Plugged In of Off the Grid – Fuel Cell Production Gains Momentum

On April 9th, Honda’s FCX Clarity was officially named the 2009 World Green Car at the New York International Auto Show. With so many possibilities for future fuels, how is the FCX named “most likely to succeed” in zero-emmisions transportation? In the category of electric-powered vehicles, it’s full-steam ahead on hydrogen.

Honda has also officially began construction of a new plant dedicated to the lithium-ion battery, in a joint venture with GS Yuasa called Blue Energy Co., Ltd. This battery, currently in use for the FCX, will be used in future Honda hybrids. Which pretty much puts an end to any advancement from Honda in full-battery or plug-in technology. Funding is going the way of hydrogen too. On April 15th, the Department of Energy announced $41.9 million of Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will go toward supporting the development and commercialization of fuel cells.

We’re finally reaching that part in the scientific process when results make for decisions. It’s safe to guess that the decision to pour money and R&D into fuel cells wasn’t a coin toss. What are the benefits? Is the valid to say that most people drive more than a plug-in would conveniently allow? The most obvious answer is that fuel cell systems can operate on multiple fuels. Of course, the new Blue Energy plant will burn fossil fuels to produce its batteries. The question is: will fuel cells be the predominant future fuel in production?



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