Over the past 40 years starting from the commencement of fuel cell activity in the Soviet Union, the team
of our scientists and engineers worked under the umbrella of RPE "KVANT" the Russian fuel cell Center
of Excellence successfully executed numerous development programs ranging from fundamental studies
to the installation of a production facility for highly sophisticated ECGs and power plants for special applications.
ECGs have been used since the mid-1960s by NASA in the Apollo and space shuttle programs,
as well as by the Soviet and later by the Russian Space Agency in the BURAN program
to power electrical systems on spacecraft.
Our scientists built and commissioned several of the world's first proof-of-technology hybrid electrical vehicles,
including two minivans and a bus (1976-1983).
Our team pioneered in design and construction of self-contained power plants operating on combination
of ECG and electrolyzer with photovoltatic panels utilizing solar energy. The power plants were subjected
to field tests in a small town near Black Sea and demonstrated outstanding performance for more
than 10,000 hours of operation.
Today our team with an average of more than 20 years of expertise in Alkaline and Proton Exchange
Membrane (PEM) fuel cell technologies continues to work toward the commercialization of fuel cells
for mass market unlocking new potentials and enjoying opportunities of the Russian's free market economy.
We took forward the extensive expertise contained in the USSR programs
to the stage where our products are now approaching commercial viability.
We have designed and built a 6.25 kW contemporary industrial prototype Alkaline Fuel Cell (AFC) ECG,
which brings IPT to the pre-commercialization stage.
Also we are developing
Direct Liquid Fuel FC (DLFFC),
a fundamentally new type of fuel cell combining the
advantages of AFC technology with an ability to be powered
directly by liquid fuel.
Our company focuses on the design, development and licensing of fuel cell products suitable for mass production,
such as modules, generators and accessories. All components employed in our generators and power plants
are capable of being mass produced on an industrial scale, unlike other systems which are presently individually
engineered. The Company expects to be the first to design commercial generators suitable for mass production
in high volumes at a sensible price.
A key element of our strategy is to establish a high volume manufacturing capability through strategic partners
with extensive expertise and capacity in systems and power plants manufacturing such as RSC "Energia",
Research Production Enterprise "KVANT" and others, including partners in the USA and Western Europe.
Our products are largely oriented toward Western European and US markets, where the demand for clean energy
sources is particularly high, energy providers are facing increasing political and social pressure to provide
clean power, and consumers are keen to explore alternative energy sources for peak power supply, back-up
power or even as a principal source of power. This interest in adopting new technology early is essential until
economies of scale reduce the capital cost of ECGs.
In choosing initial markets, we have identified areas where a commercial advantage
for the use of our products can be demonstrated.
The Company’s proprietary technology and intellectual property are comprised
of novel technological and engineering solutions and certain procedures
underlying the design of systems and key components.
Presently, IPT owns 3 patents and 5 patents pending, covering
the Company’s key developments.
2,183,370 WO 02/084769 A1
2,191,449 WO 03/007410 A1
DLFFC technology: |
IPT considers a key element of its strategy to establish a high volume manufacturing capability through strategic partners with extensive expertise and capacity in systems and power plants manufacturing. The company has already set up close business relationships with leading research organizations and businesses in the field.
Rocket Space Corporation “Energia”
Institute of Electrochemistry named after A.N.Frumkin
Research Production Enterprise “KVANT”
Grigoriy Scherbakovskiy, D.Econ.
is Chairman of the Board of Directors
of Independent Power Technologies Ltd.
Professor Dr. Grigoriy Scherbakovskiy has extensive experience in corporate business development.
He served as the finance director of several large industrial companies.
Presently Prof. Scherbakovskiy is Vice-President of Stepan Razin Corp.
and Head of the Department of Planning and Prognosis of Economical and Social Systems
at the Saint-Petersburg State University of Economics and Finance (Russia).
Dr. Shcherbakovskiy holds M.S. (1987) and Ph.D. (1991) degrees in Economics
from the Saint-Petersburg State University of Economics and Finance.
He also received Doctor of Economics in 1999.
Alexander Yuzefovsky, Ph.D.
is Managing Director
of Independent Power Technologies Ltd.
Dr. Alexander Yuzefovsky is an experienced scientific project manager. He joined IPT in 2002 after working at ZeTek Power Plc as R&D Director. Dr. Yuzefovsky is a recipient of several scientific awards including a personal commendation from the President of the United States in recognition of outstanding contribution to modern science and technology (1995).
Dr. Yuzefovsky holds M.S. in Engineering (1987) from the Saint-Petersburg State Technical University and Ph.D. in Chemistry (1994) from the University of Connecticut.
Ziya Karichev, D.Eng.
is Research and Development Director
of Independent Power Technologies.
Dr. Ziya Karichev is an experienced project manager and scientist.
Before joining IPT, Dr. Karichev was Head of R&D at Russia’s premier fuel cell research center RPE “KVANT”. He has extensive experience in design and manufacturing of fuel cells and electrochemical generators.
Dr. Karichev is a recipient of Government Award in Technology and Science in the field of fuel cell technology (1998). His achievements were recognized with gold medals and diplomas at the All-State Economy Exhibition of the USSR (1986, 1978) and at several international exhibitions including “Public Heath-85” (1985) and “Electro-77” (1977).
Dr. Karichev is a member of the Russian Academy of Natural Science. His work is represented in over 100 publications, 3 monographs and 75 patents.
Dr. Karichev holds M.S. in Engineering (1963) from the Moscow State University of Automotive Engineering and Doctor of Science (1995).
1. What is an Electrochemical Generator?
An Electrochemical Generator (ECG) is a device, which converts directly chemical energy of hydrogen fuel into electrical energy using oxygen (either pure or from the air) as an oxidant. ECG is an efficient, silent and environmentally friendly source of power.
2. What is the difference between batteries and ECG?
ECG and a battery are similar as they both deliver electrical power from a chemical reaction. However, in a battery the chemical reactants are stored within the battery, are used up during the reaction, so that the battery must be recharged or thrown away. This limits capacity of batteries as well. In the ECG, the reactants are stored externally to the generator, so it delivers electricity for as long as reactants are supplied.
3. What is the advantage of ECG in comparison to Internal Combustion Engine (ICE)?
Since the fuel is converted directly into electricity, ECG has a very high efficiency (50% and higher), which makes it at least 3-4 fold more efficient than conventional ICEs. In addition, ECGs are nearly noiseless and emit little or no pollution, producing heat and pure water as the only by-products.
4. What is CASCADE-IP?
Cascade-IP is an industrial prototype of electrochemical generator based on advanced Alkaline Fuel Cell (AFC) technology, developed and manufactured by IPT. CASCADE-IP has a low operating temperature (60° - 80 °C) and differs from other types of ECGs by its robustness, low cost, long operating time and minimum number of peripheral components.
In addition, various low-cost non-noble metal catalysts already exist for AFCs, and when implemented in AFC electrodes, will lower significantly the overall cost of the generator.
5. What are limiting factors on the way toward commercialization of AFC ECGs?
For several decades, AFC ECGs have been widely used on spacecrafts and submarines in the United States, Russia and Germany. At the same time their commercial potential for mass market was limited mainly by two factors: high cost of fuel cells and lack of practical and cost-effective system for removal of carbon dioxide (CO2) from incoming air, which otherwise forms insoluble sediments in alkaline electrolyte.
6. What kind of fuel cells is used in CASCADE-IP?
We believe that today, Cascade-IP is the only generator in the world that uses robust and inexpensive AFC, which can be efficiently manufactured in large volumes at sensible cost.
7. How does atmospheric CO2 affect the performance of the generator?
Concentration of CO2 in ambient air is about 300 - 500 ppm (3x10-2 - 5x10-2 %). CO2 forms insoluble carbonates in alkali media, which precipitate and block surfaces of fuel cell electrodes.
As a result, the performance of fuel cells is somewhat reduced, eventually crippling the performance of the generator.
A common opinion that CO2 poisons air electrodes, as was the case with some earlier alkaline fuel cells, is not true.
8. What is the maximum allowable level of CO2 in air for normal operation of AFCs?
9. How is CO2 removal done in CASCADE-IP?
The removal of CO2 from the incoming air is done by a patented regenerative scrubber, developed and built by IPT. Concentration of CO2 in the scrubbed air does not exceed 5 -10 ppm.
10. What are the advantages of the regenerative scrubber used in CASCADE-IP in comparison to a conventional sodalime sorbent?
The main advantages of IPT's scrubber are low cost, increased serviceability, uninterrupted performance, as well as zero waste. The guaranteed operating time of the scrubber is 5000 h.
11. Can CASCADE-IP use hydrogen obtained by 'reforming' of natural gas, alcohols, hydrocarbons, ammonia, etc.?
Yes. However, the purity of hydrogen supplied to the generator should be no less than 99.95 %.
12. What is the working pressure of the reagents in CASCADE-IP?
The working pressure of hydrogen and air is slightly above atmospheric (~ 30 mBar).
13. Does storage of CASCADE-IP at negative temperatures create any problems?
No. Long time storage of the generator at negative temperatures (down to minus 20 °C) does not affect its performance.
14. How does CASCADE-IP start up in extreme cold conditions?
The start-up of the generator in cold conditions is a two-step process, which runs automatically by a special program integrated in the generator. At the first step, a pre-heating is done by a catalytic hydrogen burner until the temperature of electrolyte reaches +5 °C. At the second step, the generator is rapidly warmed up to +60 °C with a specially designed internal electrical heater powered directly by the fuel cells. Therefore, CASCADE-IP does not require any external power source to start up in extreme cold conditions.
15. How much power is consumed by the peripheral components of CASCADE-IP?
Since the design of the generator is optimized for a minimum number of peripheral components, the internal energy losses do not exceed 10% of the generated power. It is also important that most of the peripheral components used in CASCADE-IP are not exclusive and are commercially available at sensible price.
16. What is the overall efficiency of CASCADE-IP?
The overall efficiency is in the range of 45-50% depending on the load. It can be increased up to 80% in case of additional utilization of the heat produced by the generator.
17. Are there any safety concerns for the operation of CASCADE-IP?
CASCADE-IP in general is a very safe system. Our engineers made a lot of testing in order to assure its safety. The generator has a safeguard subsystem, which monitors the generator continuously during its operation. If necessary, the safeguard automatically shuts off hydrogen supply and purge the generator with an inert gas (nitrogen). The generator also has forced ventilation, which prevents any hydrogen built-up in an unlikely event of small hydrogen leaks from the system. IPT commits to building products that meet or exceed safety standards.
18. What are the applications of CASCADE-IP?
It can be used in stationary applications for residential and commercial distributed power generation; in mobile applications, such as light trucks and similar type of ground fleet vehicles; and in marine applications, such as small commercial vessels, fishing boats and pleasure crafts.
19. What is the future prospective for the mass production of CASCADE-IP?
IPT patented several key engineering solutions, which have been implemented in CASCADE-IP. The novel design in combination with the aforementioned solutions open new perspectives toward the development of mass production capability of CASCADES.
20. How can I obtain additional information and schedule to see CASCADE-IP in operation?
All you need is to e-mail your questions to
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