Companies Combine on Fuel-Cell Project

HOPKINTON, Mass. and DALLAS—Aimed at ultimately putting the technology to work in passenger cars, HY9 Corp. and ExxonMobil Corp. are joining to develop lift trucks that use fuel cells that operate on a number of hydrocarbon-based fuels.

Hy9 manufactures hydrogen purifiers for fuel-cell use. It will be collaborating with ExxonMobil in its ongoing fuel-cell reformer project begun last year. Hy9’s CEO, claims that “there are two ways this industry can go. It can use hydrogen filling stations to power fuel-cell vehicles, or it can use on-board reformers, eliminating the need for filling stations across the country.”

Founded in 1998, Hy9 hydrogen reforming products have been bought by the industrial gas and backup power industries. While passenger vehicle power has been a goal, until now, there has been no infrastructure to support the company’s fuel-cell technology.

For its part, ExxonMobil’s goal is to serve high-efficiency, fuel-cell-powered vehicles that won’t necessitate cumbersome and costly changes in the country’s infrastructure. Projections are that onboard reforming passenger vehicles can offer 80% better fuel efficiency than present engines and reduce carbon-dioxide emissions as much as 45%.

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