Environmental Engineering Reference
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store about six kilograms of hydrogen. Storing in hydrides creates heat
and in order to get the hydrogen out the hydride must be heated.
GM has been working on a system that would cool hydrogen to -
196°C at 1,000 psi. This would be less costly and reduce the boil off.
In Albany, NY, the state government started leasing Honda FCX
hydrogen fuel cell cars on a cold November morning. Previous fuel cell
vehicle demonstration programs have occurred in warmer areas to ensure
that the fuel cell stacks would not freeze up. Subzero temperatures can
change any liquid water present into expanding ice crystals that can
puncture thin membranes or crack water lines. Honda has demonstrated
that their fuel cell units can operate under winter conditions, this was an
important achievement for practical fuel cell cars.
The freeze-resistant 2005 FCX models can operate at -20°C. Other
companies, including DaimlerChrysler and GM have also had success
with cold-starting cells. The technique used is to keep all water present as
a vapor and not allow water droplets to occur.
DaimlerChrysler had a fleet of more than 100 F-cell fuel cell cars
called the F-Cell which were used for worldwide testing. They have
also built 33 fuel cell buses for 10 European cities as well as Beijing and
Perth. DaimlerChrysler has invested over $1 billion in hydrogen fuel cell
technology. The fuel cell vehicle fleet is powered by Ballard stacks.
Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) added F-Cell vehicles to its clean
fuels fleet for testing. PG&E has the fourth largest alternative-fuel truck
fleet in the nation.
The operational experience and technical data will help improve the
next generation of fuel cell vehicles. The data collected will also contribute
to the U.S. Department of Energy's Hydrogen Learning Demonstration
Project and support the federal Freedom Car Program.
PG&E is involved in other demonstration projects to enhance gas-
to-hydrogen reforming technology and to incorporate hydrogen-fueling
capability into existing natural gas stations to accommodate fuel cell
vehicles. PG&E's natural gas distribution infrastructure could become part
of the hydrogen highway network. The project will help to determine if
the technology will meet fleet operations needs in the future and provide
an evaluation of fueling technology.
PG&E is a member of the California Fuel Cell Partnership along
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