Eaton, Ballard, and US Renewable Energy Lab, to Develop Heavy Truck Fuel Cell Technology
Eaton announced its Vehicle Group has partnered with fuel system manufacturer Ballard Fuel Cell Systems and the Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to develop heavy-duty truck fuel cell technology. The partnership results from Eaton's Vehicle Group's grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop highly efficient hydrogen fuel cells capable of powering heavy-duty machinery.
The new fuel cell technology will leverage Eaton's Twin Vortices Series (TVS) technology to improve fuel efficiency.
"Our TVS supercharger technology provides fuel cell manufacturers with a precise amount of controlled air to increase power and efficiency," said Karl Sievertsen, vice president and chief technology officer, Eaton's Vehicle Group. "The efficiency of competitive fuel cells is lower because most hydrogen fuel cells use simple fans for air flow, which produces less pressure and is not controllable."
Eaton will leverage its Corporate Research Labs in Golden, Colorado and Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence in Southfield, Michigan to produce the technology, using cutting-edge power electronics and advanced 3D printing. In addition, Eaton's Vehicle Group will design and test a subscale, proof-of-concept system prototype utilizing its TVS technology that delivers a significant reduction in air system power consumption and fuel cell efficiency for heavy-duty truck applications.
Eaton's TVS technology is ideal for harsh environments, as it can tolerate water, has operating maps with broad efficiency, and provides accurate airflow control in proportion to speed. These properties enable a water applicator to replace the humidifier to achieve higher operating pressure ratios and isentropic efficiencies.
"The innovation will be demonstrated in a laboratory setting and will become a springboard for U.S. advanced manufacturing capabilities and technology leadership," Sievertsen added.
For more than 3 decades Eaton has produced supercharger technology. All Eaton supercharger components are made in-house and feature a patented rotor coating for improved efficiency. Eaton's powder coating fills gaps between rotor lobes, tips and faces to mitigate air leakage and creates a near-zero clearance between components, resulting in optimal performance.
"We're honoured to be partnering with Ballard and the NREL to build this new, innovative technology that will address global climate change," said Sievertsen. "Eaton has a long history of working with our industry counterparts and federal research organizations to create sustainable solutions, reduce our footprint and advance our vision of improving the quality of life and the environment."