Fuel Cells


Jun 01, 2003 Print Article
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Over the last decade, interest in fuel cell technology has grown steadily and projections of future progress have been increasingly optimistic. The practical applications for fuel cells fall into two general categories-power for vehicles (primarily automobiles) and production of electric power. The development of a significant fuel cell automobile industry will require extensive retooling of current production lines; the development of hydrogen production, storage, and distribution systems; advances in technology sufficient to compete with a mature internal combustion system; and acceptance of the public of an unfamiliar technology. There are few employment opportunities for automotive fuel cell specialists within the next three to eight years. The situation for electric power fuel cells as it applies to CTCs is quite different. There are driving forces in place that could result in a viable fuel cell power industry in the relatively near future. In general, fuel cell systems are more expensive, have shorter operating lives, and are less well understood than traditional generating sources. However, there are certain situations, such as in mines and other restricted working areas, where fuel cells provide special, almost essential characteristics. There are other situations, such as areas with particularly difficult environmental problems or where cheap hydrogen is available, in which fuel cells offer distinct advantages. There are indications that fuel cell costs are nearing the point where they will be cost effective in these situations.

Table of Contents

Preface v
Acknowledgments vi
General Observations 1
Workforce Implications 5
Training Strategies for Community and Technical Colleges 9
Current Texas Fuel Cell Activities 13
State Government Activities 13
Proposed Fuel Cell Legislation 16
Demonstration Projects 17
Fuel Cell Education and Advocacy Groups 23
Planned Fuel Cell Activities 26
Current State of Fuel Cell Technology 27
How Fuel Cells Work 27
Fuel Cell Technologies 29
Fuel Cell Forecasts 37
Forecast Underpinnings 37
Applications 37
Forecast of Commercialization 39
Background Information 40
Potential Impacting Factors 51
Accelerators 51
Decelerators 53
Final Comments 55
List of Appendices
Appendix A: Overview of Develop a Curriculum (DACUM) Meeting 59
Appendix B: DACUM 64
Appendix C: DACUM Meeting Participants 68
Appendix D: Reports and Studies Utilized 70
Appendix E: Experts Interviewed 72
Appendix F: Selected Fuel Cell Companies 73
Appendix G: Current Highway Vehicle Fuel Cell Projects 79
List of Tables
Table 1: The Five Most Promising Fuel Cell Types 30
Table 2: Forecast of Fuel Cell Use 39
List of Figures
Figure 1: Projected Texas Fuel Cell MW Targets 14
Figure 2: Brooks City Base Project 18
Figure 3: Laughlin Air Force Base, Building Application: Hospital 21
Figure 4: Rebekah Baines Johnson Health Center 22
Figure 5: Texas State Technical College Waco Fuel Cell 25
Figure 6: Fuel Cell Reformer 27
Figure 7: Schematic of an Acid-Electrolyte Fuel Cell 29
Figure 8: PEM Fuel Cell 31
Figure 9: PAFC Fuel Cell 32
Figure 10: Molten Carbonate Fuel Cells 34
Figure 11: Solid Oxide Fuel Cells 35
Figure 12: Capital Cost per kW of Capacity 41
Figure 13: Projected Cost Curve (per kW of Installed Capacity) 42
Figure 14: US Oil Use for Transportation 44
Figure 15: ZEbus (Zero Emission Bus) 46
Figure 16: Fuel Cell Power Plant for the Space Shuttle 47
Figure 17: Fuel Cell Powered Toyota Highlander 48
Figure 18: Portable Direct Methanol Fuel Cell 50

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