By Bridge News General Motors Corp. and ExxonMobil Corp. on Aug. 10 announced the development of a more efficient gasoline fuel processor to power fuel cell vehicles. The companies said they plan to have a test vehicle operating with the new power system within the next 18 months. "We are very pleased to announce that we have developed a gasoline processor that exceeds 80% efficiency," Lawrence Burns, vice president of GM's research and development operations, told attendees at the University of Michigan's annual auto conference. "We intend to integrate an advanced version of this new processor with a fuel cell stack in a 25-kilowatt output system. And we will test the system in a fuel cell vehicle within 18 months." The fuel cell system will be powered by hydrogen, which will be extracted directly from gasoline through an on-board stack, resulting in a significant reduction in vehicle emissions. "This is a significant milestone in demonstrating the feasibility of gasoline-based fuel cells," he said. "We've addressed an important challenge and accomplished what others thought wasn't possible." While both GM and ExxonMobil believe pure hydrogen fuel is the ultimate goal for powering fuel cells in the future, today's gasoline infrastructure makes it economically challenging to make the investment in switching from traditional gasoline pumps to hydrogen fuel dispensers.