GEI Administration Control Panel



August 2013

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The Daily Courier, Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Fuel cells the energy source of the future

Kelowna could become the centre of a revolution in power generation if local company can capitalize on new technology

By STEVE MacNAULL
The Daily Courier

Kelowna is poised to be the fuel cell capital of Canada. "When people ask: 'Why Kelowna?' I tell them: Why not Kelowna," said Stuart Gray, vice-president of Global Energy Innovations, the company commercializing the latest in fuel cell technology units.

"We can have a fuel cell assembly plant in the Kelowna area that could become the size Western Star was."

Western Star was the truck manufacturer on Enterprise Way that used to be the city's biggest employer, with over
1,000 workers, before parent company Freightliner moved everything to Portland, Ore.

This story starts in Flint, Mich., where the head of the mechanical engineering department at Kettering University — Joel Berry — developed a new type of fuel cell that utilizes readily-available natural gas, propane or biofuel to create clean and efficient electric power.

In past, fuel cells used hydrogen and oxygen to generate energy.

However, because hydrogen isn't easily accessible, previous fuel cell technology was limited. "My goal was to create a robust technology that can be commercialized for widespread global use," Berry said on a recent visit to the Global Energy Innovations office in Kelowna.dr berry-stuart gray-dallas morin

Berry's fuel cells have been featured in stories on NBC-TV and The Wall Street Journal.

He set up Global Energy Innovations in Flint as a company separate from the university to start that
commercialization.

His invention has been tested over the last few years and is now ramping up to go into production.

The first factory will be in Flint, but with the Global Energy Innvovations office being set up in Kelowna, Gray wants to see manufacturing locally as well.

"We see the fuel cells being 70-per-cent completed in Flint and then sent up here for final assembly for Canadian distribution and sale to customers around the world," he said.

"We'll need a 30,000-square-foot factory and start with about 100 employees and build from there."

Gray is now looking for that factory location and has been in discussions with both Westbank First Nation and natural gas and electric utility FortisBC for possible partnerships.

A fuel cell is basically a black metal box with electronic circuitry inside that uses the chosen fuel (natural gas, methane propane or biofuel) to start a chemical reaction that converts the fuel to electrial power.

There are no moving parts and no combustion of fuel as there is in a furnace, generator or power plant.

A fuel cell or cells can be hooked up to a natural gas line or any other fuel supply and placed anywhere to power anything from a single family home to a whole community.

Fuel cells come in different sizes.

The two-kilowatt unit measuring four feet by four feet by three feet can be used as back-up or primary power for a single-family home.

The 100-kilowatt unit isn't that much bigger at six feet by six feet by eight feet, but packs a lot more punch and can power 10,000 to 15,000 homes, an entire apartment or office highrise, shopping centre, hospital or factory.

The 100-kilowatt units can also be stacked together to provide even more electricity for more users.gei fuel cell image

"In Canada, the market for fuel cells is companies that have drilling rigs that are currently using dirty and expensive diesel generators," said Global's Kelowna-based business development director Dallas Morin.

"They could also be used in oil and gas operations up north or in remote or Native communities that don't have cheap and reliable electricity. Internationally, the market is huge because reliable electricity is needed for everything from single-family homes to entire communities in developing parts of China, India and Africa."

Gray, the son of Kelowna Mayor Walter Gray, was most recently an alternative energy consultant and Morin has a
background in real estate investing in the U.S.

To finance Global's fuel cell commercialization, Gray has arranged for publicly traded company Suja Minerals (SJML on the over-the-counter NASDAQ bulletin board) to acquire Global Energy Innovations.

Shortly, the name of the publicly-traded company will become Global Energy Innovations (symbol: GEI).

So far, $800,000 has been raised and the goal is $15 million over the next year.

Stock is currently changing hands in the 50 to 60 cent range, but is expected to increase as the fuel cell commercialization amps up.

Check out GEIGlobal.com.

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GEI PASSION

Fuel cell technology has a potential for rural electrification both in the U.S. and for developing countries. This technology would allow the use of renewable energy around the clock regardless of location. The opportunity exists to electrify 2.1 billion people without electricity. For example, providing electricity at the village level can result in vaccinations, refrigeration, water pumps for fresh well water, internet connections, cellular phone towers, and with computers available for a few hundred dollars could link children from around the globe. Village farmers could study on-line for better irrigation methods, understand weather patterns and communicate with experts world-wide regarding numerous local social, economic, and agricultural issues.

GEI will seek to provide fuel cell energy solutions for developing countries that leverage renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, and bio fuels. Through utilizing renewable energy sources, fuel cells can become an economical source of power, heat, and water and can contribute rapidly toward the improvement of economic, health, agricultural, and social conditions for the 60% of the world's population without affordable and plentiful power.

GEI believes its distinctive characteristics will be:

  • A passion and commitment to developing innovative global energy solutions that enrich the quality of life and conserves earth's natural resources.
  • A passion and commitment to providing high quality customer service and superior engineering technology.
  • A passion and commitment to developing environmental friendly solutions that ensures energy security for future generations.

GEI VISION

Our vision is that GEI will become the largest fuel cell auxiliary power provider worldwide with annual gross revenues of $50 million in five (5) years. We believe this vision is achievable due to our "Blue Ocean" strategy supporting common fuel cell power systems that are customer centric and applicable across multiple industry sectors. Our targets are ten times the combined total U.S. APU market today and will drive the entire fuel cell component supply chain worldwide. Additionally, the high volume manufacturing will provide much needed high-tech jobs for mid-Michigan, improve the overall quality of life, and establish the first high volume fuel cell systems manufacturer in Michigan. As we go to market, we will utilize strategic partnerships to deliver our customers with a complete end-to-end solution to address all of their unique power requirements.

We intend that GEI be known as a leader for innovation in fuel cell systems engineering and for developing products and strategies that both improve the social and economic quality of life for millions and help to accelerate the commercialization of the hydrogen and fuel cell economy world-wide.

GEI TECHNOLOGYbop_image

The GEI X5 is a “hybrid” fuel cell APU that incorporates a high temperature PEM fuel cell and a high-energy density Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) battery. Although fuel cell systems typically have a higher energy density compared with traditional batteries, fuel cell systems alone do not have the peak power and load following capabilities of a battery. Therefore, it is necessary for most applications to incorporate a hybrid fuel cell/battery system to benefit from the strengths of both technologies. Because batteries are excellent at satisfying high instant power demands, fuel cell power systems can be sized to meet average power requirements for any given application to achieve maximum efficiency. A fuel cell power system can then be combined with a battery (or other energy storage systems such as ultra capacitors), creating a hybrid system in which the fuel cell provides sufficient power for battery charging during low power demands. The battery or energy storage system can then handle the instant power demands, provide for instant start capability, and most importantly, provide for smooth quasi-transient fuel processor operations. It can not be underestimated the importance of hybrid systems when combined with fuel processors. Since fuel processors are not able to respond instantly to changing load demands, systems without an energy storage media results in an exceptionally difficult control strategy. Alternatively, with energy storage the fuel processor need only respond to “average” load demands rather than instantaneous demands and provides for less complicated and more reliable control systems. Finally, hybrid fuel cell power systems are inherently more fuel efficient and are a more cost effective solution.

 

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