Tag Archives: save energy

Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles: Paving the Way to Commercial Success

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Research focuses on boosting reliability, reducing costs, and designing infrastructure of the future.
As nations around the world pursue sustainable transportation solutions, the hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) presents a promising opportunity for consumers and automakers alike. Automakers have made steady progress reducing the cost and increasing the performance of fuel cell propulsion systems, and most major vehicle manufacturers are geared to launch Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs ) in the U.S. market between 2015 and 2020.
Although fuel cell technologies are proven and effective, deployment challenges persist—particularly in terms of further reducing the cost and increasing the durability of fuel cells and getting sufficient infrastructure in place to support widespread consumer use. Researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) are collaborating with industry partners to remove some of these barriers.
In-line Diagnostics Help Reduce Cost, Improve Reliability
As the fuel cell manufacturing industry moves from small- to large-scale production, quality control is essential. Using NREL developed in-line diagnostics, manufacturers can more effectively identify defects in fuel cell components, leading to higher production volumes, improved reliability, and lower costs.

NREL’s Keith Wipke explains how a fuel cell electric vehicle works at an advanced vehicle ride-and-drive event at the NREL Education Center.
Photo by Dennis Schroeder, NREL
photo_news1_25248_large“The cost impact of defects could be huge,” said Senior Engineer Michael Ulsh. “A fuel cell stack can consist of hundreds of components. Because a single component failure could affect the whole stack, a 10% composite stack failure rate could drive up stack cost by 60%.”
To help address this challenge, researchers use an NREL-developed optical reflectance system to identify defects in fuel cell membranes and apply active infrared imaging techniques to identify defects in electrode materials. These methods have been validated on a small-scale manufacturing line that can convey fuel cell component materials at speeds of 100 feet per minute.
Supporting a Hydrogen Infrastructure Rollout
NREL recently joined H2USA, a public-private partnership designed to promote the widespread adoption of FCEVs. This new partnership focuses on overcoming the hurdles associated with establishing a robust hydrogen infrastructure.
“NREL’s participation in this partnership builds on the lab’s extensive fuel cell and hydrogen technology validation and analysis experience,” said Jen Kurtz, manager of the hydrogen analysis group. “Our hydrogen systems analysis staff will collaborate with a team of analysts from other national labs, universities, and key stakeholder groups to evaluate infrastructure roll-out strategies and the business case for commercialization.”

Fuel cell electric vehicles fill up at NREL’s hydrogen fueling station, which dispenses hydrogen made via renewable electrolysis.
Photo by John De La Rosa, NREL
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This team will combine analytic capabilities refined over many years of systems analysis to understand the technical, market, and investment challenges associated with the transition to hydrogen, electric, and other alternative fuel vehicles. NREL will contribute a suite of modeling and analysis capabilities developed over the last decade in support of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fuel Cell Technologies Office as well as technology validation; safety, codes, and standards; and market transformation expertise.
Renewable Hydrogen FCEVs
Because hydrogen can be made from a variety of domestic resources, FCEVs reduce our nation’s dependence on imported oil and diversify our transportation-related energy sources. While most hydrogen is currently produced from natural gas, NREL is investigating renewable hydrogen production technologies that tap into energy from the sun and wind.
“Here at NREL, we have four FCEVs on loan from Toyota that fill up on renewable hydrogen—wind turbines and solar arrays power electrolyzers that split water into hydrogen and oxygen,” Kurtz said. “We showcase these and other advanced vehicles at public events to raise awareness about the alternative transportation options available today and on the horizon.”
—Written by Julia Thomas

Eco Friendly Lighting Tips

When it comes to saving the planet and saving some money on your energy bill, lighting can play a key role.

Lighting can account for about 30% of your energy bill, so changing your lights to more energy efficient options

can save you quite a bit.  Not to mention the positive impact on the environment.

Here are some tips for more energy efficient lighting:

The first thing you should do is switch to compact fluorescent lighting (CFL).  That’s those swirly lights that
have a whiter glow to them than the incandescent lights.  While these might cost a bit more than the regular

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incandescent lights, they use only about 25% of the electricity so they can have a big impact on your lighting bill. They last a lot longer than regular

bulbs too so you won’t have to replace them as often.

LED light bulbs are a newcomer to the energy efficient lighting market and have a few advantages over CFL’s.

They have a brighter light and don’t take time to “warm up” and reach their full lighting.

They also cost less to run and last even longer than CFL’s reducing your energy usage by 80-90% and lasting

ver 100,000 hours.

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When it comes to lighting outside the home, the energy conscientious consumer might want to consider solar lighting.  Lights for walkways, driveways and outside the front door can collect energy from the sun during the day and use it to power their lights during the night.  A great way to light up your home without using any energy at all.

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In addition to using more efficient light bulbs, there are some things you can do to help reduce the amount of energy you use for lighting. First of all, you want to be sure that you don’t use lights unnecessarily.  When no one is home or when a room is empty, be sure to turn the lights off.  During the daytime, open the blinds and let the sunshine in instead of using indoor lighting.  Using motion sensors can help to insure lights turn on only when needed.

When it comes to lighting, you need to have the right amount for the tasks you intend to do.  While you don’t want to skimp or have poor lighting in important areas like the kitchen, you also want to be cognizant of when to use the lights and when to flip the switch.  Remember reducing your use of electricity helps to reduce CO2 emissions into the air since the plants that produce electricity are largely coal burning plants which can add to global warming.  A little bit of prudence on your part can make a big difference in the stability of our environment.