|To: pennyangel who wrote (60)||11/11/2001 6:58:08 PM|
|Here is a fuel cell company, selling working units to the US Air Force:|
Thursday November 8, 12:01 am Eastern Time
SOURCE: DCH Technology, Inc.
DCH Fuel Cells to Provide Power to Brooks Air Force Base
VALENCIA, Calif., Nov. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- DCH Technology, Inc. (Amex: DCH - news), a manufacturer of hydrogen-specific sensors, hydrogen fuel cells and provider of hydrogen safety services, announced the award of a contract for three DCH Enable(TM) 3 kW fuel cells and support services by the Southwest Research Institute(TM) (SWRI(TM)). The fuel cells will be used to power housing units at the Brooks U.S. Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. The award is part of a program by the United States Army Corps of Engineers Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL) to demonstrate hydrogen-generated electric power for military use.
The three fuel cells will be delivered by October 2002 and the demonstration period is one year.
The three PEM (proton exchange membrane) fuel cells will be integrated with reformers -- allowing the systems to be fueled by natural gas -- developed by UOP LLC, a leading supplier of reformer technology to the fuel cell industry. The fuel cells will also be grid connected.
``This award will help us further demonstrate the performance of our fuel cell technology to the U.S. Army,'' said DCH President and Chief Executive Officer John Donohue.
``The primary objective of the project is to install, operate, maintain, monitor, and report data on the fuel cells to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,'' said Alan Montemayor, project manager for SWRI. ``But there are many important secondary objectives, including familiarizing Brooks personnel and other military installations in the San Antonio area with fuel cell technology.''
SWRI said that the City Public Service of San Antonio is a partner in the demonstration and plans to provide installation, interconnect, and code compliance assistance in the project. City Public Service plans to gain practical experience in the installation and operation of fuel cells and use that knowledge to determine how fuel cells and distributed generation could benefit their customers.
St. Philip's College, located in San Antonio, is also participating in the project and plans to have students and/or faculty are part of maintenance and operator training and possibly data taking activities during the one-year demonstration.
UOP LLC, headquartered in Des Plaines, Illinois, USA, is a leading international supplier and licensor of process technology, catalysts, adsorbents, process plants, and technical services to the petroleum refining, petrochemical, and gas processing industries.
For information on the fuel cells, contact Dennis Reid at DCH at 1-661-775-8120. For more information on the project, contact Mr. Joe Redfield, SWRI Group Leader for Fuel Cell Systems, at 1-210-522-3729.
Safe Harbor: This press release includes statements that are considered ``forward-looking'' within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements reflect DCH Technology's current views about future events and performance. Investors should not rely on these statements because they are subject to a variety of risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations. These factors include, but are not limited to, the cost of development and market acceptance of DCH's sensor-based systems and fuel cells, competition, the cost and availability of materials, governmental regulations, and other factors detailed in DCH Technology's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
SOURCE: DCH Technology, Inc.
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|To: 993racer who started this subject||1/9/2002 9:13:46 AM|
|A look @ the GM AUTOnomy Concept Vehicle click on the car.|
DETROIT (Jan. 7, 2002) — AUTOnomy, a futuristic General Motors Corp. concept vehicle, so profoundly changes the automotive industry that GM is seeking 24 patents covering business models, technologies and manufacturing processes related to the concept.
"AUTOnomy is more than just a hot new concept car, it's the beginning of a revolution in how automobiles are designed, built and used," said Larry Burns, GM's Vice President of Research and Development and Planning. "If our vision of the future is correct — and we think it is — vehicles such as AUTOnomy will ultimately reinvent the automobile and our entire industry."
This new technology may well transform the entire customer experience — from the way the vehicle is driven, to the body (or bodies) the customer chooses to mount on the chassis. Such flexibility allows the vehicle to adapt to changing lifestyles and needs around the world, at an affordable price.
Inherent in the AUTOnomy concept — the world's first vehicle designed completely around a fuel cell propulsion system — are the seeds of a profoundly different automotive enterprise. Indeed, AUTOnomy is as much a cutting-edge business idea as it is an imaginative vehicle concept.
AUTOnomy's flexible design and technological advances offer the promise of more affordable fuel cell vehicles, and the fuel itself — hydrogen — is the most abundant element in the universe. So, how will the transition to hydrogen-fed vehicles occur?
For starters, AUTOnomy could help simplify the manufacturing process with sophisticated modular assembly and accelerated vehicle development. This would be accomplished, in part, by decoupling the body and chassis in the manufacturing process.
Millions of chassis — which GM calls "skateboards" — could be manufactured to achieve economies of scale, reducing the cost of the fuel cell system. Small satellite assembly plants could make unique bodies for both emerging and established markets. These plants could operate profitably and at niche volumes — an automotive oxymoron today.
"A flexible architecture, such as the AUTOnomy's, obviously offers many advantages to our customers," Burns said. "But it also would help shorten production time and be more responsive to global market needs."
The modularity would improve quality. Warranty costs could conceivably go down. Planning could become easier.
Take powertrains, for example. Typically, to amortize the heavy investment costs, companies can't afford to update engine designs, sometimes for as long as 20 years. Companies get locked into a certain mix of four-, six- and eight-cylinder engines. It's difficult to be flexible and yet meet regulatory and market demands. In contrast, fuel cells are, in simplest terms, a stack of plates.
"If you need to double the kilowatt output, you double the number of plates in the stack," Burns explained. "It's very easy to scale up or down."
The skateboard would also afford GM maximum flexibility. It could likely only vary in length — short, medium and long. Issues of safety, stiffness and ride-and-handling would not have to be re-engineered to accommodate different body types.
"You could envision a body docking onto this drivable skateboard and the interface is just a software interface, much like a laptop docks into a docking station," Burns said. "So you could steer by wire, brake by wire, or control your ride and handling by wire."
Furthermore, the feeling of the vehicle's steering, chassis and brakes, controlled simply through software, could make each GM brand even more distinctive, Burns said, "making a Chevy a Chevy, a Buick a Buick and a Cadillac a Cadillac."
The AUTOnomy concept also provides tremendous freedom from mechanical components and interfaces and the limitations those components place on a product's design.
"You don't have to design around exhaust, steering and braking systems with their associated mechanical linkages for braking systems," Burns said." Because you can handle all of this by wire, it allows you to lengthen or widen the chassis-'skateboard' without having to worry about lengthening all these mechanical couplings. That's where the cost savings and development speed would come into play, helping make fuel cell electric vehicles potentially affordable."
AUTOnomy, with its hydrogen-fed fuel cell, may be especially attractive in less developed nations, where the extensive gasoline infrastructure has not yet been built. Emerging markets might be able to launch directly into a hydrogen economy, much as China's telecommunications system went directly to wireless telephones, skipping traditional land line-type systems altogether. By generating hydrogen from the natural gas used to heat a home, a person's dwelling might become the equivalent of today's gas station. Conversely, vehicles could be used to provide standby or backup power to homes or businesses.
Customer subscription services could be delivered to the vehicle via satellite, such as mobile diagnostics and software upgrades, hands-free communication, digital radio, navigation services and other features that haven't even been imagined. Car loans might be extended from six years to 20 years, Burns added.
"Clearly, this is an experimental idea," he said. "This is a global vision because GM and its alliance partners have an unparalleled ability to design and build vehicles all over the world."
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|To: D.Austin who wrote (63)||1/9/2002 9:19:45 AM|
|AUTOnomy Concept Allows Designers to Think Outside the Box|
DETROIT (Jan. 7, 2002) — Starting now, vehicle design is officially wide open.
Click on image for a larger view
All the working parts of General Motors' AUTOnomy concept vehicle are sandwiched in the skateboard-like chassis, and the application of a new technology eliminates foot pedals, the instrument panel and the steering column. Now, the driver can sit anywhere in the vehicle.
"The fusion of fuel cells and x-by-wire technology, which replaces mechanical systems with electronic ones, opens the door to tremendous styling and design opportunities," said Wayne Cherry, GM's Vice President of Design. "It's design freedom without constraints."
By themselves, fuel cells aren't a new story. But every fuel cell vehicle shown so far has attempted to stuff the fuel cell stack, hydrogen storage unit and electric motors into the existing internal combustion architecture, often at the expense of passenger space and payload capacity.
That design goes back to the earliest days of the internal combustion engine. The cylinders needed to be together in one or two compact rows to share camshafts and other components. The engine needed to be positioned so that it had access to an abundant supply of fresh, cool air, which almost always meant the front box. And the driver needed to be able to see over it.
"But a fuel cell stack can be spread around the vehicle and can take any shape you might imagine," said Christopher Borroni-Bird, head of GM's new Design and Technology Fusion Group and program manager of the AUTOnomy concept. "It doesn't have to be bunched up like the cylinders of an internal combustion engine."
Inside the vehicle, a driver doesn't have to be seated within a comfortable reach of the pedals, because there aren't any. A hand-operated steering guide replaces the traditional foot pedals, instrument panel and steering column, modeling, in some ways, how planes, motorcycles and snowmobiles operate. Everything the driver needs is incorporated into an adjustable steering guide called the X-drive.
"Instead of a steering column, the steering guide might be mounted on a swivel arm that affixes to the floor in the center of the vehicle," Cherry explained. "It kind of reminds me of how airplane engineers package those small video monitors in the armrest of the seat. They fold out in front of you, but they are stored in the armrest."
For instance, a driver could sit in a center driving position when driving alone, and move to accommodate passengers. Or a European driver could switch from left-drive to right-drive after crossing the Chunnel from France into England.
The new architecture also enables enhanced safety. For example, seat placement can improve side-impact protection and the instrument panel can be replaced with a bulkhead optimized for crash protection. The GM "skateboard" creates an unusually low center of gravity, without sacrificing ground clearance. This allows for superior handling, while resisting rollover forces, even with the tallest body attached. In the event of a crash, the stiff skateboard would absorb most of the crash forces, helping to prevent passenger compartment intrusion that can occur with today's internal combustion engines, steering columns and foot pedals.
On the exterior, designers can make any variety of bodies for this vehicle, from a one-seat commuter to a seven-seat minivan and everything in between. In India, it might be an open-sided, 10-passenger jitney.
In China, it might be a stake truck for hauling livestock. Customers also would have the ability to change bodies, as their needs change over the 20-year life expectancy of a chassis - even if their needs change on a weekly basis.
The GM AUTOnomy concept, revealed at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, is a sleek and futuristic two-seat roadster, inspired by motorcycle and fighter jet design.
Cherry and his design staff have been dreaming for years of revisiting a big vision statement, in the vein of GM's renowned Firebird series of the 1950s, which was inspired by the post-war aviation boom. Firebird I, II and III had long fuselages, cockpits and wings and were powered by gas turbine engines.
"When we were first presented with the power of this idea," Cherry said, "it was so exhilarating and liberating. Imagine having no constraints, the freedom to do any shape you want. Then, for a time, our designers had the artistic equivalent of writer's block. We had always worked with some boundaries. Eventually, we got past that."
The creative process was exhausting and, at times, ambiguous, and yet exhilarating, and Cherry is happy his team went through that.
"When you get that kind of creative tension, you get a wealth of ideas," Cherry added. "Remember, this is just the first iteration. There are a number of body styles to create in the future."
While the skateboard, or chassis, might be common, the body styles would be even more unique, leading to even further brand differentiation.
Brand character can be tailored not only by the body's shape, but also by the software that determines driving characteristics, such as braking, cornering and acceleration.
AUTOnomy runs on a fuel cell adapted from GM's existing HydroGen III fuel cell system. The whole package fits within a 6-inch chassis, a dimension that will ultimately be determined by the state of hydrogen storage technology. A single docking connection, or port, on the chassis provides a quick and convenient way to hook up the body's power, control, heating and cooling systems.
"When fuel cells and drive-by-wire are combined, it enables us to build and design new kinds of vehicles," Cherry said. "Until now, these technologies have been demonstrated as if they were an end in themselves.
But we look at this technology as enabling great design. "In the end, people are passionate about their cars and trucks and the potential of AUTOnomy ought to quicken their pulse. I believe we are beginning an exciting, new chapter in automotive design."
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