Shell Hydrogen US, a division of Shell Oil Products Company, and International Fuel Cells (IFC), a unit of United Technologies have formed HydrogenSource LLC, a 50-50 joint venture that will develop, manufacture and sell fuel processors and hydrogen generation systems for the emerging fuel cell and hydrogen fuel applications.
HydrogenSource will be headquartered in South Windsor, Connecticut. Its staffing is expected to approach 200 people by the end of next year, with the majority of personnel dedicated to research, development and engineering.
The management team consists of executives from both joint venture companies. In addition to Snaith, the officers are Larry Holland, Vice President of Marketing; Fran Kocum, Vice President of Technology; Howard Farrer, Vice President of Operations; and Steve Evans, Vice President of Finance.
Fuel cells are electrochemical devices that combine hydrogen fuel and oxygen from the air to produce electricity, heat and water. Fuel cells operate without combustion, so they are virtually pollution free. Since the fuel is converted directly to electricity, a fuel cell can operate at much higher efficiencies than internal combustion engines, extracting more electricity from the same amount of fuel. The fuel cell itself has no moving parts – making it a quiet and reliable source of power.
Fuel processors convert a hydrocarbon fuel, such as gasoline or natural gas, into a mixture of hydrogen and other gases. The hydrogen is then supplied to the fuel cell as one of the ingredients for its electrochemical process.