Environmental Engineering Reference
In-Depth Information
eration to batteries, they thought Ballard might be interested in a devel-
opmental contract. There are now research operations in Germany and
California as well as several facilities in Canada. Before Ballard actually
made a profit (except under Canadian accounting rules), its stock made
meteoric gains. Ballard is working to have a fuel cell ready for volume
production with up to 250,000 annually.
Although many questions involve fuel cell availability and much is
dependent on the auto industry, fuel cells are beginning to appear in a
number of autos in limited production, even with the extremely limited
infrastructure available now.
In Ballard's alliance with Ford, Volvo, and DaimlerChrysler, they
will supply the other components of the vehicles from the car body to the
electric motor drive. The fuel cell will function as the car's engine. It needs
cooling, control and fuel processing.
Fuel cells typically have higher efficiencies at lower power, so a hy-
brid fuel cell vehicle with battery will not improve its efficiency as it does
for a gasoline engine.
The high efficiency that hybrids have in urban settings could be par-
ticularly tough competition for fuel cell vehicles because, at least initial-
ly, fuel cell vehicles are likely to be used mainly for urban driving. Early
models probably will not have the driving range of regular vehicles and
will be used by fleets, which operate mainly in cities. The limited number
of fueling stations early on will restrict long-distance travel.
A hydrogen-based economy could be the ideal scenario for personal
transportation. The ultimate goal is a fuel cell car that is competitive in
price and performance with the internal combustion vehicle. Some early
users will pay a premium for new technology, but most drivers will not
pay 20-30% more for similar performance.
A 2002 report for the DOE estimated that even with technology im-
provements, future fuel cell vehicles could cost 40 to 50% more than con-
ventional vehicles. Hydrogen storage would be a large part of this ex-
tra cost. Estimates put the cost of compressed hydrogen at about $6,000
per vehicle, but complex hydrides reduces this to $4,000. Liquid hydrogen
storage is estimated at $2-4,000 and chemical hydrides may range from
$1.5-$2,000. The targets for practical fuel cell cars are $1,000 in 2010 and
Search WWH ::

Custom Search