Dr. Mark Williams

mark-williamsOrganization: URS Corporation
Personal Biography: Dr. Mark C. Williams received his Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering in 1985 from the University of California at Berkeley. Dr. Williams is the author of over two hundred papers and articles in various peer-reviewed technical journals, society proceedings, book chapters, encyclopedia chapters, and other publications in fuel cells and separation technology and the editor of ten fuel-cell related books. He has conceptualized and patented some of the most efficient energy conversion systems ever conceived – fuel cell-turbine hybrids. He has been foremost in leading the efforts to commercialize fuel cells in the United States for two decades through the Department of Energy (DOE), Fuel Cell Seminar, Electrochemical Society, etc. He has been instrumental in formulating and directing the fuel cell programs of the U.S. (Fuel Cell Technology Manager, U.S. Department of Energy, Solid State Energy Conversion Alliance, for almost two decades), Taiwan and Austria. As the head of the U.S. DOE Stationary Fuel Cell Program, the world’s largest stationary fuel cell program, Dr. Williams directed nearly $1 billion of critical federal stationary fuel cell funding for Phosphoric Acid, Molten Carbonate and Solid Oxide Fuel Cell R&D. This direction and funding lead to the commercialization of those important fuel cell technologies. Dr. Williams personally while at DOE oversaw the installation and operation of dozens of fuel cell test and demonstrations – installation and operation – for DOE and DoD CERL. Dr. Williams has reported on the nation’s stationary fuel cell program on five occasions before the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering National Research Council Assessment Committees. Dr. Williams’ unique international leadership and global insights can best be represented by his election in October 2005 as a Fellow to The Electrochemical Society “for sustained, internationally recognized contributions to and promotion of electrochemical energy conversion technologies, especially fuel cells”. Dr. Williams serves as a representative to the Executive Committee for Fuel Cells of the International Energy Agency (IEA), a founding supporter of the $54M Fuel Cell Initiative at World Bank-International Finance Corporation (IFC) funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), and Chair of the Organizing Committee for the Fuel Cell Seminar, the world’s largest annual fuel cell conference. In 2009 Dr. Williams briefed the U.S. Senate on the IEA Fuel Cell programs. Dr. Williams has served as the requested evaluator and developer of the fuel cell programs of various nations, including Spain, Austria, Finland, Taiwan, and Mexico. Dr. Williams has represented the DOE in many international conferences and international agreements of cooperation in the electrochemistry and fuel cells area, including those with Japan (Agency of Science and Technology), Argentina, Peru, Brazil, Mexico, Canada (Trilateral Agreement), European Community (Fuel Cell Annex to the DOE-EC Science and Technology Agreement), Russia (U.S. Russian Bilateral Agreement), New Zealand, Great Britain, India, Poland, Iceland, Norway, Finland, and Germany. Dr. Williams presented at the renowned Alpbach Technology Forum in Austria in 2005. Dr. Williams serves as Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Fuel Cell Seminar and on the Boards of Advisers of other energy and fuel cell-related entities, such as the National Institute for Fuel Cell Technology, West Virginia University; Center for Uncertain Systems and Tools for Optimization and Management, University of Illinois; Advisory Board of Future Fuels, University of South Carolina; and Editorial Board of the Journal of Renewable Energy. In addition, he served as the Chief Technology Officer of a fuel cell company for two years and is Adjunct Professor, University of Utah and West Virginia University, and Visiting Professor, Tohoku University, Japan. He is currently Manager, Energy System Dynamics (ESD) and Deputy CTO, for URS Corporation. At URS Dr. Williams manages the support for the DOE NETL in-house research and development in ESD which includes fuel cell turbine hybrids, turbines, sensors, fuel processing, and carbon capture. Interested parties should go on the Web and search on ‘Mark Williams, Fuel Cells’ for more information.


Lecture Topic: Energy and Fuel Cell Technology
Energy extraction and conversion to produce electricity and to support transportation is one of mankind’s largest endeavors. Energy underpins our current way of life and standard of living. All primary energy comes from the sun: electrical, mechanical, chemical (oil, coal, gas, biomass), gravitational, thermal, nuclear, radiant, sound, elastic, magnetic, luminous, and mass. Energy conversion or transformation is the way primary energy is converted to useable forms such as transportation fuels and electricity. Major reserves of natural gas are being discovered in the Appalachian and other regions today. For example, Pennsylvania State University (PSU) estimates a possible 4,400 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of gas in the Marcellus Shale. It underlies the West Virginia and Pennsylvania region. If only a third is recovered, the estimate is over a 1000 Tcf. The world estimate is 5000 Tcf. According to the EIA, the United States uses 23 trillion cubic feet/year of NG while world use approaches 150 Tcf. The automobile market is huge – 55 million cars per year are manufactured world-wide. It is the greatest power opportunity on the planet in terms of power wattage. Currently, the only natural gas light-duty vehicle manufactured in the U.S. is the Honda Civic GX ($26,000 list price; 24 city/36 hwy/28 combined gasoline equivalent mpg). The cost to convert vehicles to NG is estimated $12,500 to $22,500 depending on the vehicle, engine, size of CNG tanks needed, and who does the converting. The US consumes 20 million BBL/day petroleum of which around 2/3 is used for transportation. This is the energy equivalent of 27 Tcf/year NG. At the PSU estimate, if only 1/3 was recovered, could replace US petroleum for transportation for around 50 years. NG at $5/MMBTU is the energy equivalent of $ 28 /BBL oil. Oil is currently $100/BBL. Power Generation in USA uses 8 Tcf/yr. Around 32 Tcf/year would power all of USA. At the PSU estimate, if only 1/3 was recovered, could provide power for US for around 50 years. Many new or technologies under development could provide the market pull for the natural gas opportunity. Large quantities of natural gas exist for development in the US and throughout the world. The fuel cell technology was made for this application, especially the higher temperature fuel cells. Fuel cells technology transforms electricity production in stationary and transportation applications because it is the most efficient way to convert chemical energy to electricity. NG solid oxide fuel cell turbine hybrids for automobiles is a technology which combined with methane storage should be a special interest.

Fuel cells technology transforms electricity production in stationary and transportation applications because it is the most efficient way to convert chemical energy to electricity. It produces negligible NOx, has the highest efficiency (45-50% LHV electrical), and has the lowest CO2. It is exempt from air permitting and with it NG could power the Smart Grid, enable distributed generation and CHP. Fuel cell turbine hybrids have the highest electrical efficiency NG systems ever conceived – 60-70% LHV. Hybrids are combinations of energy conversion devices which utilize all the energy from the NG. Fuel cell turbine hybrids should attain high downturn ratios, high efficiency part-load, fuel flexibility, and very low emissions. Hybrids for power generation have similar integration issues as for today’s hybrid electric vehicles (combining batteries and ICE’s). Energy consumption of stored energy (nuclear, coal, oil, gas and petroleum) is so large that ultimately real-time solar power and fusion (mini-suns) and renewables and natural gas from renewables will have to be deployed. We will always have natural gas on this planet from renewable (plant and animal) sources.