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Electric Vehicles Research
Posted on October 18, 2018 by Dr Lorenzo Grande & 

Fuel cells make a comeback in electric vehicles

This coming November 14-15 at the Santa Clara Convention Center, leading players in the battery and energy storage industry will compete to capture the audience's attention over what technology is set to dominate in the coming decade. Find out more at www.EnergyStorageUSA.tech External Link.
 
In the heart of the Silicon Valley, technology consulting company IDTechEx has put together an impressive line-up of speakers from various parts of the energy storage value chain to highlight all the new developments in terms of battery manufacturing, advanced active and inactive materials, novel battery chemistries, and tech solutions promoted by both early-stage startups and established corporations from around the globe.
 
Fuel cells are commercially successful in stationary applications but commercially unsuccessful in vehicles, beyond a few thousand purchased for material handling vehicles, notably forklifts. A few thousand had been sold as cars by the end of 2017, mostly to institutions on a non-commercial basis. Fuel cell buses and cars are still outsold by a factor of about one hundred by battery electric buses and cars. Fuel cells in off road vehicles, marine and aircraft applications have performed quite well but are not yet adopted in volume.
 
 
Nevertheless, in recent years a renewed interest in this technology has prompted many companies to develop and market new fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV), in the hope that this time hydrogen fuel can really ignite a spark in the industry. Toyota and Hyundai, for instance, are now selling their H2-powered passenger cars, and Japan plans to use the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as a huge showroom for the country's know-how in the hydrogen economy, with 35 hydrogen refuelling stations scheduled to open before the start of the games.
 
To reflect the renewed interest in hydrogen, IDTechEx has put together a dedicated session on fuel cells, where speakers from IDXIE, Intelligent Energy, TransPower, Enapter, and Cummins will explain why fuel cells are still alive and kicking, and where they offer competitive advantages with respect to Li-ion.
 
As an example, European firms like Alstom believe that dirty diesel trains can be replaced by cleaner H2-powered ones, as hydrogen is a more cost-effective solution to the expensive conventional rail infrastructure. A few trains are already in operation in the rural part of northern Germany, and if proven successful, fuel cell trains will soon capture more market share at the expense of diesel ones.
 
 
On November 14, the Energy Storage Innovations conference will be kicked off with keynote presentations from San Francisco-based EV company SF Motors, which will give an overview of the innovations carried out by their engineering team in terms of automotive battery packs; Japanese corporation NGK Insulators will then shift the conference focus to small-scale IoT devices and the company's solutions enabled by solid-state batteries; finally, a spokesperson from the California Clean Energy Fund will present on the financial and technical support that the Golden State gives to its enterprises when it comes to battery innovation.
 
Other sessions will focus on battery manufacturing, advanced Li-ion batteries, supercapacitors, novel battery chemistries, and innovative battery packs. Be a part of Energy Storage Innovations USA 2018 and get your ticket to Santa Clara!

Authored By: Dr Lorenzo Grande

Senior Technology Analyst

Posted on: October 18, 2018

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