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Mission “Zero Emission”

Efficient, quiet, and emission-free: Fuel cells, which obtain energy from a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen, offer a fascinating alternative to conventional vehicle drive systems. Although technical and logistical problems still need to be overcome before fuel cells can be mass produced, zero-emission vehicles, which release only water vapor as “exhaust,” may end up changing the face of major cities within the next decade.

The fuel cell was invented nearly 170 years ago, but it was only in the early 1990s that the automotive industry began pushing the development of this environmentally friendly energy carrier.
Fuel cells have been used in submarine propulsion systems and space flight vehicles for quite some time now. Small portable versions that supply electricity for laptops, measuring devices, and other mobile equipment are also already on the market. Experts believe the first mass-produced fuel cell cars will hit the market in five to eight years.

Fuel cell vehicles are not only emission-free and quiet. The fuel cell concept cars developed by automakers also use their fuel’s energy up to 50 percent more efficiently than gasoline-powered vehicles, achieving efficiency ratings as high as 80 percent.

Public transport companies in Berlin, Hamburg, and Stuttgart are currently testing hydrogen buses in normal operations. The vehicles carry their cold liquid hydrogen fuel in special tanks. The German Ministry of Transport acquired the first fuel cell cars for its vehicle fleet in the spring of 2007.

In 2005, the LANXESS Ion Exchange Resins (ION) Business Unit launched a research project for the development of a new generation of high-performance ion exchangers that make it easier to use fuel cells in motor vehicles – and also make the drives more efficient. LANXESS is cooperating closely here with leading automakers.

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