Learn about Real World Testing Highlights Fuel Cell Technology.
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Mike Morris: With oil prices volatile and environmental concerns growing, many researchers like James Lee, at the Rochester Institute of Technology have been working on renewable, clean and viable energy sources to replace the fossil fuels we currently depend on. James Lee: There's only a limited supply of carbon fuels and there is an unlimited need in the world for energy. Mike Morris: Lee studies how hydrogen might someday replace gasoline in our vehicles with zero-emission fuel cells. Comparing the entire well-to-wheels journey of the two fuels, he analyzes their environment impacts. James Lee: In the petroleum based version every step produces greenhouse gasses, every step along the way. Mike Morris: And the well-to-wheels for hydrogen, Lee says, can be much less than the gas we put in our cars today. Many automakers are testing hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The largest real world test is called Project Driveway. Over a hundred Chevrolet Equinoxes are currently being used by real consumers to help the automaker understand what it will take to bring the vehicles to market. Unknown Speaker: The reason General Motors is so interested in Fuel Cell vehicles because they allow us to do a number of unique things that we don't get from other vehicles. The first is it allows us to run with zero petroleum, the vehicle uses hydrogen as a fuel. The second is we have zero emissions; so there is no emission from the vehicle, so we basically take the vehicle out of the environmental debate all together. And well-to-wheels perspective, we're really interested in using green hydrogen from the renewable source that's produced locally. While the exhaust is only water, when it comes out of a hydrogen powered vehicle like this Equinox, current hydrogen production has improvements to make. However our IT researchers have found that in places where hydroelectric power is used, like here at this Oxy Chemical plant near Niagara Falls, the well-to-wheels analysis shows an 85% reduction in green house gasses. I'm Mike Morris.