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BMW, GM to Jointly Develop Liquid Hydrogen Refueling Technology

 

MUNICH, Germany and DETROIT, April 9 - General Motors Corp. and the 
BMW Group will jointly develop refueling devices for liquid hydrogen vehicles, and invite other 
carmakers and suppliers to join this initiative, the companies announced today.

    "We want to accelerate the progress being made on the distribution and on-board storage of liquid
 hydrogen as the future fuel," said Dr. Lawrence Burns, GM's vice president of Research and
 Development and Planning.  "Both compressed and liquid hydrogen hold promise to be used
 in hydrogen vehicles."

    The collaborative work will center around setting global standards, establishing specifications
 for suppliers and finding the best technical and cost effective solution, according to Christoph
 Huss, BMW's head of Science and Traffic Policy.

    "In the long term, we are expecting a nationwide network of 10,000 hydrogen filling stations
 in Germany," Huss said.  "Even today, however, we have to start working on a standard so that
 customers will not be confronted with various systems.  Standardizing the refueling coupler is a
 must. Liquid hydrogen provides the most convenient way in transporting hydrogen fuel before a 
hydrogen pipeline infrastructure is in place. By teaming together, we will help bring about the liquid
 hydrogen infrastructure faster."

    GM and BMW's goal is to have affordable and compelling hydrogen vehicles for sale by 2010
 and the companies need to concentrate on the storage and handling technology to achieve this goal.

    "BMW and GM want this refueling system -- with the coupler as a core component -- to become
 a global standard," Huss said.    "Hydrogen can be established as the fuel of the future faster if 
companies, such as BMW and GM, cooperate in the development and standardization of hydrogen
 and fuel cell technologies," said Dr. Udo Winter, chief engineer at GM Fuel Cell Activities.

     Part of the problem in the development of vehicles powered by alternative fuels is the almost
 overwhelming task of designing and maintaining the infrastructure necessary to support the use
 of such vehicles.  For the most part, countries with a large dependence on vehicle powered by fossil
 fuels have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the infrastructure already in place, from
 processing plants to gas stations.  Although almost all parties involved, from the major oil 
companies to the end-use consumer, agree that a reduction in dependence on fossil fuels is greatly
 desired, almost no one can agree on the exact method that reduction should take.  

     Collaborative efforts such as this one between GM and BMW are critical in the development
 of new technologies that will standardize the infrastructure necessary to provide this transition
 to alternative fuels.

 


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