DES PLAINES, Ill., July 26, 2001 Testing of the world’s first liquid-fueled proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell power system began on July 12, 2001, in Yokohama, Japan, at a retail gasoline service station operated by Nippon Mitsubishi Oil Corporation.
This 5-kW (AC) power plant system uses naphtha fuel, with its electricity generated by a fuel cell designed and manufactured by Mosaic Energy. The unique fuel processor that converts the naphtha into gaseous hydrogen and the balance of plant were developed and manufactured by Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries (IHI), a Mosaic Energy partner. Nippon Mitsubishi’s ultimate goal is to create “disaster-resistant gas stations.”
Such stations will be able to operate independently of outside energy sources for two to three days, using fuel stored in an underground tank. In the event of a disaster, such as an earthquake, the stations will be able to supply oil and gasoline for emergency operations and other critical needs.
“This achievement marks an important milestone in the execution of our business plan and illustrates the strength of our partners,” said Gerry Runte, President of Mosaic Energy. “IHI, with its considerable expertise in fuel processing and fuel cell system design, has taken our fuel cell stack and developed a unique product for its innovative customer, Nippon Mitsubishi.”
The test program is part of research supported by the Japanese Petroleum Energy Center. Before installation at the service station, an earlier-stage unit was operated at a Nippon Mitsubishi refinery in February. The current installation is intended to benchmark the practical performance of the PEM fuel cell unit and is scheduled to continue testing into 2002. Subsequent test units are planned, with commercial units expected early in 2004.
Mosaic Energy, owned by the Gas Technology Institute, NiSource Energy Technologies, and IHI, is in the process of commercializing PEM fuel cell power systems.
IHI (J.ISH: Tokyo) is a global, diversified corporation with business interests in the aerospace, shipbuilding and energy generation equipment sectors.
Nippon Mitsubishi Oil Corporation (J.NPO: Tokyo), is the largest company in Japan’s oil industry.
SOURCE: Mosaic Energy