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    Hydrogen vehicle

    ]

    Sequel, a fuel cell-powered vehicle from General Motors

    A hydrogen vehicle is a vehicle, such as an automobile, aircraft, or any other kind ofvehicle that uses hydrogen as its primary source ofpowerfor locomotion. These vehiclesgenerally use the hydrogen in one of two methods: electrochemical conversion in afuel-cellorcombustion:

    In combustion, the hydrogen is burned in engines in fundamentally the samemethod as traditional gasoline cars.

    In fuel-cell conversion, the hydrogen is reacted with oxygen to produce water andelectricity, the latter of which is used to power electric motors.

    The molecular hydrogen needed as an on-board fuel for hydrogen vehicles can beobtained through various thermochemical methods utilizing natural gas,coal(by aprocess known as coal gasification),liquefied petroleum gas,biomass(biomassgasification), by a process called thermolysis, or as a microbial waste product calledbiohydrogen orBiological hydrogen production. Hydrogen can also be produced fromwaterby electrolysis. If the electricity used for the electrolysis is produced usingrenewable energy ornuclear power, the production of the hydrogen would (in principle)result in no net carbon dioxideemissions.

    Hydrogen is an energy carrier, not an energy source, so the energy the car uses wouldultimately need to be provided by a conventional power plant. A suggested benefit oflarge-scale deployment of hydrogen vehicles is that it could lead to decreased emissionsof greenhouse gases and ozone precursors.[1] The pollution generated at the point of usein the vehicle would be greatly reduced compared to conventional automobile engines.Further, the conversion of fossil fuels would be moved from the vehicle, as in today'sautomobiles, to centralized power plants in which the byproducts of combustion orgasification can be better controlled than at the tailpipe. However, there are bothtechnical and economic challenges to implementing wide-scale use of hydrogen vehicles.The timeframe in which such challenges may be overcome is likely to be at least severaldecades, as is the case with other advanced vehicles, such as gasoline electric hybrids,that are proposed to replace conventional gasoline and diesel vehicles. [2][3]

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    At a panel of scientists, engineers and industry experts that theNational Academy ofSciences assembled in April 2007 to review the president's $1.2 billion "hydrogeninitiative," panelists, including JoAnn Milliken, the director of the Hydrogen Program inBush's Energy Department, and K.G. Duleep agreed that President Bush's hydrogen cargoals are slipping away because "there are quicker, cleaner, safer and cheaper ways to

    reduce the tail-pipe emissions from cars and trucks that pollute the air and contribute toglobal warming."[4] According to physicist and formerU.S. Department of Energy officialJoseph Romm, "A hydrogen car is one of the least efficient, most expensive ways toreduce greenhouse gases." Asked when hydrogen cars will be broadly available, Rommreplied: "Not in our lifetime, and very possibly never."[4] General Motors disagrees withthat sentiment and has announced that it will start hydrogen vehicle production in 2010.However, GM's chief engineer on the fuel cell project, Mohsen Shabana, said hydrogeninfra-structure would not be in place by then, and he noted that GM had produced onlytwo test units of the Sequel (pictured above) so far. [5] Nevertheless, GM has announcedthat it plans to introduce more than 100 hydrogen powered Chevrolet Equinox cars intothe U.S. market beginning with the third quarter of 2007.[6]

    Research and prototypes

    Hydrogen powered Ford Focus

    Hydrogen does not come as a pre-existing source ofenergy like fossil fuels, but rather asa carrier, much like abattery. It can be made from both renewable and non-renewableenergy sources. A potential advantage of hydrogen is that it could be produced andconsumed continuously, using solar, water, wind and nuclear powerforelectrolysis.Currently, however, hydrogen vehicles utilizing hydrogen produced using hydrocarbons,produce more pollution than vehicles consuming gasoline,diesel, ormethane in a moderninternal combustion engine, and far more thanplug-in hybrid electric vehicles.[3]This isbecause, although hydrogen fuel cells generate less CO2 than conventional internal

    combustion engines, production of the hydrogen creates additional emissions.[7]

    Whilemethods of hydrogen production that do not use fossil fuel would be more sustainable,[8]

    currently such production is not economically feasible, and diversion of renewableenergy (which represents only 2% of energy generated) to the production of hydrogen fortransportation applications is inadvisable.[3]

    The recorded number of hydrogen-powered public vehicles in the United States was 200as of April 2007, mostly in California,[9] and a significant amount of research is underway

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    to try to make the technology viable. The common internal combustion engine, usuallyfueled with gasoline (petrol) or diesel liquids, can be converted to run on gaseoushydrogen. However, the more energy efficient use of hydrogen involves the use offuelcells andelectric motors. Hydrogen reacts with oxygen inside the fuel cells, whichproduces electricityto power the motors. One primary area of research ishydrogen

    storage, to try to increase the range of hydrogen vehicles, while reducing the weight,energy consumption, and complexity of the storage systems. Two primary methods ofstorage are metal hydrides and compression.

    High-speed cars,buses,submarines, airplanesandrocketsalready can run on hydrogen,in various forms at great expense. NASA uses hydrogen to launch Space Shuttles intospace. There is even a working toy model car that runs on solar power, using a reversiblefuel cell to store energy in the form of hydrogen and oxygen gas. It can then convert thefuel back into water to release the solar energy.[10]

    Hydrogen fuel cell difficulties

    For more details on this topic, seeFuel cell.

    While fuel cells themselves are potentially highly energy efficient, and workingprototypes were made by Roger E. Billings in the 1960s, at least four technical obstaclesand other political considerations exist regarding the development and use of a fuel cell-powered hydrogen car.

    Low volumetric energy

    Hydrogen has a very low volumetric energy density at ambient conditions, equal to about

    one-third that of methane. Even when the fuel is stored as a liquid in a cryogenictank orin a pressurized tank, the volumetric energy density (megajoules per liter) is smallrelative to that of gasoline. Because of the energy required to compress or liquefy thehydrogen gas, the supply chain for hydrogen has lower well-to-tank efficiency comparedto gasoline. Some research has been done into using specialcrystalline materials to storehydrogen at greater densities and at lower pressures.

    Instead of storing molecular hydrogenon-board, some have suggested that usinghydrogen reformers to extract the hydrogen from more traditional fuels includingmethane, gasoline, and ethanol, or using reformed gasoline or ethanol to power fuel cells.[citation needed] However, using gasoline for this purpose would promote continued

    dependence on fossil fuels.

    Fuel cell cost

    Currently, hydrogen fuel cells are costly to produce and fragile. Scientists are studyinghow to produce inexpensive fuel cells that are robust enough to survive the bumps andvibrations that all automobiles experience. Also, many designs require rare substancessuch asplatinum as a catalyst in order to work properly. Such a catalyst can also become

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    contaminated by impurities in the hydrogen supply. In the past few years, however, anickel-tin catalyst has been under development which may lower the cost of cells.[11] Fuelcells are generally priced in USD/kW, and data is scarce regarding costs. ProducerBallard is virtually alone in publishing such data. Their 2005 figure was $73 USD/kW(based on high volume manufacturing estimates), which they said was on track to achieve

    the U.S. DoE's 2010 goal of $30 USD/kW. This would achieve closer parity with internalcombustion engines for automotive applications, allowing a 100 kW fuel cell to beproduced for $3000. 100 kW is about 134 hp.[12]

    Freezing conditions

    Freezing conditions are a major consideration because fuel cells produce water and utilizemoist air with varying water content. Most fuel cell designs are fragile and can't survivein such environments at startup but since heat is a byproduct of the fuel cell process, themajor concern is startup capability. Ballard announced that it has already hit the U.S.DoE's 2010 target for cold weather starting which was 50% power achieved in 30

    seconds at -20 C[13]

    .

    Hydrogen production cost

    Molecular hydrogen can be derived chemically from a feed stock such as methanol butcan also be produced from water. Current technologies utilize between 25 to 50 percentof the higher heating value to produce hydrogen and deliver it to the vehicle tank.[14]

    Electrolysis, currently the most inefficient method of producing hydrogen, uses 65percent to 112 percent of thehigher heating value on a well-to-tank basis, owing to thecomparatively inefficient conversion of fuels to electric power,[15]a thermodynamichurdle also faced by so-called plug-in hydrid vehicles, which draw significant energy

    from the electricity grid to charge the batteries. Environmental consequences of theproduction of hydrogen from fossil energy resources would include the emission ofgreenhouse gases, a consequence that would also proceed from the on-board reforming ofmethanol into hydrogen. Studies comparing the environmental consequences of hydrogenproduction and use in fuel cell vehicles to the refining of petroleum and combustion inconvetional automobile engines find a net reduction of ozone and greenhouse gases infavor of hydrogen.[1]Development of renewable sources faces barriers, and although theamount of energy produced from renewable sources is increasing, as a percentage ofworldwide energy production, renewables decreased from 8.15% in 2000 to 7.64% oftotal energy production in 2004 due to the rapid increase in coal and natural gasproduction.[16] However, in some countries, hydrogen is being produced using renewable

    sources. For example, Iceland is using geothermal power to produce hydrogen,[17]

    andDenmarkis using wind.[18]

    The conversion of feed stock to produce hydrogen has inherent losses of energy thatmake hydrogen less advantageous as an energy carrier. Additionally, there are economicand energy penalties associated with packaging, distribution, storage and transfer ofhydrogen. Hydrogen fuel cells are theoretically (without auxiliary devices to run the fuelcell) more efficient than internal combustion engines, achieving efficiencies of 50-60%,

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    making up much of what is lost in producing hydrogen, and produce only water out thetailpipe, mostly in the form of water vapor.

    Hydrogen infrastructure

    In order to distribute hydrogen to cars, the current gasoline fueling system would need tobe replaced, or at least significantly supplemented with hydrogen fuel stations. Hydrogenstations are being built in various places around the world.[19]Private and state initiativeslike California's "California Hydrogen Highway" are already starting the infrastructuretransition in advance of any manufacturers mass producing hydrogen cars. [20]

    Replacement of the existing extensive gasoline fuel station infrastructure would cost ahalf trillion U.S. dollars in the United States alone.[21]

    Service life

    Although service life is coupled to cost, fuel cells have to be compared to existing

    machines with a service life in excess of 5000 hours. As of today, however, no mediumor low temperature fuel cells have been tested for more than two thousand hours.[22]

    Political considerations

    Most all of today's hydrogen is produced using fossil energy resources.[23] While someadvocate hydrogen produced from non-fossil resources, there could be public resistanceor technological barriers to the implementation of such methods. For example, the UnitedStates Department of Energy currently supports research and development aimed atproducing hydrogen utilizing heat from generation IV reactors. Such nuclear powerplants could be configured to cogenerate hydrogen and electricity. Hydrogen produced in

    this fashion would still incur the costs associated with transportation and compression orliquefaction assuming direct (molecular) hydrogen is the on-board fuel. Recently,alternative methods of creating hydrogen directly from sunlight and water through ametallic catalyst have been announced. This may eventually provide an economical,direct conversion of solar energy into hydrogen, a very clean solution for hydrogenproduction.[24]

    Some in Washington advocate schemes[25] other than hydrogen vehicles to replace thepetroleum-based internal combustion engine vehicles. Plug-in hydrids, for example,would augment today's hybrid gasoline-electric vehicles with greater battery capacity toenable increased use of the vehicle's electric traction motor and reduced reliance on the

    combustion engine. The batteries would be charged via the electric grid when the vehicleis parked. Electric power transmission is about 95 percent efficient and the infrastructureis already in place (though substantial grid expansion would be needed if a sizeable fleetof plug-in hybrids were to be deployed.) Tackling the current drawbacks ofelectric carsorplug-in hybrid electric vehicles is believed by some to be easier than developing awhole new hydrogen infrastructure that mimics the obsolete model of oil distribution.Thermodynamically, a plug-in hybrid transportation system would face the samethermodynamic hurdles as would a system of hydrogen vehicles relying on electrolysis

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    for its molecular hydrogen. The current electric grid, which is dominated by fossil energyresources in the United States, has a fuel-to-power efficiency of roughly 40 percent. Boththe plug-in hybrids and the electrolytic hydrogen system would be subject to thesecomparative inefficiencies.

    United StatesPresident George W. Bushwas optimistic that these problems could beovercome with research. In his 2003State of the Unionaddress, he announced the[26]

    which complements the President's existingFreedomCARinitiative for safe and cheaphydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Critics charge that focus on the use of the hydrogen car is adangerous detour from more readily available solutions to reducing the use of fossil fuelsin vehicles.

    As a 2007 article in Technology Review argued,

    In the context of the overall energy economy, a car like theBMW Hydrogen 7 would probablyproduce far more carbon dioxide emissions than gasoline-powered cars available today. Andchanging this calculation would take multiple breakthroughs--which study after study haspredicted will take decades, if they arrive at all. In fact, the Hydrogen 7 and its hydrogen-fuel-cellcousins are, in many ways, simply flashy distractions produced by automakers who should betaking stronger immediate action to reduce the greenhouse-gas emissions of their cars.[3]

    Alternatives

    A 2006 article, "Hybrid Vehicles Gain Traction", in Scientific American (April 2006),co-authored by Joseph J. Rommand Prof. Andrew A. Frank, argues that hybrid cars thatcan be plugged into the electric grid (Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles), rather thanhydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, will soon become standard in the automobile industry.[27] Toachieve lower emission goals, the power grid re-charging these vehicles will need to

    contribute significantly less emissions and wean themselves from fossil fuels for energyconversion.

    Battery electric vehicles, such as theGeneral Motors EV1typically have four times theefficiency of hydrogen vehicles,[28]when the cost of producing hydrogen is included, andare gaining popularity, particularly with the introduction of new models like the Tesla.[29]

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    Hydrogen internal combustion

    Hydrogen internal combustion engine cars are different from hydrogen fuel cell cars. Thehydrogen internal combustion car is a slightly modified version of the traditionalgasolineinternal combustion engine car. These hydrogen engines burn fuel in the same mannerthat gasoline engines do. As in hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, the volume of the vehicle thatthe tank occupies is significant. Research is underway to increase the amount of hydrogen

    that can be stored onboard, be it through high pressure hydrogen, cryogenic liquidhydrogen, ormetal hydrides.

    In 1807, Franois Isaac de Rivazbuilt the first hydrogen-fueled internal combustionvehicle. However, the design was very unsuccessful. It is estimated that more than athousand hydrogen-powered vehicles were produced inGermanybefore the end of theWorld War IIprompted by the acute shortage of oil.[verification needed]

    BMW's CleanEnergy internal combustion hydrogen car has morepowerand is faster thanhydrogen fuel cell electric cars. A BMW hydrogen car (BMW H2R) broke the speedrecord for hydrogen cars at 186 mi/h (300 km/h), and BMW has an even newerHydrogen

    7 model. Mazda has developed Wankel engines to burn hydrogen. The Wankel engineuses a rotary principle of operation, so the hydrogen burns in a different part of theengine from the intake. This reduces intakebackfiring, a risk with hydrogen-fueledpistonengines. However the major car companies like DaimlerChryslerand General MotorsCorp, are investing in the more efficient hydrogen fuel cells instead [30]. Ford MotorCompany is investing in both fuel cell and hydrogen internal combustion engine research.Because of the large heat exchanger necessary for fuel cells and their limited load changeand cold start capability, they are certainly first choice as range extender for battery

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    electric vehicles. The Wall Street Journal, reviewing BMW's new internal combustionhydrogen vehicle concluded:A more efficient route for car makers would be to focus onhigh-mileage gasoline-powered vehicles. They are far simpler and less sexy than

    hydrogen cars... but for now they stack up as the cleaner option. [31]

    Outside of specialty and small-scale uses, the primary target for the widespreadapplication of fuel cells (hydrogen, zinc, other) is the transportation sector; however, tobe economically and environmentally feasible, any fuel cell based engine would need tobe more efficient from wellhead-to-wheel, than what currently exists.

    Automobile and bus makers

    Many companies are currently researching the feasibility of building hydrogen cars.Funding has come from both private and government sources. In addition to the BMWand Mazda examples cited above, many automobile manufacturers have begundeveloping cars. These include:

    Hyundai Tucson FCEV in the background (on the left) and Toyota Highlander FCHV inthe foreground (on the right) during UC Davis's Picnic Day activities

    BMW TheBMWHydrogen 7is powered by a dual-fuel Internal CombustionEngine and with an Auxiliary power based on UTC Powerfuel cell technology.The BMW H2Rspeed record car is also powered by an ICE. Both models useLiquid Hydrogen as fuel.

    DaimlerChryslerF-Cell, a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle based on the Mercedes-Benz A-Class.

    Ford MotorFocus FCV, a hydrogen fuel cell modification of the Ford Focus,and E-350 buses, which began being leased in late 2006.

    General Motors multiple models of fuel cell vehicles[32]including the Hy-wireand the HydroGen3

    Honda currently experimenting with a variety of alternative fuels and fuel cellswith experimental vehicles based on the Honda EV Plus, most notable theHondaFCX, powered by a front-mounted 80 kW ACelectric motor, with 20 kW pancakemotors providing supplemental power to the rear wheels. Electrical energy isprovided by a 100 kW hydrogen fuel cell, with regenerative braking energy storedin ultracapacitors. Production versions of the FCX are expected to arrive in 2009.

    HyundaiTucson FCEV, based on UTC Powerfuel cell technology Mazda -RX-8, with a dual-fuel (hydrogen or gasoline) rotary-engine [33]

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    NissanX-TRAIL FCV, based on UTC Powerfuel cell technology. Morgan Motor CompanyLIFEcar, a performance-oriented hydrogen fuel cell

    vehicle with the aid of several other British companies Toyota The Toyota Highlander FCHVandFCHV-BUS[34] are currently under

    development and in active testing.

    Volkswagen also has hydrogen fuel cell cars in development.

    A few bus companies are also conducting hydrogen fuel cell research. These include:

    Mercedes-Benz (DaimlerChrysler) Citaro fuel-cell bus in Aldwych, London, on 19October2005

    DaimlerChrysler, with thirty-six experimental units powered by Ballard PowerSystems fuel cells completing a successful three-year trial, in eleven cities, inJanuary 2007.[35][36]

    Thor Industries (the largest maker of buses in the U.S.), based onUTC Powerfuelcell technology

    Irisbus, based on UTC Powerfuel cell technology Fuel Cell Bus Club

    Supporting these automobile and bus manufacturers are fuel cell and hydrogen engineresearch and manufacturing companies. The largest of these is UTC Power, a division ofUnited Technologies Corporation, currently in joint development with Hyundai, Nissan,

    and BMW, among other auto companies. Another major supplier isBallard PowerSystems. The Hydrogen Engine Center is a supplier of hydrogen-fueled engines.

    Most, but not all, of these vehicles are currently only available in demonstration modelsand cost a large amount of money to make and run. They are not yet ready for generalpublic use and are unlikely to be as feasible as plug inbiodieselhybrids.

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    There are, however, fuel cell powered buses currently active or in production, such as afleet of Thor buses with UTC Powerfuel cells in California, operated by SunLine TransitAgency.[37]Perth, Australia is also participating in the trial with three fuel cell poweredbuses now operating between Perth and the port city ofFremantle. The trial is to beextended to other Australian cities over the next three years.

    Mazda leased two dual-fuel RX-8s to commercial customers in Japan in early 2006,becoming the first manufacturer to put a hydrogen vehicle in customer hands. Ford beganleasing E-350 shuttle buses in late 2006. BMW also plans to release its first publiclyavailable hydrogen vehicle in 2008, as does Honda.

    Since the turn of the millennium, filling stations offering hydrogen have been openingworldwide.[38] However, this does not begin to replace the existing extensive gasoline fuelstation infrastructure, which would cost a half trillion U.S. dollars in the United Statesalone.[39]

    Many companies such as Boeing and Smartfish are pursuing hydrogen as fuel for planes.Unmanned hydrogen planes have been tested and Boeing is currently planning a mannedflight for 2008.

    Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars

    By Ed "Redwood" RingDecember 4, 2000

    View Readers Comments about Fuel Cells

    In the western corner of West Sacramento, ina promontory of light industrial buildings that

    runs along the south frontage of Interstate80, is the home of the California Fuel Cell

    Partnership. They are a depot for most of the

    hydrogen fuel cell powered cars in NorthAmerica. In a new building on Industrial

    Boulevard, are spaces for auto makers andother partners from all over the world. When

    we visited last week, in front of the buildingthe flags of eight nations snapped in the

    Pacific breeze, and across the street the vastfloodplains of the Sacramento Delta stretched

    away to the south.

    Although the facility opened up on November

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    1st, most of the suites are still vacant. Only Daimler-Chrysler and Honda actually

    have cars and crews on site. According to Linda Ortiz, the office manager, theCalifornia Fuel Cell Partnership has eighteen partners, they are auto

    manufacturers, energy and fuel providers fuel cell companies and governmentalagencies.

    There are eight suites for auto

    manufacturers, two of them occupiedalready by Daimler-Chrysler and Honda, as

    well as vacant ones for Volkswagon, Ford,

    Nissan, Hyundai, Toyota, and GeneralMotors. Cars

    delivered here will bedemonstrated from this site and will be open to the public.

    The cars won't stay there all the time, they'll be movedaround on a regular basis to go to shows and events

    around the US and around the world.

    So where are these cars? We headed into the back of the

    property, where the bays for the auto makers faced onto aback lot that looked out onto the freeway. On our way, we

    ran into the Chief Engineer for Honda, Shiro Matsuo,standing in the parking lot behind the building, watching for

    incoming cars while his team tested a fuel cell car. The carwas doing laps across the length of the back lot.

    We asked him what the car was doing, going in circles

    around the lot, and his answer indicates the cars are stillvery much in a development stage, "This fuel cell is not very good at lower

    temperatures, so we do not want to start the fuel cell system on a public road."

    The car in question, Honda's V-3, is one of the most advanced hydrogen fuel cellcars in the world, but it can not run on the open road before being warmed up for

    at least 5 minutes. So much for a quick start.

    Honda's other models of fuel cell cars are the V-1, which uses a metal hydride

    fuel tank, and the V-2, which runs on methanol using a reforming device toconvert the methanol to hydrogen. The systems on these cars are so big,

    particularly the reformer on the methanol car, that both versions are only able tohave two seats. Matsuo mentioned that California is building another depot,

    probably in the Bay Area, that will house new cars that use reformertechnologies, such as Honda's V-2.

    From a technological standpoint, methanol cars are further from being ready forthe road than hydrogen cars because of the weight added by the reforming

    system. But there are technical obstacles to be overcome before hydrogen carswill be seen on the roads. In addition to the problem of slow warm-up, hydrogen

    fuel cell cars have a short range. Honda's V-3 only has a range of 110 miles, a

    defect which can only be partially offset by designing a larger hydrogen tank intothe car, since a bigger tank adds weight and takes up more space. A higher

    efficiency vehicle is still in development and won't be ready for another year.

    Moreover, progress is incremental, so next year's model will not be a

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    breakthrough, just an

    improvement.

    When asked about diesel cars,

    Matsuo had definite opinions,

    since it turned out he had abackground in diesel

    engineering. His commentswere interesting: "The efficiency of the diesel engine is very

    good, but the bad point is that it can't get rid of some of the

    pollutant material, especially the particulate matter. Thenewest carburators produce precise high pressure injection

    into the cylinder which greatly increases combustion."

    Like others we talked with that day, Matsuo's comments

    reflected a perception that the U.S. market, and California in particular, is morecommitted to zero-emissions than the rest of the world. When asked how close

    the new diesel cars have come to complying with ultra-low emissions standards,Matsuo wasn't sure. He said "there are new catalysers being developed to absorb

    more particulate matter, it's getting better year by year."

    Toxins from methanol leak into the soil from bad tanks

    and accidental spills, particles from diesels foul the air,even methanol reformers emit some pollution, about 20%

    of what a typical gasoline automobile produces. Nothingis perfect, except hydrogen, which can be made from

    electricity and water and can be produced in limitless

    quantities using nothing more than solar energy andwater. If hydrogen burns, it leaves no trace in the air,

    except for a bit of water vapor.

    This pristine appeal to environmentalists, combined with the fact that fuel cellsreally aren't technologically ready to power a car on any fuel but hydrogen, is

    why California built this facility before any others and why the major auto makersof the world are trying to make sure they keep their foot in the door. Opposite

    the back parking lot, just in front of the wire fence that separated us from thewhizzing eastbound traffic on I-80, was a giant hydrogen fuel station. Hydrogen

    is stored under great pressure, 3600 and 5000 PSI in the big tanks, 7000 PSI inthe smaller distribution tanks.

    Shiro MatsuoChief Engineer, Honda

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    With Hydrogen

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    Hydrogen may be ecologically and technologically the logical

    fuel right now for fuel cell cars, but there is no consumerdistribution system in place. While methanol, a liquid, can be

    piped, trucked and stored in the existing network for gasolinewith minor conversion costs, hydrogen will require an entire

    new fuel distribution infrastructure. Partly for this reason, fuelcell vehicles even in California, where government subsidies

    and regulations are the most favorable to fuel celldevelopment in the world, fuel cell vehicles are not expected

    to be on the road in significant numbers until 2004. Even by

    that time, most of them will be in commercial andgovernment fleet use, where they will have a hydrogen

    station on site. Don't expect to see hydrogen stations on thefreeway off ramps for the next several years, if ever.

    But hydrogen retains its appeal, and the

    prospect of gas stations that require no

    fuel deliveries, just solar electricity and water to convert tohydrogen to recharge their storage tanks, is a seductivevision. On vehicles that can be refueled often or have low

    range requirements, setting up a fleet that would run onfuel produced in limitless quantities at an on-site station will

    probably be a competitive economic investment within fiveyears or sooner. Fleets of buses, which can tolerate a bulky

    power system, will probably be one of the first placeshydrogen fuel cell vehicles will be strongly competitive. As

    Matsuo said, "in the long run, fuel cell vehicles will gain a percentage of themarket but I don't know if they will ever dominate."

    What will be the next generation car? Diesels, hybrids, or ultra-efficient & ultra-

    clean gasoline or methanol powered cars using combustion engines? The answeris all of the above. Will one type dominate? The correct answer to that question

    will make a lot of people rich, but it's probably safe to bet itwill not be fuel cell vehicles that dominate. What about

    hydrogen combustion engines, since they burn so clean?

    We talked with Richard Tuso, an Electrical Technician atDaimler-Chrysler. He reiterated that the fuel cell vehicle is

    preferred because it "does a molecular conversion ofhydrogen to electricity which causes zero emissions to the

    atmosphere." He noted that methanol vehicles use a reformerwhich catalyses the methanol to separate the hydrocarbon

    from the hydrogen, but the reformer puts out emissions thatare still at about 20% of an internal combustion engine.

    Richard acknowledged that "Methanol is easier for the fuelinfrastructure, but where we're heading for in the long run is

    zero emissions, not low emissions."

    When asked about the possible dangers of distributing and stockpiling huge

    amounts of hydrogen, which is highly pressurized and explosive, Tuso

    downplayed the dangers. Most of the supposed problems with hydrogen are

    Knowledge: The BestAlternative Energy!Click & Buy Books

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    And The Race ToChange the World

    Hydrogen Storage Tank

    Discover the Future!Click & Buy Books

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    Fuel Cell SystemsExplained

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    based on a public perception that it is much more dangerous that it really is.

    "The perception is evident when you take into account the precautions we takehere," said Tuso. "The fueling station we built here cost five times what a

    comparable station cost in Germany. We have hydrogen alarms and airventilation systems that are constantly running."

    In reality, said Tuso, "The only real problem is the pressure that's involved, and

    that's not a problem with proper tanking systems." He showed us pictures of carsthat had been dropped from 45', then from 90', and in all these test cases the

    hydrogen tank did not explode, in spite of being under pressure. Moreover, he

    said, "the tanks are designed to blow up, not out. If, for example, that tank backthere exploded," said Tuso, referring to the hydrogen station in the lot behind the

    building, "90% of the debris would fall within the fence around it."

    The danger from accidental hydrogen fires was even less of

    a problem, according to Tuso, because "Hydrogen is a veryclean fuel, it would ignite easier than gasoline, but the

    likelihood of it igniting is still slim. If it did ignite, the flamedoesn't put out much heat. Gasoline fires usually consume

    the whole car." He cited tests where hydrogen gas tankswere exploded and ignited, and invariably the flame went

    upwards and didn't burn very hot. The back windows, forexample, would not typically be damaged in a hydrogen

    tank fire, whereas in a gasoline tank fire, the back windowsusually melt.

    Notwithstanding the cost of building an entire fuel

    infrastructure for hydrogen, the biggest problem hydrogenfuel has may end up being a public perception that it is too dangerous to handle.

    "People here think of the Hindenberg and Hydrogen bombs," said Tuso, "Some

    people think we have a hydrogen bomb back here."

    We left that day not sure whether or not we'd found the car of the future.

    Hydrogen fuel cell powered cars will be part of the market, but they probablywon't sit in everyone's garages, owning the car market the way gasoline powered

    cars do today. Hybrids have better range and overall performance, and they'realready cheap to manufacture. Expect to see more of them in the near future.

    What will emerge in the long run is anybody's guess. Outside the U.S., cleanerburning cars using conventional fuels such as diesel and gasoline will probably

    stay on top of the market. How clean can they get? How clean is clean enough?Stay tuned.

    California Fuel Cell Partnership3300 Industrial Blvd., Suite 1000,

    West Sacramento, CA 95691.916-371-2453.

    Email the Editor about this Article

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    This pristine appeal to environmentalists, combined with the fact that fuel cells reallyaren't technologically ready to power a car on any fuel but hydrogen, is why

    California built this facility before any others and why the major auto makers of theworld are trying to make sure they keep their foot in the door. Opposite the back

    parking lot, just in front of the wire fence that separated us from the whizzingeastbound traffic on I-80, was a giant hydrogen fuel station.

    Hydrogen is stored under great pressure, 3600 and 5000 PSI inthe big tanks, 7000 PSI in the smaller distribution tanks.

    Hydrogen may be ecologically and technologically the logical fuelright now for fuel cell cars, but there is no consumer distribution

    system in place. While methanol, a liquid, can be piped, trucked

    and stored in the existing network for gasoline with minorconversion costs, hydrogen will require an entire new fueldistribution infrastructure. Partly for this reason, fuel cell vehicles

    even in California, where government subsidies and regulations

    are the most favorable to fuel cell development in the world, fuelcell vehicles are not expected to be on the road in significant

    numbers until 2004. Even by that time, most of them will be incommercial and government fleet use, where they will have a

    hydrogen station on site. Don't expect to see hydrogen stations

    on the freeway off ramps for the next several years, if ever.

    But hydrogen retains its appeal, and the

    prospect of gas stations that require no fuel deliveries, just solarelectricity and water to convert to hydrogen to recharge their

    storage tanks, is a seductive vision. On vehicles that can berefueled often or have low range requirements, setting up a

    fleet that would run on fuel produced in limitless quantities at anon-site station will probably be a competitive economic

    investment within five years or sooner. Fleets of buses, whichcan tolerate a bulky power system, will probably be one of the

    first places hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will be stronglycompetitive. As Matsuo said, "in the long run, fuel cell vehicles

    will gain a percentage of the market but I don't know if they will ever dominate."

    What will be the next generation car? Diesels, hybrids, or ultra-

    efficient & ultra-clean gasoline or methanol powered cars usingcombustion engines? The answer is all of the above. Will one type

    dominate? The correct answer to that question will make a lot ofpeople rich, but it's probably safe to bet it will not be fuel cell

    vehicles that dominate. What about hydrogen combustionengines, since they burn so clean?

    We talked with Richard Tuso, an Electrical Technician at Daimler-Chrysler. He reiterated that the fuel cell vehicle is preferred

    Knowledge: The BestAlternative Energy!Click & Buy Books

    (Amazon Affiliate)

    Powering the Future:The Ballard Fuel Cell

    And The Race ToChange the World

    Hydrogen Storage Tank

    Discover the Future!Click & Buy Books

    (Amazon Affiliate)

    Fuel Cell SystemsExplained

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0471644218/ecoworld0f-20http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0471644218/ecoworld0f-20http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0471644218/ecoworld0f-20http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0471644218/ecoworld0f-20http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/047084857X/ecoworld0f-20http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/047084857X/ecoworld0f-20http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/047084857X/ecoworld0f-20http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0471644218/ecoworld0f-20http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0471644218/ecoworld0f-20http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0471644218/ecoworld0f-20http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0471644218/ecoworld0f-20http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/047084857X/ecoworld0f-20http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/047084857X/ecoworld0f-20
  • 8/14/2019 Hydrogen Fuel Car

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    because it "does a molecular conversion of hydrogen to electricity which causes zeroemissions to the atmosphere." He noted that methanol vehicles use a reformer which

    catalyses the methanol to separate the hydrocarbon from the hydrogen, but thereformer puts out emissions that are still at about 20% of an internal combustion

    engine. Richard acknowledged that "Methanol is easier for the fuel infrastructure, butwhere we're heading for in the long run is zero emissions, not low emissions."

    When asked about the possible dangers of distributing and stockpiling huge amountsof hydrogen, which is highly pressurized and explosive, Tuso downplayed the

    dangers. Most of the supposed problems with hydrogen are based on a publicperception that it is much more dangerous that it really is. "The perception is evident

    when you take into account the precautions we take here," said Tuso. "The fueling

    station we built here cost five times what a comparable station cost in Germany. Wehave hydrogen alarms and air ventilation systems that are constantly running."

    In reality, said Tuso, "The only real problem is the pressure that's involved, and

    that's not a problem with proper tanking systems." He showed us pictures of carsthat had been dropped from 45', then from 90', and in all these test cases the

    hydrogen tank did not explode, in spite of being under pressure. Moreover, he said,"the tanks are designed to blow up, not out. If, for example, that tank back there

    exploded," said Tuso, referring to the hydrogen station in the lot behind the building,"90% of the debris would fall within the fence around it."

    The danger from accidental hydrogen fires was even less of aproblem, according to Tuso, because "Hydrogen is a very clean

    fuel, it would ignite easier than gasoline, but the likelihood of itigniting is still slim. If it did ignite, the flame doesn't put out

    much heat. Gasoline fires usually consume the whole car." Hecited tests where hydrogen gas tanks were exploded and

    ignited, and invariably the flame went upwards and didn't burnvery hot. The back windows, for example, would not typically be

    damaged in a hydrogen tank fire, whereas in a gasoline tankfire, the back windows usually melt.

    Notwithstanding the cost of building an entire fuel infrastructurefor hydrogen, the biggest problem hydrogen fuel has may end

    up being a public perception that it is too dangerous to handle."People here think of the Hindenberg and Hydrogen bombs," said Tuso, "Some

    people think we have a hydrogen bomb back here."

    We left that day not sure whether or not we'd found the car of the future. Hydrogen

    fuel cell powered cars will be part of the market, but they probably won't sit ineveryone's garages, owning the car market the way gasoline powered cars do today.

    Hybrids have better range and overall performance, and they're already cheap tomanufacture. Expect to see more of them in the near future. What will emerge in the

    long run is anybody's guess. Outside the U.S., cleaner burning cars usingconventional fuels such as diesel and gasoline will probably stay on top of the

    market. How clean can they get? How clean is clean enough? Stay tuned.

    California Fuel Cell Partnership3300 Industrial Blvd., Suite 1000,

    Support EcoWorld!Click & Buy Books

    (Amazon Affiliate)

    The Hydrogen Economy

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1585421936/ecoworld0f-20http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1585421936/ecoworld0f-20http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1585421936/ecoworld0f-20
  • 8/14/2019 Hydrogen Fuel Car

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    West Sacramento, CA 95691.916-371-2453.

    Hydrogen's Dirty Secret

    N E W S : President Bush promises that fuel-cell cars will be free of pollution. But if he has

    his way, the cars of tomorrow will run on hydrogen made from fossil fuels.

    By Barry C. Lynn

    May/June 2003 Issue

    When President Bush unveiled his plans for a hydrogen-powered car in his State of the Union

    address in January, he proposed $1.2 billion in spending to develop a revolutionary automobile

    that will be "pollution-free." The new vehicle, he declared, will rely on "a simple chemical

    reaction between hydrogen and oxygen" to power a car "producing only water, not exhaust

    fumes." Within 20 years, the president vowed, fuel-cell cars will "make our air significantly

    cleaner, and our country much less dependent on foreign sources of oil."

    By launching an ambitious program to develop what he calls the "Freedom Car," Bush seemed

    determined to realize the kind of future that hydrogen-car supporters have envisioned for

    years. Using existing technology, hydrogen can be easily and cleanly extracted from water.

    Electricity generated by solar panels and wind turbines is used to split the water's hydrogen

    atoms from its oxygen atoms. The hydrogen is then recombined with oxygen in fuel cells,

    where it releases electrons that drive an electric motor in a car. What Bush didn't reveal in his

    nationwide address, however, is that his administration has been working quietly to ensure

    that the system used to produce hydrogen will be as fossil fuel-dependent -- and potentially as

    dirty -- as the one that fuels today's SUVs. According to the administration's National

    Hydrogen Energy Roadmap, drafted last year in concert with the energy industry, up to 90

    percent of all hydrogen will be refined from oil, natural gas, and other fossil fuels -- in a

    http://www.motherjones.com/toc/2003/05/index.htmlhttp://www.motherjones.com/toc/2003/05/index.html
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    process using energy generated by burning oil, coal, and natural gas. The remaining 10

    percent will be cracked from water using nuclear energy.

    Such a system, experts say, would effectively eliminate most of the benefits offered by

    hydrogen. Although the fuel-cell cars themselves may emit nothing but water vapor, the

    process of producing the fuel cells from hydrocarbons will continue America's dependence on

    fossil fuels and leave behind carbon dioxide, the primary cause of global warming.

    Mike Nicklas, chair of the American Solar Energy Society, was one of 224 energy experts

    invited by the Department of Energy to develop the government's Roadmap last spring. The

    sessions, environmentalists quickly discovered, were dominated by representatives from the

    oil, coal, and nuclear industries. "All the emphasis was on how the process would benefit

    traditional energy industries," recalls Nicklas, who sat on a committee chaired by an executive

    from ChevronTexaco. "The whole meeting had been staged to get a particular result, which

    was a plan to extract hydrogen from fossil fuels and not from renewables." The plan does not

    call for a single ounce of hydrogen to come from power generated by the sun or the wind,

    concluding that such technologies "need further development for hydrogen production to be

    more cost competitive."

    But instead of investing in developing those sources, the budget that Bush submitted to

    Congress pays scant attention to renewable methods of producing hydrogen. More than half of

    all hydrogen funding is earmarked for automakers and the energy industry. Under the

    president's plan, more than $22 million of hydrogen research for 2004 will be devoted to coal,

    nuclear power, and natural gas, compared with $17 million for renewable sources. Overall

    funding for renewable research and energy conservation, meanwhile, will be slashed by more

    than $86 million. "Cutting R&D for renewable sources and replacing them with fossil and

    nuclear doesn't make for a sustainable approach," says Jason Mark, director of the clean

    vehicles program for the Union of Concerned Scientists.

    The oil and chemical industries already produce 9 million tons of hydrogen each year, most of

    it from natural gas, and transport it through hundreds of miles of pipelines to fuel the space

    shuttle and to remove sulfur from petroleum refineries. The administration's plan lays the

    groundwork to expand that infrastructure -- guaranteeing that oil and gas companies will

    profit from any transition to hydrogen. Lauren Segal, general manager of hydrogen

    development for BP, puts it succinctly: "We view hydrogen as a way to really grow our

    natural-gas business."

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    To protect its fuel franchise, the energy industry has moved swiftly in recent years to shape

    government policy toward hydrogen. In 1999, oil companies and automakers began attending

    the meetings of an obscure group called the National Hydrogen Association. Founded in 1989

    by scientists from government labs and universities, the association was a haven for many of

    the small companies -- fuel-cell designers, electrolyzer makers -- that were dabbling in

    hydrogen power. The group promoted the use of hydrogen but was careful not to take any

    position on who would make the fuel or how.

    All that changed once the energy industry got involved. "All of a sudden Shell joined our

    board, and then the interest grew very quickly," says Karen Miller, the association's vice

    president. "Our chair last year was from BP; this year our chair is from ChevronTexaco." The

    companies quickly began to use the association as a platform to lobby for more federal

    funding for research, and to push the government to emphasize fossil fuels in the national

    energy plan for hydrogen. Along with the big automakers, energy companies also formed a

    consortium called the International Hydrogen Infrastructure Group to monitor federal officials

    charged with developing fuel cells. "Basically," says Neil Rossmeissl, a hydrogen standards

    expert at the Department of Energy, "what they do is look over our shoulder at doe to make

    sure we are doing what they think is the right thing."

    As hydrogen gained momentum, the oil companies rushed to buy up interests in technology

    companies developing ways to refine and store the new fuel. Texaco has invested $82 million

    in a firm called Energy Conversion Devices, and Shell now owns half of Hydrogen Source. BP,Chevron-Texaco, ExxonMobil, Ford, and General Electric have also locked up the services of

    many of America's top energy scientists, devoting more than $270 million to hydrogen

    research at MIT, Princeton, and Stanford.

    Such funding will help ensure that oil and gas producers continue to profit even if automakers

    manage to put millions of fuel-cell cars on the road. "The major energy companies have

    several hundred billions of dollars, at the least, invested in their businesses, and there is a real

    interest in keeping and utilizing that infrastructure in the future," says Frank Ingriselli, former

    president of Texaco Technology Ventures. "And these companies certainly have the balance

    sheets and wherewithal to make it happen."

    The stakes in the current battle over hydrogen are high. Devoting the bulk of federal research

    funding to making hydrogen from fossil fuels rather than water will enable oil and gas

    companies to provide lower-priced hydrogen. That, in turn, means that pipelines built to

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    transport hydrogen will stretch to, say, a BP gas field in Canada, rather than

    an independent wind farm in North Dakota. Even if the rest of the world

    switches to hydrogen manufactured from water, says Nicklas, "Americans

    may end up dependent on fossil fuels for generations."

    The administration's plans to manufacture hydrogen from fossil fuels could also contribute to

    global warming by leaving behind carbon dioxide. Oil and coal companies insist they will be

    able to "sequester" the carbon permanently by pumping it deep into the ocean or

    underground. But the doe calls such approaches "very high risk," and no one knows how much

    that would cost, how much other environmental disruption that might cause, or whether that

    would actually work. "Which path we take will have a huge effect one way or the other on the

    total amount of carbon pumped into the atmosphere over the next century," says James

    MacKenzie, a physicist with the World Resources Institute.

    Even if industry manages to safely contain the carbon left behind, the Bush administration's

    plan to extract hydrogen from fossil fuels will wind up wasting energy. John Heywood, director

    of MIT's Sloan Automotive Lab, says a system that extracts hydrogen from oil and natural gas

    and stores it in fuel cells would actually be no more energy efficient than America's present

    gasoline- based system.

    "If the hydrogen does not come from renewable sources," Heywood says, "then it is simply not

    worth doing, environmentally or economically."

    Although they are not expected to reach the mass market before 2010, fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) maysomeday revolutionize on-road transportation.

    Thisemerging technology has the potential to significantly reduce energy use and harmful emissions, aswell as our dependence on foreign oil. FCVs will have otherbenefits as well.

    A Radical Departure

    FCVs represent a radical departure from vehicles with conventional internal combustion engines. Like

    battery-electric vehicles, FCVs arepropelled by electric motors. But while battery electric vehicles useelectricity from an external source (and store it in a battery), FCVs create their own electricity. Fuel cellsonboard the vehicle create electricity through achemical process using hydrogen fuel and oxygen from theair.

    FCVs can be fueled with purehydrogen gas stored onboard in high-pressure tanks. They also can be fueledwith hydrogen-rich fuels; such as methanol, natural gas, or even gasoline; but these fuels must first beconverted into hydrogen gas by an onboard device called a "reformer."

    http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/fcv_whatsnew.shtmlhttp://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/fcv_whatsnew.shtmlhttp://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/fcv_benefits.shtmlhttp://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/fcv_benefits.shtmlhttp://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/fcv_components.shtmlhttp://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/fcv_components.shtmlhttp://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/fcv_PEM.shtmlhttp://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/fcv_PEM.shtmlhttp://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/fcv_fuels.shtmlhttp://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/fcv_fuels.shtmlhttp://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/fcv_fuels.shtml#reformerhttp://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/fcv_fuels.shtml#reformerhttp://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/fcv_fuels.shtml#reformerhttp://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/fcv_whatsnew.shtmlhttp://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/fcv_benefits.shtmlhttp://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/fcv_components.shtmlhttp://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/fcv_PEM.shtmlhttp://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/fcv_fuels.shtmlhttp://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/fcv_fuels.shtml#reformer
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    FCVs fueled with pure hydrogen emit no pollutants; only water and heat; while those using hydrogen-richfuels and a reformer produce only small amounts of air pollutants. In addition, FCVs can be twice as efficientas similarly sized conventional vehicles and may also incorporate other advanced technologies to increaseefficiency.

    top of page

    Meeting Challenges Together

    Before FCVs make it to your local auto dealer, significantresearch and development is required to reduce cost andimprove performance. We must also find effective and efficientways to produce and store hydrogen and other fuels.

    Automakers, fuel cell developers, component suppliers,government agencies, and others are working hard toaccelerate the introduction of FCVs. Partnerships such as theDOE-led FreedomCAR initiative and the California Fuel CellPartnership have been formed to encourage private companiesand government agencies to work together to move these

    vehicles toward commercialization.

    FreedomCAR

    FreedomCAR is a new cooperative research effort between the DOE and the U.S. Council for AutomotiveResearch (Ford, General Motors, and DaimlerChrysler) formed to promote research into advancedautomotive technologies, such as FCVs, that may dramatically reduce oil consumption and environmentalimpacts. FreedomCAR's goal is the development of cars and trucks that are:

    Cheaper to operate

    Pollution-free

    Competitively priced

    Free from imported oil

    California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP)

    The California Fuel Cell Partnershipis a collaboration of auto companies, fuel providers, fuel cell technologycompanies, and government agencies demonstrating fuel cell electric vehicles in California under day-to-daydriving conditions. The goals of the partnership are to test and demonstrate the viability of FCVs and relatedtechnology under real-world conditions, move them toward commercialization, and increase publicawareness. The Partnership expects to place about 60 FCVs and fuel cell buses on the road by 2003.

    http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/fuelcell.shtml#top%23tophttp://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/fcv_challenges.shtmlhttp://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/fcv_challenges.shtmlhttp://www.eere.energy.gov/vehiclesandfuels/http://www.fuelcellpartnership.org/index.htmlhttp://www.fuelcellpartnership.org/index.htmlhttp://www.eere.energy.gov/vehiclesandfuels/http://www.fuelcellpartnership.org/index.htmlhttp://www.fuelcellpartnership.org/index.htmlhttp://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/fuelcell.shtml#top%23tophttp://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/fcv_challenges.shtmlhttp://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/fcv_challenges.shtmlhttp://www.eere.energy.gov/vehiclesandfuels/http://www.fuelcellpartnership.org/index.htmlhttp://www.fuelcellpartnership.org/index.htmlhttp://www.eere.energy.gov/vehiclesandfuels/http://www.fuelcellpartnership.org/index.html