Swedish Energy Agency awards PowerCell $960K toward developing modular fuel cell range extender system for EVs
The Swedish Energy Agency has awarded Volvo Group spinout PowerCell SEK7 million (US$965,000) for the MoRE Zero project to develop a fuel cell system for use in a modular range extender system for electric vehicles in the European ERA-NET project. The kick-off meeting of the MoRE Zero project took place on June 2014.
PowerCell will develop a modular and scalable fuel cell system in the order of 20-25 kW. The fuel cell systems will be integrated and demonstrated in three different types of electric vehicles: a small 3.5-tonne truck provided by IDIADA; a 5-tonne minibus or 10-tonne small bus provided By Hexagon Studio; and an 18-tonne heavy truck provided by E-Trucks Europe. The modular range-extender system will comprise:
- A PEM-based fuel cell stack;
- A peripheral system in order to condition and monitor the hydrogen and fuel cell stacks
- A scalable hydrogen storage system; and
- A modular DC/DC converter.
|MoRE Zero work packages. Click to enlarge.
PowerCell, which has been developing fuel cell technology for more than a decade, has been working on its latest fuel cell platform (S2) since 2010. This is now in the final stages of development and will be launched as a commercial product by the end of 2014; S2 will be produced within the power range of 5-25 kW. This covers a gap in the fuel cell market, the company notes, as fuel cell stacks up to 20 kW are available from some manufacturers, but in the range 10-30 kW, there is more or less nothing available on the open market.
The fuel cell stacks that are made for these small power classes (<30 kW) are typically designed for stationary applications where packing volume and cost targets are not nearly as stringent as in the automotive industry. These designs require a smaller initial investment cost than automotive fuel cell stacks, but will never be anywhere near as cost-effective high volume. The PowerCell fuel cell stack is developed according to the standard for vehicles and for use in automotive environment and a power range that is appropriate for the range extender–application.—Magnus Henell, CEO of PowerCell Sweden AB
The More Zero consortium consists of partners from four countries that have joined together in an ERA-NET project to develop a modular range extender concept that can be used in a variety of vehicles, based on the PowerCell’s fuel cell technology. Partners in the project are:
- IDIADA, Spain
- Triphase, Belgium
- Hexagon Studio, Turkey
- E-Trucks Europe, Belgium
ERA-NET is an instrument created for the European Commission to develop and strengthen the R & D collaboration between countries and regions in Europe.
PowerCell is a spinout from the Volvo Group with the objective to develop and produce environmentally friendly power systems based on a unique fuel cell and reformer technology that matches existing fuel infrastructures. PowerCell is based in Gothenburg and is owned by Volvo Group Venture Capital, Fouriertransform, Midroc New Technologies and Finindus.