
He's an engineer. 99.999% of the engineers I have met have no business sense. They think they do (they all do) but they don't. Depending on how much I invested, it might be my venture.
I agree with the H2 economy thing, but what about cells that operate on ethanol, natural gas, etc?
I know the market for these things must be small, but is that small market full of competitors, or something no one has exploited yet? I will dig deeper into all this of course, but I wondered if a fellow Arfcommer was familiar with fuel cells.
If you are an investor I don't need to tell you this, but it sure looks to me that things like solar, oil, coal and just about any other energy source bigger than a fart attracts more capital than fuel cells. Sounds pretty high risk to me.
Everyone is working like demons on these things, but to be honest, hot fusion is probably closer to fruition than commercially viable fuel cells. Fuel cells do have their specialty applications, though. It depends on the goals and the details of the project.
If he's planning a new design to put into cars and replace internal combustion engines, be aware that there are still serious theoretical and engineering problems to work out to make them cost effective.
It would be more of a low-level research type thing than a give-it-one-year-and-we're-going-to-have-an-IPO thing that I hear claims about all the time.
It seems that manufacturing them is easy enough, but the real payoff is in research. I was curious to see if there was any sense in pursuing cheaper manufacturing methods to get the price down while maintaining a nice margin.
Like so many other things, fuel cells seem on first glance to be an economy of scale thing, and as such will probably be popularized by a company like GE who can afford to drop a few billion up front until costs drop due to volume.
You're being too sketchy. From my perspective, as a conservative investor, I'd say forget it. Apparently, you don't even have a product yet. Is it your plan to do a small scale, laboratory technology demonstration (using US government funding) then sell the patent rights?
P.S. - Ethanol reqiires corn. Corn requires petroleum-based fertilizers. 'Nuff said?
... I'm interested in this as well
I installed a fuel cell in the back of my 65 mustang .
I signed up for this news letter several years ago. Then it was just a couple items. It has grown considerably in the past few years. I attached the recent email. You can contact them at Fuel Cells
Fuel Cell Technology Update – January 2006
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Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday! Looking forward to a great 2006 – the year of the fuel cell.
Hyundai Delivers Fuel Cell Tucson to AC Transit.
Hyundai Motor Company delivered the first of 10 Hyundai and Kia Tucson Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV) to the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit). The delivery marked the beginning of a five-year demonstration and validation project designed to evaluate fuel cell vehicles and hydrogen infrastructure technologies. Hyundai plans to place two additional Tucson FCEVs with AC Transit in early 2006, and will round out the fleet with six Kia Sportage FCEV models in late 2006 and 2007.
Fuel Cell Zamboni Takes the Ice.
The first ever hydrogen fuel cell-powered ice resurfacer, the eP-ICEBEAR, made its world debut last month in ice hockey-crazed Grand Forks, North Dakota. The vehicle is powered with a Nuvera Fuel Cells 5-kW PowerFlow fuel cell power module and was developed by ePower Synergies, Inc. and the Resurfice Corporation.
Nuvera Enters Agreement with Fiat Powertrain Technologies and Centro Ricerche.
Nuvera Fuel Cells has entered into a multi-year agreement with Fiat Powertrain Technologies and Centro Ricerche Fiat to research and develop a high-efficiency hydrogen fuel cell propulsion system for fuel cell vehicles. Together, the partners will be the exclusive supplier of the new fuel cell powertrain to the Fiat Group, which includes Fiat Auto, IVECO, and Case New Holland.
Plug Power, IST Receive $3 Million Grant from IFC, IST Orders 80 GenCore Systems.
The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group has awarded a $3 million grant to IST Holdings (PTY) Ltd and Plug Power Inc., to install 400 fuel cells in remote locations and cities of South Africa over the next three years. Plug Power will produce the five-kilowatt fuel cell systems, which IST will import, distribute, install, and maintain. The project is worth a total of $14 million. To jump start the program, IST has issued a purchase order for 80 of the Plug Power’s GenCore® backup fuel cell systems.
Progress Energy Installs Plug Power Fuel Cell in Florida, Invests $1 Million in Microcell.
Progress Energy Florida has installed a hydrogen fuel cell to provide backup electric power to a Pinellas County skilled-nursing facility. A 5-kilowatt Plug Power fuel cell was installed at Palm Garden of Largo, a skilled-nursing facility on the west coast of Florida. It will provide hallway and safety lighting for the facility if hurricanes or other emergencies interrupt power. Progress Energy also announced a commitment of $1 million to Microcell Corp., a Raleigh-based company working to bring commercially available fuel cell applications to industrial, commercial and consumer markets.
Marubeni Sells Fuel Cell to NGK.
FuelCell Energy’s Asian distributor Marubeni Corporation has sold a 250-kilowatt Direct FuelCell® (DFC®) power plant to Japanese ceramics manufacturer NGK Insulators, Ltd. NGK will use the power plant as part of its efforts to cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions at three facilities by 24 percent over the next five years.
Toyota and Aisin Developing Residential Fuel Cells.
Toyota Motor Corporation and Aisin Seiki Company are jointly developing 1-kW residential fuel cell systems, with the goal of offering the systems commercially in the next few years. Toyota is currently working with Toho Gas Company to test a residential fuel cell cogeneration system in homes in central Japan.
IdaTech Unveils Latest Backup Power Product.
IdaTech, LLC has released its newest backup power product - the ElectraGen™3 fuel cell system. The ElectraGen™3 is a hydrogen-based proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell solution capable of producing up to three kilowatts of clean, reliable backup power.
Voller Receives Order from Speedy Hire.
Voller Energy Group PLC has received its first purchase order from Speedy Hire Plc. The initial order is for 300 cordless multi-tool battery chargers. Voller Energy and Speedy Hire are also co-operating to develop a range of fuel cell products which will power portable accommodation and remote working facilities, reducing the demand for fossil fuels and enabling operators to recharge their equipment without the need to leave the immediate vicinity of their work.
Astris to Provide Fuel Cells to Mobile Attic.
Astris Energi Inc. has received an order for two alkaline fuel cell (AFC) generators from Mobile Attic Inc. Each of the generators will be evaluated as onboard power for Mobile Attic's portable storage product.
Palcan to Receive Funding from NRC Canada.
Palcan Power Systems Inc. has reached an agreement with the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) of Canada whereby the National Research Council of Canada will contribute up to $300,000 over the next fourteen months. The funding has been awarded to enable Palcan to complete the development of a commercial portable fuel cell power system.
SHEC Labs to Open World's First Solar Hydrogen Production Station from Landfill Gas.
Solar Hydrogen Energy Corporation will deploy the world's first Solar Hydrogen production station using methane from city landfills. The station will be in the City of Regina, Saskatchewan and will have the capacity of producing 1.2 million kg of renewable hydrogen per year.
Hydrogen Fueling Station Opens in Greece.
The first hydrogen refueling station in Greece using renewable energy sources was opened in Athens, Greece. The station uses wind energy to generate hydrogen and will be the fueling source for a hydrogen-powered scooter, car and minibus.
Shell to Open Hydrogen Station in China.
Tongji University, Shell Hydrogen BV and Shell (China) Limited have signed an agreement to build Shanghai’s first hydrogen filling station for fuel cell vehicles. The partners will build the new station at Shanghai International Automotive City, working together on the design, construction, maintenance and operations. The station, which will be completed by the end of 2006, is part of the Ministry of Science and Technology’s national program to develop electric vehicles in China.
QuestAir Receives Purchase Order from ExxonMobil, Hydrogenics.
QuestAir Technologies Inc. has received purchase orders totaling CAN$1.8 million from ExxonMobil to begin the construction of a prototype hydrogen purifier to be demonstrated at a refinery. QuestAir has also received an order from Hydrogenics Corporation for an H-3200 hydrogen purifier to be integrated into a Hydrogenics reformer and installed at a Korea Gas research and development facility in Incheon, South Korea. The KOGAS-tech (Korean Gas Technology Corporation) station will generate hydrogen fuel from natural gas. The station will be capable of producing sufficient hydrogen to refuel approximately 20 fuel cell-powered vehicles.
FUEL CELL COMPONENTS
PolyFuel Develops New Membrane.
PolyFuel, Inc. has developed a new, thinner fuel cell membrane that delivers 33% more power than the previous industry benchmark for passive direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs). The new hydrocarbon DMFC membrane has a thickness of 45 microns, significantly less than its previous 62-micron membrane.
Hydrogenics Receives Purchase Orders from GM.
Hydrogenics Corporation has received a series of purchase orders from General Motors Corporation for fuel cell test services anticipated to be delivered in 2006. http://www.hydrogenics.com/ir_newsdetail.asp?RELEASEID=182510
Hoku to Provide Products to SANYO.
Hoku Scientific, Inc. has entered into a new agreement with SANYO Electric Company, Ltd. to provide next generation membranes and membrane electrode assembly products for SANYO's testing at the R&D facility in Japan.
FuelCon Selects Advance Tech Controls as India Sales Partner.
FuelCon AG has appointed Advance Tech Controls Pvt. Ltd as their sales partner for India. Advance Tech Controls is a technology, engineering and service company with operations throughout complete India.
Prospects for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells.
The International Energy Agency has published Prospects for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells, which provides objective analysis of policy responses and hurdles and business opportunities. Information regarding the latest RD&D, policy initiatives and private sector plans are assessed from the perspective of the rapidly changing global energy system in the next half century.
Hydrogenics Receives US$8 Million Military Order.
Hydrogenics Corporation has been awarded a US$ 8 million contract for multiple units of its HyPM® 500 Series Fuel Cell Power Modules from a world leading military OEM. The power modules, representing in aggregate over 600 kW of power capacity, will be delivered over a two year period starting in 2006.
Hydra Fuel to Ship Fuel Cell Beta Units.
American Security Resources Corporation’s wholly owned subsidiary, Hydra Fuel Corporation, plans to ship beta units of its proprietary hydrogen fuel cells to select customers in January 2006.
Manhattan Scientifics Sells Equity Interest in Singapore Licensee.
Manhattan Scientifics Inc. has sold its equity interest in a Singapore-based licensee for nearly $900,000. The company intends to use the sale proceeds to retire a significant portion of its debt.
For a complete list of conferences, please go to http://www.fuelcells.org/news/conf.html
FC Expo 2006.
The International Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Expo (FC EXPO 2006) will take place January 25-27, 2006, at Tokyo Big Sight, Tokyo, Japan. For conference details, check out http://www.fcexpo.jp.
8th Small Fuel Cells.
The 8th Annual Small Fuel Cells conference will be held April 2-4, 2006, at the L'Enfant Plaza Hotel in Washington, DC. For details, go to http://www.knowledgefoundation.com/.
Fuel Cell 2006.
Fuel Cell 2006 will be held June 6-7, 2006, at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel and Convention Center in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. For details, go to http://www.fuelcell-magazine.com/fc_conf_index.htm.
Fuel Cells 2000 (www.fuelcells.org) is a non-profit, educational activity that seeks to promote the development, demonstration and commercialization of fuel cell technology.
I guess it would depend if your engineer friend has a revolutionary concept to start with. That might make it worth it. If he has a pretty strong idea on how to produce them efficiently then I'd think hard about it. If it is more of a let's try to figure this out, I read about it Popular Electronics - run away.
Fuel cells can work with anything that contains hydrogen, including hydrocarbons like gasoline, alcohols, natural gas, etc. And they can do more than just power a car, they can be used as electric generators for the home/business, and run portable electronics like laptops too. There's a lot of potential there for power like Thomas Edison once envisioned for everyone, "DC."
The last I heard, a couple of Taiwanese scientists discovered a way to facilitate the H2O reaction with a lot less catalyst or platnum which is one of the largest cost factors.
PeteCO: Make a decision?
The last thing we need to be doing is converting water into something to run cars on. Water is actually more valuable than oil. We just haven't realized it yet.
I'm not 'pie in the sky'. Saving resources while dramatically increasing highway deaths due to unsafe vehicle interfaces is not a very smart trade off.
No it doesn't. (corn require petro fert) To produce enough corn/wheat to feed the world, yes we use petro fertilizers. If we changed our goals we could get by with much less petro based fertilizers, even using legume crop rotation will be a big difference. It is going to start happening anyhow because of the increase in diesel cost.
There is good money in fuel cells. Not making them, just talking about them.
Get your engineers together to make a proposal to the DOE for some goofball idea that doesn't have a snowballs chance and the money will flow in.
Write a book, go on speaking tours, etc. Those save-a-whale foundations will finance your "work" and they have more money than the DOE.