Posted by admin at 29 May 2013, at 14 : 58 PM
As the availability of fossil fuels reduces and the fear that pollution is destroying the environment increases many businesses across numerous sectors are trying everything possible to cut carbon emissions. This trend extends to car manufacturers as they attempt to clean up their act and meet new regulations from the World’s Governments.
In order to meet European regulations for reducing carbon emissions, the use of fuel cells is one way being championed by big businesses and car manufacturers to vastly help the situation. However, to make them a viable option the fuel cells must improve dramatically in three key areas. Firstly, they must become more reliable, then increase power density and finally add a cold-starting capability.
To this end, a Loughborough-based business has developed a new method of significantly increasing fuel cell system power density that has the potential of making more carbon emission friendly vehicles a realistic possibility in the coming years. Intelligent Energy’s solution will not just see a vast improvement for cars in Loughborough, but hopefully lead to lower emissions across the globe.
During the longevity of the project Intelligent Energy’s traditional fuel cell engines were leveraged, but technicians managed to use methods that achieved an increase in power density of more than thirty percent. This boost in performance is a vital part of the improvement that is needed to give fuel cells the real chance of making it mainstream. Alongside this, the power output of the test system grew from 30kW to 40kW without having to increase the size of mass of the components. The final improvement came in the shape of a new coolant module that was developed to enable the system to start at temperatures as little at minus twenty degrees.
The project, which cost over £2.8 million, was drawn up with the Government’s Technology Strategy Board, but relied on the support of Loughborough’s Intelligent Energy and three other high profile businesses, including Dyson Technology, Ricardo, and TRW Conekt. IE dealt with the overall design and integration work while Ricardo played the role of an automotive customer; TRW Conekt took care of environmental testing and Dyson Technology developed a highly efficient compressor, which provides air delivery into the fuel cell system and will be integrated into the system to make it viable for mass production.
Mark Garrett, Ricardo chief operating officer and a large part of the project, said fuel cells offer a “competitive” way for low carbon emission solutions to rival traditional transport vehicles, saying: “This project has moved fuel cell technology forwards towards commercial application.”