I just read the other day how bladder technology for hydrogen fuel
cells is WAY
behind on the design schedule. Does this mean these first cars might
end up with
tanks, compressed to 50,000psi riding where unpressurised fuel tanks
Stay WAY back in stop and go traffic!!!!!!!!
General Motors Corp. has made major steps in developing a commercially
viable hydrogen-powered vehicle and expects it can get the
emission-free cars into dealerships in the next four to nine years, a
spokesman told AFP.
GM also expects it will be able to "equal or better gas engines in
terms of cost, durability and performance" once it is able to ramp up
volume to at least 500,000 vehicles a year, said GM spokesman Scott
GM has partnered with Japanese rival Toyota Motor Corp. for a number of
years on developing the experimental fuel-cell technology.
On Thursday, the automaker announced that while it will continue its
tie-up with Toyota on other advanced technologies, it will no longer be
sharing its fuel-cell research.
"Because of the advances we made that type of technology is passing
from the research phase to development," Fosgard said.
Fuel cells produce electricity through a chemical reaction between
hydrogen and oxygen, leaving water as the only by-product. They are far
more environmentally friendly than the currently popular hybrid
gas-electric engines which merely reduce the amount of gas needed to
power the vehicle.
There are still a number of barriers to the commercialization of
hydrogen-powered cars. One is the infrastructure cost of building
refueling stations. Another big challenge is reducing the cost of
obtaining hydrogen itself, which has to be extracted from fossil fuels,
such as carbon, or from water.
The International Energy Agency has said that if conditions were right,
hydrogen and hydrogen fuel cells could play key roles in weaning energy
users away from oil, gas and coal.
"In the most favourable conditions, hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles would
enter the market (in mass numbers) around 2025 and power 30 percent of
the global stock of vehicles by 2050 -- the equivalent of about 700
million vehicles," the IEA said in a recent report.
"The oil saving would then be equivalent to some 13 percent of global
oil demand, or five percent of the global energy demand."
GM and Toyota will continue to work together on technology that will
help to save lives, Fosgard said.
The world's largest automakers have been collaborating since 1999 on
developing safety systems and advanced technologies. The partnership
was set to expire at the end of the month and has been extended to
March 31, 2008, GM said.
The latest agreement covers information exchange and collaborative
research in areas such as energy usage and emissions, intelligent
transportation systems, vehicle infrastructure integration and
vehicle-to-vehicle communications. It also allows for joint research
projects in other areas.
© 2006 AFP
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