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High-Efficiency, Low-Cost Electrochemical Engines

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Electrochemical conversion technologies, such as fuel cells, can convert hydrogen into automotive power with almost 60% efficiency—and they’re theoretically capable of exceeding 80%. In addition to solving other challenges, such as the development of high-density onboard hydrogen storage technologies and low cost hydrogen production and distribution technologies, the cost of fuel cell technology needs to be significantly reduced for wide-spread deployment of low greenhouse gas emissions fuel cell powered vehicles to occur. Key challenges for fuel cell cost reduction include reducing the use of precious metal catalysts, performance improvements in potentially lower cost anion-exchange based fuel cells, and transformational new fuel-cell technologies that can efficiently convert more easily distributed and storable liquid fuels like alcohols or hydrocarbon into low-carbon automotive power.