Bottom line is that the H2 fuel still has to be produced and stored. So how are we going to produce it? Probably with coal fired electricity plants. Perhaps with nuclear if we can get over the political hurdles...There is no significant hydrogen distribution available. This will require major infrastructure. To me, it makes no sense. Electric (ie batteries and/or capacitors) is the way to go once petroleum becomes cost prohibitive.
I have been a fan of H2 for a long time. We'll find a way. I have had some fun with Browns Gas H2O2, and for you folks with some project time..you may find some fun in increasing your vehicle mileage with H2O2
Good article and it shows there is invention in the universities. How we get that up to the market is a nice step. But this is a good one that summarizes what is happening in this area. But how the energy is stored is important. That will determine the marketing potentials.
This technology solves a huge problem. These vehicles will have to operate on roadways where they will be subjected to CO emissions from the other vehicles. Being able to operate in this environment is a huge step forward.
This article nicely summarize the progresses in the field of the fuel cell. However, i am missing critical analysis and comparison between the fuel cell based energy storage and other competitive technologies. I hope to find another article or extension of this article, which would give more insight in the energy storage technologies. Has such article been published before?
The progress on CO poisoning described here applies more so to stationary PEM fuel cells. Automotive developers have long given up on internal reforming methods for H2 production/storage.
This work allows for the purification step in Hydrogen production process, typically preferential oxidation or pressure swing adsorption to be replaced with a smaller less expensive process unit to reduce CO down to less than 2% (like Methanation). Even without the need for a purification step, internal reforming is too challenging for on board Hydrogen production.
An economic fuel cell would be useful in many applications. But assuming that CO poisoning is taken care of, we're back to the usual questions: what does it cost for the energy density you can attain? And since H2 is the fuel, how do you plan to store it. There have been almost as many schemes for storing H2 as there have been for all sorts of other electrical and mechanical energy storage devices. Even if you couldn't use this particular design in a car, because of cost or H2 storage issues, there are still places where a fuel cell would be a good choice, and that's not just on the Space Shuttle.
Fuel cells have great commercial promise, but have been plagued by engineering shortfalls during implementation, not least of which is the "poisoning" problem that Cornell claims to have solved. I asked General Motors recently if fuel cells were dead--since their Chevy Volt abandoned them--and GM said absolutely not, but they estimated five years to perfect them, which is the same thing they said five years ago! With the advances being made in lithium-air batteries and other energy storage technologies, fuel cell developers need to act faster or be left behind.
Regarding Bloom Box, check out this cool video explanation of the solid-oxide fuel cell approach it uses: http://bit.ly/NextGenLog-BloomBox
-- RColinJohnson @NextGenLog
Nice Illustration. Fuel cells have promised and deceived time and again. Hope the researchers are able to resolve the reliability/safety/commercial issues. By the way, how about a similar illustration for the Bloom Box? Please run a report on that too..