Speedy Da News Anchor
09-24-2009, 10:24 PM
3:01Larry Burns: Good afternoon everyone. Larry Burns here.3:01[Comment From Carney ]Have you read Dr. Robert Zubrin?s book ?Energy Victory?? It has trenchant criticism of hydrogen as being permanently impractical.3:03Larry Burns: Just curious? When was Dr, Zubrin last in a state-of-the-art fuel cell development laboratory? And when did he last drive a fuel cell electric vehicle? I?ve done both and I am convinced the hydrogen economy is both real and practical.3:03[Comment From Slavko Miladinovic ]Congratulations for forty successful years at GM.3:04Larry Burns: Thank you for the kind wishes.3:05[Comment From csmcars ]Hi Larry, thanks for all your good work on fuel cell and electric vehicles. How likely is GM?s fuel cell program to continue without you, and without DOE funding for fuel cell car development in general?3:07Larry Burns: I am confident that GM?s fuel cell program will continue in the new GM under my replacement, Dr. Alan Taub. And Byron McCormick?s successor, Charlie Freese. As you may know, Congress has reinstated hydrogen research funding for automotive fuel cells.3:07Larry Burns: I?ll be right back. I have to take a quick phone call.3:07Larry Burns: Please keep sending your questions. I will be right back.3:08[Comment From Barna ]Cars will have electric vehicles, no question since it?s more reliable and efficient. The question is only how we will store energy. Why do you think will condensed hydrogene be better than advanced batteries?3:13Larry Burns: We will need all the alternatives to reach our nation?s energy goals of reducing CO2 by 80 percent by 2050 compared with 1990. There is no single solution. The answer is ?and? not ?or.?3:13[Comment From Mike Millikin ]Hello Larry, Could you share your observations on Germany?s dual commitment to EVs (IM EVs and PHEVs by 2020) and to hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (1K stations by 2015). And separately, how interlinked is connected vehicle technology to the market success of either technology?3:15Larry Burns: This is the exact kind of leadership and public/private partnering required to solve the challenges of energy security and greenhouse gases. I applaud the German and Japanese governments for their leadership. (Note that Japan appears to be on a similar infrastructure pathway to Germany.)3:16[Comment From Ting ]Hi Larry, between FCV and battery EV which do you like the best? Is the battery technology overselling now?3:18Larry Burns: Batteries, fuel cells and biofuels are all required to address energy security and economic growth and greenhouse gas reduction. Plug-in electrics and fuel-cell electrics are very complimentary and meet a variety of transportation needs from small, efficient urban vehicles to full-size family vehicles. I am very excited about the progress being made on both technologies.3:19[Comment From AFAHE.org ]Mr. Burns, as I?m sure you?re aware, many countries around the world are already making huge investments in their own Hydrogen Fueling Infrastructure. When and how do you see the US coming on-board with its own Hydrogen Fueling Infrastructure initiatives and what can the average American do to help support this effort?3:21Larry Burns: Like you, I am encouraged by the commitments other nations are making. I also remain optimistic that public and private leaders in the US will find a way to keep pace. It is essential to do so if we hope to stay in the automotive technology race as a nation and benefit from the resulting jobs growth.3:23[Comment From Peter Maubec ]What do you think is necessary to engage better energy and US gov?t support for H2 infrastructure, similar to recent annoucements in Europe and Japan?3:23Larry Burns: I believe we need to focus on technical facts vs. ideology. We also need to have a collective will to create the commercial learning cycles necessary to develop a mature, competitive supply base and to educate consumers on what is possible. GM?s Project Driveway program, done jointly with DOE, has been an important step in this direction.3:24[Comment From Guest ]Hydrogen storage was a challenge early part of this decade (things like borax, etc were looked at), what breakthrough happened that allowed the simple storage in a cylinder3:25Larry Burns: It is the collective learning of automotive OEMs, tank suppliers and energy distributors that have convinced us a 700-bar compressed hydrogen infrastructure is safe, can be cost effective, and will meet the range and refueling time requirements of automotive customers.3:26[Comment From Carney ]Why not simply make all your cars FULLY flex-fueled, able to run not just on ethanol but also on methanol (made from coal, natural gas, or ANY biomass) - a mere $130 per car?3:28Larry Burns: GM, Ford and Chrysler have committed to make half of their production flex-fuel capable by 2012. As more E85 ethanol comes on stream - particularly cellulosic ethanol - we will continue to ramp up. Methanol has some attractive features but we are concerned about safety due to its toxicity.3:29[Comment From Dean Hall ]What technology from the AUTOnomy/Hy-wire/Sequel series of research platforms is going into production?3:31Larry Burns: The Sequel embodies all of the technologies shown on AUTOnomy and Hy-Wire, including by-wire controls, Lithium Ion batteries, 700-bar hydrogen storage, flex-ray communications protocol, etc. Many of these technologies are finding their way into today?s cars individually. The point of Sequel is to show what can be accomplished though integration? a new DNA for the automobile. 3:32[Comment From Tam Zahner ]There is so much work to be done outside of GM to get the infrastructure and systems that we need to succeed. Will you be working in this arena after you retire from GM? America needs you!!!3:33Larry Burns: After I leave GM on Oct. 1, I plan to stay actively involved working on technology solutions that interest me and are important for our world.3:33[Comment From Stan G ]Mr Burns, any advice for engineering students hoping to get into the automotive design/r&d field?3:36Larry Burns: My advice is to focus as hard on defining the questions as you do on trying to answer them. I have found that once you really understand the question, you are 90 percent of the way home. In addition, you need to recognize that in the real world, the questions are often ill-defined, data are often messy and methods frequently do not apply exactly as they have been taught. You will need to learn to deal with this ambiguity. Finally, great opportunities lie at the interface between disciplines, so be sure to take a systems approach in your work..3:37[Comment From Efried ]Do you think Blending Hydrogen+Biodiesel in a ICE is feasible?3:39Larry Burns: Your question raises an important point. If you have an acre of biomass and you can make hydrogen or electricity or ethanol from this biomass, which will allow you to travel farther? Hydrogen will give you the greatest distance, followed by electricity and then ethanol. My point though is that all three can be made from the biomass, and this is great from an energy diversity and infrastructure investment perspective. Blending H2 with petroleum-based fuels is feasible and remains an interesting opportunity. Today, enormous amounts of hydrogen are used to make gasoline at refineries.3:40[Comment From John Michae Parkan ]Why do you think there is such vigorous resistance by battery folks in accepting the kinds of rapid changes and developments that have been made on the hydrogen front in the last few years and how do you push back against such a well funded, well message attacks?3:43Larry Burns: I?ve seen a tendency for people to promote one solution over another. They seem to think the question is batteries vs. fuel cells. Or fuel cells vs. biofuels. I have become convinced we need all three. Like I said earlier, it?s ?and? not ?or.? Unfortunately, many of the players have a vested interest in a single solution. Therefore, they over-promote one and criticize the others.3:43[Comment From Srihari Gangaraj ]Mr Burns, thank you for being a bold leader guiding GM into the next generation of vehicles. GM has not talked about its involvement with smaller companies in fuel-cells (for example Hydrogenics ). Can you please tell us how GM is partenering with smaller companies in this field for rapid development and innovation of FCPS.3:45Larry Burns: Thanks for mentioning Hydrogenics. They have been an excellent partner. In fact, over half of the suppliers to our fuel cell facility in Honeoye Falls, NY, are from outside the auto industry. The innovation stimulated by entrepreneurs is the lifeblood of the US economy. And these small companies play a very important role.3:46[Comment From Robert Sandie ]First of all, congrats on your retirement and thank you for you contributions for all of us. Second, Is Lithium Ion to expensive? Toyota stated that they are sticking with nickel-metal hybrids and yet the Volt is launching with Lithium Ion.3:49Larry Burns: It is important to recognize that first generation technology in the auto industry, or industry in general, is usually costly vs. the mature alternatives that it competes with. The key is to kick off a generation-by-generation learning cycle that allows the new technology to reach its mature, high-volume potential. GM believes that Lithium Ion batteries at maturity and in high volume will be cost competitive for personal mobility. This is why we are launching the Volt, to kick off the commercialization dynamic.3:50[Comment From Carney ]Also, the key to making ethanol available is cars being able to run it. Don?t wait on the gas stations - they?re waiting on you.3:51Larry Burns: GM is the clear leader in producing flex-fuel vehicles with almost 4 million on the road in the US. We have and are continuing to work with energy distributors to grow the E85 infrastructure.3:51[Comment From Tom ]What do you envision being the predominant source of hydrogen for fuel cell vehicles?3:54Larry Burns: The beauty of hydrogen is that it can come from a wide variety of sources. Natural gas is an excellent source to get started (As I mentioned earlier, large amounts of hydrogen from natural gas are already used in the production of gasoline.) Very importantly, any source of renewable energy - biomass, wind, solar, geothermal - can be used to make hydrogen cost competitively with gasoline at $2.50 to $3.50 per gallon equivalence.3:57[Comment From time for change ]Hi Larry - A lot of really talented people have been leaving GM through necessity of the company getting smaller and the retirement packages, etc, offered. Sad to see. Outside of GM, where else do you see a lot of positive activity and growth taking place in terms of the important work you have always promoted? Where will some of these great minds land if they want to continue to contribute?4:00Larry Burns: I agree a lot of talented people have or are leaving GM. The good news is that a liot of talented people remain. For those leaving, there is a wide range of exciting opportunities that exist in automotive technology development. I?m especially fascinated by the potential of ?connected vehicles.? This technology promises autonomous driving and cars that don?t crash. It will allow us to social network safely while we are moving. Perhaps driving has become the distraction?4:00Larry Burns: I have time for one more.4:01[Comment From John Michael Parkan ]Budgets are tight at the municipal, state and federal level, you asked for a concentrated deployment of forty (40) hydrogen stations at the NHA Conference in 2008, how do you see that vision become reality and is it coming together in the time frame you would like? How do we speed it up to compete with the Germans and the Japanese?4:03Larry Burns: I?m encouraged by the continuing efforts on the part of many people and organizations aimed at implementing a 40-station infrastructure in a US city. The key is to stay on message, continue to educate key players and never, never, never give up.4:04Larry Burns: I want to thank everyone I?ve worked work and everyone who has reflected on my messages for their collaboration and creativity. Thanks for being here today.