Fuel cell technologies and the use of hydrogen as a transportation fuel are becoming more visible as automotive manufacturers move these concepts closer to market.
But while these fuel cell technologies are proven and effective, there are still challenges in deploying them, particularly in terms of reducing cost and increasing durability. NREL's long-term durability testing for FCEVs will provide important data toward solutions to these two interrelated challenges.
Another significant issue with deploying these technologies is the need to develop infrastructure around hydrogen production, delivery, and fueling stations.
"We need a lot of infrastructure in place for FCEVs to have widespread consumer acceptance," Wipke said. "Most hydrogen fueling stations use delivered hydrogen instead of on-site production. That is the most economical pathway right now, but with our capabilities here at NREL we are able to fully explore the opportunities for on-site production."
Despite the challenges, Wipke sees a strong future for the FCEV technology.
"Most automakers are committing to get to market with these vehicles before this decade is out. That is encouraging," Wipke said. "The biggest reasons that they are so excited about this option for the future is that range and refueling time are not a concern compared to other new transportation technologies. This makes it a potentially very consumer-friendly transportation technology, one that will function much like what drivers use today."
"It's an exciting opportunity to help move these technologies forward, and we're pleased to have an important role here at NREL."
|Contact: David Glickson|
DOE/National Renewable Energy Laboratory