Saturday, May 20, 2006

More Thoughts From GM on Hydrogen Fuel-Cell

In my post yesterday about ethanol, I had a comment with some infrastructure questions from Greg Simmons. Looking through my feeds this morning I see that GM's Larry Burns (Vice President, Research & Development and Planning) posted a response to one of his commenters in a main post. I think it addresses some of the same concerns Greg raised as well. Here is a response from Mr. Burns:
One “Anonymous” writer, however, questioned whether this vision would ever become reality. So allow me to comment on some of the mystery writer’s observations:

* Infrastructure: The writer declared that there was “no hydrogen gas distribution network…” and that building one would be “…slow and very expensive.” But a global hydrogen infrastructure already exists today that produces 50 million tons of hydrogen per year. That’s enough to fuel 200 million fuel-cell vehicles! And GM has calculated that it would cost between $10-15 billion to build an initial infrastructure of 12,000 hydrogen stations. Now, that’s real money, but it’s a fraction of what the global oil industry spends each year on the petroleum infrastructure, and we could build it over time. This initial infrastructure would place a hydrogen-fueling pump within two miles of 70 percent of the U.S. population and every 25 miles along the interstate highways connecting the nation’s 100 largest cities.

* Storage: Storage: Anonymous is also concerned about safely storing hydrogen gas under high pressure in tanks on cars. We share his concern. But we have achieved improvements in range and packaging in three different storage methods -- liquid, compressed-gas, and solid-state storage technologies. Our compressed-gas system is the first 700-bar (10,000 psi) hydrogen storage system, and we are now demonstrating its ability to achieve a driving range of 300 miles in Sequel.

Hopefully that helps address some of your issues Greg.

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