Hydrogen-fueled cars stuck at the gate

February 21, 2008

Analysts say hydrogen fuel cells have major hurdles to overcome before U.S. consumers will accept the technology in their cars.

The fuel cells create electricity by combining hydrogen and oxygen in a chemical reaction, with water and heat the only byproducts. While every major car company is exploring fuel-cell technology, most hydrogen-powered vehicles are still in testing or development, The Washington Times said Wednesday.

Taras Wankewycz, vice president of Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies in Singapore said hydrogen fuel cells are still considered "very futurist," the newspaper said. The technology remains mostly limited to industrial applications.

The biggest obstacles to the technology are the costs of both labor and materials. Plunkett Research of Houston said one 200-horsepower fuel-cell system costs about $75,000 to make. Companies must also overcome consumer concerns about safety.

California is the first state to embrace the vehicles, with more than 175 fuel-cell vehicles already on the road and 24 hydrogen refueling stations, the newspaper said.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Explore further: Safe new storage method could be key to future of hydrogen-powered vehicles

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not rated yet Feb 22, 2008
Water and heat the only LOCAL byproducts. If 'dilution is the solution to pollution' for the H2 boondoggle and for fossil fuels, then why not for nuclear power? Nuclear power is secure power - and not bio-renewable! Pu can be created.
not rated yet Jun 09, 2008
Hydrogen fuel cells for transportation make absolutely no sense, economically, environmentally or any other way. High-efficiency light-weight batteries are the only logical way to go. (batteries 68% meter-to-wheels efficiency vs. H2 fuel cells 33% meter-to-wheels). The sole possible advantage of H2, being storable prior to use, is obviated by the cost of compression and tankage, and by implementing smart grid technology to financially encourage battery charging during off-peak hours, thus allowing the more efficient baseload generating stations to comprise a much larger percentage of total connected grid capacity, thus improving energy efficiency of all other uses of electricity as well.

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