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Why Hyundai Pursues Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars

Are hydrogen cars a pipe dream? Hyundai says no.Last week we took our first spin the 258-mile Hyundai Kona Electric. But that wasn’t the only Hyundai electric vehicle we drove. We also spent an hour or so on the road with the Hyundai Nexo fuel-cell electric car. I can already hear the loud, collective groan from EV fans wondering why Hyundai continues to bother with hydrogen. So we put that question to Hyundai folks.Read about Hyundai electric vehicles Hyundai Denies Most Of U.S. Access To Upcoming Kona Electric Hyundai Kona Electric: Compelling EV That U.S. May Barely Get to Know Source: Electric Vehicle News Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on October 17, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle News Before we get to their answer, I should mention that – if you put aside the broader, real concerns about EV versus hydrogen technology and infrastructure – the Nexo was the nicer of the two vehicles. The Nexo is a muscular, efficient small crossover with sharp lines, a striking floating canopy, and a high-tech but accessible cockpit. The Nexo was noticeably quieter and more refined than the Kona Electric.So why power the Nexo or any vehicle with hydrogen? Dr. Bo Ki Hong, a Hyundai fuel-cell research fellow, in his technical presentation, argued that a hydrogen power plant is better suited for larger, longer-range vehicles while battery-powered EVs are a better match for smaller, shorter-range cars. The Nexo has 380 miles of driving range and can be refueled in about five minutes. Dr. Bo said there will be 59 hydrogen stations in operation in California by the end of 2019.The Hyundai Nexo at a hydrogen-fueling stationI asked Mike O’Brien, Hyundai’s vice-president of product planning, to elaborate on the question of vehicle size and electric powertrains. “A battery-electric vehicle is good for any personal vehicle the size of the Kona, a midsize sedan, or smaller,” he said. “But it becomes an issue when you get past a full-size SUV or full-size pickup.” He argued that Class 8 trucks, like the Tesla Semi, can carry up to 80,000 pounds. “When you think about the volume and weight of batteries, it’s quite immense,” O’Brien said. But with a liquid fuel or hydrogen, there is no engineering limitation regarding the volume it takes to deliver an adequate amount of energy for a Class 8 truck.“There’s no doubt that battery technology is advancing,” said O’Brien. “But we know today and from back-of-napkin calculations, that hydrogen has higher capabilities for the foreseeable future.” He said that hydrogen is scalable for any type of vehicle, including buses and trains. Keep in mind that Hyundai also manufacturers commercial vehicles.A wise play?Gil Castillo, senior group manager for alternative vehicle strategy for Hyundai, rode with us in the Hyundai Nexo. He echoed O’Brien’s point. “As batteries get better, they make sense for small and medium cars and eventually slightly bigger cars,” said Castillo. “But at some point, especially when you get into heavy-duty vehicles, batteries run into limitations.” He said that the cost, size, and energy curves for both batteries and fuel cells are always changing, so it makes sense to consider both technologies for the full range of vehicles in use.The Nexo’s cockpit“It takes dedication from a high corporate level to say that we need to develop both technologies,” said Castillo. “It’s a wise play considering that everything is still in flux.”Castillo explained that the Nexo fuel-cell SUV and the Kona battery-powered crossover are both electric vehicles. And they share many of the same power electronics. “It takes resources to develop both technologies, but it’s not a zero-sum game,” he said. “The things you develop for one are used in the other one.”You can serve the majority of consumers with an EV but not 100 percent of them.Castillo said that consumers buy a lot of full-size SUVs and pickups in the United States. “You can serve the majority of consumers with an EV but not 100 percent of them,” said Castillo. He said that many people who live in multi-family dwellings don’t have access to charging. “We have to develop battery technology because it’s going to play a major role,” he said. “I think fuel cell will not play the major role, but it will be complementary. The goal is to fill the whole spectrum across the entire transportation ecosystem.” 2019 Hyundai Kona Electric First Drive: The New Normal read more

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Fungus with a venom gene could be new mosquito killer

first_imgInsecticide resistance is weakening the protective effect of bed nets against malaria. By Gretchen VogelMay. 30, 2019 , 2:00 PM SARAH WEISER Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Fungus with a venom gene could be new mosquito killer Emailcenter_img Since then, researchers have tested dozens of different fungal strains against disease-carrying mosquitoes, but none was effective enough to pass muster. So researchers from the University of Maryland (UMD) in College Park and the Research Institute of Health Sciences & Centre Muraz in Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, endowed a strain called M. pingshaense with a gene for a toxin isolated from spider venom that turns on when it contacts hemolymph, the insect version of blood. In the lab, the team showed its creation could kill mosquitoes faster and that just one or two spores could cause a lethal infection. “But it’s hard to replicate the complexities of nature in the lab,” says UMD entomologist Brian Lovett, who helped lead the study.Burkina Faso was a promising place for a field test: Unlike many countries in Africa, it has an established system to evaluate and approve the use of GM organisms. It also has one of the highest rates of malaria in the world, and insecticide-resistant mosquitoes are widespread. For those and other reasons, the U.S. National Institutes of Health funded the MosquitoSphere, which is specifically designed to test GM organisms.The researchers cooperated with local residents to collect insecticide-resistant larvae from shallow pools and raised them to adulthood inside the facility. After biting, the female mosquitoes prefer to rest on a dark-colored surface, so the team mixed the fungus in locally produced sesame oil and spread the oil on black cotton sheets, which they hung in the sphere’s test compartments.The team compared sheets treated with wild type fungus, the transgenic fungus, and oil without fungus. They released 500 female and 1000 male mosquitoes in each test compartment and gave the mosquitoes a calf to feed on for two nights every week. After two generations—45 days—there were as many as 2500 adult mosquitoes in the control compartment, roughly 700 in the compartment with wild type fungus, but only 13 in the compartment with the GM fungus. “It’s an elegant study,” Farenhorst says. However, she notes that receiving approval for a GM fungus will be time-consuming and expensive in many places, and anti-GM groups may object, as they do against malaria-resistant GM mosquitoes. “I’m not convinced that this is the way forward.”But Gerry Killeen, a malaria expert at the Ifakara Health Institute in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, says the transgenic fungus might have an advantage over those found in nature: If it could be patented, it could be easier to turn into a product worthwhile for a company to develop and market. “The greatest barrier to new malaria control tools isn’t lack of technology or imagination, it’s the lack of a market,” he says. And because the transgenic fungus needs so few spores to cause a lethal infection, the product could be longer-lasting and less expensive than unmodified fungi. “If this technology has the potential to reduce costs and extend product lifetime simply by being more potent,” Killeen says, “then bring it on.” In the 1980s, the village of Soumousso in Burkina Faso helped launch one of the most powerful weapons against malaria: insecticide-treated bed nets, which had early field trials there and went on to save millions of lives. But as mosquitoes developed resistance to widely used insecticides, the nets lost some of their power. Now, researchers are hoping the village can help make history again by testing a new counter-measure: a genetically modified (GM) fungus that kills malaria-carrying mosquitoes. In tests in a 600-square-meter structure in Soumousso called the MosquitoSphere—built like greenhouse but with mosquito netting instead of glass—the fungus eliminated 99% of the mosquitoes within a month, scientists report in this issue of Science.”To be able to clear insecticide-resistant mosquitoes to this level is amazing,” says entomologist Marit Farenhorst of In2Care, a mosquito control company in Wageningen, the Netherlands. But Farenhorst, who was not involved in the study, emphasizes that the fungus is a long way from real-world use. Because it is genetically modified to make it more lethal, it could face steep regulatory obstacles. The fungus also has clear advantages, however: It spares insects other than mosquitoes, and because it doesn’t survive long in sunlight, it’s unlikely to spread outside the building interiors where it would be applied.Fungi naturally infect a variety of insects, consuming the host’s tissues in order to reproduce, and they have been used for decades to control a wide variety of crop pests. In 2005, researchers tested a fungus called Metarhizium in test huts in Tanzania and found that it killed malaria-transmitting mosquitoes. But it did so slowly, and many infected mosquitoes survived long enough to transmit malaria. It was also difficult to ensure mosquitoes picked up a lethal dose of spores. Click to view the privacy policy. 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