News Column

GM, Army Collaborate on Fuel Cells

September 30, 2013

Staff Reports --

army driver
Army vehicle operator (photo: TARDEC)

General Motors and the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development & Engineering Center (TARDEC) are expanding their collaboration in the development of hydrogen fuel cell technology, according to a news release.

Fuel cell technology has the potential to solve two major challenges posed by gas-powered vehicles -- petroleum use and carbon dioxide emissions. Fuel cell vehicles operate on renewable hydrogen that can be derived from renewable sources like wind and biomass. The only emission from fuel cell vehicles is water vapor.

The technology's possible military applications range from ground vehicles to mobile generators.

Through a new cooperative research and development agreement, GM and TARDEC will jointly test new hydrogen fuel cell-related materials and designs to evaluate their performance and durability before assembling them into full-scale fuel cell propulsion systems.

The collaboration will allow GM and TARDEC to develop technology that meets both of their requirements and garners more tangible results than either could achieve on its own. The project is expected to last up to five years.

"We believe hydrogen fuel cell technology holds tremendous potential to one day help reduce our dependence on petroleum," Charlie Freese, executive director of GM's global fuel cell engineering activities, said in a statement.

This is the second fuel cell-related announcement GM has made this year. In July, GM and Honda announced a long-term, definitive master agreement to co-develop a next-generation fuel cell system and hydrogen storage technologies, with 2020 as a target date, according to the release.

GM ranked No. 1 in total fuel cell patents filed between 2002 and 2012, according to the Clean Energy Patent Growth Index. GM's Project Driveway program, launched in 2007, has accumulated nearly 3 million miles of real-world driving in a fleet of 119 hydrogen-powered vehicles, more than any other automaker, the release said.

GM is building a new Fuel Cell Development Laboratory in Pontiac, Mich., where most of the company's fuel cell development work will take place.

TARDEC and GM's respective fuel cell laboratories are about 20 miles apart, and GM and TARDEC engineers are developing extensive plans to share physical material and data between the locations.

TARDEC opened a new Fuel Cell Research Laboratory located in the recently opened Ground System Power and Energy Laboratory building in Warren, Mich.

"The Army continues to investigate technologies and partnerships that give the United States a decisive advantage," TARDEC Director Paul Rogers said in a statement. "Our relationships -- like this one with GM -- are maturing and accelerating technologies critical to the transportation and energy capabilities of the future."

TARDEC is evaluating GM fuel cell vehicles in a comprehensive demonstration in Hawaii as well.

For more information about GM, click HERE. For more information about TARDEC, click HERE.

For more coverage on the automotive industry, please see HispanicBusiness' Auto Channel

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