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2010 Manufacturing Readiness Assessment Update to the 2008 Report for Fuel Cell Stacks and Systems for the Backup Power and Materials Handling Equipment Markets

Description: In 2008, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), under contract to the US Department of Energy (DOE), conducted a manufacturing readiness assessment (MRA) of fuel cell systems and fuel cell stacks for back-up power and material handling applications (MHE). To facilitate the MRA, manufacturing readiness levels (MRL) were defined that were based on the Technology Readiness Levels previously established by the US Department of Energy (DOE). NREL assessed the extensive existing hierarchy of MRLs developed by Department of Defense (DoD) and other Federal entities, and developed a MRL scale adapted to the needs of the Fuel Cell Technologies Program (FCTP) and to the status of the fuel cell industry. The MRL ranking of a fuel cell manufacturing facility increases as the manufacturing capability transitions from laboratory prototype development through Low Rate Initial Production to Full Rate Production. DOE can use MRLs to address the economic and institutional risks associated with a ramp-up in polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell production. In 2010, NREL updated this assessment, including additional manufacturers, an assessment of market developments since the original report, and a comparison of MRLs between 2008 and 2010.
Date: August 1, 2012
Creator: Wheeler, D. & Ulsh, M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Assessment of the Current Level of Automation in the Manufacture of Fuel Cell Systems for Combined Heat and Power Applications

Description: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is interested in supporting manufacturing research and development (R&D) for fuel cell systems in the 10-1,000 kilowatt (kW) power range relevant to stationary and distributed combined heat and power applications, with the intent to reduce manufacturing costs and increase production throughput. To assist in future decision-making, DOE requested that the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) provide a baseline understanding of the current levels of adoption of automation in manufacturing processes and flow, as well as of continuous processes. NREL identified and visited or interviewed key manufacturers, universities, and laboratories relevant to the study using a standard questionnaire. The questionnaire covered the current level of vertical integration, the importance of quality control developments for automation, the current level of automation and source of automation design, critical balance of plant issues, potential for continuous cell manufacturing, key manufacturing steps or processes that would benefit from DOE support for manufacturing R&D, the potential for cell or stack design changes to support automation, and the relationship between production volume and decisions on automation.
Date: August 1, 2011
Creator: Ulsh, M.; Wheeler, D. & Protopappas, P.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Overcoming the Range Limitation of Medium-Duty Battery Electric Vehicles through the use of Hydrogen Fuel-Cells

Description: Battery electric vehicles possess great potential for decreasing lifecycle costs in medium-duty applications, a market segment currently dominated by internal combustion technology. Characterized by frequent repetition of similar routes and daily return to a central depot, medium-duty vocations are well positioned to leverage the low operating costs of battery electric vehicles. Unfortunately, the range limitation of commercially available battery electric vehicles acts as a barrier to widespread adoption. This paper describes the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy and industry partners to analyze the use of small hydrogen fuel-cell stacks to extend the range of battery electric vehicles as a means of improving utility, and presumably, increasing market adoption. This analysis employs real-world vocational data and near-term economic assumptions to (1) identify optimal component configurations for minimizing lifecycle costs, (2) benchmark economic performance relative to both battery electric and conventional powertrains, and (3) understand how the optimal design and its competitiveness change with respect to duty cycle and economic climate. It is found that small fuel-cell power units provide extended range at significantly lower capital and lifecycle costs than additional battery capacity alone. And while fuel-cell range-extended vehicles are not deemed economically competitive with conventional vehicles given present-day economic conditions, this paper identifies potential future scenarios where cost equivalency is achieved.
Date: October 1, 2013
Creator: Wood, E.; Wang, L.; Gonder, J. & Ulsh, M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department