Ricardo and Technology Management Collaborate on SOFC Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) Project
29 June 2006
|TMI’s radial flow cell.|
Technology Management Inc. (TMI), a leading Cleveland-based developer of modular solid oxide fuel cell systems (SOFC), is collaborating with Ricardo to develop an integrated multi-fuel auxiliary power unit (APU) for heavy-duty trucks.
The APU could be used to power onboard electrical devices as an alternative to idling large diesel engines. These systems could be in mass production in the next five to 10 years.
To support their efforts, TMI and Ricardo have formed a consortium to help improve the manufacture of the fuel cell system, which has been awarded a $1 million grant through the Ohio Third Frontier Fuel Cell Program. Other key members of the consortium include Remy International and PET, Inc.
Ohio’s Edison Materials Technology Center, Inc. will provide administrative and contract management.
TMI has developed a sulfur-tolerant, integrated hot assembly (vaporizer-reformer-stack) SOFC using a proprietary reforming catalyst and anode composition. The sulfur-tolerant hot assembly permits the design of compact scalable systems packages capable of delivering electric power to a wide range of portable, mobile and stationary applications with varying fuel requirements.
After many years of evaluating various fuel cells for mobile APU applications, we determined that TMI’s solid oxide fuel cell technology has excellent potential for being integrated with the truck platform. Combined with Ricardo’s ability and experience in vehicle power systems, we are well-positioned to take the next step: development of a three-kilowatt APU ready to deploy on a truck operating on standard diesel fuel.
We have our challenges in terms of robustness and package space, but we are in a strong position since TMI’s fuel cell technology has already been demonstrated on distillate fuels with sulfur levels well above the new standards being adopted for 2007.—Dr. Marc Wiseman, global product group director, Advanced Propulsion Systems for Ricardo
According to Wiseman, TMI has already demonstrated the capability in the laboratory to operate multiple complete systems producing up to 3kW of power. He also said that solid oxide fuel cells could prove to be cost-effective sources of electrical power generation, especially for trucks and military vehicles.
Ohio’s oldest independent fuel cell systems developer, Technology Management Inc. (TMI) was organized in 1990 for the purpose of product development and commercialization of a unique, low-cost, proprietary Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) system technology. TMI designs, builds and engineers for field tests completely freestanding kilowatt-class SOFC systems.
Early funding by the US Department of Defense for mobile military applications provide the basis for TMI’s current systems, which are modular, compact and field-maintainable. The systems operate on a variety of common fuels, including natural gas, propane, military JP-8 kerosene and renewable fuels such as ethanol, biodiesel and digester biogas.
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