GM appears past vehicles for hydrogen gasoline cell markets

DETROIT — Common Motors is discovering new markets for its hydrogen gasoline cell techniques, saying that it’s going to work with one other firm to construct cellular electrical energy turbines, electrical car charging stations and energy turbines for army camps.

The emissions-free turbines will probably be designed to energy giant business buildings within the occasion of an influence outage, however the firm says it is doable that smaller ones may sometime be marketed for residence use.

The automaker says it should provide gasoline cell energy techniques to Renewable Improvements of Lindon, Utah, which can construct the turbines and fast charging stations. The partnership provides extra merchandise and income from GM’s hydrogen energy techniques that now are being developed for heavy vans, locomotives and even airplanes.

Hydrogen turbines are far quieter than these powered by petroleum, and their solely byproduct is water, Charlie Freese, govt director of GM’s hydrogen enterprise, instructed reporters Wednesday.

He mentioned it is too early to speak about costs, however mentioned manufacturing of the techniques ought to begin within the subsequent yr. At first the turbines will probably be geared toward powering police stations or industrial makes use of, in addition to outside live shows.

“These techniques run extraordinarily quietly,” he mentioned. “You’ll be able to stand subsequent to them whereas having a dialog,” he mentioned.

However Freese mentioned the know-how additionally will be very compact and may very well be used to energy houses sooner or later.

GM would offer the hydrogen gasoline cells constructed at a plant in Brownstown Township, Michigan, whereas Renewable Improvements will construct the generator models, he mentioned.

GM just isn’t alone in getting into the hydrogen generator market. A number of corporations, together with AFC Power in the UK, are promoting or testing the merchandise, mentioned Shawn Litster, a professor of mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon College who has studied hydrogen gasoline cells for about 20 years.

There will probably be extra demand for the turbines as autos change from inner combustion to electrical energy. Police departments and municipal governments, he mentioned, will want backup energy to cost emergency autos in case of an influence outage. Hydrogen will be saved for lengthy durations and utilized in emergency circumstances, he mentioned.

Hydrogen, probably the most ample ingredient within the universe, is more and more considered, together with electrical autos, as a solution to gradual the environmentally damaging affect of the planet’s 1.2 billion autos, most of which burn gasoline and diesel gasoline. Producers of huge vans and business autos are starting to embrace hydrogen gasoline cell applied sciences as a approach ahead. So are makers of planes, trains and passenger autos.

However producing hydrogen is not at all times clear. At current, most it’s produced through the use of pure gasoline or coal for refineries and fertilizer manufacturing. That course of pollutes the air, warming the planet reasonably than saving it. A brand new examine by researchers from Cornell and Stanford universities discovered that the majority hydrogen manufacturing emits carbon dioxide, which signifies that hydrogen-fueled transportation can’t but be thought of clear power.

But proponents say that in the long term, hydrogen manufacturing is destined to develop into extra environmentally secure. They envision a rising use of electrical energy from wind and photo voltaic power, which may separate hydrogen and oxygen in water. As such renewable types of power achieve broader use, hydrogen manufacturing ought to develop into a cleaner and cheaper course of.

Freese mentioned GM would at all times look to get hydrogen from a inexperienced supply. However he conceded that provides synthesized from pure gasoline must be a “stepping stone” to greener sources.

The EV charging stations would have the ability to cost as much as 4 autos directly, they usually may very well be put in shortly with out modifications to {the electrical} grid, Freese mentioned. Additionally they may go as much as deal with seasonal demand in locations the place folks journey, he mentioned.

The quietness and relative lack of warmth make the army turbines superb for powering a camp of troopers, Freese mentioned.

GM would not say how a lot income it expects from the merchandise, and it didn’t launch monetary preparations of the deal.

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Patrick Moore

Patrick is our chief editor and he's very passionate about cars. He has a bachelor's degree in marketing and he studies journalism. His favorite brand is BMW and he drives an X5 series. When he's not writing for, he enjoys spending time with his family and 9 years old son.

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