Obtaining hydrogen as a fuel is a hassle I can only imagine (rural Montana) but I had to go off-topic to find out HOW energy efficient hydrgen is. Why is this not menationed in all the new research/product development stories? Batteries are heavy/costly/short-lived/short-legged - yet they continue to get trumpets... Hydraulic energy recapture - ditto.
This is an obvious sign that GM and Honda wish to share the costs to develop fuel cells. This kind of activity is not new, has been done in past with battery technology developmenet....and makes sense providing IP boundaries are observed.
Fuel cells represent a really clean, reliable, 24/7 generation technology until/if Nuclear Fusion power generation is ever sustainable. Fuel cells have been around since the 1800s when they were created in a lab, and are now a subject of much commercialization activity. They are being applied to both stationary and mobile power generation. Data Centers are among some of the early adopters, due to their power reliability/cost requirements coupled with grid margin instability and weather events. Verizon recently announced their intention to increase Fuel Cell installations after hurricane Sandy did not take down a local Verizon operation there, which had FC power generation in place.
New/novel Fuel cell catalyst materials are constantly being pursued for cost reductions as platinum is a very rare and costly material. Check out FuelCellToday.com for some of the latest developments.
There are several other interesting developments, including specific iron oxide coatings for direct photocatalysis based Hydrogen generation. This may be a highly significant finding to enable cost effective Hydrogen production, which Fuel cells react with air to generate electricity. Then you are pretty much in the EV domain, with obligatory controls and motors....and some buffer energy storage for surge requirements.
I also like the concept of a fuel cell powered car, een more if it would run on something like natural gas or propanbe, or even diesel fuel vapor. But that is nit the problem that I see. In this corner of Michigan they steel caatalytic converters for just a very few dollars worth of those nobel metals. The theft of fuel cells for a hundred dollars worth of platinum would be an epidemic, probably even start an armed robbery ripoff string. How to maintain posession of your fuel cell?
Probably the solution is to find another catalyst that is both cheap and plentiful, and I would prefer that it be a bit toxic so as to make things harder for those who steal them. So we need for a bunch of chemists to start thinking and come up with the reactions and the needed catalyst. Because it does not seem reasonable that a fuel cell could function without that catalyst.
EBarnacle -- if you want to talk to someone from GM or Honda about fuel cells, that's going to be a challenge. We normally work through their PR department, which hooks us up with the engineers. They don't ever give the engineers' contact info directly to us. Nor do they ever allow us to give out contact information for the PR department. Smaller companies work differently than automakers. Lastly, they don't always tell us who their suppliers are. If they do, we provide links to the suppliers. So I can only leave you with the obvious URLs, which appear below. Sorry.
This the second similar artile I have seen this week. I have been a fuel cell believer since the '60's, when I saw a demo of one at the New York World's Fair. My company makes machines which produce ultra pure water. When I see an article like this, I want to be able to contact the people who made the announcement so we can do business together. HELP!!! Articles without names or links are not useful.
I love the idea of the fuel cell concept as far superior to the battery swap discussed in this forum a couple weeks ago. However, is this not again a situation where millions of dollars will be thrown at a problem with a inheriant confound at the git-go. Why proceed with developement without solving the issue about platnum requirements?
I expect the majority of posters know more about the concepts involved than I do, but this reminds me of changing the tires and refueling a vehicle that has just pulled into the pit with a blown transmission. Solve the major road block first and then go into further developement.
Again I am reminded of the turbine car that won the Indy 500, yet since engineers could never solve the issue of exhaust heats so great they destroyed roadways, the concept was abandoned. Solve the big problems first, then start tackling the little ones.
A middle school team from Rochester, Mich., has again nabbed the grand prize in the annual international Future City Competition, which drew students from 37 regions of the United States, as well as from England and China.
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