Achieved connection UK: Fuel Cell Power No. 24 Spring 2006 :: Future Energies :: The future of energy
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Fuel cells UK: Fuel Cell Power No. 24 Spring 2006
Posted by on 2006-05-24 10:37:09
contributed by gfoat

Government reports call for energy saving and renewables to ensure energy security and avoid dangerous climate change. Efficiently designed fuel cell vehicles will help to fulfil these objectives. Read more for the full FCP article.


MPs demand action!

The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee has published a comprehensive report entitled Keeping the lights on: nuclear, renewables and climate change. The Committee says that the Government must be far more imaginative and radical in pursuing the twin goals of the Energy White Paper – energy efficiency and renewables. The last three years since the White Paper have been something of a wasted opportunity, but the report highlights the criteria by which future investment in low carbon technologies should be judged. The published report includes evidence from a widespread public consultation and proposes action that should be taken by the Government.

Officials make erroneous assumptions

An important submission to the public consultation was made by Amory Lovins, CEO of Rocky Mountain Institute, who previously worked in the UK. His presentation showed that it is much cheaper to invest in energy saving and decentralized electricity generation than in new nuclear power stations. Governments are basing their policies on a misunderstanding of the costs of introducing new energy technologies, says Lovins. If properly done, climate protection would actually reduce costs, not raise them. Using energy more efficiently offers an economic bonanza - not just because of the benefits of stopping global warming but because saving fossil fuel is a lot cheaper than buying it! Lovins believes that energy saving technologies, combined heat and power, renewable fuels, hydrogen and fuel cells will be the source of the world’s wealth this century and the winners will be those who start to produce these technologies now.

The economics of climate change

Sir Nicholas Stern was appointed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Prime Minister to undertake a major review of the economics of climate change and has presented an interim report, which outlines the risks of climate change and suggests ways in which they could be avoided. Getting international agreement will require not only a shared understanding of the problems of climate change and the economic mechanisms applied to solve them, but also careful attention to the complex ethical issues involved, such as equity, sustainability and stewardship. Economic growth is a key factor in determining greenhouse gases but current emissions are on an unsustainable path and energy related emissions are forecast to grow.

We must examine the potential adjustment costs of moving towards low-carbon economies and also investigate how far a focus on energy saving and clean technologies could cut through the many inefficiencies in the supply and use of energy and also promote an era of discovery and innovation where technology leaders may reap advantages in the future. Climate change must be a central element in the whole set of international engagements. Public pressure nationally and internationally should be engaged and education of current and future generations is essential.

Fuel Cell Power’s submissions to these consultations are contained in the evidence published on their websites.

TOP PICTURE: Fuel cell ultralight car, courtesy Rocky Mountain Institute


The long awaited Government report entitled the Climate Change Review Programme, contains a lot of detail about modifications to the existing energy infrastructure, but there is no sign of a fundamental shift away from burning fossil fuels. While Government policies concentrate on helping the global energy industries and £billions are invested in fossil fuels, hydrogen fuel cells and renewable energy are starved of funding. The Renewables Obligation (RO) creates a distortion in favour of grid connected technologies rather than independent micro combined heat and power systems, renewable energy and hydrogen fuel cells.

The Government added an extra £50 million in the Budget to the £80 million allocated over the next three years to the technologies associated with low carbon buildings. These include combined heat and power, fuel cells, solar photovoltaics and solar thermal, micro-hydro, micro-wind, biomass and heat pumps. On the other hand, by 2010, the public will have to contribute an additional £1,000 million every year to the large electricity generators under the Renewable Obligation, mainly for huge wind turbines. We need a fair balance between large scale wind generators and all the smaller viable forms of energy saving and renewable technologies.

Every year the British public spends about £2,000 million buying new fossil fuelled boilers to heat their homes because these are cheap to buy. The full cost will be paid by people in other places and in future generations. If the purchasers paid a fair price for their electricity and heat, covering the ‘external costs’, which are at present left for others to pay, this would make energy saving and renewable technologies more competitive.

The Climate Change Review Programme report estimates the annual cost of the damage caused by global warming gases emitted in the UK at about £14,600 million ($26,000 million) and rising. According to the International Energy Agency, about $700,000 million will be invested every year throughout the world in fossil fuel energy infrastructures over the next 25 years. We should be starting to invest on this scale in energy saving buildings, transport planning and renewable energy, as well as emerging hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.

  • Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen’s Printer for Scotland.


    Cambridge based ITM Power Plc has announced a major step in its objective to provide a commercial alternative which will replace hydrocarbon fuels. The Company believes that a low cost, durable electrolyser, producing hydrogen from renewable fuels, is the critical technology necessary for the economic replacement of fossil fuels. For hydrogen fuel to be viable, the electrolyser will need to have longevity in excess of 3,000 hours and capital cost will have to be in the range $120-180/kW in order to produce hydrogen which is cost competitive with fossil fuels. This compares with existing electrolyser costs in the region of $2,000/kW and the US Department of Energy 2010 target of $300/kW for an electrolyser stack.

    ITM’s low cost membrane technology has been tested and has achieved 3,500 hours of operation at a commercially significant power density. The Company’s membrane material is estimated to cost just 1% of that of existing industry standard membrane material. Further cost reductions are being achieved by the replacement of platinum catalysts with nickel alloy. This is proving at least as stable as platinum, with no external evidence of degradation or loss of efficiency.

    Because the materials under test are less than a third of the cost of platinum, the cost of the company’s electrolysers is expected to reduce to below $164/kW. On the basis of these encouraging results, ITM is confident that it will be able to meet and exceed its technology objectives which represent a firm basis for seeking commercially viable applications of ITM's technology. ITM Power has the ability to produce low cost fuel cells that meet the energy demands of a wide range of industries and specialist technologies including military, automotive and stationary fuel cell markets as well as the capacity to power household items such as laptops, mobile phones and domestic appliances. ITM has patented a new manufacturing process that allows a fuel cell/electrolyser stack of cells to be made in a single process similar to a mass production casting process. The process is capable of producing cells or stacks of any shape that may also be flexible so that they can be moulded into smaller products, such as mobile phones.

    Jim Heathcote, CEO, ITM Power Plc, said that their technology has broken through the barriers which have prevented previous non-hydrocarbon fuel systems being anything more than highly subsidised 'curiosities'. The potential commercial significance of that fact cannot be underestimated.

    ITM Power has recently raised additional capital of £29.4 million which will be used as working capital to accelerate the next phase of the Company’s development strategy. This will cover a two year programme building large prototypes and undertaking demonstrations, field trials and pre-production design, leading to the manufacture of the final product. ITM is vigorously pursuing the commercial production and rapid deployment of their technology. The opportunities cover virtually all aspects of our energy intensive lifestyles and offer a real chance to help deal with problems of peak oil, climate change and energy security.


    Peter Bance, Chief Executive of Ceres Power gazes into a bright future! He said that the successful delivery of a 1kW solid oxide fuel cell lies at the heart of their plans to bring the product to market both in the UK and overseas, as concerns grow over rising utility bills, security of energy supply and how to meet environmental targets.

    The 1kW Ceres solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) stack is smaller and lighter than a typical car battery! The use of a new generation of ceramic materials enables operation at 5500C rather than about 9000C for the average SOFC, so that the fuel cells can be made from stainless steel. The production engineered fuel cell stack is designed to be reliable, robust and economical, lending itself to rapid mass market uptake. It generates sufficient power for the average home and is the fundamental building block of micropower generation products aimed at a variety of consumer and commercial uses. In addition to CHP units in homes running off natural gas, these include electrical generators using bottled gas and auxiliary power units for vehicles.

    Domestic CHP

    The Ceres Stack incorporates many innovations which give savings in size, weight and production cost, whilst improving performance. This unique technology allows the fuel cells to start up and shut down rapidly and repeatedly, withstand mechanical shock and have very long lifetimes under realistic operating conditions. Ceres is working in a commercial development programme with British Gas to provide domestic combined heat and power (CHP) systems in the UK, substantially reducing both energy bills and CO2 emissions. British Gas estimates that this makes micro CHP technology immediately accessible by 14.5 million UK households.


    Micro-CHP fuel cell

    In the past year the Ceramic Fuel Cells Ltd (CFCL) micro combined heat and power (CHP) unit has been reduced in size. It supplies 1 kW electricity and 1 kW thermal energy and the overall efficiency target is 80%. It is powered by natural gas but in the future it will be powered by LPG, propane, biogas or hydrogen.

    CFCL has raised over £37 million from UK and European institutional investors and plans to invest a significant proportion of the proceeds in volume manufacturing facilities in Europe. CFCL plans to build a specialist ceramic powder plant and a volume fuel cell stack manufacturing plant. It is intended to supply the solid oxide fuel cell stacks to appliance manufacturer partners who will build micro combined heat and power (CHP) systems for utility customers.

    CFCL’s demonstration CHP unit has been cleared for prototype field trial use in Europe. Independent experts from The Netherlands based Kiwa Gastec Certification, Europe’s market leader for testing and certification of gas related products, gave the CFCL unit formal ‘CE’ approval in January 2006. The ‘CE’ mark is a manufacturer’s declaration that the product complies with the essential requirements of the relevant European health, safety and environmental laws.

    Biogas powered fuel cell

    FuelCell Energy’s Direct Fuel Cell (DFC) has been evaluated at a Japanese wastewater treatment plant. The renewable biogas is obtained free of charge from an anaerobic digester, which like an animal’s stomach, breaks down organic matter into energy and waste. The DFC was found to meet or exceed an independent industry trade group's examination standards for electrical efficiency, heat recovery efficiency, air emissions and operational stability in anaerobic digester gas applications. It was confirmed that the DFC eliminates air pollutants to levels lower than one-tenth of the emissions permissible under Japan's strict environmental laws.

    Reducing costs

    FuelCell Energy marked Earth Day 2006 with the dedication of a 250 kW Direct Fuel Cell (DFC) at the Billings Clinic in Montana. The system integrates a 60kW microturbine which provides additional electricity and further reduces energy costs. Jim Duncan, Director of Development at Billings Clinic, said that this will help them to tackle the stiff increases in heating and power costs over the past five years. This spring FuelCell Energy’s DFC have so far produced in total over 91,500,000 kilowatt hours (units of electricity) in operation with customers.


    As pointed out above by Amory Lovins of Rocky Mountain Institute in evidence to the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, it is cheaper to introduce fuel saving technologies than to pay for fossil fuels. Rocky Mountain Institute has designed a car with composite carbon bodywork, which is less than half the weight of a conventional car. The efficiency gains enable the fuel cell powered version to achieve a range of over 500 kms with existing hydrogen storage. Modern materials are both strong and resilient, providing a protective barrier in the event of an accident. The same design principles could be applied to vans, buses and even trains. It is not enough to save fuel says Lovins, if it is cheaper to use their car, people might drive even more! Policies are needed to reduce the need for driving, with better urban design and good public transportation.

    Report for Department of Transport

    A huge change in how we travel is desperately needed to halt a trend that will see the UK’s air dangerously and irreversibly polluted within 15 years if left unchecked. This was the conclusion of a report commissioned by the Department for Transport (DfT) called Looking Over The Horizon, which was compiled by the University College London (UCL) Bartlett School of Planning and the Halcrow Group.

    Professor David Banister of UCL said: “For governments not to act is becoming increasingly irresponsible. We need major change in the way people travel. Global atmospheric concentrations of CO2 are over 370 parts per million (ppm) now. This figure is rising at over 2 ppm each year. If we exceed 400 ppm then most people believe we're in trouble in terms of global warming, so we've got 15 years of current growth before we reach a critical point.”

    Two possible policy routes that the DfT could take to reach a proposed 60% reduction in C02 emissions by 2030 were tested by UCL and collaborators at the Halcrow Group. The first scenario focused on the impact of technological advances, such as hybrid cars and alternative fuels, on lowering emissions. The second scenario considered changes in travel behaviour - from government and businesses to changes in residents’ lifestyles and travel patterns. This second scenario was far more effective.

    “To move towards these behavioural changes in the UK,” said Professor Banister, “we could expect heavy government investment in cycling and walking; lower speed limits and national road pricing (similar to the London congestion charge but on an environmental and emissions basis and implemented across the whole country); better public transport and less long distance travel, as well as new urban design to improve accessibility to local services and facilities.” Innovative forms of public transport including demand responsive modes, will form part of the future transport package.

    Study co-author, Robin Hickman of the Halcrow Group, added: “We really should see this as a new age for integrated transport and urban planning - a huge opportunity - with the global environmental imperative as the catalyst for a major improvement in the way we live our lives. Looking over the horizon, we can see that concerted action is required now, and not tomorrow.”

    Reversing the trend

    The Government has recently turned down several proposals by local authorities to introduce light rail public transport systems. The main problem is that since the break up of public transport in the UK twenty years ago it is difficult for light rail systems to get the high patronage achieved in other countries which have maintained and enhanced integrated public passenger systems. It will take several years to reverse the trend away from public transport in the UK. Another obstacle to innovation is that, since the UK Department of Energy was abolished, decisions are taken not by scientists concerned about energy efficiency and environmental improvement, but for short term commercial and political considerations.

    Bristol light rail

    After eight years with no coherent Government response to their proposals for a level playing field for innovative light rail, Sustraco Ltd, developer of the Bristol tram, has finally written to the Office of Fair Trading. The main points of their complaint are:

  • Government provides £1million per day subsidy for diesel fuel for buses.
  • Criteria for local bus service grants treat air quality as of low importance.
  • The Department for Transport seems unwilling to acknowledge the established fact that vehicles on steel wheels, running on steel rails, are three times as energy efficient as similar vehicles running with rubber tyres on tarmac.
  • Trams are more popular than buses and can create a greater degree of modal shift from cars to public transport.
  • Government grants for reducing carbon emissions from road transport exclude trams although they have been running on roads all over the world for two centuries. There are no grant funds available for the development of a prototype hydrogen fuel cell powered tram, even though all the necessary technology is available and such a vehicle could be as much as ten times more efficient than the fuel cell powered prototype buses funded by the EU and the Government.

    The National Audit Office report in 2004 entitled Improving public transport in England through light rail stated that the Department for Transport should advise the Department of Trade and Industry and the Energy Saving Trust to consider the case for including the developers of light rail technologies as eligible recipients of grants for energy saving technologies. It should also consider establishing its own grant scheme to promote and develop innovative light rail technologies as a means of supporting the government's objective to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    New policies are urgently needed to reduce toxic traffic emissions, reduce carbon emissions from the transport sector, increase passenger kilometres per unit of energy and to phase out dependence on fossil fuels by substituting renewable energy.

    Fuel cell hybrid train

    East Japan Railway Company is developing a New Energy Train incorporating a hybrid system and fuel cell. The aim is to achieve energy saving and reduce air and noise pollution.

    Kimi Räikkönen swaps race car for fuel cell bus!

    McLaren Mercedes formula one driver Kimi Räikkönen whizzed around in a fuel cell bus in Melbourne! The zero-emission bus was used throughout the Australian Grand Prix for VIP track tours. The Mercedes-Benz bus was brought to Melbourne to showcase environmentally friendly urban transport. It is usually carrying people around the streets of Perth.

    Piedmont takes the initiative!

    The Italians are forging ahead with fuel cells and hydrogen. Piedmont believes that energy is a major challenge for Europe in the years to come and that there is growing concern and interest in environmental problems. Piedmont aims to promote hydrogen as a clean energy carrier instead of continuing to use fossil fuels.

    They have set up HY PARK, which is a hallmark of sustainable environmental development. It includes a facility for the production, storage and use of hydrogen produced from renewable sources. The objective is to experiment with fuel cell technology and new methods for producing and storing energy even under extreme environmental conditions.

    A fleet of 80 light fun vehicles powered by fuel cells is planned for Piedmont’s Hy Park. This Hysyrider scooter is a hybrid with a 300 watt fuel cell and small battery pack.

    Hydrogen is stored in this metal hydride unit which is built into the fuel cell scooter.

    Fiat and Piedmont hydrogen programme

    Mercedes Bresso, President of the Region of Piedmont, and Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat announced a wide-ranging co-operative program for hydrogen fuelled transport. The Panda Hydrogen car incorporates Nuvera’s new Andromeda II fuel cell which offers very high generating efficiencies, cold start capability and extreme durability.

    The "Piemonte Idrogeno" Enterprise Association has been set up to promote the development of hydrogen-based technologies applied to transportation and portable and stationary electric power generation systems. This will be a part of the European Commission’s Joint Technology Initiative for hydrogen.

    FIAT’s first Panda Hydrogen prototype represents the city car of the future. It uses technologies that will totally eliminate all negative environmental impacts and exploit energy sources more efficiently, including renewable energy sources.

    At full power, the fuel cell delivers 60 kW that allows the car to reach a top speed of more than 130 km/h, with acceleration from 0 to 50 km/h in 5 seconds. The hydrogen tank capacity guarantees the Panda Hydrogen a range of more than 200 kms in urban driving. Refuelling time is very quick at less than 5 minutes. 2006 will see the beginning of the demonstration stage of small Panda Hydrogen fleets.

    Nuvera fuel cells for locomotive

    Vehicle Projects LLC is developing a fuel cell powered locomotive for commercial and military railway applications. It will be powered by 1.2 megawatt FORZATM proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells from Nuvera Fuel Cells of Cambridge, USA and Milan, Italy. Steel wheel on rail applications are subject to shock and vibration and Nuvera fuel cell stacks and power modules have been proven to be rugged and reliable in earlier projects. Prashant Chintawar, Executive Director at Nuvera, said that they appreciate Vehicle Projects’ ongoing efforts to advance new technologies that offer clean energy alternatives to the world.

    Fuel Cell powered sports car

    A wholly British partnership has unveiled plans to develop the world’s first environmentally clean sports car called the LIFECar. The LIFEcar will be powered by a QinetiQ fuel cell and there will be four electric motors, one at each drive wheel. Regenerative braking and surplus energy will be used to charge ultra-capacitors which will provide high torque for acceleration. The development will be completed in two and a half years and will cost a total of £1.9m, with a mix of industry and DTI funding.

    The partnership consists of the Morgan Motor Company, ex-MOD research arm QinetiQ, BOC, OSCar and the universities of Cranfield and Oxford. Dr Malcolm McCullough of Oxford University said that it is obvious that in our transition to a sustainable society we will have to adopt electric power for cars and they will have to be very efficient. Ian Whiting of QinetiQ added that LIFECar is about catching the first big wave in the energy revolution, which is set to transform the motoring industry in the same way that the computer industry was transformed by the personal computer decades ago.

    70 hydrogen vehicles for London!

    The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, plans to introduce 70 new hydrogen and fuel cell vehicles by 2010 and is asking the transport industry to get ready to deliver the necessary vehicles and refuelling technology. Currently there are three hydrogen fuel cell buses being successfully evaluated in London and the trial has been extended until the end of this year. Following a successful planning application process, Hornchurch will continue to provide service as a hydrogen refuelling station.

    The Mayor’s commitment to rolling out more hydrogen-fuelled vehicles in the capital is part of the London Hydrogen Partnership’s transport programme to make London a leader in clean technologies. Transport for London (TfL) has already begun the procurement process for 10 new hydrogen-fuelled buses and the Mayor is working with the Metropolitan Police Authority and London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, as well as TfL, to deliver and run the other hydrogen vehicles.

    Improving air quality in the capital

    Proposals are being considered for a London-wide Low Emission Zone which would cover all 33 London boroughs. The aim is to improve London’s air quality by encouraging operators of large diesel vehicles to clean up their fleets. The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, said: “The proposed Low Emission Zone is the most effective way of reducing the most harmful vehicle emissions quickly and will make London one of the few cities in the world to have taken such a radical step to tackle air pollution. I want people living, working and visiting London to benefit from better air quality and to live longer and healthier lives”.

    Hamburg fuel cell car, buses and boat programme

    Hamburg is actively establishing a hydrogen infrastructure. Nine hydrogen fuel cell powered buses are in operation and a fuel cell powered car will be used at the airport for transport between aircraft and the terminal. Within the hydrogen development in Hamburg a fuel cell powered passenger boat is proposed. A 100 kW fuel cell will be required for the vessel, which is planned to carry about 100 passengers.


    The Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Bill completed its third reading in the House of Commons on the 12th May and it now goes to the House of Lords. Mark Lazarowicz MP, who introduced the Bill, said: “I am delighted that my Bill has now completed all its stages in the House of Commons and I am grateful to all those who have supported it. If it finally passes through Parliament, I believe it can make a very useful contribution to promoting micro generation and renewables.”

    The Bill proposes that the Government should report to Parliament annually on the measures they are taking to reduce greenhouse gases. Within twelve months of the passing of the Act the Chancellor should report on fiscal measures to assist with micro generation and energy efficiency. Both central and local governments should establish targets for micro generation in Great Britain. The Government may also introduce regulations that specify the proportion of fuel supplied for heating which should be derived from renewable sources. The Government must take steps to enable electricity produced by domestic micro generation to be sold. Licensed electricity suppliers will undertake to purchase electricity from their domestic customers at the market rate. All types of green energy certificates should be used to enhance the take up of micro generation and the costs for domestic customers should be minimised. Community activities developing sustainable energy should also be supported.

  • Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen’s Printer for Scotland.

  • These measures would go a long way to removing the obstacles to the introduction of combined heat and power systems, including fuel cells. Individuals and local communities would be able to generate their own electricity and heat. The green energy certificates would provide extra income and make small generators more competitive with fossil fuels which do not cover their external costs. However, it will be necessary to ensure that there is a level playing field for hydrogen fuel cell systems which are not grid connected.


    Leading fuel cell development company Intelligent Energy, a pioneer in the hydrogen economy, has announced the completion of a number of showcase activities in South Africa: some of the world’s first ever rural fuel cell applications.

    These demonstration projects show how this clean and efficient means of electricity generation could benefit millions of people around the globe. Electrification is considered a fundamental driver for economic growth in the developing world, but grid electricity is, and will continue to be, cost-prohibitive in many of these areas. Fuel cells offer a viable solution for the future in such scenarios, providing power at the point of consumption. Intelligent Energy has successfully completed three different projects in Africa.

    The fuel cell provides back-up power for a special vaccine fridge to ensure constant temperature. The electrical grid in South Africa’s Eastern Cape is very unstable and in the event of grid failure the efficacy of the vaccine is compromised. In another project, a fuel cell provides back-up for telemetry equipment which helps to control the complex system of reservoirs in Kwazulu Natal. The third project is also in KwaZulu Natal where photovoltaic modules are used to power more than 10,000 Solar Home Systems. Two 100W fuel cell systems have been installed in an uninterrupted power supply (UPS) configuration to power a computer and security lighting should the grid fail.

    Dr Sakib Khan, Managing Director of Intelligent Energy South Africa said: “In total, the showcase units have run for 17,000 hours to date. We believe that these three applications have successfully shown the potential of our fuel cell systems to be of real use to many of the world’s rural and remote populations, as a source of non-grid electricity. If the fuel cells can cope with the harsh extremes of the African bush, then their robustness is now firmly established.”

    World Economic Forum champions innovation

    Intelligent Energy, which was one of the companies awarded the title of Technology Pioneer 2006, was invited to attend the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Switzerland. The meeting was opened by Germany’s Federal Chancellor, Angela Merkel, who said: “We need to reinforce the feeling that global challenges can be tackled successfully and Germany will champion pragmatic and innovative solutions.” Intelligent Energy’s representative, Dr Lawson-Statham, explained that Intelligent Energy is involved in developing clean energy fuel cell applications across many different market sectors, as well as participating in discussions on how to bring new creative thinking to some of the most serious problems on the world’s economic agenda.


    In response to the Government’s publication of the Climate Change Review Programme, Lord Martin Rees, President of the Royal Society, said that the Government appears to be pinning its hopes on measures that have not delivered in the past. This makes it difficult to have confidence that the projected emissions reductions will be delivered. Furthermore, the cuts in UK carbon dioxide emissions achieved to date have been largely the result of the move away from coal and oil burning for electricity generation and a reduction in heavy industry.

    The Royal Society has recommended that the Government should associate a cost to the emission of carbon dioxide regardless of source, whether it is transport, domestic or industrial. This would encourage the development of cleaner technologies and a move away from carbon based fuels, as well as promoting energy efficiency measures.

    We must act now. Because of time-lags in the climate system we are setting in motion today a series of potentially very serious consequences that will be played out at a future time, when there will be little that can be done to prevent them. More intensive efforts to meet Government targets will stimulate new technologies which would be intrinsically beneficial to this country and throughout the world.

    Avoiding ‘dangerous’ climate change

    Last year the Royal Society, together with the scientific academies of the G8 nations and several other countries, called upon Governments to ascertain the concentration in the atmosphere at which greenhouse gases should be stabilised in order to avoid ‘dangerous’ climate change. The E.U. member states had agreed that they should limit greenhouse gases so that the increase in global average temperature would be no more than 2 C. Now the UK’s Chief Scientist, Sir David King has said that the temperature rise may exceed 3 C and even sceptics in America have acknowledged that warming is being observed in the upper atmosphere.

    Fuel cells reverse growth in global warming gases

    The implementation of fuel cells throughout the world will conserve energy and help to reverse the growth in global warming gases. Hydrogen fuel cell systems used as load levellers for renewable energy will reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Developing countries should be helped to establish clean, safe energy infrastructures and not emulate the wasteful patterns of wealthier nations. Hydrogen fuel cell systems can store intermittent supplies of energy from small and large wind energy collectors, solar panels and marine energy sources. Essential transport services could be fuelled from household, agricultural or forestry waste.


    The European Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Platform (HFP) participated in an E U sponsored Workshop in Turin in March, which brought together the regions developing hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. From the UK, presentations were given by One North East, The London Hydrogen Partnership and the University of Glamorgan. Another meeting will take place in Lyons in June 2006 and the HFP General Assembly will be in Brussels in October. More European partners are invited to attend and take part in future joint projects with hydrogen and fuel cells. The HFP has also made proposals on the Green Paper on Energy, and all interested parties are invited to contribute by 24th September 2006.


    A group of Danish companies and institutions has released a visionary concept called H2PIA for building the world’s first hydrogen city, beginning next year somewhere in Denmark. H2PIA is facing up to global challenges of future energy supply and the team is inviting international companies, institutions and individuals to make it a reality.

    Based on existing hydrogen and fuel cell technology the building of H2PIA can begin in year 2007, and thereby become an early stepping stone towards the future hydrogen economy. H2PIA will be a complete urban community with houses, businesses, shops, cars and roads. H2PIA will show how we can develop from a society that produces energy by burning oil, coal and gas, to a hydrogen-based, independent and pollution-free community.

    The citizens will produce the energy they need from the sun and wind. At the centre of the city will be a fuel cell combined heat and power plant, as well as a hydrogen filling station. Surplus electricity will be supplied to the grid or converted to hydrogen and used to fuel vehicles. For those with cars, the fuel cell in their car will contribute additional electricity in their homes or for export to the grid.


    24th – 25th May 2006, Aberdeen, Scotland

    ALL-ENERGY 2006. The conference and exhibition will be opened by the Energy Minister, Malcolm Wicks, MP. Fuel cells will be displayed and the conference will include a session on fuel cells and hydrogen organized by the Scottish Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Association.

    13th -14th September 2006, Turin, Italy. Fuel Cells Science & Technology

    Following the success of the previous events in this series, the third event will be held at the Torina Incontra Conference Centre, Turin, Italy.
    Further information from Sharon Reeve, Fuel Cells Science & Technology 2006,
    78 Burnham Lane, Burnham,Berkshire, SL1 6LS, UK
    Tel: +44 (0) 1628 559888 Fax: +44 (0) 1865 843958:

    4th-6th October 2006, Brussels

    European Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Platform (HFP) General Assembly Demonstration/ Exhibition and Drive & Ride.


    Information can be obtained from:
    Fuel Cell Power, Lyndhurst, The Street,
    Woolpit, Suffolk, IP30 9QG
    Tel. & Fax 01359 245073



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