- The Washington Times - Friday, May 3, 2002

HONEOYE FALLS, N.Y. General Motors Corp. on Wednesday demonstrated what it believes is the world's first drivable fuel-cell vehicle that extracts hydrogen from gasoline to produce electricity.

"This vehicle and the reforming technology in it move us closer to a hydrogen economy," said Larry Burns, GM vice president of research and development and planning, of the modified Chevrolet S-10 pickup driven on a road course south of Rochester.

However, the technology is not expected to be widely available until the end of the decade.

Fuel cells use a chemical reaction between oxygen and hydrogen to produce electricity. When pure hydrogen is used the only tailpipe emission is harmless water vapor.

The pickup was equipped with a fuel processor that uses a series of chemical reactions to break down low-sulfur gasoline into a fuel that can be used by the fuel cell. Gasoline-fed fuel cells are viewed as a transitional technology as automakers, suppliers and researchers work on fuel-cell vehicles that will run on pure hydrogen.

GM said the technology used on the pickup could cut carbon dioxide emissions by 50 percent and permit the vehicle to travel for up to 40 miles per gallon of fuel.

Every major automaker is working on some sort of fuel-cell vehicle and will begin making some available in limited volumes within a year, but mass-produced, affordable fuel-cell vehicles are not expected to be available until at least 2010.

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