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by Alex Gibson

General Motors is set to collaborate with the US Army in a joint development of hydrogen fuel cell technologies for use in future vehicles.

The agreement, which will see GM expand its existing collaboration with the US Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center, aims to develop a full-scale fuel cell propulsion system within the next five years through an idea and resource based sharing program.

If successful, GM says the collaboration would see it become a global industry leader in the development of petrol-free vehicles, while TARDEC would have access to efficient, environmentally friendly energy production methods capable of serving in military and civilian situations.

This is the second partnership GM has entered into this year for the purpose of developing hydrogen powered vehicles. In July GM announced it was partnering with Honda in a long-term agreement to co-develop a fuel cell system and hydrogen storage technologies by 2020.

Apart from these agreements, GM is also pursuing its own fuel cell program. The ‘Project Driveway’ program, launched in 2007, has developed and tested 119 hydrogen-powered vehicles in almost five million kilometres of road testing, and the American automotive giant is currently building an independent fuel cell development centre.

“Hydrogen fuel cell technology holds tremendous potential to one day help reduce our dependence on petroleum,” GM global fuel cell engineering activities executive director Charlie Freese said.

Fuel cell technology addresses two major challenges with conventionally powered cars today: the use of petrol, and carbon dioxide emissions. Fuel cell vehicles can operate on hydrogen, a renewable resource that can be made from sources like wind and biomass, and emit only water vapor.




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