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ECOtality and JPL Report Improvements in On-Board Hydrogen Generation System

ECOtality and Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) have reported improved performance in the current version of ECOtality’s Hydratus technology. (Earlier post.)

Hydratus is a portable apparatus that produces hydrogen on-demand from magnesium and  water, and operates in conjunction with existing hydrogen fuel cell technology. The project partners refer to the current Hydratus system as Phase II.

JPL reports that hydrogen storage capacity in a laboratory unit, based on fuel alone, has increased from 4.7% to between 8 and 9%; the storage capacity is dependent on the mode of operation. This is expected to exceed the Department of Energy’s (DOE) 2010 goal of 6% hydrogen storage by weight for an entire system including tanks and plumbing.

Other results from the Phase II work reported by JPL include:

  • A drop in operating temperature of the modified Hydratus of 300-400° C will allow the use of less expensive materials in system construction.

  • The amount of heat generated by the modified Hydratus has decreased significantly by approximately 80%. This should result in reduced system complexity, in terms of cost and size.

  • Regeneration efficiency increased by approximately 400%.

Based on these developments, ECOtality and JPL intend to develop a 7kW prototype to power various commercial applications in addition to the design and testing of a 65kW  system, suitable for a bus application that the company previously announced.

ECOtality believes JPL’s breakthroughs support the commercial viability of the Hydratus and we are moving forward more aggressively with this new technology. The ECOtality technology team has agreed to focus their effort on the Phase II system, and the company anticipates this technology will be implemented in a proof of concept vehicle in the second half of 2007.

—Jonathan Read CEO, ECOtality


Daniel Lafontaine

Why dont you make an hydratus non-mobile and this way it should be able to make it cheaper. Use the hydratus as the basis of a hydrogen station like in the same mode as the gasoline station.

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