Feb 28

US Pacific Command launches GM fuel cell test fleet

 

Last week in Honolulu, the four major branches of the U.S. military unveiled the “world’s first military fleet of fuel cell vehicles,” comprised of 16 General Motors hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles.

Hawaii’s ideal climate was chosen as a first step for evaluation and utilization of associated infrastructure prior to introduction of similar technology in other states, and in other types of vehicles, including potentially those for tactical purposes.

“Once the key hydrogen infrastructure elements are proven in Hawaii, other states can adopt a similar approach,” said Charles Freese, GM’s executive director of global fuel cell activities. “The military is paving the way, demonstrating the practicality and applicability of this technology.”

 

The vehicles are being paid for by the Army Tank Automotive Research Development Engineering Center (TARDEC), Office of Naval Research and Air Force Research Laboratories (ONR) and Air Force Research Laboratories (AFRL).

The fuel cell vehicles can travel up to 200 miles on a single charge, refuel in five minutes and produces zero emissions.

According to the official home page of the U.S. army, www.army.mil, the fielding of military fuel cell vehicles with the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines is the latest effort by the Hawaii Hydrogen Initiative.

This organization, founded in December 2010 has the stated goal of “displacing petroleum imports by operating vehicles with renewable hydrogen,” and counts among its 13 sponsors GM, The U.S. Department of Energy, The U.S. Pacific Command, and other companies, universities and government bodies.

 

The U.S. military has long been a driver of advanced-tech vehicle development, and is also experimenting with all other forms of clean energy alternatives.

“The Army continues to investigate technologies and partnerships that give the United States a decisive advantage,” said Lt. Gen. Francis J. Wiercinski, commanding general of U.S. Army, Pacific. “These fuel cell vehicles will help move the U.S. Army in the Pacific toward a sustainable path that reduces energy security challenges and strengthens our energy independence.”

GM

This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 28th, 2012 at 5:55 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 51


  1. 1
    Koz

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (6:24 am)

    Where is the hydrogen coming from to fuel these vehicles in Hawaii?

    From the EIA’s website:

    Hawaii Quick Facts
    •Petroleum provides nearly nine-tenths of all the energy consumed in Hawaii.
    •The transportation sector leads energy demand in Hawaii, due in large part to heavy jet fuel use by military installations and commercial airlines.
    •Petroleum-fired power plants supply more than three-fourths of Hawaii’s electricity generation.
    •Due to the mild tropical climate, most households do not require energy for home heating.
    •A planned wave-to-energy project could supply up to 2.7 megawatts of electricity to Hawaii by the end of 2011.

    Last updated in October 2009.

    Unless they installed offsetting renewable generation, then this is a science experiment. Personally, that is fine and needed but it shouldn’t be rapped in a green flag unless it is an improvement when the whole picture is considered. It may be the case that solar or wind or geothermal was installed as part of this project but I expect this would have been part of the announcement if it were the case.

    The problem with hydrogen and personal transportation vehicles is not the viability of the powerplant technology, but rather the viability of the volue proposition and viability of the energy proposition. How many kwh get used at the wheel vs total kwh consumed by the entire process?


  2. 2
    JamesMcQuaid

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (6:40 am)

    Hawaii is perfect for the hydrogen fuel cell fleet tests because the refueling infrastructure is already in place to support it. Please note:

    http://www.hawaiigas.com/news_events/051110.html

    http://honolulucleancities.org/vehicle-fuel-technologies/hydrogen/hawaii-hydrogen-initiative/

    This is an exciting step forward.


  3. 3
    Mark Z

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (7:50 am)

    The Marine vehicle is not pictured. Glad the Marines are using their vehicle and putting our tax dollars to good use.


  4. 4
    Jim I

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (8:18 am)

    I am afraid to ask how much these vehicles cost!

    How does trading oil for Hydrogen make things better? The only advantage I see is that they say you can fuel up in five minutes, which for a military vehicle, would be important. But wouldn’t the almost complete silence of a battery powered electric drive also be a big advantage?

    After having lived through the “Volt is too expensive” and the “Batteries will explode” campaigns to try to destroy the Volt, I can just imagine all of the Hindenberg videos we will be forced to endure in the attack against cars hauling around tanks of Hydrogen. And I can hardly wait to see the results of the side impact test, when they decide to aim it directly at the fuel tank………

    Actually all forms of alternatives to gasoline have their place. It really doesn’t have to be one or the other, IMHO.

    For me, the Volt was the perfect choice, and I am completely satisfied with the performance. It is the best car I have ever owned.

    C-5277


  5. 5
    Darius

     

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (8:34 am)

    WOW, Tanks filled with hydrogen???? US military budget is really far too big.

    In case being military I would really consider instead of FC battery (Hydrogen in reality is energy storage medium as any other battery electrolyte just with lower recharge efficiency) use redox batteries. Those redox electrolytes separately are not explosive and even could soften penetration.

    http://www.greencarcongress.com/2012/02/metil-20120218.html


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    kdawg

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (8:34 am)

    Jim I: But wouldn’t the almost complete silence of a battery powered electric drive also be a big advantage?

    Fuel cell vechiles are also quiet. They essentially run on electricity as well.

    I agree these probably make the Volt’s $40K price tag look small.


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    kdawg

     

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (8:41 am)

    Hawaii is also big into biofuels. They have been working on algae based ones for some time in Hawaii, but now it’s about the “pink slime”

    http://news.thomasnet.com/green_clean/2012/02/24/is-pink-slime-the-new-algae/


  8. 8
    nasaman

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (8:43 am)

    Jim I: ….But wouldn’t the almost complete silence of a battery powered electric drive also be a big advantage?

    Actually, these vehicles use an electric drive and a buffer battery; the H2 fuel cell generates electricity (just as the Volt’s ICE does) to keep the battery charged. So these SUVs are “buttery soft & whisper silent” and they lack the moving parts of an ice-powered generator. Now if the fuel cell design community can turn to developing inexpensive DEFCs (Direct to Ethanol Fuel Cells) AND produce ethanol ONLY from renewable non-foods like prolific-growing switch grass, it could all make a lot of sense: Fewer moving parts, total silence, smaller battery, fully renewable non-food-source fuel.


  9. 9
    George S. Bower

     

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (8:45 am)

    Koz:
    Where is the hydrogen coming from to fuel these vehicles in Hawaii?

    From the EIA’s website:

    Hawaii Quick Facts
    •Petroleum provides nearly nine-tenths of all the energy consumed in Hawaii.
    •The transportation sector leads energy demand in Hawaii, due in large part to heavy jet fuel use by military installations and commercial airlines.
    •Petroleum-fired power plants supply more than three-fourths of Hawaii’s electricity generation.
    •Due to the mild tropical climate, most households do not require energy for home heating.
    •A planned wave-to-energy project could supply up to 2.7 megawatts of electricity to Hawaii by the end of 2011.

    Last updated in October 2009.

    Unless they installed offsetting renewable generation, then this is a science experiment. Personally, that is fine and needed but it shouldn’t be rapped in a green flag unless it is an improvement when the whole picture is considered. It may be the case that solar or wind or geothermal was installed as part of this project but I expect this would have been part of the announcement if it were the case.

    The problem with hydrogen and personal transportation vehicles is not the viability of the powerplant technology, but rather the viability of the volue proposition and viability of the energy proposition. How many kwh get used at the wheel vs total kwh consumed by the entire process?

    Koz,

    I looked into this once and I believe that Hydrogen (or Naptha or some other product that is easily made into Hydrogen) is a by product of the refinery. Hawaii imports their own crude and refines it. How much hydrogen is available from this natural by product of the refining process I do not know.


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    Roy_H

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (8:47 am)

    Hawaii does have a geothermal plant running, and is expanding that. They also have wind farms. They are committed to reducing petroleum use.

    However, as most of you know, I am anti-fuel cell, not because it won’t work or can’t be green, but because it will always cost more than battery-electric due to more conversion steps (electric generation -> hydrogen -> compress -> ship -> pump into car -> change back to electricity -> power car). And secondly it keeps us tied to buying at the pump instead of our own roof-top solar p powering our car. I believe that batteries will ultimately prove their superiority, and all the $B spent on hydrogen fuel cell development and infrastructure will be a complete waste.

    Amazing progress has been made in fuel cell research, and hydrogen storage. Hopefully this will be useful somewhere, I just don’t think transportation is the place.


  11. 11
    kdawg

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (9:35 am)

    Roy_H: However, as most of you know, I am anti-fuel cell, not because it won’t work or can’t be green, but because it will always cost more than battery-electric due to more conversion steps (electric generation -> hydrogen -> compress -> ship -> pump into car -> change back to electricity -> power car). And secondly it keeps us tied to buying at the pump instead of our own roof-top solar p powering our car. I believe that batteries will ultimately prove their superiority, and all the $B spent on hydrogen fuel cell development and infrastructure will be a complete waste.
    Amazing progress has been made in fuel cell research, and hydrogen storage. Hopefully this will be useful somewhere, I just don’t think transportation is the place.

    I dont think it has a place for personal transportation, but it might be good for public transportation (fuel cell busses & trains) or semi-trucks hauling goods across the country. It might even make sense for ships.


  12. 12
    Nelson

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (9:42 am)

    Koz: The problem with hydrogen and personal transportation vehicles is not the viability of the powerplant technology, but rather the viability of the volue proposition and viability of the energy proposition. How many kwh get used at the wheel vs total kwh consumed by the entire process?

    If we’re shutting down wind turbines at night to prevent grid overload what does it matter? Should we even care about process efficiency when using surplus wind generated power that’s currently being “shut off”?
    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2015129713_apuswindenergyhalt1stldwritethru.html

    Take the nightly surplus wind generated power and make hydrogen for later use in fuel cell vehicles. I don’t think hydrogen gas can grow stale in a properly sealed tank and can be piped to its destination similar to natural gas.

    NPNS!
    Volt#671


  13. 13
    kdawg

     

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (9:51 am)

    Anyone here have a home biodiesel producer or methane/hyrdogen producer? Just curious on how it has worked out so far.

    I’ve read some online info about home wind turbines, but from what I read they become money-pits and you don’t save anything. Maybe the technology has become better/durable.


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    Woodders

     

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (10:07 am)

    Mark Z,

    Actually, if you look closely at the pictures of the back of the vehicles you will see that the third one has both the Navy and the Marine symbols on it. I belive there are only the 3 vehicles. Also, I have to say, GO AF!

    Woodders


  15. 15
    nasaman

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (10:11 am)

    envia-battery-technology_100383479_l.jpg
    Here’s a graphic that illustrates one journalist’s take on a new Li-Ion battery breakthru

    For the full article on Envia, in which GM has invested $7million, see: http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1073442_new-battery-promises-to-bring-300-mile-electric-cars-to-the-masses

    /PS: I still believe DEFC (ethanol fuel cells) have promise IF (and ONLY IF) their cost can be made competitive. Batteries are still needed to buffer fuel cells and ethanol is a very-low-pollution fuel that can be stored and distributed by existing means at gas stations nation wide (see my post #8 above). A DEFC would allow a smaller battery and EREV operation, which I feel is superior to a BEV, Tesla S & X notwithstanding —because an EREV’s redundant power sources require NO charge time & (by contrast to ICE cars or BEV cars) virtually eliminate the likelihood of being stranded!


  16. 16
    unni

     

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (10:13 am)

    I think hydrogen is a good approach. Only question here is ultracapacitor/battery technologies. If they grow and make fast recharge and 300+miles capable, then hydrogen is not going to take off.

    The key with fuel cells are local, renewable, clean, high efficient (65%+) and minus is cost,infrastructure. Mostly companies may promote this because this model will help to keep people who runs gas pumps in business.


  17. 17
    Loboc

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (10:18 am)

    I wonder which is worse when it blows up. Hydrogen or Gasoline.

    There are ways to store H2 in a matrix so that it is not a compressed gas. Might be safer that way.

    There are also fuel cells that run on Ethanol (as someone already mentioned). Might be better to have a liquid since we already have a lot of the infrastructure.

    I like the idea of a fuel cell, but, am very skeptical that they would go mainstream faster than battery-electrics. It’s probably not a good technology for personal transportation.


  18. 18
    Loboc

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (10:25 am)

    unni: this model will help to keep people who runs gas pumps in business.

    They only use the gas pumps to draw people in to buy lottery tickets and cokes. Contrary to what people think about gouging and fuel pricing, people that operate a gas station don’t make enough on the gasoline to survive.


  19. 19
    Loboc

     

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (10:29 am)

    Lol. Since the advertizements on here are driven by key words in the blog, I’m getting ‘pumps’ @ Neiman Marcus. Meaning women’s shoes.


  20. 20
    jeffhre

     

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (10:40 am)

    nasaman: /PS: I still believe DEFC (ethanol fuel cells) have promise IF (and ONLY IF) their cost can be made competitive. Batteries are still needed to buffer fuel cells and ethanol is a very-low-pollution fuel that can be stored and distributed by existing means at gas stations nation wide (see my post #8 above).

    Nasaman, I also like the methanol fuel cells (fuel from ordinary trash) and Technology Review recently showed some gasoline fuel cells that were making good progress. If the hydrogen for the vehicles is from reforming NG, then this is not a “clean” technology at all, even though it helps Hawai’i use less imported petroleum.

    Mark Z:
    The Marine vehicle is not pictured. Glad the Marines are using their vehicle and putting our tax dollars to good use.

    Just guessing about what this means, but the vehicle with ONR (Office of Naval Research?) has two seals. One looks like it could represent the Navy and the other seems to be the same seal used by the Marines.

    OOps thanks Wodders, I think I can confirm your conclusion!


  21. 21
    HaroldC

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (10:44 am)

    Seems to me that Hawaii in sitting on volcanoes…..would it not make sense to use that heat to feed powerstations to make pollution-free electricity?

    Not just one plant but on most viable islands.

    90% petroleum for their energy and all that energy under them, and above (wind & solar).

    they should ..”get crackin’ ”

    HaroldC


  22. 22
    Nelson

     

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (10:46 am)

    kdawg: I’ve read some online info about home wind turbines, but from what I read they become money-pits and you don’t save anything. Maybe the technology has become better/durable.

    If I lived close to them I’d probably get one.
    http://www.aerotecture.com/

    NPNS!
    Volt#671


  23. 23
    Nelson

     

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (11:07 am)

    Loboc: I wonder which is worse when it blows up. Hydrogen or Gasoline.
    There are ways to store H2 in a matrix so that it is not a compressed gas. Might be safer that way.

    A while ago I read about a company that could pressurize hydrogen in glass spheres as small as 1 micron, with specialized coatings that when shined on with a distinct light wave released the hydrogen. The benefit was all about safety. The small spheres were hard to break due to size and if a vehicle had an accident the spheres would spill like sand and few would rupture.

    Found the link:
    http://www.mo-sci.com/Mo-Sci_Specialty_Products/Mo-Sci_Specialty_Products/Mo-Sci_Specialty_Products/

    NPNS!
    Volt#671


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    Noel Park

     

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (11:50 am)

    kdawg: Hawaii is also big into biofuels. They have been working on algae based ones for some time in Hawaii, but now it’s about the “pink slime”

    #7

    Yuck! I bet I NEVER eat another McDonald’s hamburger! Not that I was going to anyway, LOL.


  25. 25
    Noel Park

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (11:53 am)

    Nelson: Take the nightly surplus wind generated power and make hydrogen for later use in fuel cell vehicles.

    #12

    Good idea. +1

    Last weekend we drove through Palm Springs and were really disappointed at how few of the windmills were going. I wonder if this is the reason?


  26. 26
    Noel Park

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (11:55 am)

    unni: Only question here is ultracapacitor/battery technologies.

    #16

    Yeah, where the hell is EeStor now that we need them?


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    kdawg

     

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (11:56 am)

    nasaman: PS: I still believe DEFC (ethanol fuel cells) have promise IF (and ONLY IF) their cost can be made competitive.

    I think the best chance of this happening is by Bloom Box. They have the most funding (private & government) and have the longest history of trying to reduce costs. They don’t use any expensive materials in their fuel cell stacks.


  28. 28
    Jackson

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (11:56 am)

    Nelson: Take the nightly surplus wind generated power and make hydrogen for later use in fuel cell vehicles.

    … or, store it in grid-scale batteries to use later at peak demand. Storing electricity in a battery is always more efficient than using it to split hydrogen from water. I’ve mentioned several developing battery technologies for large-scale load-leveling, this is one of the latest and most exciting:

    http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/intelligent-energy/liquid-batteries-a-renewable-energy-game-changer/13146


  29. 29
    kdawg

     

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (11:59 am)

    unni: Mostly companies may promote this because this model will help to keep people who runs gas pumps in business.

    The people that run the gas stations don’t make any money on the fuel. They make it by you going in and buying a slurpee. People against changing fuel sources would be the current fuel source creators. (Of course most of them are hedging their bets and getting involved in alternate fuel sources, or at least they claim to do that to look green)

    EDIT: Just saw Loboc’s post at #18.


  30. 30
    Noel Park

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (12:02 pm)

    Jackson: … or, store it in grid-scale batteries to use later at peak demand.

    #28

    Also a good idea. +1

    I’m charging my Volt from 2 AM to 5 AM. Does that help?

    How about if we had about a million electric cars charging in the middle of the night?


  31. 31
    Jackson

     

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (12:05 pm)

    Loboc: I wonder which is worse when it blows up. Hydrogen or Gasoline.

    Hydrogen ignites more readily, but rises quickly due to it’s low density (and heat from combustion). The fire is over quickly. Most of the people killed during the Hindenburg disaster died jumping out of the thing. Gasoline, once free and ignited, stays put, or spreads over the ground; where it continues to be a hazard. Of course, the hydrogen in a vehicle is under the floor, not overhead in a bag; so you might get some flash-cooked passengers …

    Loboc: There are ways to store H2 in a matrix so that it is not a compressed gas. Might be safer that way.

    The best of these hydrogen absorbers use … Lithium (wouldn’t you know it … )


  32. 32
    pjkPA

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (12:15 pm)

    I like the idea of solar cells on residential roofs to generate Hydrogen for your car.
    Fuel cells are the future…maybe not right now but I feel the future is fuel cell powerd commuting at least.


  33. 33
    DonC

     

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (12:34 pm)

    A hydrogen vehicle is an electric vehicle. The electricity is just created by a fuel cell.

    With natural gas at a equivalent price of $1.50/gal of gasoline, and tons of natural gas in the US, hydrogen from natural gas might make sense. Natural gas of course is even easier and cheaper — any ICE vehicle can run on natural gas — but it takes longer to fill. Very hard to beat liquid fuels on filling time.

    Noel Park: How about if we had about a million electric cars charging in the middle of the night?

    That would be good. Flattening the demand curve increases profits for the utilities AND reduces the price for consumers.


  34. 34
    Raymondjram

     

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (12:38 pm)

    nasaman:
    /PS: I still believe DEFC (ethanol fuel cells) have promise IF (and ONLY IF) their cost can be made competitive. Batteries are still needed to buffer fuel cells and ethanol is a very-low-pollution fuel that can be stored and distributed by existing means at gas stations nation wide (see my post #8 above). A DEFC would allow a smaller battery and EREV operation, which I feel is superior to a BEV, Tesla S & X notwithstanding —because an EREV’s redundant power sources require NO charge time & (by contrast to ICE cars or BEV cars) virtually eliminate the likelihood of being stranded!

    That’s it!!

    Ethanol is the perfect intermediate fuel source because:

    1. Most ICE vehicles can run from E10 to E45 and some “Flex Fuel” vehicles from GM can run up to E85.
    2. Some members have asked GM if the Volt’s range extender engine can run Ethanol.
    3. The Ethanol Fuel Cell is a better range extender than the ICE because the conversion is most efficient (no burning or mechanical conversions in between) and the emissions are manageable.
    4. The present gasoline distribution and retail sale infrastrure can be converted to Ethanol.
    5. Ethanol can be produced locally from different vegetable products, including home grass clippings.
    6. Ethanol is much less toxic than gasoline and Diesel products from petroleum.
    7. Although we are asking about EREV use of Ethanol, other forms of transport can use it, such as aircraft and ships.

    There may be other favorable conditions in the conversion of gasoline to Ethanol, but I see it as the stepping stone from all ICE to EREV and pure FCEV transportation, while battery and other static or dynamic forms of energy storage are being refined and perfected.

    Nasaman, you really covered the correct topic today!

    Raymond


  35. 35
    Jackson

     

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (12:49 pm)

    Raymondjram,

    Ethanol shouldn’t be used as fuel unless or until it can all be produced from sources which do not compete with food or even wild biomass at large (I wouldn’t want to see trees felled and wild lands ‘mined’ for biomass destined to become fuel). The inhibiting factor operating against Ethanol as a “perfect intermediate fuel source” is at the supply end.

    Add to the list of “cons” Ethanol’s tendency to absorb water from the environment … this can be bad for engines; but what about fuel cells? I don’t know.


  36. 36
    Jackson

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (1:00 pm)

    GM has researched automotive fuel cells for over a decade, spending many millions of dollars (some in the form of government grants). When Bob Lutz came along with his “iCar” idea (which became the Volt), he encountered a great deal of resistance within GM. Later, when asked if an EREV using electricity storage and Hydrogen would be considered (during a live chat), a spokesman for GM’s fuel cell effort gave us an unambiguous “No.” I can only view GM’s hydrogen program as a powerful, internal enemy of Voltec within GM.

    Yesterday notwithstanding, I wonder how much this conflict has had to do with GM’s seeming reluctance to promote, defend or really sell the Volt?

    Removing tin foil hat … ;-)


  37. 37
    Loboc

     

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (3:17 pm)

    The thing I like about fuel cells is that they can be scaled to truck size or larger. Batteries in their current iteration don’t scale all that well.

    Since you have a generator on board, the battery pack could be smaller or at least not scaled to 300-mile range size.

    The other thing I like about fuel cells is that they convert the fuel more efficiently than burning. (Although combining anything with oxygen is technically burning it.)

    The one thing that is really holding back fuel cells is the cost. They are so costly that only the Army can afford them.

    / I wonder if GM just took these vehicles from project driveway and repainted them.


  38. 38
    unni

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (3:22 pm)

    Forgot to add.

    So as per i know, Hydrogen –> Fulecell –electricity–> Electric motor and in case of EV its
    Battery–electricity—> Electric motor

    This is how the hydrogen fuel cells work. If you see , there is no second motor/generator needed in the config. Only need is a Big motor as the electricity coming from fuel cell comes due to chemical reaction. So the problem is money spend on the 2 motor with 3 clutches goes obsolete if this goes up. Again same is the case, if EVs take off also because there is only one motor in that case also. I am not sure the 2 motor modes can be used in trucks but in car EV/fuel cell perspective, Volt is a little over engineered stuff. In this case i see Toyota/Ford on hybrid strategy is better as only one PSD, 2 motors and ICE with no clutches involved (less complicated ).

    I do see GM accumulating a lot IP stuff in fuel cell cars. Thatz a good stuff :-) .

    Again i last day wanted to say : Engineering is engineering even if its done is US or Japan. An engineer should be able to appreciate good work done by anybody and should be able to ask questions if you feel so. A person asking question is only stupid for that time , the one who don’t ask and put just negative stays as fool for his life time.


  39. 39
    George S. Bower

     

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (4:23 pm)

    unni:
    Forgot to add.

    So as per i know,Hydrogen –> Fulecell –electricity–> Electric motorand in case of EV itsBattery–electricity—> Electric motor

    This is how the hydrogen fuel cells work. If you see , there is no second motor/generator needed in the config.

    That brings up a good point unni. Do these GM FC vehicles have 1 motor or 2? Do you have a link to the drivetrain schematic?? Seems like GM would have the same problem w/ overspeed with only 1 motor like on the Volt.


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    Jackson

     

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (4:25 pm)

    Having donned my tinfoil hat to bemoan GM’s fuel cells, let me now ‘even the balance’ by offering this, positive motivation for developing the technology:

    http://fossil.energy.gov/programs/fuels/hydrogen/Hydrogen_from_Coal_R%26D.html

    For those who never click links, this is a DOE sponsored project investigating the production of hydrogen from coal, in a co-generation scheme which also produces electricity by conventional means, traps pollutants, and concentrates a CO2 waste stream for “sequestration.”

    Of course, this robs the “green” mantle from H2; but honestly, it will take a lot to make hydrogen from renewable electricity fly (without heavy subsidies and government coercion; it is so much less efficient than using the electricity directly). However, H2 from coal would still be worth doing for the cause of energy security, since the US has an approx 250 year supply.

    Now, having been ‘positive,’ I have to swing back to reality with a ‘thud:’

    Given a responsible, efficient supply, and a cost-effective fuel cell (neither yet exists), there is still the seldom-discussed link which is missing in action for the most part: delivery and storage.

    First, the smallest atom in nature has a propensity to migrate into nearly any substance used to contain it: often altering it’s properties. It’s been suggested that H2 could be shipped by existing pipeline; but the steel pipes would become “embrittled” by hydrogen penetration, resulting in breakage and leakage. At minimum, existing lines would need to be lined (possibly with some kind of plastic) before they could be used to deliver hydrogen gas. At worst, a new system of piping may be needed. Such infrastructure improvements will likely be both expensive and publicly funded.

    Second, the problem of carrying hydrogen safely in a car is very much out-of-the-limelight in terms of research and development, when compared to hydrogen production or fuel cell utilization. Hydrogen gas would have to be compressed to fit into a simple tank, and at fairly high pressures. This is a potential hazard apart from hydrogen’s flammability: in a wreck, a pressurized tank could let go with a bang. And remember, you can’t count on steel or other metals to resist the pressure, because of hydrogen embrittlement. I suppose that some kind of carbon-fiber reinforced plastic is possible, but not cheap. Also, compressing the gas in the first place adds a great deal to the energy bill for using hydrogen: another fact which gets glossed over.

    Other methods involve absorption of the gas in a chemical matrix; as mentioned above. This approach seems better from a safety and efficiency standpoint (no compression involved). However, very little news seems available for research in this area, and no mention of what such a matrix might cost. What is GM not saying? They want to commercialize an H2 vehicle in 3 years.

    Tinfoil hat back on …


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    kdawg

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (5:33 pm)

    OT:

    I guess Neil Cavuto’s theory that Volts cause divorces is incorrect.
    (from the GM site, here’s the video link http://bcove.me/1fssjvbx. It’s worth watching)

    Marital Bliss: Living With Two Chevy Volts

    We’re not saying the key to a successful marriage is to buy a Chevrolet Volt, but based on conversations with some of our owners, it probably couldn’t hurt.

    Take John and Sue Reason of Liverpool, N.Y., for example. They’ve been interested in electric vehicles for years, so when the Volt finally became available they picked up two. They use the 120-volt charge cord that comes with each Volt to charge up in about 10 hours. John says they loved the look of the Volt, but love the ability to use little-to-no gasoline even more.

    The same was true for Riad and Dorothy Kassar of Orlando, Fla. They both leased Volt’s after they discovered Dorothy was driving her husband’s Volt more than he was. That’s when the Kassars decided to lease a second Volt. They have a 240-volt charger that charges the car in about four hours as well as the 120 chargers.

    The Kassars say the Volt is the best car they’ve ever owned, even if it’s threatened movie night at their house.

    “Riad always used to pick up a movie when he stopped to get gas on his way home from work every Thursday,” Dorothy said of her husband. The first week we had the Volt he came home and I asked him what movie he got. He looked at me puzzled before laughing and said he forgot to get a movie because he didn’t need to fill up!”


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    unni

     

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (5:33 pm)

    Third try to add a comment :( , i dont know where the comments i put before )

    Hi George,

    Some old post says :

    The fuel cell stack’s turbo charger is powered by an electric motor. The main motor is a continuous 73 kW (98 horsepower) and 94kW peak (126 horsepower).

    Only GM will be able to answer whether they use the fuel cell stack’s turbo charger motor as a second motor to supply torque for the primary on certain conditions.

    From : http://alternativefuels.about.com/od/vehiclereviews/ig/Chevy-Equinox-Fuel-Cell-SUV/


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    Roy_H

     

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (5:46 pm)

    Just a note about hydrogen storage. As I said there is a lot of research into many methods, and I believe some of the liquids are pretty promising, but metal hydrides are not attractive as they weigh about the same as an equivalent battery. This is the main problem with most solutions involving low pressure, the carrier must be light weight or one of the advantages of fuel cells is lost. The primary advantage of fuel cells is fast charge/fill time, the other is range per weight/volume.


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    Roy_H

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (5:56 pm)

    Ships should use LFTRs. See http://flibe-energy.com/attributes/ I believe this safe nuclear technology can scale down to diesel-locomotive size.

    We should work to make LFTRs our primary energy source, clean, cheap, no long term radio-active waste. Only China is pursuing this technology, hopefully when they perfect it we will be able to buy from them.


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    ThombDBhomb

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (6:06 pm)

    kdawg: Anyone here have a home biodiesel producer or methane/hyrdogen producer? Just curious on how it has worked out so far.I’ve read some online info about home wind turbines, but from what I read they become money-pits and you don’t save anything. Maybe the technology has become better/durable.

    My dog produces methane at my home.


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    HaroldC

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (6:29 pm)

    ThombDBhomb,

    my wife produces methane at home !

    HaroldC


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    George S. Bower

     

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (7:54 pm)

    unni,

    Wow looks like they have a turbo in the system….I think.

    I will have to study these some more they look interesting. Perhaps as a alternate to windmills making hydrogen one could use Nuclear.

    That is if the homo sapiens could ever figure out that Nuclear is the only way to go in the long run.


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    George S. Bower

     

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (7:57 pm)

    Roy_H:
    Ships should use LFTRs. See http://flibe-energy.com/attributes/ I believe this safe nuclear technology can scale down to diesel-locomotive size.

    We should work to make LFTRs our primary energy source, clean, cheap, no long term radio-active waste. Only China is pursuing this technology, hopefully when they perfect it we will be able to buy from them.

    Great to see some others here that are into Nuclear.

    I love the IFR. Just got done reading the book “Plentiful Energy” by Till and Chang.
    You should google it and read it it is fascinating!!


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    kdawg

     

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    Feb 28th, 2012 (9:46 pm)

    ThombDBhomb: My dog produces methane at my home.

    Lol, as soon as I posted that, I knew someone was going to post a fart reference.


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    Bob_Livonia

     

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    Feb 29th, 2012 (5:31 pm)

    I am skeptical of the economics, given the military that has been known to pay $150 for a hammer and $500 for a toilet seat. Hawaii is not a real test because they don’t have any freezing temperatures, which are rough on fuel cells. Might work in Saudi Arabia (if we plan to go to war there), but not Afghanistan.

    But hydrogen is surprisingly safe; it rises, unlike gasoline that spreads out over the ground. I did see the cost of a fuel cell vehicle as compared to a Volt when I was working at GM, and the fuel cell makes the Volt cost look like chump change.

    Do you know the most efficient and energy-dense way to store hydrogen? Gasoline!


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    Twitter Alternative for affiliates

     

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    Mar 5th, 2012 (5:33 am)

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