The Challenge of Hydrogen and Fuel Cells
Edited by Stefano Pogutz, Angeloantonio Russo and Paolo Migliavacca
Chapter 9: The Introduction of Fuel Cell Technologies in the Automotive Industry: State of the Art and Perspectives
Paul Nieuwenhuis INTRODUCTION The automobile is socially and physically the most difficult thing you can possibly do. Socially, because we have woven the conventional automobile into our style of living so completely that it is extremely difficult to get people to change their habits and expectations. But physically too; it is the smallest package and the most demanding. You’ve got to put that thing under the hood and leave room in the trunk for clothes and put six people in as well (Geoff Ballard, quoted in Koppel, 1999, p. 126). Nevertheless, people have long tried to put a fuel cell into a vehicle, although there was a hundred-year gap between the invention of the fuel cell by Welsh-born Sir William Grove in the 1830s and any attempt to use it. The impetus came from the US space program of the 1960s, yet by 1960 someone had already put an experimental fuel cell in an Allis-Chalmers tractor – probably the first wheeled vehicle so powered (Stein, 1966). The first fuel cell car was a Dutch Daf 44 estate converted in 1972 by Shell’s Thornton Research laboratory in the UK (Zea Bermudez and Alcácer, 1999). For a while not much happened to bring car and fuel cell together. The process needed the engineering approach brought to this essentially chemical laboratory technology by Ballard to make a fuel cell car once again worth considering (Koppel, 1999). Fuel cell vehicles (FCV) have come a long way. In the early 1990s, a panel van was...
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