Peugeot and French Nuclear Commission Announce Fuel Cell Advance


With this year’s storm of car shows settling down, we are left with beautiful visions of things to come in the form of concept cars—the ghosts of automotive future. Many are powered by fuel cells—at least in theory. But fuel cells under the hood are not here yet. Honda leases a small number of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, but the program is limited and closely watched, and the vehicles cost between 1 and 2 million dollars to build. Fuel cell cars remain impractically expensive and technologically experimental. Clean, safe energy sources for large-scale hydrogen production is also an issues up for debate. PSA Peugeot Citroen, the French automaker, this week released its new fuel cell design, the GENEPAC, with hopes that it will pave the way for affordable, compact, fuel cells suitable for everyday driving. The GENEPAC is a modular fuel cell stack that can incorporate up to four modules, providing up to 80 kw. It is being called the smallest automotive fuel cell to date. In keeping with hydrogen’s controversial and hotly debated relationship with the nuclear power industry, Peugeot jointly developed and unveiled this new fuel cell technology with the French Atomic Energy Commission, presumably implying that the car company is putting its bets on nuclear power as the main energy source for the hydrogen economy. The automaker also simultaneously announced the opening of a branch of its Research Lab specifically dedicated to fuel cell development and the accompanying technology, including energy sources, such as nuclear, as well as lifecycle studies of fuel cells in circulation. Peugeot hopes to implement the GENEPAC in urban delivery fleets, but it could also bring concept vehicles like the Quark (below) to life. :: Peugeot via Gizmag