Environmental Engineering Reference
oxygen-containing compounds can be easily mixed with the liquid fuel.
Gaseous oxygen can hardly be mixed with liquid fuel. The addition
of pure oxygen to the fuel can be used only in combination with gaseous
fuel. This limitation is eliminated with the addition of a liquid oxygen-
containing compound. The dosed admission of an oxygen-containing
compound is controlled dependent on the contact voltage of the fuel
cell. If the voltage is below a characteristic value, the oxygen-containing
compound is fed into the fuel supply line to prevent energy output losses.
The dosage is also controlled so no explosive mixture is formed.
VOLVO AND FUEL CELLS
Volvo has modified a Renault Laguna station wagon with a 30-
kilowatt fuel cell, running on liquid hydrogen. The Fuel Cell Electric
Vehicle for Efficiency and Range (FEVER) car was partly financed by
the European Union. It was completed in 1997 and has a 250-mile range.
Even though it was a station wagon, the fuel cell car has room only for its
Volvo is also a partner in another European project, the Capril project,
which is managed by Volkswagon. A fuel cell VW Golf was built to run on
methanol. Volvo developed the compressor, power converter and energy
In 1992, Volvo built an aluminum-bodied hybrid Environmental
Concept Car (ECC) to California emission mandates. It had the recyclable
plastic panels and water-based paints that are used by Volvo. A series hybrid
drive train was used where a diesel gas turbine drives a generator to charge
a battery pack to power an electric motor. The system is complex, but the car
achieves good performance with low emissions and a 400-mile range.
Volvo was testing 50-kilowatt stacks from Ballard before the Ford
purchase and has been building bifuel natural gas and gasoline cars and
hybrids. By 1998 it was selling 500 bifuel sedans a year with many going
to natural gas utilities in Europe. By 1999, it was working on a powersplit
hybrid car, which automatically shifts from the electric motor to an internal
combustion engine like many of today's hybrids.
In fuel cell development, the high cost of precious metals has led
to ways to lower the platinum content. Methods include raising the
activity of the catalyst, so less is needed and finding more stable catalyst
structures that do not degrade over time while avoiding reactions that can