Topsoe Fuel Cell, a division of the renowned Danish catalyst and technology company Haldor Topsoe, is to inaugurate a fuel cell production plant this autumn, reports Erhvervsavisen. The first deliveries will be made to what Erhvervsavisen describes as 'a leading American bus company' next year.
A close collaborator in Topsoe Fuel Cell's development work is National Laboratory Risø/DTU, where there is jubilation that the fuel cell will make the transition from laboratory to real life application. Departmental head Søren Linderoth at Risø/DTU told Erhvervsavisen: "With this technology we have taken a step closer to our goal of sustainable energy production. It is fantastic to see the work of many years bear fruit."
Topsoe Fuel Cell is currently in contact with several major players in the global automotive industry. The fuel cell is of the solid oxide type designed to produce both electricity and heat, and according to the company's MD Claus Olsen it could initially find applications in buses, heavy duty trucks, autocampers and pleasure boats. Down the line, target applications could include ships, oil rigs and construction sites, and in the long term, hospitals, airports and hotels.
Erhvervsavisen reports that Topsoe's fuel cell is already five times more energy efficient than a combustion engine. But the tipping point for commercial uptake will more likely be decided by parameters like kilowatt price and capital cost.
As Claus Olsen puts it, "The fuel cell is now where mobile phones were several years ago. They weighed kilos and were rather expensive. Now we are anticipating a phase of rapid innovation to develop progressively smaller units, while the cost of goods comes down and down."