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DOE seeking input on commercialization of fuel cells as range extenders for battery-electric vehicles
4 July 2014
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a Request for Information (RFI) (DE-FOA-0001145) to solicit feedback from industry, academia, research laboratories, government agencies, and other stakeholders on issues related to the technical and economic feasibility of commercializing fuel cell range extenders for available battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) in the US market.
DOE’s office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE) is specifically interested in information on BEV makes and models where an after-market modification to extend the vehicle range using a Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) fuel cell system would be most feasible.
The RFI is seeking input on a number of questions, including:
The business case (including capital/operating cost reductions) for using prime battery propulsion with fuel cell range extenders for light-duty vans or delivery vehicles used to deliver parcels, to dispatch service technicians, or to shuttle individuals or small groups of people within service territories.
Potential vehicle technical performance improvements for an on-board PEM fuel cell range extender supporting prime battery propulsion, e.g., battery durability, productivity improvements (e.g. low downtime for refueling), or vehicle torque.
The potential increase in fleet customers, given an increase in electric range.
Potential for reductions in manufacturing cost, weight, and volume of the electric drivetrain by reducing the size of the battery and offsetting with the PEM fuel cell and energy storage.
The potential air emissions advantages of fuel cell range extenders as compared to other technologies shown in this table:
BEV, US grid FCEV, SMR H2 BEV w/FC, SMR H2 Gasoline PHEV40 Gasoline HEV Gasoline ICEV Diesel ICEV Elec. drive Wh/mi 300 300 278 mpgge 61 43 41 32 38 Max. range, miles 80 (24 kWh pack) 300 40 (12 kWh batt.) + 180 (3 kg H2) 500 500 400 450 Grams GHG/mi 210 250 240 220 270 340 300
Regulatory considerations in terms of a value proposition such as compliance with noise and anti-idling laws.
The role of government support in accelerating deployment.
The minimum number of vehicles (deployed with government support) needed to: (1) provide enough data and analysis for industry acceptance and (2) enable further deployments without government assistance.
present economic and non-technical barriers to commercializing the technology application.
Regulation or permitting issues in locating a suitably sized technology deployment project.
Challenges in providing refueling infrastructure.
Technical advantages that would make fuel cell range extenders more viable than BEVs or Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs).
Technology advances for PEM fuel cell range extenders that would make them more commercially viable.
The potential for adding a fuel cell range extender to a commercial BEV to make that vehicle platform more viable.
In addition to responses on the specific issues raised, DOE is also looking for comment on five key general issues for the category: potential impact; additionality (e.g., expanding the number of participants); openness; the proper role of government; and the enduring economic benefit.
Phil Sharer, Aymeric Rousseau (2013) “Fuel Cells as Range Extenders for Battery Electric Vehicles” (2013 DOE Hydrogen Program and Vehicle Technologies Annual Merit Review, MT012)
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