Danish industrial catalyst company Haldor Topsoe A/S is set to invest DKK 100 million (US$17 million) in a new subsidiary, Topsoe Fuel Cell, to build a fuel-cell pilot plant. The facility is being built to produce Solid Oxide Fuel-Cells (SOFC) with plans in the works to build a commercial plant by 2010.

SOFC shows promise as being a low cost production method for fuel-cells which produce electricity cleanly and efficiently. A solid oxide fuel-cell consists of a cathode, a solid oxide electrolyte which conducts oxygen ions but not electrons, and an anode. The potential difference between the oxygen reacting at the cathode and the fuel reacting at the anode drives an electrical current.

Haldor Topsoe has experience in producing the catalysts used in industrial production of many chemicals including hydrogen, which is of course typically used in fuel-cells.

Analysis: R&D dollars are starting to really flow into fuel-cells as companies come to appreciate that fuel-cells have many more applications than just transportation. As new techniques are developed that will bring the price down, expect to see fuel-cells popping up all over the place.


[Source: Renewable Energy Access]

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