DaimlerChrysler, BP to Partner with Department of Energy to Bring Hydrogen-Powered Cars to US Highways
DaimlerChrysler and BP plc announced on April 27 that they will collaborate with the U.S. Department of Energy and other organizations to field-test fuel cell vehicles in the United States beginning this year. The vehicle test program is part of a five-year "Controlled Hydrogen Fleet and Infrastructure Demonstration and Validation Project," funded in part by the U.S. Department of Energy. The project is designed to gain real-world experience with fuel cell vehicles, to address related issues such as fuels and fueling infrastructure, and to educate the public about this developing technology. DaimlerChrysler has proposed to supply their fuel cell vehicles to fleets in certain US markets. BP proposes to provide the refueling infrastructure to support the fueling needs of those fleets. Fuel cell cars are electric vehicles that make their own electric power on board by combining hydrogen from a fuel source and oxygen from the air along a special membrane called a PEM (proton exchange membrane). Fuel cells are significantly more efficient than combustion engines, and the only exhaust produced is water. In addition to DaimlerChrysler, BP, and the Department of Energy, other participants include:DTE Energy Ventures, the Detroit-based energy technology company, which will supply hydrogen fuel. The California Fuel Cell Partnership, a fuel cell consortium based near Sacramento, and NextEnergy, the Detroit-based alternative energy education and research organization. Academic institutions, including the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor; Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan; Lansing Community College; three branches of the University of California (Berkeley, Los Angeles, and Riverside); and SRI International.