La Poste testing hydrogen fuel cell range extenders in Renault Kangoo Z.E. mail delivery vehicles
11 December 2013
|Symbio ALP-5 range extender. Click to enlarge.|
The Franche-Comté region and La Poste (the French postal service) are testing hydrogen fuel cell range extender kits from Symbio FCell in three Renault Kangoo Z.E. electric mail delivery vehicles under real working conditions. This system is expected to double the range of the electric cars used for postal delivery.
The three Kangoos Z.E.s with fuel cell range extenders (HyKangoos) will be deployed in the first quarter of 2014 on mail delivery platforms. These vehicles, with a combination of a hydrogen fuel cell and batteries, offer an extended range that performs under demanding conditions: mail routes of 100 km (62 miles) or more through the cold, hilly and mountainous terrain. (The Franche-Comté region borders on Switzerland, with the Vosges mountains to the north and the Jura to the south.)
|HyKangoo. Click to enlarge.|
This series of tests aims to demonstrate the advantages of the hydrogen fuel cell solution and verify that the extended range electric vehicles are practically the same as a diesel in terms of availability, flexibility and autonomy.
The Symbio FCell range extender solution is based on a modular system and ranges from 5 kW to 20 kW (based on 5 kW stacks). This modular system reduces production costs and address the power requirement portfolio of diverse vehicle markers. The Symbio FCell offer includes standard CAN-Bus and electrical interfaces, cooling output and maintenance software.
The range extender systems are adapted to the specifications of each battery-powered vehicle model, making this a non-intrusive, integrated hybridization solution.
The HyKangoo features an ALP-10 fuel cell stack, along with a 38-liter hydrogen tank. Average fuel consumption at full power is 0.3 kg/h.
Testing will take place under the auspices of the FCellSYS platform in order to assure accurate and independent data collection and maintain objectivity concerning solution relevance. FCellSYS, created by the UTBM with the help of the LITEN Institute at the CEA, specializes in measuring, testing and supporting the development of hydrogen fuel cell systems that are reliable under extreme conditions (cold, vibration, etc.).
The fuel cell solution improves winter working conditions for postal workers by providing better heating and defogging without impacting battery performance. In addition, it makes replacing the diesel vehicles that are used today for longer routes possible. This will significantly improve our level of global CO2 emissions.—Jean-François Courtoy, Industrial Director at La Poste in Franche Comté
La Poste has targeted a 30% CO2 reduction target per household served between 2008 and 2018.
The project is certified by the competitiveness cluster Pôle Vehicle of the Future and co-financed by the European regional development Fund (ERDF), the Franche-Comté Regional Council, the Belfort Territory General Council, the Belfort Urban Community and the Greater Dole Urban Community.
“Our role is to assess and facilitate development, but also to encourage the useful application of this breakthrough technology by citizens, entrepreneurs and policy makers,” says Florent Petit, in charge of project management and Director at the UTBM (Belfort-Montbéliard University of Technology, a part of the FCellSYS platform, in collaboration with the LITEN Institute at the CEA - the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission).
New bipolar plates. CEA-Liten, in collaboration with Symbio FCell, a leading French specialist in hydrogen fuel cell systems and sustainable mobility, developed a new generation of bipolar plates for fuel cells. The new plates are designed for mobility and transportation applications, and adapted to allow for accelerated hydrogen fuel cell industrialization.
The new plates enable an increase in intrinsic performance, a reduction of almost 50% in the volume of complete fuel cell systems, a reduction in the amount of precious metals used in catalysis and an assembly process adapted to industrial mass production. This new generation offers a performance of 2.9 kW per liter, on par with the best available technologies in the field.
The bipolar plates in hydrogen fuel cells regulate gas and water circulation as well as the collection of electrical current. Plate design has always been a critical element in fuel cell and complete system performance. The new plates, in combination with electrode material optimization, lead to a cell that has fewer parts and is twice as compact at similar output levels. Cell assembly is also simplified, lowering the cost of mass production by more than 50%.
France’s Office of Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies (CEA) is a public research organization working in four main areas: low-carbon energy; information and health care technologies; Very Large Research Infrastructures (TGIR); and defense and global security.
As a part of the technological research division, CEA Tech, the CEA-Liten (Laboratory for Innovation in New Energy Technologies and Nanomaterials) institute located principally in Grenoble and Chambery (INES) is a leading European research center for new energy technologies.
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