30 November 2004 18:08 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (CNI)--Dow Chemical and General Motors (GM) announced they have launched the second phase of the world's largest industrial fuel cell programme to prove the viability of hydrogen fuel cells for motor vehicles and possibly for distributed power generation.
While generating real-world data to enable further development of the technology, the fuel cells will also supply up to one megawatt of energy for use in Dow's ?xml:namespace>
The joint Dow-GM project has expanded from a single GM test cell, installed in February, to a multi-cell pilot plant at Dow's Freeport,
"In the first phase of this project, we collectively learned a lot about generating power from byproduct hydrogen via fuel cell technology, and now we're ready to build on what we've learned," said Gordon Slack, Dow's global business director for energy and climate change. "It represents another step in the search for cost effective fuel alternatives, with the potential to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions."
Dow said during the second phase, the fuel cell pilot plant will be plugged into Dow's chemical and plastics production facility via its power distribution grid and Dow's hydrogen clean-up and pipeline system.?xml:namespace>
Phase II objectives include building on information gained from Phase I and demonstrating fuel cell reliability.
The generation of one megawatt of energy during Phase II will supply only 1% of Dow’s
"The biggest benefit for GM is learning to work with real-world hydrogen that has some impurities in it, and not the pure hydrogen you get in a lab setting," said Timothy Vail, GM's director of business development for fuel cell activities. "Not only can we test the effects of hydrogen purity, we can also test different generations of fuel cells, all in a controlled setting. We learn about durability and reliability. GM is excited about the progress of the Dow installation. Moving from the test stage to the pilot stage represents a big leap forward in system design."
If Phase II proves successful, the project will proceed to Phase III large-scale commercialization by 2007. Ultimately, Dow and GM could install up to 400 fuel cells at Dow facilities to generate 35 megawatts of electricity, equivalent to the amount of power needed for 25 000 average sized American homes.
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