Manufacturing.net Rewind: A Revolutionary Fuel Cell; More Problems For GM
Check out some of this week's top headlines from across Manufacturing.net, from a new fuel cell system from GE to yet another delayed recall from General Motors.
There’s more than one way to get energy out of natural gas. For decades, one of the most promising methods – and also most difficult to pull off ‑ has been the fuel cell.
A fuel cell works like a battery, using a simple chemical reaction to provide energy. In fuel cells, this reaction involves hydrogen molecules abundant in natural gas and oxygen from ordinary air.
It sounds easy enough, but the process is full of pitfalls. Car companies, for example, have tried to make fuel cells work as a replacement for the internal combustion engine for more 20 years without commercial success.
But scientists in GE labs recently cracked an important conundrum involving one iteration of the technology called solid oxide fuel cell , or SOFC. The breakthrough allowed the company to start building a new pilot fuel cell manufacturing and development facility in upstate New York. The resulting technology could soon start producing electricity around the world. Continue reading... 
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A recent campaign finance report shows Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has received money from at least 11 corporations that outsource jobs to other countries.
WKOW reports (http://bit.ly/1yZgqJD  ) those companies donated $68,500 to Walker's campaign in the last six months. Companies including WellPoint, Caterpillar and 3M donated through their corporate PACs.
Walker has received more than $285,000 in total PAC donations.
Democratic challenger Mary Burke has received more than $351,000 in PAC donations. Most of her donations came from national and state unions, and none came from corporations that have outsourced jobs. Continue reading... 
DETROIT (AP) -- General Motors knew of ignition switch problems with 6.7 million midsize and large cars for 11 years, yet it failed to warn customers with a recall until last month, according to documents posted by federal safety regulators.
The documents, released Friday, show yet again that the Detroit auto giant was slow to correct safety problems on its older models. And it exposes an all-too-familiar pattern of ignition switch troubles in millions of vehicles, some dating to 1997. So far this year GM has issued 54 recalls covering 29 million vehicles, 17 million for ignition problems.
In most cases, the ignition switches can slip out of the "run" position, shutting down the engine and knocking out power steering and brakes. Drivers can lose control of their cars, and if they crash, the air bags won't work. The list of recalls includes 2.6 million older small cars with faulty switches that GM has blamed for at least 13 deaths. Continue reading... 
ACCOKEEK, Md. (AP)-- Beretta U.S.A. announced Tuesday that company concerns over a strict gun-control law enacted in Maryland last year have made it necessary to move its weapons making out of the state to Tennessee.
The well-known gun maker said it will move to a new production facility it is building in the Nashville suburb of Gallatin that is set to open in mid-2015.
Beretta general manager Jeff Cooper said that a sweeping gun-control measure that was passed last year initially contained provisions that would have prohibited the Italian gun maker from being able to produce, store or even import into Maryland the products that the company sells around the world. While the legislation was changed to remove some of those provisions, Cooper said the possibility that such restrictions could be reinstated left the company worried about maintaining a firearm-making factory in Maryland. Continue reading... 
CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) -- The contractor that operates the federal government's underground nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico received a $1.9 million bonus just five days after an underground truck fire closed the facility.
The Albuquerque Journal reported (http://bit.ly/1nLfPmq) Sunday that the U.S. Department of Energy awarded Nuclear Waste Partnership the funds based on an "excellent" job performance in maintaining the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad.
Some observers say last February's fire and the radiation leak that followed nine days later show the contractor failed at its job. Continue reading... 
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