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GM Demonstrates Gasoline Fuel Cell Vehicle

May 2, 2002

On Wednesday, May 1, General Motors Corp. demonstrated what it believes is the world’s first drivable fuel cell vehicle that extracts hydrogen from gasoline to produce electricity. The demonstration of the fuel cell-powered Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck took place on a road course in this community south of Rochester. “This vehicle and the reforming technology in it move us closer to a hydrogen economy,” said Larry Burns, GM vice president of research and development and planning. However, the technology is not expected to be widely available until the end of the decade Fuel cells use a chemical reaction between oxygen and hydrogen to produce electric power. When pure hydrogen is used the only tailpipe emission is harmless water vapor. The S-10 pickup being demonstrated was equipped with a fuel processor that reforms low sulfur gasoline though a series of chemical reactions. Gasoline-fed fuel cells are viewed as a transitional technology as automakers, suppliers and researchers work on fuel cell vehicles that will run on pure hydrogen. GM says the reformer technology installed on the S-10 could cut carbon dioxide emissions by 50 percent, and permit the vehicle to travel for up to 40 miles per gallon of fuel. The automaker claims all regulated emissions would be nearly eliminated except for trace amounts of carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons. There would be no oxides of nitrogen.
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