This is the November 2015 issue of the Transportation and Hydrogen Newsletter.
November 6, 2015
Hydrogen is pumped into a fuel cell electric vehicle at NREL's new station.
Image by Dennis Schroeder/NREL 34598
New H2 Station Launched
In fuel cell electric vehicles, energy is stored in hydrogen gas and then converted to electricity in a fuel cell. In October, NREL dedicated a 700-bar hydrogen fueling station, the first of its kind in the national lab system, and one of just a few to be found in the entire country. The retail-style station is part of the lab's Hydrogen Infrastructure Testing and Research Facility (HITRF), where NREL is also integrating renewable energy sources with electrolyzers for use in transportation and building sectors through real-time and stored energy.
Internal Short Circuit Diagnostic Tool Is Available for License
Lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery overheating has led to numerous product recalls and the grounding of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. NREL recently patented a device to address one of the most challenging thermal management issues faced by electric-drive vehicles (EDVs)a battery internal short circuit. The tiny, easy-to-implant NREL Internal Short Circuit (ISC) device triggers a true internal short rather than mechanically damaging the battery exterior to activate the short, as most other evaluation methods do. The ISC makes it possible to accurately pinpoint and fix problems and make EDV batteries as safe as possible.
Model Predicts Lifespan of Major Utilities' Large-Scale Energy Storage
EDV manufacturers, solar and wind energy generation companies, and utilities need to know how to use batteries most effectively and how long they will last in the field. Two leading U.S. utility providers, Southern California Edison and Next Era Energy, are using NREL's Battery Life Predictive Model to select long-lasting energy storage systems capable of reliably balancing grid electricity demands. The model accurately calculates lifetime, considering complex combinations of real-world factors such as climate, duty cycle, and grid fluctuations.
Li-Ion Market Is Still Up for Grabs by U.S. Manufacturers
Manufacturing capacity for EDV Li-ion battery cells is heavily concentrated in Asia, with the United States commanding 17% of the market share. A recent study by the Clean Energy Manufacturing Analysis Center (housed at NREL and operated by the Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis) reveals the importance of scale, yields, and factory utilization levels in determining manufacturing costs and cost-competitiveness. This analysis indicates lower materials costs, paired with an 8% or lower cost of capital, could make it possible for U.S. manufacturers to gain meaningful market share.
Analysis Examines Benefits of Fuel Cell MHE in Shaving Peak Building Energy
NREL analyzed the economic benefits of using hydrogen fuel cell material-handling equipment (MHE) to shave building peak loads and reduce electric grid time-of-use energy charges in ways similar to strategies employed with plug-in electric vehicle energy storage. NREL performed the techno-economic analysis using 15-minute utility data from more than 100 actual building profiles and found that "stand-by" fuel cell MHE can be effective as peak shavers, particularly for larger buildings. NREL provided this information to the fuel cell community in a DOE-sponsored industry webinar.
Learn more about NREL's Energy Storage RD&D.