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Ballard Power Systems has received a purchase order from New Flyer Industries for the delivery of Ballard’s first next-generation FCvelocity-HD7 fuel cell power module to a North American bus manufacturer. (Earlier post.) Delivery of the power module to New Flyer Industries is planned for later this year.
Ballard’s FCvelocity-HD7 features reduced parts count as well as fewer moving parts, integrated air compressor and coolant pump along with lower parasitic load. The FCvelocity-HD7 also features fuel cell stacks manufactured using Ballard’s high-volume manufacturing processes.
The module will be utilized in a next-generation New Flyer Industries fuel cell bus that will be sent to Altoona, Pennsylvania for testing and qualification prior to being deployed into revenue service under the US Federal Transit Administration (FTA) National Fuel Cell Bus Program. The project will be administered by CALSTART, a member-supported organization dedicated to clean transportation alternatives.
New Flyer Industries is the leading manufacturer of heavy-duty transit buses in North America and the industry technology leader offering the broadest product line, including drive systems powered by fuel cells, clean diesel, natural gas and electric trolley as well as diesel-electric hybrid vehicles.
Ballard has a long history of working with New Flyer Industries, having powered fuel cell buses in Vancouver, Chicago and the Palm Springs region dating back to the first ever prototype fuel cell bus in 1991. More recently, Ballard and New Flyer Industries partnered on the successful operation of BC Transit’s fuel cell demonstration fleet of 20 buses, which ran from 2009 to 2014 in Whistler, British Columbia, accumulating nearly 4 million kilometers (2.5 million miles) in revenue service.
Ballard continues to work with US industry and clean transportation advocates to stimulate the use of fuel cell technology in transit buses. Increased volumes of fuel cell-powered buses are expected to support cost and price reductions through scale economies, enabling fuel cell solutions to compete more effectively with incumbent transit technologies. The FTA is playing a key role in accelerating fuel cell bus deployments and providing greater public exposure to the safe operation of zero-emission vehicles, which is leading to broader acceptance of the technology.
The MY 2015 Ford F-150 will offer a new high-output, twin-turbo 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 producing 325 hp (242 kW) and 375 lb-ft (508 N·m) of torque. Due to the extensive lightweighting in the new F-150 (earlier post), this will improve the power-to-weight ratio of the 2015 truck by 15% over the 2014 5.0-liter V8-equipped F-150 with similar torque output.
Boosting 2.7-liter EcoBoost fuel efficiency is the debut of standard Auto Start-Stop technology for F-150. The technology is off when towing or in four-wheel-drive mode. The 2.7-liter EcoBoost 4x2 has a maximum payload rating of 2,250 lbs (1,021 kg) and maximum tow rating of 8,500 pounds (3,856 kg), suited for meeting mid-range capability needs.
The 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine also features Ford’s first use of a compacted graphite iron cylinder block in a gasoline engine, the same material used in Ford’s 6.7-liter Power Stroke turbo diesel V8 in Super Duty trucks.
The 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine features the first use of a compacted graphite iron cylinder block in a gasoline engine, the same material used in Ford’s 6.7-liter Power Stroke turbo-diesel V8 engine. The composite CGI/aluminum block saves weight while providing strength for durability.
The 2.7-liter EcoBoost also features all-new engine logic that adjusts operating parameters on the fly to provide the best efficiency and performance for the environment and workload. Other new features of the 2.7-liter EcoBoost include:
First use of fracture split main-bearing caps, which create a superior fit between the cap and engine block for reduced crankshaft friction to help improve efficiency.
All-new aluminum cylinder heads feature water-cooled integrated exhaust manifolds.
Variable displacement oil pump reduces internal engine friction to improve fuel economy.
Intake and exhaust variable cam timing that improves torque while helping lower emissions.
Lightweight, durable composite intake manifold.
Cooling jets beneath the pistons that spray oil on the pistons to help lower operating temperatures.
Piston connecting rods use an offset I-beam that provides strength to manage peak engine power levels while reducing weight for better responsiveness.
Cartridge-style oil filter integrated into top of the engine for easy service.
Leveraging all this, the new 2.7L EcoBoost offers more than twice the horsepower, torque and towing capability of the Toyota Tacoma midsize pickup truck with identical displacement 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine.
Ford testing shows the 2.7-liter EcoBoost also outperforming Ram 1500 3.0-liter V6 EcoDiesel and Chevrolet Silverado 1500 5.3-liter V8 while towing a 7,000-pound enclosed trailer up Davis Dam in Arizona. This is the same grade the Society of Automotive Engineers uses for its J2807 towing testing standards, which the 2015 Ford F-150 will follow.
3.5-liter V6. Again due to vehicle weight savings, the standard 3.5-liter V6 with Ti-VCT offers a 5% improvement in power-to-weight ratio over the larger 3.7-liter V6 in the 2014 F-150, with better fuel efficiency and performance.
The 3.5-liter V6 produces 283 hp (211 kW) and 255 lb-ft (346 N·m) of torque. The engine has a maximum payload of 1,910 pounds (866 kg) and a maximum tow rating of 7,600 pounds (3,447 kg)—unsurpassed for standard V6 light-duty pickup trucks.
The 24-valve 3.5-liter V6 features a valvetrain with direct-acting polished mechanical buckets with twin independent variable camshaft timing for impressive torque across a wide rpm range. Six-bolt main bearing caps, a fully counterweighted forged steel crankshaft and cast exhaust manifolds are designed for heavy-duty operation.
Both the upper and lower intake manifolds of the 3.5-liter V6 are tuned for responsive power, and both the intake manifolds and cam covers are composite-formed to reduce weight. The die-cast aluminum cylinder block features bay-to-bay breathing to reduce internal pumping losses, while a deep-sump oil pan contributes to extended oil-change intervals.
Extensive research by Ford engineers led to the use of more advanced materials on the 2015 F-150 than found in previous trucks. Military-grade aluminum alloys make the new truck’s body lighter, stronger and more resistant to dents. Overall, F-150 is up to 700 pounds (318 kg) lighter.
In addition to the new V6 engines, the all-new 2015 F-150 offers the proven 3.5-liter EcoBoost and the 5.0-liter V8 with Ti-VCT.
The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced the Fiscal Year 2015 Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) Phase I Release 1 technical topics. These topics include non-platinum catalysts for fuel cells and detection of contaminants in hydrogen.
DOE’s key hydrogen objectives are to reduce the cost of producing and delivering hydrogen to less than $4 per gallon of gasoline equivalent (gge) to enable fuel cell vehicles to be competitive with gasoline vehicles. Key fuel cell objectives are to reduce fuel cell system cost to $40/kW and improve durability to 5,000 hours (equivalent to 150,000 miles of driving) for automotive fuel cell systems by 2020.
In support of these goals, SBIR/STTR topics in the FY15 Phase I Release 1 are focused on both fuel cell systems and hydrogen fuel R&D. Topics include the following:
Non-Platinum Group Metal (PGM) Catalysts for Fuel Cells: Novel transformative research with potential to lead to the development of next generation non-PGM catalysts and bi-functional catalysts for fuel cells.
Detection of Contaminants in Hydrogen: Improve scientific understanding of material behavior associated with the detection of contaminants in hydrogen at parts per billion (ppb) accuracy to enable technology for real time fuel quality monitoring.
DOE will issue the full SBIR/STTR Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) on 11 August 2014, with applications due 14 October 2014.
To support the fair sale of gaseous hydrogen as a vehicle fuel, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a prototype Transient Flow Facility (TFF) to test the accuracy of hydrogen fuel dispensers. The TFF generates transient flow, pressure, and temperature conditions similar to those that occur when a hydrogen-powered vehicle is refueled.
In a paper published in the journal Flow Measurement and Instrumentation, the NIST team reports using the TFF to assess the performance of two Coriolis meters (used to measure mass flow). However, they noted, the TFF can test other meter types and protocols, making it ideal for testing prototype field calibration standards for gaseous fuel dispensers.
More generally, they found, the TFF is capable of a wide variety of tests dealing with transient pressure, temperature, and flow conditions, including gaseous refueling processes, blow-downs, and quasi-stable calibrations.
Flow meters are sometimes used to measure unsteady flows, under conditions where the temperature and pressure also vary. For example, dispensing stations for hydrogen-fueled vehicles comprise a set of pressure vessels (a cascade tube bank) filled to different pressures. As a vehicle is refueled, valves are sequentially opened to connect the vehicle’s fuel tank to the cascade tubes in order of increasing pressure. As each tube is opened, surges of flow and pressure occur at the flow meter that totalizes the flow for customer billing. Rapid, large changes in temperature also occur due to flow work and the subsequent adiabatic cooling and heat transfer to the surroundings. Consumers and inspectors expect < 1% accuracy from meters used in gaseous fuel dispensers, but errors greater than 10% have been reported. At natural gas refueling stations, turbine meters subjected to pulsatile flow over-reported totalized flow by as much as 15%.—Pope and Wright (2014)
The TFF has four, 40 L high pressure tanks (HPTs) that serve as a source of nitrogen or helium at an initial pressure of 42 MPa. These high pressure tanks can be sequentially discharged to simulate cascade filling of a vehicle.
As reported in the paper, during simulated cascade fills, the TFF discharged 3 kg of helium in 3 minutes at flows between 10 g/s and 45 g/s through the two Coriolis meters and the TFF’s standard. The TFF’s expanded uncertainty (95% confidence level) for totalized mass during this cascade fill was 0.45%. For the same simulated cascade fill, both Coriolis meters measured the instantaneous flow within the uncertainty of the TFF and measured totalized flow within the International Organization of Legal Metrology Recommendation 139 maximum permissible errors for meters in gaseous fuel dispensers (1.0 %).
Three automakers plan to begin selling hydrogen-fueled vehicles to consumers in 2015. The state of California has opened nine refueling stations and is funding the construction of an additional 28 hydrogen stations during the next few years to service the growing number of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles on its roads.
NIST Handbook 44, the bedrock reference text for weights and measures inspectors, includes specifications, tolerances and other requirements for commercial weighing and measuring equipment ranging from gasoline dispensers to grocery store scales.
Handbook 44, which has been adopted by all states, stipulates that hydrogen will be sold by the kilogram, and according to Juana Williams, a NIST weights and measures expert, hydrogen-dispensing pumps must be accurate to within 2%, or 20 grams, per kilogram.
It’s much more difficult to measure hydrogen gas delivered at 5,000 to 10,000 psi than it is to measure a product that is a liquid at atmospheric temperatures and pressures. While a kilogram of hydrogen has approximately the same energy content as a gallon of gasoline, the allowable error is slightly less stringent than for gasoline.—Juana Williams
Even with the larger allowance, some have suggested these tolerances are too tight and proposed alternatives as high as 10 or 20%. What isn’t clear is whether these claims arise because the meters are unable to perform within the tolerance specified in Handbook 44 or if the equipment and methods used to conduct testing are contributing larger errors to the process.
Regardless, consumers expect to receive the product they pay for and businesses expect to receive fair payment for the product they sell.
We’ve shown that the master meter in our lab is capable of dispensing helium from a simulated hydrogen dispenser with errors of 1 percent or less. So we can extrapolate that it is possible to measure hydrogen with accuracy sufficient for a fair marketplace.—Jodie Pope, designer of the field testing apparatus
The next challenge is to determine what accuracy is achievable in field installations of hydrogen dispensing systems when using NIST traceable standards and well-defined test equipment and test procedures and to then translate this into guidance for use by weights and measures inspectors and industry.
J. Pope and J. Wright (2014) “Performance of Coriolis Meters in Transient Gas Flows,” Flow Measurement and Instrumentation Vol. 37, 42-53 doi: 10.1016/j.flowmeasinst.2014.02.003
Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) launched a multi-million dollar joint industry project to better understand oil and gas separation technology. The objective of the Separation Technology Research Program (STAR Program) is to combine industry knowledge and resources to advance research that could lead to better equipment and test protocols.
SwRI is leading the three-year program, which is open to operating companies, contractors and equipment manufacturers. International participation is welcomed and encouraged. The three-year membership ranges from $450,000 to $75,000 depending on the type of company.
Separating fluid mixtures into streams of oil, natural gas and water efficiently and cost-effectively using lighter weight equipment that requires less space is very important to the industry. The STAR Program will involve this three-phase separation process as well as gas/liquid separation and liquid/liquid separation.
There are several advantages of this joint industry program. Pooling resources and industry experts allows a more cost-effective approach to solving problems, especially in an environment where companies develop oil and gas fields in partnerships, and making decisions with common data is beneficial. This collaborative approach means both company-proprietary and non-proprietary equipment can be tested, with results shared among the members. Additionally, research will be conducted using existing gas/liquid flow loops in place at SwRI, minimizing capital costs—Chris Buckingham, program director in SwRI’s Fluids and Machinery Engineering Department and manager of the STAR program
Members of the program will guide research initiatives by developing a project scope, identifying technologies to be tested, providing input on standard test approaches, witnessing testing and commenting on results.
Goals of the program are to develop standardized testing methods, collect data to improve equipment performance and develop analytical models for various types of separation equipment.
Renault and Fiat have signed an agreement under which Renault will supply Fiat with a light commercial vehicle based on a Renault platform.
The styling of the Fiat vehicle will be developed by Fiat and will feature unique and distinctive elements on the model, branded Fiat Professional.
The vehicle will be manufactured by Renault in France starting from the second quarter of 2016.
Global Bioenergies (GBE), a leading developer of one-step fermentation processes for the direct and cost-efficient transformation of renewable resources into light olefins (earlier post) has received an fermentation unit and its associated devices optimized for the fermentative production of gaseous hydrocarbons.
The elements were first assembled at the manufacturer in order to run stress tests, which took place without incident early in July. The unit was then dismantled and conveyed to GBE’s Pomacle site, where it will be reassembled in the coming weeks.
We are currently producing kilograms of bio-isobutene on our site in Evry using a conventional fermentation pilot, which was adapted for isobutene production. Optimizing the production of biological isobutene and reaching industrial scale represent an unprecedented challenge which necessitated a unique and innovative design of the fermenter. By analogy, one could consider this unit as the Sputnik for fermentation of gaseous hydrocarbons, an activity that could take a prominent place in the chemical and fuel industries of tomorrow.—Denis Thibaut, Head of Fermentation
The company expects the unit will go through the mechanical and functional commissioning by the end of September and will then be ready for a first fermentation run this fall.