Thursday newsbriefs

August 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

A pioneering hydrogen refuelling station has opened this week in Orange County, California. The Fountain Valley facility not only allows drivers of the Honda FCX Clarity, Hyundai iX35 FCEV and other fuel cell prototypes to fill up, it’s part of a biogas project which also generates electricity and heat. The hydrogen is generated by the municipal wastewater treatment plant at the Orange County Sanitation District. Let’s not mince words – this is basically poo power. Methane gas builds up as the “wastewater” sits in holding tanks, then is purified and fed into a fuel cell, where it is reformed to hydrogen; electricity is generated as a by-product. The facility will produce enough hydrogen for 25-50 vehicle refuellings a day, and generate 250kW daily. More, including video to explain the process, in the press release from the hydrogen supplier Air Products.

In other news today:

  • Vauxhall/Opel is finally to launch a city car to rival the likes of the Fiat 500/Ford Ka, reports Autocar. The ‘Junior’ will be a Mini-length three-door hatch based on the Agila/Corsa platform; it could be previewed at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month. Three-cylinder petrol and diesel models first, but an electric version’s said to be scheduled for 2015.
  • Cadillac has confirmed that the Chevy Volt-based Converj 2+2 coupe will go into production. It’ll take the name ELR.
  • Video story at Wall Street Daily about electric taxis in Hangzhou, near Shanghai: one driver’s having to take customers along to the quick-charge station, but he’s otherwise “optimistic”.
  • Hyundai is to lead a South Korean consortium to develop a midsize EV and improve battery technology. The new government-funded programme is to accelerate production of a car with a 200km-plus range. South Korea intends to become a top-three manufacturing nation for EVs (AFP).
  • EV charging concept of the day: “up-converting” energy from power lines into radio frequency, transmitted between metal plates from a road surface to the car. More on this Japanese proposal at Green Car Congress.
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