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NREL acquires fuel cell hybrid vehicles from Toyota to support hydrogen infrastructure, production, and vehicle performance studies

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently received four fuel cell hybrid vehicles—advanced (FCHV-adv) (earlier post)—on loan from Toyota through a two-year Cooperative Research and Development Agreement. These vehicles will help NREL enhance its research related to hydrogen fueling infrastructure, renewable hydrogen production, and vehicle performance.

We’re looking at the whole system—from renewable hydrogen production and vehicle fueling equipment to the impact of driving patterns and behavior on vehicle performance. Because the vehicles will be four or five years old by the time our two-year loan ends, we will also be able to observe extended durability and reliability, which is critical to their commercial success.

—Keith Wipke, NREL Laboratory Program Manager for Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Technologies

These vehicles are representative of many fuel cell hybrid designs being proposed by automotive companies today. Toyota plans to introduce a fuel cell hybrid sedan to the US commercial market in 2015.

The vehicles on loan to NREL are fueled with renewable hydrogen made from wind and solar energy thanks to the Wind-to-Hydrogen Project, which uses wind turbines and photovoltaic arrays to power electrolyzer stacks that split water into hydrogen and oxygen. Housed at NREL’s National Wind Technology Center, the Wind-to-Hydrogen Project is funded by the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Fuel Cell Technologies Program.

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