Fuel-cell technology could appear on the automotive market sooner than expected. Automakers are ramping up development of fuel cells for use in commercial applications in response to federal regulatory pressures and statewide initiatives calling for alternative fuels, according to Frost & Sullivan, a global growth consulting company.
"Fuel cells are likely to be initially targeted on fleet vehicles," says Vijay Shankar Murthy, senior research analyst for Frost & Sullivan. "Following the success of these cells in fleet vehicles, other vehicles such as passenger cars and trucks are expected to exhibit similar trends."
Cambridge, Mass.-based Nuvera Fuel Cells Inc. is expected to introduce fuel-cell technology in prototype vehicles by 2010, according to Frost & Sullivan research.
Last month, Delphi Corp. said it had completed phase one of the Department of Energy's solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) development program. Delphi is working with the DOE to bring SOFC to the market by 2011.
Fuel-cell technology is being developed to reduce the dependence on fossil fuels and the emission of greenhouse gases. Fuel cells draw their energy from electrochemical conversion, resulting in water and electrical energy as the only byproducts.