Our initial focus has been on commercially available commodity materials with a range of costs. We chose materials based on several criteria: physical properties able to withstand fuel cell operating conditions , commercial availability, cost, processability for high volume manufacturing, and input from original equipment manufacturers OEMs and fuel cell system manufacturers. Flowchart of experimental methods. The project team used multiple screening techniques and characterization methods to obtain the data.
The team also performed fundamental studies of selected organic model compounds that were found in the leachates. NREL has designed an interactive material screening data tool to help fuel cell developers and material suppliers explore the results from these studies, which were performed in collaboration with General Motors, the University of South Carolina, and the Colorado School of Mines.
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To use the tool, select from the drop-down lists of materials to see the screening data collected from multiple methods. You can also view the data tables. Download a list of all publications and presentations related to NREL's fuel cell system contaminants project. Also view publications from other research groups studying the effects of fuel cell contaminants:. Material Screening Data Tool Explore the results of fuel cell system contaminants studies.
System Contaminants Project Overview Contaminants derived from fuel cell system component materialsstructural materials, lubricants, greases, adhesives, sealants, and hoseshave been shown to affect the performance and durability of fuel cell systems. Materials Studied Our initial focus has been on commercially available commodity materials with a range of costs. Screening and Characterization Methods Flowchart of experimental methods. Material Screening Data Tool NREL has designed an interactive material screening data tool to help fuel cell developers and material suppliers explore the results from these studies, which were performed in collaboration with General Motors, the University of South Carolina, and the Colorado School of Mines.
Use the data tool. Complexity and the sub-system nature of FCs have a significant effect on the convenience and perceived safety of FC based systems. Concerns on the storage of fuel, such as methanol, and the technical limitations of materials can reduce the practical advantages of using DMFC in portable applications Dyer, Pavitt sees the production of scientific and technological knowledge as a major trend. Pushed by the industrial revolution, the increased production of highly focused scientific and technological knowledge will be seen as offering opportunities for commercial exploitation.
Abernathy and Utterback have presented the model of innovation which presents the dynamic process of industry over time. The model shows innovation going through three specific phases in its lifetime: fluid, transitional and a steady state. The fluid stage is characterized as the uncertainty phase where technological and market related uncertainties prevail. In the transitional phase producers are becoming more aware of true customer needs as technological application.
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This is seen also as an increased need for standardization. In the steady state the focus moves from differentiation through product design to cost and performance enhancements. The evolution of technology and its market applications is also presented by Balachandra et al. They see the evolution as a co-evolution with three specific stages: exploratory, transitional, and technology variation and refinement. The model is coherent with the work of Abernathy and Utterback as it sees the first phase as an exploratory phase lacking the knowledge of widespread application. The first stage is seen as evolving to a transitional stage where the industry is more aware on the external inputs from the market.
The last phase focuses on variation and refinement. An S-curve is often used to demonstrate the evolution of a technology. Presented in the work Diffusion of Innovation, Rogers presents the diffusion of innovation through a social system as an S-shape curve. Rogers presents the rate of adoption, which is defined as the relative speed in which the members of a social system adopt a specific innovation. This work divided adopters to specific categories such as innovators, early adopters and majority.
With this categorization a technology can be seen as diffusing into the social system. While the work of Abernathy and Utterback, and Rogers present the model of which a specific technology can diffuse to the market, Watts and Porter have presented methods to understand the evolutionary status of a technology.
In their work Watts and Porter elaborate on the possibilities of bibliometric methods in assessing the lifecycle status of a technology. Borgman and Furner define bibliometrics as methods of analyzing text databases quantitatively. Daim et al. These structures can then be modeled through analysis to understand the evolution of a technology.
One of the most known concepts in analyzing a specific technology is the Technology Life Cycle TLC indicators presented by Porter et al. Watts and Porter argue that technological development has five stages which could be identified by bibliometric methods. The stages, basic research, applied research, development, application, and social impact, can be identified for example by the number of instances counted in a stage specific databases.
The stages should, in an ideal situation, form a continuum where each stage reaches its most active phase after the previous stage has started to diminish in activity. This linear model of development has however been criticized Rosenberg, It however gives a simplified representation of technological life-cycle Balconi, Brusoni and Orsenigo, Bibliometric methods are seen as giving a direction, but one should avoid making too straightforward assumptions on the specifics.
Databases also include a significant portion of mistaken information which confuses the data analysis. Technological forecasting can however give an understanding on the direction and rate of development of a specific technology. Methodology and dataset There are several studies on the bibliometrics and patents analysis on a specific technology Chao, Yang and Jen, ; Kajikawa et al. The study presented in this paper uses bibliometric methods to assess the developments of portable DMFC technology.
In this paper a time series analysis is done by applying an S-shaped growth curve to research and patent trend analysis. Several different growth models have been used to forecast technological development, such as the exponential growth model. The S-shaped growth curve has been, however, seen as fitting well to the modeling of technological growth processes. Scholars are seen as using two distinct S-shaped growth models, the Fisher-Pry model or the Gompertz model to forecast growth Porter et al.
Fisher and Pry explained that the model would be powerful in for example forecasting technological opportunities. The basis for the Fisher-Pry Curve is described by Porter et al. In the equation, the analysis is constricted by the analyst being able to determine the values of b and c which fit the data used. This is done by assessing the upper bound for the growth.
For detailed analysis refer to Porter et al. Analyzing the Fisher-Pry curve is however seen as giving the trend for future research efforts. In addition to the Fisher-Pry trend extrapolation the publishing organizations were identified by the regions, countries and research organizations. The ten most frequent countries and research organization publishing research results were identified to form a picture of the research landscape.
Patent landscape has also been analyzed by several authors. A wide view on the feasibility of patent analysis has been given by Bretizman and Mogee They see patent analysis been used from IPR management to stock market evaluation. A policy view on the use of patent analysis is given Hicks et al. Strategic analysis is also seen as one of the applications of patent analysis Liu and Shyu, Combining bibliometric analysis and patent analysis has been presented for example by Daim et al. By studying both research and patent data, the authors hope to describe the transformation of knowledge to industry.
The patent data was analyzed by the trend of development frequency and a forecast with the Fisher-Pry growth model. Patent data was also categorized by applicants to gain insight on the companies developing the technology. Applicants and IPC classes with a high frequency were then structured to a bar chart by the co-occurrences that applicants and IPC classes have.
This was seen as showing the focus of patenting within the most frequent patent applicants. The data for the study is based on evaluation of bibliometric and historical data gathered from several sources. In regard to the query design, there were no studies published which could of explain the keywords needed to cover all of the bibliographical and patent data related to Direct Methanol Fuel Cells. By a trial and error-phase the authors found a suitable search algorithm. Results 4. The last 20 years seems to be a period of increased activity in research publications as a whole.
In figure 1, the historical trend of portable fuel cell research is depicted.
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From figure 1 we can easily argue that FC technology research has grown significantly in the recent years. DMFC technology has however had a significantly shorter research period. The bibliometric data was modeled using the Fisher-Pry model that fits the data with a high R2 coefficient of 0, The growth model suggest that the growth period of basic research would continue for a few years, but by we would see the phase of rapid growth as ending.
Current status would indicate that the research is at a half-way point. Several technological barriers, such as analyzed by Kamarudin et al. From the dataset individual terms that refer to an organization were indentified. The terms were checked for possible duplicate organizations caused by misspelling of names. Organizations were only analyzed at the university, research organization or company level. Possible sub-organizations, such as research labs, were not identified. In addition to organizations, the text mining tool was used to identify nationalities of the research organizations.
Regions of research were identified as continents and countries of research and shown by their document frequency. Document frequency being defined as the number of record in which a country or research organization appears. As seen from table 1 a significant portion of DMFC research is done in Asia, China and South Korea being the most significant research countries when counted by the pure number of publications. It is significant to note that in addition to Asian organizations being involved in 66,3 percent of the research, there are several focused research organizations in the region which contribute significantly to the number of papers being published.
The increase in patent data can be seen in the Figure 3. The increase in patents has had a similar trend in comparison to the research journals plotted in Figure 2. Modeled with the Fisher-Pry equation, the patent trend has a lower R2 value of 0, It is however visible that patent data has had a simultaneous increase with the increase of research trend frequency. When looking at the forecasts in Figure 2 and Figure 3 the trend extrapolation seems similar to both datasets. It is significant to note that the patent applications have increased in numbers simultaneously with the increase of basic research results.
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The forecast suggested that basic research would reach the end of the growth phase by , this is the half-way point for patent data. This suggests a lag between basic research and patents, which is coherent with the linear model of TLC indicators. By the end of the decade we would see the patenting frequency in DMFCs slowing significantly.
When clustering the patents by applicants, we see a strong emphasis on a few companies in gathering immaterial property rights related to DMFCs. As seen in Table 2, only 10 companies sum up to 32,2 percent of the patents applied. This shows a high concentration of patents, which is argued by Ayers to be one of the indicators of an infant technology. The applicants were clustered by the IPC classes the patents have been classified.
In Figure 4 the ten most frequent patent applicants seen in Table 2 have been classified by the IPC classification. All other categories consist of a single classification. Patents can and often are classified to several classifications. As seen from the Figure 4 all of the companies with the exception of Kaneka Corporation and Umicore have a similar profile in patents. What can be seen as significant is the strong emphasis on patents relating auxiliary systems seen in the patent portfolios of several companies.
These could indicate a focus on concrete fuel cell systems.
This would support the finding made by Verspagen Verspagen found that the patent development in FCs development trend in patents have moved from components to systems. PWC has divided the worldwide FC industry to five market focus areas: stationary, portable, fuelling infrastructure, vehicle drive and auxiliary power units for vehicles. PWC data elaborates that 20 percent of the industry is focused on the portable market, geographically dividing most significantly to organizations in the EU, US, Japan or Canada.
Over 50 percent of the companies with a market scope on portable fuel cells are in the US, and if North America is seen as an entity, we see that over 70 percent of companies with focus on portable are based in the US or also Canada. The PWC analysis is however based on surveying public companies with the primary goal of fuel cell production, integration or related fueling infrastructure. The survey does not take into consideration subsidiaries and private companies. This leaves out a significant portion of the industry. The survey can however give an overview on the commercial development the industry.
The growth indicators for the industry are presented in consequent years by PWC ; ; We have seen during the period of to a growth of 14 percent to the whole industry. By this we see the increased usage of corporate research funding by large corporations and venture capital funding by new ventures. In the portable FC industry we see a near four time increase in portable units shipped from to This however, still amounts to only little over 9, units shipped worldwide. These units are mostly used for toys and other demonstration by Chinese and Taiwanese companies. European and USA based companies focus mainly on military solutions Butler, Similarly to the increase of journal and patent data, industry activity can be seen as increasing in the s.
De-velopment has been partly driven by large military contract with US Marines and Army, which have focused on the development of handheld power devices based on FC technology Fuel Cells Bulletin, a; Fuel Cells Bulletin, b. This has resulted up to 60 hours of continuous operation Fuel Cells Bulletin, c.
In larger portable systems, early enthusiasm on finding the suitable application to take advantage of the technology can be seen for example in the Japanese based Yuasa Corporation, which published its FC technology based power production system in Fuel Cells Bulletin, b. Presenting a similar prototype as Yuasa demonstrated in Japan. The applications were clearly targeted to independent power production in a small scale.
Offering products to a small market, SFC has been able to market its product successfully. SFC has been successful in a specific market attending to a large consumer base in recreational vehicles Fuel Cells Bulletin, c; Fuel Cells Bulletin, d. Fuel Cells Bulletin, a. Similarly to Samsung, Japanese industry has also focused on small FCs and consumer electronics applications. NEC co-operated with Japanese research organizations in in the development of micro fuel cells. This has resulted in several consumer electronics demonstrators, such as FCs in laptop computers.
The competitive advantage seen in the laptop application was the extended operating time a fuel cell system could offer. For example Samsung demonstrated a laptop working with a FC power system with the operational time of 10 hours Fuel Cells Bulletin, c. Many of the companies also, similarly to Yuasa, had high expectations on commercialization. Samsung claimed to be ready for commercialization with a laptop docking station by the end of Fuel Cells Bulletin, d. These efforts did not deliver wanted results even though several scholars Rashidi, et al.
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However as Agnolucci has pointed out that consumers are more interested in the physical size and weight of the system than its cost-efficiency. Subsequently the market is still waiting for the competitive portable FC application. Mobile phones, and several other small portable devices Flipsen, ; van der Voorta and Flipsena, , have been suggested to be the competitive application. This possibility has been presented for example by Toshiba and at an early stage by start-ups such as Manhattan Scientifics. More significantly, the development of the FC products in mobile devices is dictated by the development of lithium batteries and innovations making devices more energy efficient, smaller in size and weight, and the ease of use of the systems Agnolucci, Subsequently integrated commercial FC systems have not been available.
It seems more likely that a portable device charger would be the application enabling sustainable growth. As a product, this would be similar to the larger scale products presented by e. SFC, which have all been based on independent power production. Several companies have demonstrated future portable FC products in this product range.
Sony has been for several years developing its system. Trying to meet the growing power need of a mobile phone, Sony claims that its system enables a state-of-the-art cell phone to be used for watching a TV broadcast for 14 hours with only 10 ml of methanol. Fuel Cells Bulletin, e. Hitachi was expected to commercialize a small FC by the end of with the manufacturing capability 2,, units yearly Fuel Cells Bulletin, e. Dicussion To gain an insight on the future possibilities of the portable FC technology, a historical and bibliometric analysis was performed.
The study revealed the increase of journal publications since the early 90s as well as the increase in patenting frequency. The growth models suggested that the rapid development phase in both research and patents would continue for the next few years. The identification of research regions, countries and organizations brought forward the leading DMFC research areas.
Complementing this with patent data has shown the significant effort made in Asia to develop DMFC technology. It could be argued that the research and development of DMFC is concentrated to a group of organizations. The argument made by Ayers that this would suggest an infant technology could be argued to be accurate in the case of DMFCs. However, as in the findings of Verspagen , the patent classifications would suggest that the patent applicants would be focusing towards FC systems in addition to basic research.
This could be seen as encouraging to the industry hoping to take advantage of this emerging technology. In addition the several years of widespread technological demonstrations by several large corporations has laid the ground work for actual DMFC products being offered to customers. The authors would however argue that DMFC technology is having a hard time in integrating to the mature energy production market.
The existing extremely mature technologies are still offering more value to most existing solutions. As Agnolucci has pointed out, consumers will not adopt DMFC technology only to use new technology. Cost, convenience, and physical size are more significant factors impacting consumers.
In addition the high expectations of commercialization promoted by several companies can be building excitement towards the technology. As a conclusion, DMFC technology is in a fluid phase, where technological and market related uncertainties prevail. Consumers have not adopted DMFC technology in a large scale. This can be seen from the fact the number of DMFC systems delivered, although there has been significant increase, is small.
DMFC technology is still looking for the application that would enable sustainable growth. Viable market applications, such as the one created by SFC, have been unable to show that a DMFC solution would be viable outside the niche that it occupies. However, as the power demand of small portable devices continues to increase in the future, existing systems can be unable to meet the demand. This situation would arguably create the needed competitive edge for portable DMFC systems. Fuel Cells Bulletin,. Fuel Cells Bulletin a : Portable fuel cell systems. Fuel Cells Bulletin, c 7 , p.
Fuel Cells Bulletin, a 2 ,. Fuel Cells Bulletin a : EU agrees to set up [euro]1 billion fuel cells, hydrogen initiative.