Fuel Cells Explained

Fuel Cell Applications & Issues

Fuel Cell Applications: Mobile

Mobile (Transportation) Applications

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Toyota FCHV

A key commercial application of fuel cells is to possibly replace the internal combustion engine in transportation applications. Today, all of the major automobile manufacturers and several related companies are developing prototype fuel cell vehicles to investigate this possibility.

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GM Hy Wire

For transportation applications of fuel cells, one of the most important developments involves fuel handling and fuel processing. For example, the proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC), which is considered to be the primary candidate for transportation propulsion applications, needs a pure, clean hydrogen fuel. Therefore, stringent requirements must be placed on the processing of transportation fuels like gasoline and methanol to eliminate compounds that could poison the cells.

Daimler Chrysler F-Cell photo

Daimler Chrysler F-Cell

The development of compact, efficient, cost-effective, high purity, hydrogen-producing reformer technology is a key requirement. An alternative strategy to relieve the need for on-board reformation of liquid transportation fuels is the storage and direct use of hydrogen. This approach will require significant advances in the storage of hydrogen using metal hydrides, carbon nano-tubes, or crash-worthy, high-pressure hydrogen tank technology. A significant development of the hydrogen supply infrastructure would be needed as well.

Some of the companies involved in the area of mobile fuel cells include:

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