Loop Energy introduces fuel cell range extender for heavy-duty vehicles; in-service operation to begin in 2017
Loop Energy (earlier post) has introduced a new range-extender (REX) power module for heavy-duty electric transport vehicles. At the core of the module is Loop’s unique fuel cell design which improves performance, durability and cost. Following a three-year development period, the Loop power module is now being integrated by an original equipment manufacturer and will begin in-service operation in 2017.
Loop’s patented eFlow fuel cell features an improved design, and is the competitive advantage within all Loop fuel cell stacks and power modules. By optimizing air flow inside the fuel cell, Loop’s eFlow design produces greater power density than industry-standard fuel cells, the company says. This higher power density allows Loop to simplify and significantly increase the efficiency of the fuel cell stack and system.
|Loop REX module. Click to enlarge.|
This is a defining moment for Loop as we advance the transit and trucking sectors forward in terms of their ability to meet performance, cost and large-scale carbon reduction targets. We’ve found that our technology is a perfect fit for powering heavy-duty transit buses and Class 6 to 8 trucks with zero emissions.—Ben Nyland, President and CEO of Loop Energy
In a 2014 paper in Fuel Cells Bulletin, Loop’s chief scientist Dr. Sean M. MacKinnon and director of product development Robert A. Wingrove explained that in a conventional fuel cell flow channel, based on a constant cross-sectional area, the mass flow rate reduces proportionate to the consumption rate of reactants—and thus the flow velocity also reduces. This in turn leads uneven flow distribution through the stack, resulting in stack performances which are more variable compared to single cells.
In contrast, the eFlow technology provides a cross-sectional area which converges down the length of the channel in a proportionate fashion to compensate for the reduction in mass flow rate due to reactant consumption. This levelizes reactant availability throughout the entire flow channel.
The Loop 56kW fuel cell power module offers a power density of 213 W/L to boost the range of battery electric vehicles by more than three times. The module is turn-key, containing the air compressor and controls, enabling a drop-in solution for manufacturers of heavy-duty trucks and transit buses who want increased power and range for a reduced cost.
In May, Loop Energy entered a collaboration agreement with Hunan CRRC Times Electric Vehicle Co., Ltd. (a subsidiary of CRRC Corporation Ltd.) to develop zero-emission power systems for heavy-duty transportation applications.
Loop’s chairman is Dr. Andreas Truckenbrodt, who as CEO/CTO of Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation (Daimler/Ford/Nissan), Andreas was responsible for driving fuel cell commercialization. He also led the Hybrid Development Center for DaimlerChrysler.
MacKinnon joined Loop from the National Research Council of Canada. Prior to that, he had been at General Motors Automotive Fuel Cell Activities and Ballard Power Systems - R&D.
Wingrove worked for Ballard for 13 years and then served as Program Manager with the Daimler/Ford Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation, leading three generations of fuel cell stack programs from conception to the Mercedes F-Cell fuel cell test cars.
Sean M. MacKinnon, Robert A. Wingrove (2014) “Powerdisc’s eflow reduces fuel cell commercialisation cost” Fuel Cells Bulletin (3):12–14 doi: 10.1016/S1464-2859(14)70089-6