GM targets hydrogen-powered generators in expansion of fuel cell business

20th January, 2022.      //   Technology  // 
Logo of GM atop the company headquarters

Logo of GM atop the company headquarters

GM plans to expand its hydrogen fuel cell business beyond vehicles by delivering hydrogen-powered generators for use in construction sites, music festivals, data centers, and the military, according to a statement released by GM on Wednesday. According to GM executives, expanding the use of hydrogen fuel cells will allow the company to leverage and scale existing hydrogen investments as well as improve the technology. On a call with journalists, Charlie Freese, executive director of GM’s Hydrotec business, said, “Think of situations where you don’t have a permanent installation for power generation, but you need clean power sources.”

Although the company did not indicate how much money it expected from the new business, it did suggest that the generators would be available and priced at a later date. In Brownstown, Michigan, GM’s joint venture with Honda will build the hydrogen fuel-cell systems. The generators will be built by Renewable Innovations, a company located in Utah, and production is expected to begin next year, according to GM executives. The automaker previously announced hydrogen fuel cell collaborations with truck manufacturer Navistar International Corp, locomotive developer Wabtec Corp, and aerospace equipment manufacturer Liebherr Aerospace as part of its Hydrotec business.

Companies and governments have marketed hydrogen as a solution to reduce carbon emissions by transferring energy through water to divide the element from oxygen. However, “gray hydrogen,” which is produced by electrolyzers driven by natural gas or other fossil fuels, is four times more expensive than “green hydrogen,” which is created from renewable energy sources.

GM’s goal, according to Freese, was to boost the use of green hydrogen in the hopes of lowering costs. Moreover, he said, the company was aiming to collaborate with infrastructure providers to deploy more hydrogen production systems on a local level and eliminate the need for expensive hydrogen shipping.

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