Critics of fuel-cell cars often point to the dangers of storing hydrogen in a vehicle. FST Energy gets around this problem by storing hydrogen in an absorbent material that is contained in a cartridge. (Actually, the company calls it the FST Fuel Cassette, but cartridge works better with our 8-track reference.) Anyway, FST's cartridge would hold some sort of catalyst that could absorb and release hydrogen molecules. When you drive up to a fuel station in your fuel-cell car, instead of connecting up a hose, you'd pull out your car's empty cartridge and exchange it for a … Read more
While hybrid- and flex-fuel cars may be all the rage in today's proto-post-petroleum age, the same approach was being used over 100 years ago by the makers of La Marquise, claimant to the title of the world's oldest running car. Admittedly, the coal, wood, and paper that the steam-powered Marquise uses may not be as eco-friendly as the ethanol or clean diesel of today, but it was enough to get the car's first owner--the Count De Dion--around at a blistering 38 mph when it left the factory in 1884.
As automakers continue to make progress in the field of hydrogen fuel cells here on Earth, a California company is doing the same thing aloft. AeroVironment, a manufacturer of unmanned planes, announced last week that it had flown its Puma aircraft for nearly five hours using an onboard fuel cell battery hybrid energy storage system.
The Puma, which has a wingspan of 8.5 feet and weighs 12.5 pounds, was powered by its standard rechargeable-battery-powered propulsion system (capable of keeping the craft airborne for 2.5 hours), assisted by an onboard fuel-cell-powered battery. The unmanned aircraft incorporates its own … Read more
Hydrogen is lightweight and efficient as a fuel. When it burns, you get water as the exhaust, and the fuel cell technology that burns the gas is well developed. The major hang-up has been how to produce hydrogen without needing lots of fossil-derived energy.
Apparently, the way to cheap hydrogen is through aluminum. Purdue researchers earlier this year announced they'd found a way to use aluminum to get hydrogen from water. Today a Chinese ceramicist who did graduate work in Portugal says there's an even simpler way to derive hydrogen. This process uses powdered aluminum at room temperature, … Read more
The U.S. Senate passed a bill Thursday night that would require automakers to sell cars that get significantly better mileage by 2020.
If the bill is also passed by the House of Representatives, Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards will be raised from the current 25 miles per gallon to 35 mpg.Automakers would still be able to sell trucks and sport utility vehicles that get below the 35 mpg mark in 2020, as long as they have other cars in their lineup to bring up their overall fleet average.
Miles-per-gallon goals for each vehicle class, and a timeline … Read more
In California, 71.5 million gallons of phantom hot fuel will get sold in California during the summer and 21.9 million gallons will get … Read more
When I was in graduate school I learned the important life lesson "don't postpone joy." Not that graduate school could ever be considered fun, but at one point I was so miserable that I realized that I couldn't count on riding out the two to three years until graduation to start living my life with enjoyment and happiness.
That memory came to mind when I read about Google's research effort to develop a plug-in hybrid electric car that gets 70 to 100 miles per gallon. What if you are in the market right now for a minivan or SUV--should you sweat the difference between 18 and 22 mpg? The answer is a resounding YES. The biggest gains in fuel savings can actually be made by tweaking the efficiency of the worst gas-guzzlers. Innovation experts Barry Nalebuff and Ian Ayers explain why.… Read more
General Motors looks like it is serious about this whole hydrogen fuel cell business. The company announced today that it had moved over 500 engineers from development duties over to groups focused on the production of fuel-cell-powered vehicles.
According to GM, more than 400 of its fuel cell engineers will now report to its Powertrain Group to begin production engineering of fuel cell systems. A further 100 fuel cell experts are being moved to a separate group focused on integrating fuel cells into future models.
While GM has already committed itself to putting 100 fuel-cell-powered Chevy Equinoxes on the road … Read more
Ecotality, a maker of onboard hydrogen fuel generators, has acquired Fuel Cell Store, Ecotality announced Thursday.
The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The acquired online fuel cell retailer currently has distributors in Japan, Russia, Italy and Portugal, as well as in the U.S.
Ecotality said in a statement that the deal will help expand its relationships with universities and leading fuel cell manufacturers as well as the hydrogen technology industry.
Dethroning the gasoline-powered internal combustion engine is not likely to happen soon and will only occur with decades of policies to promote alternative fuels, according to an economic analysis done by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
MIT on Wednesday published a summary of the research that used economic models to study how alternative fuels could come to market.
The "systems dynamic" model, which simulates how markets behave, took into account several factors, including how often people buy new cars, how manufacturers affect the market and vehicle attributes.
The researchers' conclusion is that alternative fuels suffer from a catch-22 … Read more