A year and a half after first announcing its intention to move in this direction, it is ready to begin.

General Motors first announced in January 2022 that it was working on a Hydrotec hydrogen fuel cell technology that would be used for commercial vehicle applications. The company has been developing this project since that time and is now ready to start equipping heavy-duty commercial vehicles such as trucks with the technology.

The company is now proceeding to the point that its Hydrotec is ready for implementation.

In a recent SAE report, GM Hydrotec and GM Defense Executive Director Charlie Freese explained that the hydrogen fuel cell technology is ready for implementation into commercial vehicles.

“Large vehicles and heavy payloads – that’s where replacing petroleum-fueled vehicles with hydrogen fuel cells works very well,” said Freese. “That’s where we plan to go moving forward.”

Freese spotlighted the Hydrotec Power Cube as the reason the tech is applicable for commercial vehicles as well as for stationary power. The Power Cube is a modular H2 fuel cell system composed of over 300 second-generation fuel cells. Their configuration ensures a compact module that is easily packaged. Moreover, its design is also appropriate for power- and thermal-management systems.

The new hydrogen fuel cell design is far less reliant on precious metals than comparable technology.

Among the features that help to make this design stand out is that it uses notably less of precious metals when compared to other more conventional designs. The Gen 0 design used about 80 grams of platinum. The Gen 1 reduced that figure to 30 grams. That said, the Gen 2 technology needs only 20 grams – one quarter of the Gen 0.

“Our process has been to optimize the way fuel cells operate,” said Freese, who also stated that the smaller dimensions of the module result in a “much more manufacturable design.”

The purpose of the modules

The idea for the Hydrotec hydrogen fuel cell technology application into commercial vehicles isn’t just a matter of overcoming packaging constraints. Dan Nicholson, Vice President of Global Electrification, Controls, Software, and Electronics at General Motors, explained that the company believes the tech is the way to go for heavier vehicles due to the nature of the use of that type of vehicle.

Extracted in full from: Commercial hydrogen fuel cell deployment, GM Motors is ready to start – H2 News (hydrogenfuelnews.com)