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Old 09-25-2009, 08:09 AM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default Hydrogen's prospects for autos refreshed

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The long-delayed hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, overshadowed by the clamor over electric cars, may be getting a new lease on life. General Motors Co. announced Thursday that its next generation hydrogen fuel cell system will be half the size and 220 pounds lighter than before, and use half the precious metals.

The announcement comes as Congress moves to restore most of the $100 million in fuel cell research money the Obama administration wanted to cut. That represented about half of the total.

Obama's administration, which had sought to shift more emphasis to plug-in electric vehicles, has dropped its opposition to reinstating the research money.

GM's executive director of fuel cell activities, Charles Freese, said Thursday fuel cell vehicles could be "commercialized" by 2015, and cost "competitive" by 2022.

"It hits this tipping point in a roughly 2022 timetable," he said.

Still, that's substantially behind GM's initial timetable. In 2002, GM said it was "possible" that hundreds of thousands of fuel cell vehicles could be on the road by 2010. In 2006, GM revised that estimate to 1,000 by 2010. Now, GM says it won't make that 1,000-vehicle goal, in large part because of the lack of a network of refueling stations and a high cost.
No automaker has committed to bringing a fuel cell vehicle to the mass market before 2015.

GM says progress is being made toward resolving the refueling and price obstacles. Its new-generation vehicle will be cheaper than the previous model, because it will have the same amount of precious metals as gas engines.

And GM believes a $100 million to $200 million investment could provide a network of 40-50 hydrogen fueling stations for the 15 million residents of metropolitan Los Angeles.
Compared with 180,000 gas stations, there are about 60 hydrogen fueling stations nationwide -- mostly in California.
GM, which has spent $1.5 billion in hydrogen fuel cell research, has a test fleet of about 100 fuel cell Chevy Equinox vehicles on the road.

They've traveled more than 1 million miles since late 2007. The fleet was supposed to end its run this year, but GM has been able to double the estimated lifespan of the vehicles.
"We expect to run some of them much longer than we envisioned," Freese said Thursday.

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles have significant benefits: zero emissions, unlike gas-powered vehicles; 300-mile range, unlike electric vehicles; and a quick refueling time, unlike plug-ins. They also have 60 percent fewer parts and 90 percent fewer moving parts.

On Sept. 9, Germany said it would provide $1.3 billion to underwrite half the cost of building a nationwide network of 1,000 hydrogen refueling stations across the country by 2015, joining Royal Dutch Shell and Daimler AG.

Japan and 13 oil and gas companies announced similar plans to boost hydrogen stations and Honda Motor Co. recently reiterated its plans to sell a commercial version of its FCX Clarity by 2015.

And despite the exploding worldwide interest in electric vehicles, the automakers maintain their support for fuel cell vehicles.

Daimler AG, Ford Motor Co., GM, Honda, Hyundai Motor Co., Renault SA and Nissan Motor Co., and Toyota Motor Corp. this month released a joint statement endorsing fuel cell vehicles.

"The signing automobile manufacturers strongly anticipate that from 2015 onwards, a quite significant number of electric vehicles with fuel cells could be commercialized," they said
http://www.detnews.com/article/20090...352/1148/rss25
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Old 09-25-2009, 06:48 PM   #2
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Didn't you already link this?
http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show....php?t=1851948

That is exactly the same thing. And as always the same problems plague the fuel cell. GM is unquestionably the leader in the segment and making great scientific and engineering breakthrough, but it doesn't really matter.

The price might have fallen from 500k per cell to 250k per cell, but it is still ridiculous. And you still have the hydrogen that you need. It doesn't spontaneously appear. I definitely approve of the work they have done and it will have benefits for fuel cells in the niche markets they might fulfill, but it doesn't really help it become any more viable for transportation at all.
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Old 09-26-2009, 02:19 AM   #3
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Hondaslayer could you Merge this? Thank You
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Old 09-26-2009, 03:17 AM   #4
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I'm not convinced. Too many huge hurdles that need to be overcome.
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Old 09-26-2009, 10:22 AM   #5
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I'm happy to hear that the platinum needed for fuel cells is so much cheaper and more plentiful than lithium...
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Old 09-27-2009, 11:18 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Chromer View Post
I'm happy to hear that the platinum needed for fuel cells is so much cheaper and more plentiful than lithium...
I'd be happier if I heard that platinum was replaced by a non precious metal in the membranes being used. That's the #1 expense as far as I can tell.
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Old 09-28-2009, 08:40 AM   #7
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I'd be happier if I heard that platinum was replaced by a non precious metal in the membranes being used. That's the #1 expense as far as I can tell.
There are polymer catalysts instead, they have the potential to be cheap, but reliability is crap.

Basically the funding on this should just quit for ruthenium and platinum catalysts. They should focus soley on reliability of cheap catalysts.
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Old 09-28-2009, 08:51 AM   #8
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Yep. There are promising microbial, carbon nanotube, iron and titanium-dioxide based catalysts as well, but the power densities and longevity are currently crap compared to platinum.

Maybe in another 10 years...
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