Fuel Cell Manufacturers
In the past, we've talked about How Hydrogen Cars Work and how fuel cells operate within them. We've also talked about how 17 major auto manufacturers are working on hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (HFCV) and most plan to have a production model by 2015. So cars running on H2 will be on the market very soon.
Which may cause you to ask the question: "so.. who is making the fuel cells these cars use?"
Hydrogen Fuel Cell Manufacturers
While some automakers are using in-house HFC development, most are doing so in conjunction with a fuel cell manufacturer and some are using the designs of HFC makers entirely.
There are nine major makers of fuel cells currently, but only four of them are targeting vehicles specifically.
Apollo Energy Systems
This company is based in Florida, USA and markets both fuel cell and electric propulsion systems for automotive applications. The company's history is long and they are credited with the Electrosport station wagon EV, built in the 1970s. The company is also credited with creating the world's first Electric Car Expressway between Detroit and Chicago. They are formerly known as the Electric Fuel Propulsion Corporation (or EFP).
They currently produce the alkaline fuel cell, which is specifically aimed towards land and sea craft, including cars, military vehicles, etc. and has been licensed to NASA for use in possible extra-terrestrial applications.
Ballard Power Systems
Based in British Columbia, Canada, this company was made into a corporation and went public in 1993 after graduating from a research-only outfit. They produced a full line of fuel cell packs, electric drive systems, etc. for the transportation market until 2007 when they re-focused on material handling systems instead (forklifts, pallet jacks, etc.).
A joint venture between DTE Energy and Mechanical Technology, Inc. this company was founded in 1997 and focuses on the material handling market of HFCVs. They are currently the world leader in these machines, producing solutions that replace defunct or below-standard battery systems with a hydrogen fuel cell replacement to meet OEM standards.
This retrofit has resulted in fast adoption of the fuel cell technology in the material handling industry.
This is the name most associated with automotive HFC technology. The company is based on Connecticut, USA and is a part of United Technologies. For half a century, the company has been producing fuel cells in every major technology group of the genre.
They are well known for their fuel cell contributions to the Apollo project at NASA in the 1960s and then for the space shuttles after that. Their fuel cells provided both electricity and clean drinking water (a nice byproduct of HFCs).
Currently, the company builds fuel cells for buses in its PureMotion line and for automobiles in conjunction with BMW, Hyundai, and Nissan.
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