Air Products has announced that it has awarded a subcontract to FuelCell Energy, Inc. under a United States Department of Energy (DOE) Cooperative Agreement.

FuelCell Energy will evaluate, design and demonstrate a next-generation Hydrogen Energy Station (HES). The HES will build upon FuelCell Energy's ultra-clean Direct FuelCell (DFC) power plants and Air Products' advanced gas separation technologies.

Greg Keenan, business development manager for Future Energy Solutions at Air Products, said: “This Hydrogen Energy Station could establish a bridge for continued hydrogen infrastructure development. The HES will integrate aspects of FuelCell Energy's DFC technology and Air Products' process and separation technology to provide a unique and highly efficient offering.

\\$quot;Air Products believes that the HES can potentially be competitive with other distributed hydrogen generation technologies.\\$quot;

The HES is directed toward co-producing hydrogen for vehicle fuelling and electrical power from a single system. The HES effort will be directed toward a capability of using readily available fuels such as natural gas, propane and anaerobic digester gas from municipal and industrial wastewater treatment facilities.

Dr. Hansraj C. Maru, FuelCell Energy's chief technology officer, said: “We are currently commercialising our Direct Fuel Cell (DFC) power plants for combined heat and power applications in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

\\$quot;Making hydrogen available locally for other applications, such as automotive fuel cells, enhances the value proposition of our DFC products.\\$quot;

According to Mr Keenan Several locations are being evaluated for the demonstration of the HES, presently scheduled to be on-stream in 2007.

On-site generation of hydrogen is a potential solution to challenges relating to development and construction of an infrastructure for fuelling hydrogen vehicles. The HES will be based upon the use of high-temperature fuel cell technology to produce three products; hydrogen, heat and electricity, wherein unreacted hydrogen can be recovered from anode exhaust gas.

The HES will be designed to optimize the output based on user demand. FuelCell Energy's sub-megawatt power plant will be integrated with an Air Products hydrogen purification system and related support sub-systems. The HES is designed to provide up to 250 kilowatts of electricity daily, sufficient to provide the base load power requirements of a 300-room suburban hotel, and enough hydrogen to fuel 20 cars per day.

For further information:
Air Products
FuelCell Energy