Hydrogen fuel cell technology, considered by many as the future of green cars, are receiving a huge advancement thanks to ACAL Energy. The Cheshire-based energy company claims to have created a hydrogen fuel cell that costs the same as a diesel or four-cylinder petrol engine to make.
Several major manufacturers have already committed to releasing fuel cell cars by 2015. Hyundai will produce 1,000 ix35s, making it the first company to mass produce hydrogen fuel cell cars. BMW, Nissan, Honda, GM, Ford, Renault and Toyota are expected to follow suit.
ACAL’s breakthrough changes the way the fuel stack (the integral part of fuel cell technology which converts hydrogen and oxygen into electricity and water) is constructed, by reducing 80 per cent of platinum required to build it. Instead, ACAL has replaced platinum with a liquid catalyst they call a ‘secret sauce’, patented as FlowCath. The benefits of ‘secret sauce’ are two-fold: not only will it reduce cost, it also improves the durability and longevity of fuel cells. ACAL’s revolutionary new process is expected to cut costs up to 30 per cent, based on production of 500,000 units. For car makers like Hyundai looking to mass produce hydrogen fuel cell cars, this could make or break the industry.
Chief executive officer of ACAL, Greg McCray, said they have received support from manufacturers looking to utilise the technology. “We are now at the commercialisation stage,” Mr McCray said. “We want to take it from the laboratory to the street, and will be signing up customers for development projects in the next six to 12 months”.
ACAL’s innovations will be licensed and then passed on to manufacturers so they can make the fuel cells themselves. Mr McCray said: “We don’t have the expertise to put one in a car. We can only do this in partnership with them. We will be selling the intellectual property, but they will have to come to us to buy the secret sauce”.
Until 2015 when the hydrogen fuel cell technology becomes available on the market, you can get the best of Hyundai design in the ix35 Diesel Estate for just £204.59 per month for business lease.
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