Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) are close to overcoming the key challenges that have so far held back greater adoption of fuel cell technology, new research shows. Advancements in solid oxide cell technology means that key questions are now being answered around cost, scale and lifetimes, with SOFCs expected to be competitive without subsidies by 2022, according to a new industry snapshot. For decades, proponents of a ‘hydrogen economy’ have discussed the potential for fuel cells to revolutionise the world’s power generation, transportation, heating and energy storage. Yet until recently, fuel cells have seen success in niche and often subsidised applications, due to being hamstrung by high costs, short lifetimes and an inability to be mass manufactured. A new report, Solid Oxide Fuel Cells: Opportunities for a clean energy future, predicts that fuel cells are where solar photovoltaics were 15 years ago. New chemical innovations, that can take advantage of cheaper raw materials, mean fuel cells are now capable of lower operating temperatures, which in turn deliver longer system lifetimes. Fuel cells have already seen success in power generation, heating and transport applications.
Gas World 30th April 2018 read more »
A national programme of electrifying all Britain’s major railway lines would be a waste of money, the rail minister has said. Jo Johnson effectively ruled out electrification despite claims from MPs that it was the best way to cut pollution and deliver more reliable journeys. Last year, the government sparked anger by cancelling three electrification projects in south Wales, the East Midlands and the Lake District. It said that the same benefits could be delivered quicker and cheaper by using new “bi-mode” trains that run on a combination of electric and diesel power over different parts of the network. Ministers also insisted that alternative technologies such as hydrogen and battery power would eventually be introduced to replace diesel altogether. The government wants diesel to be phased out by 2040. Addressing the commons transport committee on Monday, Mr Johnson said: “Our view as a government is that full electrification of our rail network is highly unlikely to be the best value-for-money way of achieving the passenger benefits and the environmental benefits that we’re seeking to achieve.”
Times 2nd May 2018 read more »