This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

April 16, 2003

GM and BMW to Develop Liquid Hydrogen Fueling Technologies

General Motors Corporation (GM) and the BMW Group announced on April 9th that they will jointly develop the storage and handling technologies needed to deliver liquid hydrogen fuel at filling stations. The companies are focusing particularly on the coupling unit that connects the fuel pump to the vehicle for refueling. Their aim is to develop a standardized coupling unit that will allow all liquid-hydrogen-fueled vehicles to fill up at any liquid-hydrogen fueling station. According to GM, Germany is particularly of concern, since that country is expected to eventually feature a network of 10,000 hydrogen filling stations. The companies are inviting other automakers and suppliers to join the initiative. See the GM press release.

While U.S. companies have focused primarily on hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, BMW is concentrating instead on internal combustion engines fueled with hydrogen. The company has built a prototype that can run on either hydrogen or gasoline and plans to begin selling the vehicles before the end of this decade. See the BMW Web site.

Despite the GM and BMW interest in liquid hydrogen, the preferable technology for storing hydrogen is by no means certain—although many companies are developing compressed hydrogen technologies, researchers are also investigating metal hydrides or adsorption onto solid surfaces for hydrogen storage. See the Hydrogen Storage page on the EERE Hydrogen, Fuel Cells, and Infrastructure Technologies Program Web site.