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The Hard Cell

GM rolls out new "platform innovation": hydrogen fuel-cell generators

Hydrogen fuel-cell technology, spotlighted last year in the September issue of Electrical Apparatus via our enlightening visit to the Hydrogen House in rural New Jersey, is proving to be more than just a niche idea. General Motors reinforced this notion January 19 when it announced new commercial applications of its hydrogen fuel-cell platform, called "Hydrotec".

"HYDROTEC projects, which are currently in development, from heavy-duty trucks to aerospace and locomotives, are being planned for use beyond vehicles for power generation,: the Detroit-based automotive giant said in the statement. "GM is planning multiple HYDROTEC-based power generators, all powered by GM’s Generation 2 HYDROTEC fuel cell power cubes." These include:

  • A Mobile Power Generator (MPG) to provide fast-charge capability for EVs without installing permanent charge points

  • The EMPOWER rapid charger to help retail fuel stations add affordable DC fast charging without expanding the grid

  • A palletized MPG to quietly and efficiently power military camps and installations

These fuel cell generators could ultimately replace gas- and diesel-burning generators with fewer emissions at worksites, buildings, movie sets, data centers, outdoor concerts and festivals.

They could also back up or temporarily replace grid-sourced electricity for residential and small commercial enterprises at times of power disruption. The equipment features zero-emissions electric power generation output ranging from 60 kilowatts to 600 kilowatts, along with low noise and heat signatures in comparison to their diesel counterparts.

“Our vision of an all-electric future is broader than just passenger vehicles or even transportation," said Charlie Freese, GM executive director of the global HYDROTEC business. “Our energy platform expertise with Ultium vehicle architectures and propulsion components and HYDROTEC fuel cells can expand access to energy across many different industries and users, while helping to reduce emissions often associated with power generation.”

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