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Hydrogen Established for “East Coast Corridor”

Fleets of fuel cell vehicles are big news for many states. It only makes sense that New York City would be next too. General Motors (GM) will provide 13 fuel cell-powered vehicles to the metropolitan area, and Shell Hydrogen intends to establish the State’s first portable hydrogen refueling module at an area Shell service station in 2006.

GM and Shell are bringing fuel cell vehicles and hydrogen refueling to New York City as a part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Infrastructure Demonstration and Validation Project. According to Larry Burns, who is the vice president of Research, Development and Planning at GM, this is a critical step toward creating a sustainable future. “This fleet will put New York in the forefront on the road to a future in which our vehicles, industries, and economy are energized by hydrogen,” Burns said. “Today, automobiles are 98 percent dependent on petroleum. Because hydrogen can be obtained from a wide variety of feedstocks, including renewable sources, it has the potential to reduce our petroleum dependence substantially. And because fuel cells using hydrogen emit just water, they could remove automobiles from the environmental debate.” The New York fleet is part of a total of 40 vehicles that GM is building under the DOE program. The company will also introduce their own fleets in California and the Detroit metro area, and expand the current Washington D.C. fleet, which includes six HydroGen3 vehicles. In addition to the New York station, Shell will provide two hydrogen refueling stations in California, and build one station somewhere between New York and Washington D.C. as part of the DOE program. These stations will be the foundation for an East Coast Corridor of a hydrogen infrastructure. CEO of Shell Hydrogen Jeremy Bentham said, “The only way the hydrogen economy will be realized is having not only fuel cell vehicles, but also convenient places to refuel and local communities that will support this transition to a new energy source. We’re proud to be leading this effort in partnership with GM and applaud the state of New York for its efforts toward creating a sustainable future for all.” The New York fleet will be powered by GM’s fuel cell technology, which was developed at its facility in Honoeye Falls, New York. This is the same fuel cell power module used in the Sequel concept vehicle, which was unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in January. The system design is simpler and smaller than previous-generation designs, and delivers 25 percent more power and enhanced durability according to the company. Fuel cells and hydrogen represent today’s technology “moon shot,” Burns said, and the auto and energy industries must collaborate with government to make the hydrogen future real. “If we all work together to quickly realize the many benefits that hydrogen offers,” he said, “we can create a sustainable future that builds on the freedom, pride, and excitement that our cars and trucks provide.”