Karma partners with fuel cell manufacturer on pilot project

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Fuel cell manufacturer Blue World Technologies, which produces PEM fuel cell stacks combined with a methanol reforming system, is to collaborate with EV manufacturer Karma Automotive. The two companies will investigate the viability of a fuel cell system as the primary propulsion system in future passenger and light commercial vehicles.

Initially, Blue World’s fuel cell system will be integrated with Karma’s electric vehicle architecture and piloted in the company GS-6 development vehicles for evaluation purposes. According to the companies, testing and validation will take place in the USA and Denmark over the next few months.

Mads Friis Jensen, chief commercial officer and co-founder of Blue World Technologies, commented, “We are very excited about the collaboration with Karma and see great potential in combining their expertise within hybridization and powertrain solutions with our flexible fuel cell concept that is suitable for both engine bay or skateboard platform integration.”

Blue World claims an electric vehicle powered by methanol fuel cells provides the same convenience as fueling an internal combustion engine with gasoline, by harnessing a methanol-reformer to produce hydrogen on board the vehicle. Among the advantages of using methanol as a hydrogen-carrier fuel are that is readily available globally and can be stored and distributed using existing infrastructure. As a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels, methanol can be produced using renewable sources ensuring a CO2 neutral proposition.

“We are investing in these types of powertrain technologies now to prepare for an emission-free world by having various extended-range electrification solutions that include hydrogen, ethanol and methanol fuel cells as a propulsion system,” added Dr Lance Zhou, Karma’s CEO. “This collaboration brings together Blue World’s strength in fuel cell development and our vast expertise in engineering hybrid propulsion systems and integrating electric vehicle technologies.”

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he oversees Automotive Powertrain Technology International and Professional Motorsport World magazines as editor.

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