Eaton’s Vehicle Group partnering with Ballard and NREL to develop heavy-duty truck fuel cell technology
Power management company Eaton’ Vehicle Group has partnered with Ballard Fuel Cell Systems and the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to develop heavy-duty truck fuel cell technology. The partnership is the result of a grant Eaton’s Vehicle Group received from the US Department of Energy to develop highly efficient hydrogen fuel cells capable of powering heavy-duty machinery.
The new fuel cell technology will leverage Eaton’s Twin Vortices Series (TVS) technology to improve fuel efficiency.
Our TVS supercharger technology provides fuel cell manufacturers with a precise amount of controlled air to increase power and efficiency. The efficiency of competitive fuel cells is lower because most hydrogen fuel cells use simple fans for air flow, which produces less pressure and is not controllable.—Karl Sievertsen, vice president and chief technology officer, Eaton’s Vehicle Group
Eaton will leverage its Corporate Research Labs in Golden, Colorado and Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence in Southfield, Michigan to produce the technology, using advanced power electronics and 3D-printing. Eaton’s Vehicle Group will design and test a subscale, proof-of-concept system prototype utilizing its TVS technology that delivers a significant reduction in air system power consumption and fuel cell efficiency for heavy-duty truck applications.
Eaton’s TVS technology is ideal for harsh environments, as it can tolerate water, has operating maps with broad efficiency, and provides accurate air flow control in proportion to speed. These properties enable a water applicator to replace the humidifier to achieve higher operating pressure ratios and isentropic efficiencies.
The innovation will be demonstrated in a laboratory setting and will become a springboard for US advanced manufacturing capabilities and technology leadership.—Karl Sievertsen
Eaton is a global leader in supercharger technology, having produced more than 9 million units over more than 30 years. All Eaton supercharger components are produced in-house and feature a patented rotor coating for improved efficiency. Eaton’s powder coating fills gaps between rotor lobes, tips and faces to mitigate air leakage and creates a near-zero clearance between components, resulting in optimal performance.