London fuel cell taxi fleet remains operational during 2012 Olympics

London’s fleet of hydrogen fuel cell taxis is remaining operational during the Olympic Games despite problems encountered by the fleet of fuel cell buses

Because of safety concerns, hydrogen is not allowed within the Games area for the course of the competition. It means the capital’s fleet of hydrogen fuel cell buses have been taken out of action, though they will return in September on the RV1 route with three new additions. This will bring the fleet up to eight, making the RV1 route the first of its kind in Europe fully serviced by fuel cell buses.

Taxis, however, can get around the restrictions and were transported to the BOC hydrogen station in Swindon to refuel. A refuelling station will open at Heathrow soon, allowing the taxis to continue to transport dignitaries and VIPs during the Games.

Built by Air Products, the airport’s hydrogen station will be accessible to the public, dispensing hydrogen at 350 bar, with plans in place for a 700 bar capability in the future.


Ball State Geothermal Project Enters Stage Two

Ball State University in Indiana has recently begun the second and final phase of what will be the largest geothermal heating and cooling system in the United States.

The project, which began in 2009, intends to replace four coal-fired boilers along with two smoke stacks. During phase one of construction, the North District Energy station was built, along with two geothermal energy fields, while connecting north-end buildings to the new system. After the first phase of construction,  almost half of the Indiana-based campus now receives heating and cooling from the new geothermal system.

Construction of the second phase will see 780 of the 1,800 remaining bore holes installed in a field on the south side of the campus. Construction of the project will carry on through the 2013-14 year, which will include a brand new District Energy Station South. The station will include 2,500 heat pump chillers, along with a hot water loop on the south side of the campus

The eventual goal is to link up 5.5 million square feet of geothermal heating and cooling across Ball State University.

The project has been a boon to supporting renewable jobs in the state of Indiana, creating 2,300 indirect and direct jobs, according to Ball State’s Center for Business and Economic Research.

Both federal and state financing helped fund the costs of the $50-million project. The US Department of Energy provided $5 million in stimulus money, while the Indian state government provided $45 million in capital funding for the project.

Increased costs of maintaining a fossil-fuel-based heating and cooling system, along with a more sustainable outlet, were some of the reasons for the switch.

“When costs began to escalate for the installation of a new fossil fuel burning boiler, the university began to evaluate other renewable energy options,” Jim Lowe, director of engineering, construction and operations, said in a statement.

“This led to the decision to convert the campus to a more efficient geothermal-based heating and cooling system.”

The school expects to save $2 million in operating costs, while cutting carbon emissions on the campus by nearly 50%, thanks to the conversion to geothermal.
Clean Technica (

Ball State Dedicates Largest Closed-Loop Geothermal System in America

Indiana’s Ball State University last week dedicated the largest vertical closed-loop geothermal heating and cooling system in the United States.

Drilling geothermal wells at Ball State

A few of the 3,600 geothermal boreholes across campus

When fully complete, the project will allow the school to shut down its four aging coal-fired boilers, prevent 85,000 tons of annual carbon emissions (cutting the campus carbon footprint in half), and save $2 million in annual operating costs.

Phased Approach

Construction began on the system in 2009, and will ultimately connect 5.5 million square feet of space in 47 buildings across the 660-acre campus with geothermal power. Phase one was recently completed, consisting of 1,800 boreholes drilled on two geothermal fields and a new energy station connecting the fields with buildings on the northern end of campus.

Work recently began on phase two of the project, and will continue through 2014. The second phase will include installing an additional 1,800 boreholes in a geothermal field on the south side of the campus and a new energy station connecting two 2,500-ton heat pump chillers with a connection loop around the southern portion of campus.

Ball State geothermal system

Sustainable Schools

The rising cost of coal contributed to the school’s decision to shift toward sustainable power. “When costs began to escalate for the installation of a new fossil fuel burning boiler, the university began to evaluate other renewable energy options,” said Jim Lowe, director of engineering, construction, and operations.

Ball State’s geothermal system is just another example of the school’s “Green Campus” sustainability efforts. The university diverts around 20 percent of all waste from landfills, has a hybrid fleet of electric and biofuel vehicles, all new construction is built to LEED silver certification, and university president Jo Ann Gora is a founding member of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.

More Green Jobs

A recent study conducted by the school’s Center for Business and Economic Research found the geothermal system is creating an estimated 2,300 direct and indirect jobs. This figure is impressive, but unsurprising, considering the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics just last week found 372,000 construction-related green jobs in the country.

The geothermal system cost a total of $50 million dollars, and was funded through federal and state grants, including $5 million in stimulus funding from the U.S. Department of Energy and $45 million in capital funding from Indiana state government.

Ball State University geothermal campus map