Hydrogen Fuel Project in Hawaii

Hawaii’s race to adopt green-energy automobiles picked up speed yesterday with the announcement of a collaboration between The Gas Co. and General Motors Corp. for vehicles powered by hydrogen.

The companies agreed to work in concert, with The Gas Co. pledging to provide the fueling network for the cars, and GM saying it may send dozens of its hydrogen fuel-cell cars here.

“We’re not doing this to show what the technology can do,” said Charlie Freese, executive director of GM’s global fuel cell activities. GM hopes to start commercial production of hydrogen fuel cell cars in the next five years.

“We want to make it part of growth. We want it to be a beginning.”

The partnership was the latest in a series of Hawaii announcements this year related to the ramping up of vehicles using renewable sources of power.

Hawaii is becoming one of the leaders nationally in alternative fuel vehicles, with Nissan announcing that its much-anticipated electric car, the Leaf, will be sold here starting early next year and South Korean automaker CT&T saying it wants to build a $200 million electric-car assembly plant here.

Hawaii, as the most oil-dependent state in the nation, has announced an ambitious plan to wean itself off of petroleum-based energy, including electrical generation and transportation needs. About one-third of the petroleum consumed here goes to ground transportation, according to the state.

The Gas Co.-GM announcement marks the first significant hydrogen-fuel effort aimed at consumers in the state. GM said Hawaii presents an unusual situation for its hydrogen cars because a network of fueling stations can easily be developed.

There has been a chicken-and-egg dilemma to the advent of hydrogen-powered vehicles, because unlike electric cars that can be plugged in, a network of service stations where people can gas up with hydrogen is needed.

Drivers won’t buy the cars without the fueling stations available and fueling stations won’t be built without the cars being sold.

“The goal here is to provide an attractive place for hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles and other fuel cell technology,” said Jeffrey Kissel, Gas Co. president and chief executive officer.

GM is seeing the collaboration with The Gas Co. as the start of a hydrogen fueling infrastructure that could support tens of thousands of fuel cell vehicles eventually.

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New Platinum Could be Cheaper for More Efficient Fuel Cells

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and the University of Houston are talking about a new form of platinum that might be helpful in making cheaper, more efficient fuel cells. This work has been published in the April 25th issue of Nature Chemistry.

The team is trying to modify the platinum’s reactivity. This step will enable the researchers to cut back the quantity of platinum required by 80 percent. They are also quite positive about minimizing the quantity by another 10 percent. This will reduce the overall cost of the fuel cells. Nilsson says, “I think with a factor of ten, we’ll have a home run.”

Fuel cells work much like batteries. An anode gives out electrons and a cathode collects those electrons thus forming a circuit. So what is the difference between a fuel cell and a battery? Fuel cells use hydrogen and oxygen to complete their energy-producing reactions. The by-product is water and heat.

What metal is chosen for cathode is extremely important. Because some of the metals can’t break the oxygen molecule into atoms. And some bind strongly with oxygen so the important reactions don’t take place. Scientists are trying to attain a balance so that the number of oxygen bonds broken is maximized and the oxygen atoms attach feebly to the catalyst. Platinum helps the scientist in attaining that balance. It breaks the oxygen bonds but does not fasten to the free oxygen atoms too powerfully.

Toyota Fuel Cell Vehicle Demonstration Program

Toyota Motor Sales announced today that more than 100 Toyota Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicles will be placed in a nationwide demonstration program over the next three years in universities, private companies and government agencies in California and New York.

A little piece of history

In December 2002, Toyota began limited testing of fuel cell vehicles in the U.S. and Japan.  A total of 20 first generation fuel cell hybrid vehicles (FCHV) are in service in California with universities, corporations and government agencies.  Toyota enlisted the University of California, Irvine, University of California, Berkeley and the University of California, Davis to test different aspects of consumer acceptance and market dynamics of fuel cell vehicles.  FCHV also are placed with the California Fuel Cell Partnership, a public-private partnership organization to promote the adoption of hydrogen vehicles in California.
Toyota’s hydrogen fuel cell technology has advanced at an impressive pace since the FCHV introduction in 2002.  Toyota engineers have consistently improved vehicle range, durability and efficiency through improvements in the fuel cell stack and the high-pressure hydrogen storage system, while achieving significant cost reductions in materials and manufacturing.  When the FCHV-adv was introduced in 2008, it boasted an estimated range increase of more than 150% over the first generation FCHV.
In late 2008, the U.S. Department of Energy, Savannah River National Laboratory and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, approached Toyota to participate in a collaborative evaluation of the real-world driving range of the FCHV-adv.  When the range evaluation was completed in 2009, the FCHV-adv averaged the equivalent of 68 mpg and achieved an estimated range of 431 miles on a single fill of hydrogen compressed gas.  To compare, that’s more than double the range of the Highlander Hybrid with zero emissions.
In late 2007, the technology improvements implemented in the FCHV-adv were road tested in extreme conditions on a 2,300 mile trek from Fairbanks, Alaska to Vancouver, British Columbia along the Alaska-Canadian (ALCAN) highway.   The seven day trip confirmed substantial progress in reliability and durability, cold-weather operation and extended range capability of the hybrid fuel cell system.
I  think that we need  this kind of programs !!! They are so  necessary , is the next step to educate and prepare customers for the arrival of  sustainable mobility
Do you live in California or New York???
For additional information on Toyota’s fuel cell vehicle program, visit www.sustainablemobility.com

Nissan Doubles the power density of next generation Fuell Cell Stack

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. has developed a new fuel cell stack with double the power density of the previous generation stack. The new fuel cell stack also achieves a 35% cost reduction mainly due to half the use of platinum, a key material used in the production of fuel cell stacks. Test fleets incorporating the improved fuel cell stacks will be operational by the end of this year.

MEA (Membrane Electrode Assembly): Double the power density is achieved through improved conductivity of the electrolyte layer within the MEA, where the main chemical reaction occurs, coupled with a more densely-packed cell structure.

Cell Structure: A more densely-packed cell structure is achieved through the replacement of the carbon separator with a new thin metal separator. The separator functions to break down the hydrogen, oxygen and cooling water necessary for the chemical reaction. A specific coating applied to the separator helps improve conductivity and prevents chemical corrosion, leading to increased efficiency and durability throughout the fuel cell stack’s life-cycle.

Electrode: Higher durability electrode material results in a 50% reduction of the platinum required compared to the previous generation. This in turn, provides a significant breakthrough in the cost of these components.

Stack size and cost: The combined improvements in the cell result in double the power density, which enables a downsizing of the fuel cell stack size by one-third and significant cost reduction, without sacrificing performance. Compared to the previous generation, the new generation stack’s power output is increased 1.4 times from 90kW to 130kW, which can power larger vehicles. Stack size is reduced by 25% to 68L from 90L, which allows for improved packaging flexibility.

The next generation fuel cell stack is amongst a range of eco-friendly technologies being pursued by Nissan under its Nissan Green Program 2010, aimed at developing new technologies, products and services that can lead to real-world reductions in vehicle CO2 emissions, cleaner emissions, and recycling of resources.

Ford expands fuel cell test fleet tests by two years

Ford Motor Company’s fleet of 30 fuel cell vehicles has exceeded expectations of the company’s hydrogen research engineers by accumulating more than 865,000 real world miles without significant maintenance issues since the fleet’s launch three years ago. The Ford Focus Fuel Cell test vehicles also have earned accolades from the company’s global fleet partners for outstanding durability, reliability and capability.

Encouraged by the program’s success, Ford recently reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy to extend its three-year-old hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle program for up to 24 months, until the next generation system is ready for deployment in the 2010 timeframe.

According to Ford’s global fuel cell team, the first generation Focus Fuel Cell vehicles have lasted three times longer and worked much better than originally expected with virtually no degradation in performance. In light of that success, the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE), which shares the program’s operating cost with Ford, agreed to extend the program.

Ford researchers agree that much more work needs to be done before fuel cell vehicles can be commercialized. The biggest challenge according to Rob Riley, Ford fleet manager in California, is building a viable H2 infrastructure with fueling stations across the country. Currently, there are 70 hydrogen fueling stations and most of them are not accessible to the public. California is leading the way having recently opened its 24th station.

H2-fueled vehicles account for just one type of Ford’s alternative fuel technology research and development portfolio. Ford has outlined a near, mid and long term strategy to implement technology to increase fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 from the widespread application of EcoBoost engine technology across the line up in the near term, to the introduction of plug-in hybrids and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in the longer term.

Tatra 903 Fuel Cell Concept

Tatra is a Czech brand that in 1897 produced its first car, which we saw a model not only classic but also historical, as the Tatra T601 Cabrio of Stalin’s daughter. Since 1999 production of cars left the street, and now still produce SUVs and trucks, also for military use.

But 111 years after its birth have submitted this novelty, the Tatra 903 Fuel Cell Concept, an aerodynamic coupé that has a certain air to Maybach Exelero. It is an electric vehicle with hydrogen fuel cell.

One of the most curious detail is that it has four doors, two of them located in the rear, stock of van / minivan applied to a futuristic coupé.

At the moment it is only a prototype that obviously has no plans direct production, but that could point to an interest in the brand back to manufacture cars. Because for a brand of commercial vehicles, designing a Exelero of these, it makes little sense, and perhaps try to take shape to return to passenger cars. Because years of experience are not lacking.