Logan Renault Eco2 Concept Hits 71g CO2/km at Challenge Bibendum
Advanced Battery Technologies Develops New PLI Battery Technology

ExxonMobil and Partners to Commercialize On-Vehicle Hydrogen Fuel System for Lift Truck Application

Exxon Mobil Corporation is partnering with QuestAir Technologies, Plug Power Inc. and Ben Gurion University on plans to commercialize an on-vehicle hydrogen production system for use in a fuel cell-powered lift truck application.

Under the arrangements, Plug Power will seek to commercialize technologies developed by ExxonMobil, QuestAir Technologies and Ben Gurion University that take liquid fuels—gasoline, diesel, ethanol or biodiesel—and convert them into hydrogen onboard the vehicle where it will be used in a fuel cell power train.

The on-vehicle hydrogen fuel system comprises an advanced reformer developed by ExxonMobil and hydrogen separation using QuestAir Technologies’ Rapid Cycle Pressure Swing Adsorption system.

Sulfur is controlled by an ExxonMobil proprietary S-Trap developed in conjunction with Ben Gurion University. Plug Power will be responsible for integrating the fuel system with its GenDrive fuel cell power system for lift truck applications.

By developing a system that converts liquid hydrocarbons into hydrogen directly on a vehicle without the need for storage, we hope to demonstrate significant infrastructure, logistics and cost advantages compared to other hydrogen vehicle systems, all while reducing the impact on the environment.

There is a long road ahead before this technology could be deployed on a mass scale in passenger vehicles, but it has the potential to be up to 80% more fuel efficient than today's internal combustion engine technologies and reduce CO2 emissions by up to 45%. The use of this technology in a practical, commercial setting such as in a lift truck application is an important early step in demonstrating the potential benefits this technology may hold in the long-term.

—Dr. Emil Jacobs, Vice President of Research and Development at ExxonMobil Research and Engineering

The announcement of the partnership follows several years of work by ExxonMobil, QuestAir Technologies and Ben Gurion University to develop the individual components that make up the on-vehicle hydrogen fuel system. The system promises high efficiency, quick startup time, and reduced CO2 emissions compared to today’s vehicles.



Oh no, Exxon in the hydrogen business? Doesn't sound good.


The reformer “has the potential to be up to 80% more fuel efficient than today's internal combustion engine technologies and reduce CO2 emissions by up to 45%.” In other words, current ICE has an efficiency of about 20% and current fuel cells has an efficiency of about 60% as in Hondas FCX. The efficiency of the reformer is therefore also 60% so that the system efficiency (reformer plus fuel cell) is 0.6*0.6 = 36%. This is exactly 80% more fuel efficient than the ICE and it saves exactly (1.8*(1-0.45) = 1) 45% of the CO2 per driven mile.

I very much like this idea because it presumably is capable of running on all fuels and thereby it removes the possibly biggest obstacle to making fuel cell cars a commercial reality in the near term within (5-8 years).

They could have been a little more informative. What is the weight of such a reformer? Is it lighter than the solution with compressed hydrogen? Can it be produced for about the same costs as a compressed hydrogen tank? How durable is the reformer?

If it is smaller and lighter than the compressed hydrogen solution then it makes even more sense as a fuel cell range extender in a PHEV. I wish them good luck. It is certainly an assembly of serious companies so maybe good luck is not needed for this project to succeed.

Max Reid

Just around last year, Exxon said that there is enough Oil for the rest of this century and alternatives will fail.

How come they are jumping into Hydrogen, again they are supporting vehicle based reformer so that the current Petro-fuels (Gasolene/Diesel) will continue.

After Venezuela kicked them out, their Oil production is falling and want to get into something else.

Already the Fuel Cell costs a lot and on top of it, the reformer will cost atleast $ 10,000 and will be another futile effort. Thats what Exxon wants.

Meanwhile the natgas vehicle usage is growing rapidly.

Venezueala want to install CNG kit in every vehicle sold

Colombia has more than 215,000 CNG powered vehicles.

How many Hydrogen powered vehicles are there Worldwide ?
Answer : Less than 1000.


@Max Reid,

About 15 years ago I visited several Japanese customers while employed by a semiconductor company. Both top- and middle-tier consumer electonics companies' R&D divisions were working on a new thing called "optical drives." They had already worked for many years on the technology, and most people said they'll never be commercially viable. Now they're called DVDs.

Print a copy of your post above, put it in an envelope marked "open on November 16, 2022," and put it where you won't lose it. Your prediction may be right, but 15 years is a long time.

Max Reid

Hi JamesEE

Thanks for your complement.
Every year Exxon prints a document in nice PDF on future energy trends, which talks optimistic about Oil and pessimistic about other fuels, we probably have to save that document.

Here is another interesting news
India's capital city to convert 40,000 Commercial Vehicles (Buses, Trucks, Taxis) to CNG.

I read similar new about School Bus conversion to CNG in North Carolina.

Yes you are right, Japanese are far ahead in thinking, thats why they are leading in Hybrids as well.

However when it comes to fuels outside Petroleum, its the Brazil which is a leader. They have Ethanol & Natgas.


In the materials handling market most fork trucks are propane/NG, gasoline, or Electric. Where fuel cells have an advantage is the ability to run in a warehouse where NG and gasoline can't go. With a reformer, this advantage does not exist.

With regards to the idea of on-board reforming. This technology is a great potential bridging technology until the H2 economy develops (if, it develops). But sulphur tolerance, catalyst durability, startup-time, and transience abilities are not small technical issues to overcome.

I say this just to make sure people's expectations are correct. You will not see this technology in your daily life in the near future.


Anyone know what type of reformer Exxon has developed? Steam? Autothermal?

Max Reid

Good writing TR
But 1 question, you wrote fuel cells can go where Gasolene / Natgas cannot go.

But Fuel cell vehicle will also carry Hydrogen and it may not be allowed in such warehouse.

You are correct that this will not be in our lifetime.

When Benz designed the 1st fuel cell vehicle in early 1990's, the fuel cell system occupied the whole compartment of minivan behind the driver, over the last 15 years, they have shrunk it to a small size that fits in a sedan. Still fuel cell is not affordable.

Now this reformer will also be very big and will take many years to shrink it.

By that time, plugin hybrids, bi-fueled vehicles will be very much in place.

Harvey D

If early theoretical savings can be fully reproduced in mass production units, our 12 mpg gas guzzlers could go about 21 mpg and produce only 150 g/Km of CO2.

However, the final rate of success being normally more like 50%. This would translate to about 17 mpg and about 180 g/Km of CO2.

There must be better solutions to make our gas guzzlers go at least 30+ mpg with less than 130 g/Km of CO2.

If no single solution can do it, two or more solutions could be combined. PHEVs with the cleanest and most efficent on-board generator should be able to do it. Eventually, add 3 to 5 sq. meter of high efficiency solar panels on the roof, hood, trunk lid etc. to get (partial) free recharge while in the parking lot or driving. Reducing weight from 6000 lbs to 3000 lbs could be another excellent doable solution.

Simply changing the liquid fuel on-board power plant may be OK for Exxon-Mobil and friends but will not be enough to extend fossil fuel availability for more than a few years. The world can and must do much better.

Israel may be one of the world leader in the use of BEVs with quick charge stations everywhere as soon as 2010. It is an ideal country for BEVs i.e. limited size and closed borders.


At Max Reid,
The reason that NG/Gas Forktrucks can't go into warehouses is not the explosion potential of the fuel but rather the emissions of the exhaust. With a fuel cell powered with pure, pressurized hydrogen the exhaust is not considered dangerous and requires no extra ventalation.
Certain NG/Propane forktrucks can be operated inside but the exchange rate of the air in the warehouse has to be very high.
Electic battery operated forktrucks tend to be the perfered method for this type of material handling application. Most fuel cell companies including Plug Power, Ballard, Nuvera and others all have products aimed at this market. The interesting point of this article is that this particular "product" would not be applicable to in the aforementioned market (Depending on the emission levels and reformer type - most likely Autothermal given that they use heavy fuels)

Roger Pham

It is relevant here to post a "reprint" of Stan's prediction on the previous Ford article:
"Even as oil demand then drops precipitously and oil prices collapse along with them, amid the shrieking of Oil sheiks and Marxist oil tyrants, as both quake about their survival."

Your optimism is admirable. You would do very well as a motivational therapist, coach and speaker, may be for the likes of the "700 club". But, on the same vein, I am more optimistic than you about the "survival" of "oil tyrants." Since Big Oil has been known to be able to control governments, it can get wiser and environmentally sound by making the governments world-wide to gradually raise taxes on oil and carbon, thus phasing out this antiquated source of energy (they don't call it "fossil fuel" for nuthin') while secretly invest in renewable energy for Hydrogen and other synthetic fuel production and start to dominate the world FOREVER on the sustainable, renewable, and non-polluting energy sources. Have you heard of the oil spill recently? That is bad for business. Exxon paid out billions for the Exxon-Valdez oil spill clean up. With H2 and methane fuels, there will be no more oil spills.

This Exxon on-board gasoline reformer is a great complement to Honda's home methane reformer for FCV and home heating and water heating. Honda can build a version of the FCX Clarity with this gasoline reformer and a small gasoline tank of about 6 gallons for those without a home NG supply line. A trailerable version of this portable reformer can also be made for those with the Compressed-H2 FCX version to be rented out or to be kept at home for long road trips. This will catapul the adaptation of FCV's well ahead of the eventual arrival of a complete H2-filling infrastructure.

Max Reid


Can Exxon give any hint of
* how much this reformer will cost
* what will be its size
* how energy efficient it is in Input / Output ratio.

I dont think they can, since neither Hydrogen nor the Fuel Cell is on the road.

On the other hand, we have
10 million Flexfuel vehicles
7 million CNG powered vehicles
1.4 million Hybrid vehicles
on the road
and the Hybrid community is eagerly waiting for the Plugin, the moment it comes in next 2-3 years, they are going to grab it.

Is the fuelcell anywhere near this.

This whole Hydrogen thing is more to distract people from buying the Affordable Available Alternative Fuel Vehicles.

Roger Pham

Honda FCX Clarity will soon be available. So will GM Equinox, and other FCV soon to hit the road. The argument has been that the H2 infrastructure won't be in place to support their arrival. Now, this point is moot, since a gas station will simply set up an Exxon liquid fuel reformer, or a Honda NG reformer and will quickly be able to serve a FCV. Or, the owner can also simply fill up at home, similar to a BEV.

The high efficiency of a FCV is the major advantage of a FCV over that of a NG-ICE.

Plus, when all our energy will come from wind and solar and nuclear energy, then H2 will have a definite advantage in being much simpler and more efficient to be produced than methane. Methane will need a readily-available source of high CO2 concentration to be produced. When all fossil fuels will be phased out, then there will be no more CO2-rich exhaust of a power plant to be used in the synthesis of methane or any kind of hydrocarbon-based fuels.


@ Roger Pham,
I applaud your optimism. I really do. I on the other hand have doubts about the 'availability' of fuel reformers and fuel cells. Anyone who thinks that a heavily hybridized car is expensive will be blown away at the capital and maintenance cost of fuel cells and fuel reformers.

If Honda or anyone else makes this type of technology available it will because of weird economics (like they make more money because the credits the gain from CARB allows them to sell more SUV's out weighs the highly subsidized FC program consisting of 100 leased cars). And of course, the technology won't be for sale - it will be on lease with not possibility to purchase.

True Renewables is the way forward. How we distribute that energy is the question. H2 is a possible energy carrier. So are electrons (i.e. grid)...


Oh no, Exxon in the hydrogen business? Doesn't sound good.

You act like you're surprised.

Exxon Mobil sell two atoms.
Hydrogen, and Carbon.

Hydrogen is half of their business model.


==The high efficiency of a FCV is the major advantage of a FCV over that of a NG-ICE.==

Thats not true. They end up about identical in emissions.

==Plus, when all our energy will come from wind and solar and nuclear energy...==

And why would we waste that energy on something as inefficient as hydrogen?
That would require 4x as many power plants, and massive transmission infrastructure.

And if it DOESN'T comes from any of those squeeky clean sources, then it's absolutely horrible.


==This whole Hydrogen thing is more to distract people from buying the Affordable Available Alternative Fuel Vehicles.==

I'd actually argue that,
Alternative Fuel Vehicles are a diversion
to distract people from buying Energy Efficient Vehicles,
and demanding higher CAFE laws.

A gas guzzler with a "Flex Fuel" sticker on it is just disgusting.

What we need is diesels, hybrids, plugin hybrids, series plugin hybrids,
full performance electrics, public transportation, and demand destruction.
Generally increasing the energy efficiency of our transport system.


Remember, priority should be put on dealing with Global Warming.
Dealing with Peak Oil is not nearly as important, and often counterproductive.


==However when it comes to fuels outside Petroleum, its the Brazil which is a leader. They have Ethanol & Natgas.==

But primarily Petroleum. Comparable to Venezuela.

And growing by billion of barrels of Petroleum.

If there's anything we need to "learn" from Brazil, it's how they consume 7x less liquid fuel than the average American.

Max Reid

Roger : I forgot to ask another important question.

In which year will this reformer hit the market.

Honda & Phill were selling a device that will compress and fill the natgas into a vehicle for many years.

How many people have bought it. May be around 1,000

When will this reformer come to market and when will it become affordable. These are BIG ?.

Once again, oil price have touched $95 and tomorrow is the OPEC summit if they promise an increase, oil price may go down, otherwise ...

Roger Pham

For how many years have oil been at nearing $100 USD/barrel?
The liquid-fuel reformer does not require new technology. It will come out whenever all R&D will be completed on it. Probably fairly soon.

Max Reid


When Oil crosses $100 / barrel, people will go scrambling for whatever fuel which is affordable.
Already many are doing.

Since the reformer is not in the market, its a new tech which is still in laboratory.

Roger Pham

"Whatever fuel available" is only a temporary measure.
Hydrogen is forever.
Once the switch is made to H2 economy, we will never have to make the switch again.


When you can charge an electric car in 1 minute.
And we already have an electric infrastructure large enough to power nearly every car in the country.

Whats the point of hydrogen?


Hey Falcon - how many of those 1 minute recharge EVs are out on the streets?

Roger Pham

Good luck trying to charge an electric car in 1 minute using your home socket. Please kindly calculate the current and voltage required for you to charge a 20 kwh battery pack in 1 minute! This kind of current will cause electrical brown out for the entire neighborhood!

For this reason, we DO NOT have an electric infrastructure large enough to power nearly every car as BEV in the country, in order for them to get charged up as fast as they can be filled with gasoline or hydrogen. Just imagine the amount of copper required for this purpose. For even a 5-minute charge of a 20 kwh battery pack for several cars at the same time, the local charging station will have to be specially equipped with expensive electrical hardware, comparable to the cost if not higher in cost than that of equipping a hydrogen-filling station.

Home H2 filling from NG has an advantage of being able to use the waste heat of methane steam reformation for hot water heating, home heating, and for vapor absorptive cooler in the summer. In this fashion, the efficiency of steam methane reformation is not 60-65% but 80-95%. By contrast, combined-cycle electrical plant is only 55-60% efficient. BEV has ~72% efficiency grid to wheel, where as Honda FCX Clarity has efficiency of 60% tank to wheel.
If most H2-vehicle is filled at home for the most part, then the local H2 station can use an Exxon liquid fuel steam reformation to produce H2 on the spot without any need for transportation of the H2 in trucks or in pipeline.


Well I will agree with you there Roger,
Rapid charging will likely not be occuring any time soon. Same could be said for building out a large reliable hydrogen infrastructure. Especially one which isn't based off of merely reforming natural gas.

However plugin hybrids tend to get around that entire issue. And those do have all the infrastructure we could possibly need for the foreseeable future.

And frankly, if we're talking "Series Plugin Hybrids" thats pretty much identical to an electric car.
(albeit an undersized battery pack, and a small backup generator)


Now a real question being.
If we're talking about home charging/fueling.

What difference does it make if it's 1 minute, or 3 hours? If you get less than 3 hours of sleep a day I'd really have to worry for ya.

The comments to this entry are closed.