Regular unleaded gasoline may soon power fuel-cell vehicles. Arthur D. Little (ADL, Cambridge, MA), a technology-based consulting firm, completed a five-year program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. Out of the study, rose a reformer technology that converts gasoline and other carbon sources to hydrogen on-board an automobile. Fuel cells then convert the hydrogen to electricity which powers the vehicle. Chrysler Corporation is working on a model of a fuel cell car and hopes to demonstrate a working vehicle with this technology in the next two years. "Using the current fueling infrastructure will shrink the time frame needed to achieve fuel cell-powered family sedans," states Jeffrey Bentley, a director in Technology and Product Development business. "Fuel cells require hydrogen to operate and hydrogen is something not sold at your neighborhood service station. This breakthrough technology represents the first time that gasoline can successfully operate fuel cells." The reformer incorporates a fuel flexible design, enabling a vehicle running on this technology to use a variety of fuels.
It won't be too much longer and hardware design, as we used to know it, will be remembered alongside the slide rule and the Karnaugh map. You will need to move beyond those familiar bits and bytes into the new world of software centric design.
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