Global SOFC market to reach $335 million: According to a report from Business Communications Co., the global market for solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) is currently estimated at $123 million, of which the North American market is estimated to be around $67 million (approximately 55 percent of the market). This reflects an increase in SOFC funding, the number of units evaluated, R&D contracts and sales of about 21 percent compared to 2002. The global market is forecast to reach $335 million by 2008 with an average annual growth rate of 22.2 percent through the forecast period. According to the company, the first pre-commercialized SOFC systems are expected to reach the market sometime this year or in 2005, depending on application—mainly larger stationary systems such as combined heat and power in North America and power plant and residential systems for Europe.
In a related report, Business Communi-cations Co. reported that the worldwide hydrogen generation, storage and delivery device market is currently estimated at $702 million. The market, according to the report, is expected to reach nearly $1.5 billion as it grows at an average annual growth rate of 15.8 percent through 2008.
Japan, U.S. to research together: Spencer Abraham, U.S. secretary of energy, and Goji Sakamoto, senior vice minister of economy, trade and industry of Japan have signed a joint statement of intent to pursue pre-competitive research and development in the field of fuel cell and hydrogen technologies. “The United States and Japan both recognize the contribution research and development can make to the development of a hydrogen economy and to cost-effective technologies to meet future global energy needs,” Abraham said. “International cooperation is key to achieving the hydrogen and fuel cell program goals outlined by President Bush in his last State of the Union address.” Both the U.S. and Japan are members of the International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy.
Exelon Nuclear reports record generation: Exelon Nuclear’s 17 generating units produced a total of 143.9 million net MWh of electricity in 2003, the highest production ever for Exelon Nuclear. The fleet also achieved an average capacity factor of 93.4 percent, making it over 92 percent for the fourth year in a row. (These figures reflect Exelon Nuclear’s total “operated” net generation. In the past, Exelon Nuclear reported “owned” generation, which includes pro-rated generation figures from co-owned units.) “Through our strong focus on nuclear safety and equipment reliability, we expect to achieve continued high performance,” said Chris Crane, Exelon Nuclear president and chief nuclear officer. “This is key to increased public support of nuclear power as an efficient, reliable and environmentally friendly source of electricity for the present and the future.”
GE to launch 7H gas turbine technology: The world’s first application of GE Energy’s 7H gas turbine technology—the 60H version of GE’s advanced H System—will be an 800 MW class, combined-cycle project with Hydro-Quebec Production, the generation division of Hydro-Quebec, an international leader in power generation, transmission and distribution. The new facility, to be built at Beauharnois, Quebec, (southwest of Montreal) will be based on two GE 107H combined-cycle systems. The gas-fired plant is expected to enter commercial service in mid-2007. According to GE, Canada’s and Quebec’s commitment to the Kyoto Protocol was one of the determining factors in Hydro-Quebec’s selection of H technology for the plant. (Today’s most efficient combined-cycle plants have a 57 to 58 percent efficiency range; according to GE, the H System is capable of 60 percent.)
NCMPA1, Progress Ventures announce agreement: North Carolina Municipal Power Agency Number 1 (NCMPA1) and Progress Ventures Inc. have announced an agreement whereby Progress Ventures will provide NCMPA1 with 50 MW of peaking capacity. The contract will run from 2006 through 2015 with energy coming for Progress Ventures’ generating facility located in Rowan County, N.C. The Rowan County facility consists of five natural gas-fired units totaling 920 MW of simple- and combined-cycle generation. NCMPA1 is the full-requirements supplier to 19 municipal utility members within the Duke Energy service area in the Piedmont and Western parts of North Carolina.
EPRI reports foreign mercury invasion: According to researchers at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), mercury depositing on the earth’s surface here in the U.S. predominately originates outside the country. The movement of mercury is tracked in two ways: by direct measurements from aircraft flying through air plumes, and by modeling, in which computer programs simulate the movement of mercury in wind currents and its interactions with windfall. Results indicate that most of the mercury on the surface in the U.S. appears to originate in Asia and is then carried eastward across the Pacific by prevailing global wind patterns. In the U.S., two-thirds or more of the mercury deposition West of the Mississippi is of non-U.S. origin. East of the Mississippi, deposition is increasingly from U.S. sources, including, but not exclusively, coal-fired power plants.
New method for hydrogen storage: University of Chicago scientists have proposed a new method for storing hydrogen fuel in the online edition of the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.” The most popular current storage methods—liquid hydrogen and compressed liquid hydrogen—require that the fuel be kept at extremely low temperatures or high pressures. But, the University’s Wendy and David Mao have formed icy materials made of molecular hydrogen that require less stringent temperature and pressure storage conditions. The compound that holds the most promise for hydrogen storage for this father-daughter team is called a hydrogen clathrate hydrate and was synthesized between 20,000 and 30,000 atmospheres and temperatures of minus 207 F. More importantly, the compound remains stable at atmospheric pressure and a temperature of 320 F the temperature at which liquid nitrogen boils. “We thought that would be economically very feasible,” Wendy Mao said. “Liquid nitrogen is easy and cheap to make.”