Fuel Cell Power System For Utility Vehicle

M. Graham, F. Barbir, F. Marken, M. Nadal Energy Partners, Inc. 1501 Northpoint Parkway, Suite 102 West Palm Beach, FL 33407

Based on the experience of designing and building the Green Car, a fuel cell/battery hybrid vehicle, and Genesis, a hydrogen/oxygen fuel cell powered transporter (Figure 1), Energy Partners has developed a fuel cell power system for propulsion of an off-road utility vehicle. A 10 kW hydrogen/air fuel cell stack has been developed as a prototype for future mass production. The main features of this stack are discussed in this paper. Design considerations and selection criteria for the main components of the vehicular fuel cell system, such as traction motor, air compressor and compressor motor, hydrogen storage and delivery, water and heat management, power conditioning, and control and monitoring subsystem are discussed in detail.

Figure 1. Green Car and Genesis Fuel Cell Powered Vehicles


Energy Partners, Inc. completed its most recent fuel cell conversion vehicle using the base platform of a John Deere Gator™ 6X4 chassis (Figure 2). Traditionally, the primary market areas for this vehicle have been in farming and grounds-keeping. Thisxonversion expands that sales market by providing a nimble, nonpolluting vehicle for use in closed environments, as well as open areas with access to hydrogen fuel.

The chassis was received without the standard ICE powerplant and supporting equipment, such as the fuel tank and radiator. Early modifications to the vehicle included removal of engine mounts, as well as two drive wheels. The traction system was replaced with a DANA axle coupled to a series wound GE motor and a Curtis motor controller. These off-the-shelf components were chosen primarily for their widespread use in similar applications and excellent track records, but also because of favorable efficiency ratings.

Figure 2. Gator™ Fuel Cell Powered Vehicle
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