Researchers from Sungkyunkwan University developed an optimum component sizing algorithm for fuel cell-powered electric trucks
Automotive powertrains are being increasingly electrified to decrease carbon emission and to achieve higher fuel efficiency. Battery-powered trucks and fuel cell-powered electric trucks (FCETs) are some of the alternatives to conventional vehicles. Research conducted by California Fuel Cell Partnership in 2016 demonstrated the feasibility of this technology for certain types of medium- and heavy-duty trucks. Major players in the automobiles sector are focused on launching FCETs for medium-duty vocational trucks. For instance, in 2017, United Parcel Service (UPS) revealed its first prototype for a fuel cell-powered van and FedEx Express has started delivery using FCETs that are based on fuel cell range extenders (FCRExs). FCRExs depend on a battery for power and energy and also carry a fuel cell to extend the range of the battery pack.
Now, a team of researchers from Sungkyunkwan University reviewed rule-based design logic from a prior study for fuel cell-powered trucks and proposed a sizing process based on the cost of ownership and on performance. The team found that the optimum component size for an FCREx relies on the cost of hydrogen and the powertrain components. The vehicle’s annual vehicle miles travelled and the length of the ownership period also have significant impact in this case. However, optimum component sizing for a fuel cell hybrid electric vehicle (FCHEV) is less sensitive to these factors.
The onboard hydrogen storage for energy majorly impacts the optimum design for an FCREx. Optimized FCRExs and FCHEVs have comparable component sizes and relevant ownership cost (RCO) estimates in case of class 4 delivery trucks. The team found that the ownership costs for FCREx is slightly less than that of FCHEV. The RCO of an FCHEV was lower than that of an FCREx design in case of a class 8 linehaul truck. The cost associated with infrastructure or downtime for charging was not considered in the research. The research was published in the journal MDPI Energies on March 22, 2019.
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