The German aerospace research establishment, the DLR, in Stuttgart, is conducting an extended program in advanced terrestrial energy1 environment subjects, including transportation. These technology development and demonstration activities generally pivot off in-hand aerospace accomplishments and know-how A major project presently being concluded, after nearly two decades of work by DLR staff and their research and industrial colleagues in Europe and the United States, has addressed the use of liquid hydrogen (a staple aerospace fuel) for automotive vehicle applications.
This work recognizes that, in the strategic view, the non-fossil (fossil in the nearer term) production of hydrogen from water is mankind's leading prospect for achieving energy independence from the world's depleting fossil-energy resources. At the same time, hydrogen is conclusively the most environmentally benign chemical fuel possible. For example, its carbon dioxide effluent is zero.
The paper describes the very considerable contribution of Germany in advancing the technical status of cryogenic liquid hydrogen-powered demonstration vehicles and their supporting fuel-supply infrastructure. Complete technical feasibility has been documented for three critical subsystem areas upon which the ultimate practicability of the Hydrogen Carcenters: 1) Liquid hydrogen self-serve fueling stations, 2) Vehicle onboard liquid hydrogen storage containment and processing equipment, and 3) Automotive engines which operate competently on hydrogen using a number of distinctly different hydrogen/air mixture formation techniques.