The five-seater X-Trail FCV is a zero-emission electric vehicle that runs in near silence. It is powered by electricity produced on board the vehicle, in a hydrogen fuel cell stack. Electricity is generated following an electro-chemical reaction between hydrogen – which is stored at 700 bar in a purpose-designed high-pressure tank – and oxygen. The only by-product is water vapour.
This electric current is channelled through an inverter to drive a powerful motor in the front of the car. The X-Trail FCV, which has been undergoing real-world trials in Japan and California since 2006, has an official top speed of 150 km/h and a range of 500 km. Maximum power is 90kW (120PS) while maximum torque is 280Nm.
It also features the latest in battery technology: a Nissan-designed compact lithium-ion battery with thin laminated cells. The Li-Ion battery is used to start the vehicle and to boost power under acceleration. Kinetic energy created under deceleration is captured and stored in the battery for future use.
Still in the early stages of development, Nissan is currently working to improve durability of the FCV componentry; to find a breakthrough in hydrogen storage systems; and to reduce the cost of the technology. The company hopes to see fuel cell vehicles in series production by 2015.
The X-Trail FCV is part of the Nissan Green Program 2010, Nissan’s midterm environmental strategy which is aimed at reducing CO2 emissions from the company’s products and activities around the world, as well as reducing other exhaust emissions and increasing recycling.
Based on the bi-fuel version (gasoline and hydrogen) (earlier post), the BMW Hydrogen 7 mono-fuel is equipped with a 6.0-liter V12 internal combustion engine (ICE) which has been engineered to run exclusively on hydrogen. The hydrogen storage system in the mono-fuel version is the same as in the bi-fuel version: a cryogenic tank that holds approximately 8 kg (17.6 lbs) of liquid hydrogen.
This car runs on liquid hydrogen, not gaseous hydrogen. There are only about 50 hydrogen fueling stations in the United States, and just a handful of those dispense liquid hydrogen. Even if you happen to have access to liquid hydrogen station, you’ll still face a number of other drawbacks and obstacles. First, the BMW Hydrogen 7 has a zero-to-60 time of almost 10 seconds, which is about 45 percent slower than a conventional 7 Series with a V-12. Trunk space has been cut in half to make way for the bulky hydrogen fuel tank.
Speaking of the tank, it’s more accurate to think of it as a giant thermos, because the temperature of hydrogen must drop down to about 400 degrees below zero Fahrenheit before reaching a liquid state. If that chilly temperature is not maintained, then you face the problem known as “boil off,” a process which is difficult to avoid. When the car is not in use—for as little as one day—the liquid hydrogen begins boiling off. Half the fuel is gone in eight days time. Therefore, this car is actually more efficient on the road than in parked in a garage.
The driver is able to switch from hydrogen to gasoline mode manually by pressing a button on the multifunction steering wheel. Because engine power and torque remain exactly the same regardless of the mode of operation, switching from one mode to another has no effect on the driving behavior and performance of the BMW Hydrogen 7.
The control system in BMW Hydrogen 7 gives priority to the use of hydrogen. And, should one of the two types of fuel be fully consumed, the system will automatically switch over to the other type of fuel in the interest of secure, ongoing supply.
For now, the problems of the Hydrogen 7 belong to very short list of people. BMW has leased a limited number to high-profile individuals interested in touting the green attributes of hydrogen fuel.
Ford Fusion Hydrogen 999, is the world’s first automaker to set a land speed record for a production-based fuel cell powered car.
The car reaches a speed of 200 mph and was designed by Ford engineers in collaboration with the Ohio State University, Ballard Power Systems and Roush.
The hydrogen cells used in The Ford Fusion 999 combine Hydrogen and oxygen to generate the requir
ed energy. This car is more than just being an environmental innovation; it was built for style, to look like a racing car. With its strong aerodynamic body that houses the dominant engine, the car has no mirrors and sports trendy mesh architecture.
With the Ford Fusion 999 Ford is showing the world that they can create environment friendly vehicles that have no ulterior effect on the environment. The Ford Company is already building prototypes for the new
fuel technology. They are running a trial fleet with 30 hydrogen powered focus fuel cell vehicles.
Ford currently offers gasoline-electric hybrids including the Escape Hybrid and Mercury Mariner Hybrid. The company will also offer hybrid versions of the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan in 2008.
French scientist are already producing big quantities of this artificial rubber in Paris. Ludwik Leibler, who headed the investigation, a piece of common rubber is actually a molecule with millions of millions of small units that are chemically welded to form a very united network.
The rubber doesn’t have to be mended immediately after being broken—Nature says you can wait up to 18 hours to put the pieces back together. Leibler plans to commercialize the material through French chemical company Arkema, and he expects children’s toys would be a good application for it.
The network is meshed together by weaker hydrogen bonds, which get broken when the rubber is cut but also provide an atomic “glue,” recombining into chains to bridge severed parts.
The ingredients comprise fatty acids made from ordinary vegetable oils, combined in a stepped process with diethyline triamine and urea.