New Breakthroughs on Fuel Cells at General Motors

Researchers at the GM automaking company claim they lead the world in fuel cell stack power, as a result of its 76 kg system with a continuous power output of 134 horsepower and peak power output of 173 hp.

DETROIT, Michigan, US, 2001-11-22 [] GM says the new stack measures less than 3′ by 2′ by 6 inches and, by reducing the size and weight while improving power output, applications become more numerous, including use of the fuel cell in smaller vehicles and stationary units. They require less material to manufacture, bringing production costs down. The new fuel cell stack has cold start performance, achieving full power in 30 seconds at -4oF, but GM says its engineers are working to further improve cold weather capabilities after announcing a low temperature breakthrough last year. As well, GM is trying to meet its promise to have a working demonstration of fuel cell technology by early next year. Research vice president Larry Burns says the first gasoline fuel processor for fuel cell propulsion, the Gen III, has been put in a Chevrolet S-10 pickup to reform gasoline onboard, extracting a stream of hydrogen to send to the fuel cell stack for electric propulsion. Burns claims that GM intends to make gasoline-fed fuel cells an interim strategy until a hydrogen infrastructure is established. The company has unveiled a prototype stationary power unit capable of powering a house and running on natural gas, methane or gasoline. It incorporated the same fuel processor and stack technology used to convert gasoline into a high-quality stream of hydrogen that powers fuel cells. The unit is a 5 kW stack, but could be sized to accommodate businesses and homes.
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