Clean Fuel Generation LLC (CFG) successfully demonstrated its exclusive fuel cell technology reforming process, which uses propane as its fuel source to produce electricity.
CFG, a 5-year-old Los Angeles firm, is in the advanced stages of testing the technology and the development of a fuel cell-powered generator, initially targeted for use in the RV industry.
Attending the recent demonstration were representatives from RV industry companies, the U.S. Department of Defense, Southern California Edison, propane industry companies, and others, including faculty of the University of La Verne.
Colin Iwasa, with Yamaha Motor Corp. USA, said the demonstration illustrated important issues in the development of fuel cell technology.
“I was impressed, first with how small the unit was for the RV market, and secondly with their decision to go a different direction than other fuel cell research,” Iwasa said. “It makes sense to reform an already existing form of fuel rather than having to create a whole new supply infrastructure.”
CFG, a closely held company, has patents granted and pending for key components that will allow the use of readily available hydrocarbon fuels to be converted into hydrogen, which the fuel cell requires to produce electric power.
Hydrogen is not readily available and is difficult to store in required volumes. CFG is developing technology that will utilize the existing propane infrastructure, and could lead to earlier commercialization of fuel cell systems.
Paul Heald, director of engineering at Marshall Gas Controls, said CFG’s technology solves a number of potential problems.
“CFG’s system is an ideal application for fuel cells because it utilizes propane for fuel. Not only will this cut down on the excessive noise that gasoline generators produce, but it will be easier to use because propane is so easy to buy,” Heald said.
Dr. Iraj Parchamazad, co-founder of CFG, and chairman of the Chemistry Department at the University of La Verne (ULV), made the following points during a scientific discussion that preceded the demonstration:
• CFG’s technology is unique because of the ability to utilize propane fuel.
• It produces enough hydrogen for up to 30 kilowatts of electric power.  
• CFG’s technology also purifies the hydrogen, eliminating all impurities, including sulfur.  
“RV’s and stationary applications are well suited for this technology if the systems are correctly sized. If fuel cells are undersized as related to maximum kilowatt output demand, and rely on battery backup for peak loads, the fuel cell system can be overburdened, resulting in fuel cell degradation and shorter lifetime. This is why CFG’s advancements are so important: We can scale-up our systems to meet load demands,” Parchamazad said.       
In addition to the energy that CFG’s technology provides, consumers also will appreciate the fuel cell’s high efficiency, convenience, safety and quiet operation. The fuel cell produces electricity with higher than 40% efficiency, far superior to the 15% efficiency of combustion generators. Efficiency increases to better than 80% when cogeneration (thermal energy) is considered.  
CFG is actively seeking strategic investors and alliances.