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Modine Introduces Fuel-Cell-Based CO2 Heating and Cooling System for Trucks

The CO2 Idle Reduction Cooling and heating system

Modine Manufacturing Company, a specialist in thermal management systems and components, has introduced a fuel-cell idle-reduction (idle-off) air-conditioning and heating system that uses carbon dioxide (CO2) for cooling.

The new idle-off system can be used for both cooling and heating the sleeper cabin in a long-haul heavy-duty truck, thus eliminating the need for idling during mandatory off-duty periods. The Department of Energy estimates that currently more than one billion gallons of fuel are consumed each year while trucks idle in these conditions.

The fuel cell in the CO2 idle reduction system begins operation as soon as the diesel engine shuts off. The electricity from the fuel cell powers a compressor that compresses CO2 into a hot, high-pressure gas. A heat exchanger cools the CO2 to near ambient temperatures, and then the gas is expanded into a cold liquid-gas mixture. This enters an evaporator which cools a water-glycol mixture which circulates throughout the cabin, cooling the air.

For heating, the process uses the hot side of the CO2 loop.

The new CO2 air-conditioning and heating system was designed internally by Modine at its research and development facility in Racine, Wisconsin. General Hydrogen Corporation supplies the fuel-cell power pack, which was specifically designed for a truck auxiliary power unit application to produce electrical energy continuously for more than 10 hours. The thermal management system was designed and built by Modine’s fuel cell products group.

Our engineers are working on cutting-edge technologies in various areas, including fuel cells, CO2, and HVAC. This product gives us an opportunity to combine these technologies in one package. It’s something that no one has done before. We’re showing our customers, fleet operators, and the trucking industry that Modine stands for innovation and finding solutions that are both environmentally friendly and make good economic sense.

—Dr. Jonathan Wattelet, Modine Director of Research and Development



Lame as lame get!! Where is the trucker going to get H2, and what's the cost.

allen Z

Forget the H2, it may use diesel or some other Hydrogen rich source to power it.


The H2 can come from electrolyzed water. A water take on board can be electrolyzed and do dual duty sending hydrogen to the ICE engine that gets mixed with the diesel to produce more power and lower emissions and extra hydrogen can be stored for nighttime use via the fuel cell.

Alternatively, there are several diesel to hydrogen reformers that have been built.

John Ard

Cost. My father is a trucker and would love to have this, but if he can't afford it, then it's useless. I've heard that diesel fuel cells put out CO. Maybe this cell has a catalyst for producing CO2 from the CO?


A trucker can get Hydrogen at welding shops. The cost to produce hydrogen is about $5.00 a gallon...not sure what the charge to purchases it.


When the rig is running down the highway, the alternator can be used to generate hydrogen by electrolysis. Most diesel fuel stations should have water.


Hydrogen fuel will be available at gas stations or could be generated. The cost of hydrogen fuel will come down as production methods improve and demand increases. The fuel cell can only us hydrogen to create electricity; diesel will not work. The carbon dioxide CO2 is only used in a closed system, and is used in the heater/cooler as a refridgerant replacement. The cost of this truck hydrogen fuel cell powered CO2 heater/cooler has not been announced.

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