Energy Conversion Devices Awarded D&D Contract for Hydrogen Hybrid Tow Tractor and Metal Hydride Fuel Cell
|Ovonic metal hydride fuel cell. Click to enlarge.|
Energy Conversion Devices (ECD Ovonics) has received a contract to develop and to demonstrate a hydrogen engine electric hybrid airport tow tractor and to further develop its advanced Ovonic metal hydride fuel-cell technology for the US Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) via its National Automotive Center (NAC).
The contract has a total value of approximately $1.8 million.
ECD Ovonics successfully developed and demonstrated a portable hydrogen refueling system for NAC in 2004. Now, under the new contract, ECD Ovonics will develop and demonstrate a high-efficiency, ultra-low emissions, hydrogen hybrid-electric internal combustion engine-powered aircraft tow tractor that uses on-board Ovonic solid hydrogen storage systems.
ECD Ovonics will also further develop its non-noble-metal hydride fuel cell stack technology, which provides performance advantages including instant start, good low-temperature performance, and intrinsic energy storage.
The contract will be administered by Aerospace Engineering Spectrum (AES), based in Ogden, Utah, via a subcontract to ECD Ovonics on behalf of Ovonic Hydrogen Systems and Ovonic Fuel Cell Company. AES will provide project management services through its prime contract with the Department of Defense under the Design Engineering Support Program.
|Ovonic metal hydride storage system. Click to enlarge.|
The Ovonic onboard storage system for vehicles is constructed in a lightweight carbon fiber-wrapped tank integrated with an internal heat exchanger. The system provides nearly four times the hydrogen storage capacity of a similarly sized 5,000 psig compressed hydrogen tank. The charging pressure of the system is no more than 1,500 psig (normally between 300 and 1500 psig, depending on the application), with a charging time of less than 10 minutes to 90% of capacity.
The Ovonic metal hydride fuel cell uses Ovonic metal hydride materials in the anode, an alkaline electrolyte and metal oxide materials in the cathode.
The metal hydride fuel cell has an intrinsic energy storage capability, and as a result can store and use regenerative braking energy. It also can provide instant cold start. The onboard energy storage also allows the Ovonic Metal Hydride Fuel Cell to operate for several minutes without hydrogen.