Eaton, NREL, Ballard to Develop Heavy-Duty Truck Fuel Cell Technology

Highlights :

  • Eaton’s 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 new fuel cell technology is aimed at leveraging Eaton’s Twin Vortices Series (TVS) technology to improve fuel efficiency to decarbonize the transportation sector.

Dublin-based power management company Eaton’s Vehicle Group has partnered with fuel system manufacturer 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 U.S. Department of Energy to develop highly efficient hydrogen fuel cells capable of powering heavy-duty machinery.

The new fuel cell technology is aimed at leveraging Eaton’s Twin Vortices Series (TVS) technology to improve fuel efficiency to decarbonize the transportation sector.

“Our TVS supercharger technology provides fuel cell manufacturers with a precise amount of controlled air to increase power and efficiency,” said Karl Sievertsen, vice president and chief technology officer, Eaton’s Vehicle Group. “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.”

Eaton will leverage its Corporate Research Labs in Golden, Colorado and Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence in Southfield, Michigan to produce the technology, using cutting-edge power electronics and advanced 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, states the company, adding that 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 U.S. advanced manufacturing capabilities and technology leadership,” Sievertsen added.

“We’re honored to be partnering with Ballard and the NREL to build this new, innovative technology that will address global climate change,” said Sievertsen. “Eaton has a long history of working with our industry counterparts and federal research organizations to create sustainable solutions, reduce our footprint and advance our vision of improving the quality of life and the environment.”

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Soumya Duggal

Soumya is a master's degree holder in English, with a passion for writing. It's an interest she has directed towards environmental writing recently, with a special emphasis on the progress being made in renewable energy.

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