GM and Honda team up to create hydrogen fuel cells for ‘various products’

-Gudstory

GM and Honda team up to create hydrogen fuel cells for ‘various products’ -Gudstory

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General Motors and Honda announced that their joint venture company, FCSM, has begun production of hydrogen fuel cells that will eventually make their way into “various product applications.”

Hydrogen fuel cells use compressed hydrogen as their fuel, releasing water vapor as their only emission. Many automakers have recently seized on the technology for its advantages in the development of heavy-duty vehicles and mobile power generators – and as a way to move away from polluting gas-powered vehicles.

Hydrogen fuel cells use compressed hydrogen as their fuel, releasing water vapor as their only emission.

FCSM, whose full name is “Fuel Cell System Manufacturing”, was established in 2017 as a joint venture between GM and Honda. The two automakers have also collaborated on battery electric vehicles including the Honda Prologue, Acura ZDX and Cruze Origin.

FCSM’s 70,000-square-foot facility in Brownstown, Michigan was built with a joint investment of $83 million from GM and Honda. The companies call it “the first large-scale manufacturing joint venture to create a fuel cell.”

Hydrogen has had little success in the passenger car market. Honda was one of the only companies to sell a hydrogen-powered car – the Clarity – before it was discontinued in 2017. The problem arises from the almost complete absence of refueling infrastructure. Automakers are now focusing on work trucks and construction equipment, believing it will be easier to build hydrogen fueling stations for vehicles operating in limited areas.

The energy content of hydrogen is low relative to volume, making hydrogen storage a challenge as it requires high pressure, low temperatures, or chemical processes to compactly store it. Overcoming this challenge is important for light vehicles as they often have limited size and weight capacity for fuel storage.

The Biden administration recently proposed new tax guidelines aimed at making hydrogen cheaper to produce as a less polluting alternative to fossil fuels. The problem, however, is that most hydrogen is made with the help of fossil fuels, mostly through a process called steam methane reforming which produces carbon dioxide emissions. Methane is an even more potent greenhouse gas than CO2 and is regularly released along the supply chain from production to end use.

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