Fuel cell partnership between Honda and GM continues to make advancements image

Two years ago, the Japanese automaker and the largest US carmaker have joined forces in the research and development field of hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles.

During the period, the collaboration has yielded a smaller, leaner, cheaper fuel cell stack – which is the chemical processor responsible with combining hydrogen and oxygen to deliver electricity to power up the vehicle, comments Charlie Freese, GM executive director of global fuel cell engineering. The “next generation is running in our laboratory now,” Freese ads. “Weight is down by almost one half. Size is also down by almost one half. And cost has come down in orders of magnitude.” Toyota, Hyundai and others are probably more visible in the world of fuel cells, but GM partnered with Honda. Freese explains the reasoning was simple – the low-volume environment triggered the necessity and since GM is No.1 and Honda No.2 in terms of worldwide fuel cell patents their union was easy and forthcoming. Their main idea: “have a single part number between both companies. So we can get the scale and reduce the cost of development.”

GM and Honda have not been rushing the production of fuel cell vehicles because they don’t want to run them as an experiment. This means developing the “low-cost, high-performance, durable, safe, very reliable systems” that don’t need subsidizing and become an economical solution. So far, Hyundai and Toyota have already delivered to certain markets their own fuel cell vehicles – the South Korean manufacturer using the Tucson sport utility vehicle as a basis for its green model. Meanwhile, Toyota has taken the “ground-up” approach and has introduced the world’s first dedicated production series fuel cell car, the Mirai.

Via Automotive News

  • M. Reda (CanadElectrochim)

    What is good about the fuel cell that is used in these hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles, is that the hydrogen can be produced using photocatalyst which is sprayed on the roof of these cars. This way water will be the fuel of the car. This photocatalyst ( some kind of iron oxide rust) sprayed on the roof of theses cars can split water into oxygen and hydrogen. Currently, these hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles use hydrogen from a compressed hydrogen cylinder and outside air as a source of oxygen. Outside air is dirty and air contains only 21 % oxygen and 79% useless nitrogen. Water splitting using photocatalyst produces pure hydrogen and oxygen. One of the most important factor that prevent hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles from competing with internal combustion engine ( cars that runs in gasoline) is the cost of platinum used in the fuel cell in these hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles. Using clean and pure hydrogen and oxygen will lower the amount of platinum required in the fuel cells of theses hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles.