Beyond Cars: General Motors and Others Look to Expand Market for Hydrogen Fuel Cells


GM-aims-to-use-hydrogen-fuel-cells-for-mobile-power

General Motors is finding new markets for its hydrogen fuel cell systems, announcing that it will work with another company to build mobile electricity generators, electric vehicle charging stations and power generators for military camps.

The emissions-free generators will be designed to power large commercial buildings in the event of a power outage, but the company says it’s possible that smaller ones could someday be marketed for home use.

The automaker says it will supply fuel cell power systems to Renewable Innovations of Lindon, Utah, which will build the generators and rapid charging stations. The partnership adds more products and revenue from GM’s hydrogen power systems that now are being developed for heavy trucks, locomotives and even airplanes.

Hydrogen generators are far quieter than those powered by petroleum, and their only byproduct is water, Charlie Freese, executive director of GM’s hydrogen business, told reporters Wednesday.

He said it’s too early to talk about prices, but said production of the systems should start in the next year. At first the generators will be aimed at powering police stations or industrial uses, as well as outdoor concerts.

“These systems run extremely quietly,” he said. “You can stand next to them while having a conversation,” he said.

But Freese said the technology also can be very compact and could be used to power homes at some point.

GM would provide the hydrogen fuel cells built at a plant in Brownstown Township, Michigan, while Renewable Innovations will build the generator units, he said.

GM is not alone in entering the hydrogen generator market. Multiple companies, including AFC Energy in the United Kingdom, are selling or testing the products, said Shawn Litster, a professor of mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University who has studied hydrogen fuel cells for about two decades.

There will be more demand for the generators as vehicles switch from internal combustion to electric power. Police departments and municipal governments, he said, will need backup power to charge emergency vehicles in case of a power outage. Hydrogen can be stored for long periods and used in emergency cases, he said.

Hydrogen, the most abundant element in the universe, is increasingly viewed, along with electric vehicles, as a way to slow the environmentally destructive impact of the planet’s 1.2 billion vehicles, most of which burn gasoline and diesel fuel. Manufacturers of large trucks and commercial vehicles are beginning to embrace hydrogen fuel cell technologies as a way forward. So are makers of planes, trains and passenger vehicles.

But generating hydrogen isn’t always clean. At present, most it is produced by using natural gas or coal for refineries and fertilizer manufacturing. That process pollutes the air, warming the planet rather than saving it. A new study by researchers from Cornell and Stanford universities found that most hydrogen production emits carbon dioxide, which means that hydrogen-fueled transportation cannot yet be considered clean energy.

Yet proponents say that in the long run, hydrogen production is destined to become more environmentally safe. They envision a growing use of electricity from wind and solar energy, which can separate hydrogen and oxygen in water. As such renewable forms of energy gain broader use, hydrogen production should become a cleaner and less expensive process.

Read More in the Scientific American: Read how other Renewable Energy Sources could power a new industrial revolution ….. that has been long delayed, but may now be ready to fulfill the promise envisioned by futurist Jeremy Rifkin in his book “The Hydrogen Economy” that prophesiedJ Rifkin the hydrogen Economy hydrogen gas would catalyze a new industrial revolution. 

Solar and Wind Power Could Ignite a Hydrogen Energy Comeback

Freese said GM would always look to get hydrogen from a green source. But he conceded that supplies synthesized from natural gas would have to be a “stepping stone” to greener sources.

The EV charging stations would be able to charge up to four vehicles at once, and they could be installed quickly without changes to the electrical grid, Freese said. They also could go up to handle seasonal demand in places where people travel, he said.

The quietness and relative lack of heat make the military generators ideal for powering a camp of soldiers, Freese said.

GM wouldn’t say how much revenue it expects from the products, and it did not release financial arrangements of the deal.

Related video:

GM looks beyond cars for hydrogen fuel cell markets originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 20 Jan 2022 08:28:00 EST.

One Step closer to Mainstream: Quantum computing in silicon hits 99 per cent accuracy: University of NSW: Video


Quantum Comp 99 percent

Australian researchers have proven that near error-free quantum computing is possible, paving the way to build silicon-based quantum devices compatible with current semiconductor manufacturing technology.

“Today’s publication shows our operations were 99 per cent error-free,” says Professor Andrea Morello of UNSW, who led the work with partners in the US, Japan, Egypt, and at UTS and the University of Melbourne.
“When the errors are so rare, it becomes possible to detect them and correct them when they occur. This shows that it is possible to build quantum computers that have enough scale, and enough power, to handle meaningful computation.”
The team’s goal is building what’s called a ‘universal quantum computer’ that won’t be specific to any one application.
“This piece of research is an important milestone on the journey that will get us there,” Prof. Morello says.
Quantum operations with 99% fidelity – the key to practical quantum computers.

Quantum computing in silicon hits the 99 per cent threshold

Prof. Morello’s paper is one of three published in Nature (“Precision tomography of a three-qubit donor quantum processor in silicon”) that independently confirm that robust, reliable quantum computing in silicon is now a reality. The breakthrough features on the front cover of the journal.
  • Morello et al achieved one-qubit operation fidelities up to 99.95 per cent, and two-qubit fidelity of 99.37 per cent with a three-qubit system comprising an electron and two phosphorous atoms, introduced in silicon via ion implantation.
  • A Delft team in the Netherlands led by Lieven Vandersypen achieved 99.87 per cent one-qubit and 99.65 per cent two-qubit fidelities using electron spins in quantum dots formed in a stack of silicon and silicon-germanium alloy (Si/SiGe).
  • A RIKEN team in Japan led by Seigo Tarucha similarly achieved 99.84 per cent one-qubit and 99.51 per cent two-qubit fidelities in a two-electron system using Si/SiGe quantum dots.
The UNSW and Delft teams certified the performance of their quantum processors using a sophisticated method called gate set tomography, developed at Sandia National Laboratories in the U.S. and made openly available to the research community.
Prof. Morello had previously demonstrated that he could preserve quantum information in silicon for 35 seconds, due to the extreme isolation of nuclear spins from their environment.
“In the quantum world, 35 seconds is an eternity,” says Prof. Morello. “To give a comparison, in the famous Google and IBM superconducting quantum computers the lifetime is about a hundred microseconds – nearly a million times shorter.”
But the trade-off was that isolating the qubits made it seemingly impossible for them to interact with each other, as necessary to perform actual computations.
A representation of the two phosphorous atoms sharing a single electron
An artist’s impression of quantum entanglement between three qubits in silicon: the two nuclear spins (red spheres) and one electron spin (shiny ellipse) which wraps around both nuclei. (Image: UNSW/Tony Melov)

Nuclear spins learn to interact accurately

Today’s paper describes how his team overcame this problem by using an electron encompassing two nuclei of phosphorus atoms.
“If you have two nuclei that are connected to the same electron, you can make them do a quantum operation,” says Mateusz Mądzik, one of the lead experimental authors.
“While you don’t operate the electron, those nuclei safely store their quantum information. But now you have the option of making them talk to each other via the electron, to realise universal quantum operations that can be adapted to any computational problem.”
“This really is an unlocking technology,” says Dr Serwan Asaad, another lead experimental author. “The nuclear spins are the core quantum processor. If you entangle them with the electron, then the electron can then be moved to another place and entangled with other qubit nuclei further afield, opening the way to making large arrays of qubits capable of robust and useful computations.”
Professor David Jamieson, research leader at the University of Melbourne, says: “The phosphorous atoms were introduced in the silicon chip using ion implantation, the same method used in all existing silicon computer chips. This ensures that our quantum breakthrough is compatible with the broader semiconductor industry.”
All existing computers deploy some form of error correction and data redundancy, but the laws of quantum physics pose severe restrictions on how the correction takes place in a quantum computer. Prof. Morello explains: “You typically need error rates below 1 per cent, in order to apply quantum error correction protocols. Having now achieved this goal, we can start designing silicon quantum processors that scale up and operate reliably for useful calculations.”

Global collaboration key to today’s trifecta

Semiconductor spin qubits in silicon are well-placed to become the platform of choice for reliable quantum computers. They are stable enough to hold quantum information for long periods and can be scaled up using techniques familiar from existing advanced semiconductor manufacturing technology.
“Until now, however, the challenge has been performing quantum logic operations with sufficiently high accuracy,” Prof. Morello says.
“Each of the three papers published today shows how this challenge can be overcome to such a degree that errors can be corrected faster than they appear.”
While the three papers report independent results, they illustrate the benefits that arise from free academic research, and the free circulation of ideas, people and materials. For instance, the silicon and silicon-germanium material used by the Delft and RIKEN groups was grown in Delft and shared between the two groups. The isotopically purified silicon material used by the UNSW group was provided by Professor Kohei Itoh, from Keio University in Japan.
The gate set tomography (GST) method, which was key to quantifying and improving the quantum gate fidelities in the UNSW and Delft papers, was developed at Sandia National Laboratories in the US, and made publicly available. The Sandia team worked directly with the UNSW group to develop methods specific for their nuclear spin system, but the Delft group was able to independently adopt it for its research too.
There has also been significant sharing of ideas through the movement of people between the teams, for example:
  • Dr Mateusz Mądzik, an author on the UNSW paper, is now a postdoctoral researcher with the Delft team.
  • Dr Serwan Asaad, an author on the UNSW paper, was formerly a student at Delft.
  • Prof. Lieven Vandersypen, the leader of the Delft team, spent a five-month sabbatical leave at UNSW in 2016, hosted by Prof. Andrea Morello.
  • The leader of the material growth team, Dr Giordano Scappucci, is a former UNSW researcher.
The UNSW-led paper is the result of a large collaboration, involving researchers from UNSW itself, University of Melbourne (for the ion implantation), University of Technology Sydney (for the initial application of the GST method), Sandia National Laboratories (Invention and refinement of the GST method), and Keio University (supply of the isotopically purified silicon material).
Source: University of New South Wales

EV’s Benefit from Intense Competition in the Silicon Anode for NextGen Batteries Market – $1.9 Billion in Start-Up Funding … So Far


Commercial interest in silicon anodes and investments into start-up companies has continued through 2021 – IDTechEx estimates that $1.9B of funding has now made its way into silicon anode start-ups.

Beyond investments, there has also been greater activity regarding companies beginning to license technologies, enter into supply relationships or commercialize technologies in early adopter markets, highlighting that the promise of silicon anode technology may soon be realized.

For example:• Enevate entered into a license agreement with batterymanufacturer EnerTech International• Enovix went public via a SPAC that valued the company at $1.1B• Elkem established a separate silicon anode company Vianode• Group 14 entered into a joint venture with SK materials for the supply of silane gas• Sila Nano launched their battery technology in the Whoop fitness wearable

IDTechEx estimates that cumulative funding for silicon anode start-ups has reached $1.9B. Source: IDTechEx – “Advanced Li-ion and Beyond Lithium Batteries 2022-2032: Technologies, Players, Trends, Markets

The above examples of commercial development and investment highlight the ongoing and significant interest in silicon anode technology. Much of this stems from the potential for silicon to significantly improve energy density. But beyond energy density, silicon anodes also have the potential to improve fast charge capability, cost, and safety.

In short, fast-charge capability is feasible due to the high porosity inherent to silicon anode solutions, cost can be reduced due to the high capacity of silicon material resulting in lower material requirements while safety improvements stem from the reduced risk of lithium plating and dendrite formation.

Though cycle and calendar life may need to be further demonstrated, improvements are being made. Combined, silicon anodes present a highly valuable proposition for electric vehicles and indeed the largest opportunity for silicon anode material lies in BEVs with the possibility of silicon being used as an additive or as the dominant active material.

Demand from other EV segments and consumer devices still represent a significant opportunity for silicon anode material and IDTechEx forecast that by 2032, demand for silicon anode material will reach $12.9B.

However, with nearly 30 start-up companies looking to commercialize silicon anode solutions, not to mention development at more established materials and battery players, competition in the silicon anode space is intensifying.

Start-ups and earlier stage companies find themselves in a race to lock in investments, partnerships, and orders. While the market is beginning to look increasingly crowded, the rewards for succeeding will be significant, and this competition will play a role in accelerating the commercialization of the better, cheaper, and more environmentally friendly batteries that are needed for better products and electric vehicles.

Watch GNT’s Short Presentation Video

Tenka Energy, Inc. Building Ultra-Thin Energy Dense SuperCaps and NexGen Nano-Enabled Pouch & Cylindrical Batteries – Energy Storage Made Small and POWERFUL!