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GM wants to use hydrogen fuel cells in portable electric generators

Car manufacturers have been following the dream of hydrogen fuel vehicles for years – who would not want a car that runs on renewable hydrogen and emits water vapor? But many of the challenges, ranging from building vehicles that can easily transport fuel, to establishing reliable hydrogen components, have made it difficult to turn the dream into a reality. But what if you used the fuel cells to set up a remote EV laundry facility, or to replace a conventional gas or diesel generator in a large camp? This is what GM is planning to do with its HYDROTEC oil technology, the the company was announced today.


GM’s Mobile Power Generators, or MPGs, are self-explanatory: they allow you to bring more electricity anywhere without burning fuel, or expanding your local power grid. It can be useful in concerts, movie theaters, or areas where you often lose energy. (In my hometown of Atlanta, almost everyone has a gas generator to deal with storm surges.)

Advertising also makes sense for GM, as it already brings its oil expertise cars, aerospace and friends rail. The company says MPGs can spill 60 to 600 kilowatts without producing too much noise or heat.

GM is planning to showcase MPG-produced EV power plants by 2022, a project funded by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the US Army. In addition, the California Energy Commission is examining how MPGs can contribute to power outages. GM is also working with Renewable Innovations to develop a faster EMPOWER scanner, which can quickly send EV charging to existing stations without the need for major infrastructure repairs. Taking things in stride, there is a massive implementation of the MPG that can strengthen large-scale military bases and heavy weapons. (And as a bonus, those camps can use the water that the MPG produces.)

While it will be many years before MPGs can be shipped, it is interesting to see GM looking for fuel cell jobs outside of cars. Battery-powered EVs have changed so fast that hydrogen-powered vehicles have no great future (sorry, Toyota). Then it is time to start thinking about other ways that fat cells can help.

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