European initiative aims to make heavy-duty fuel cells viable

European initiative aims to make heavy-duty fuel cells viable

May 11, 2012 0 By Alicia Moore

Hydrogen Fuel Bus

Fuel cells for transportation gaining more attention

Hydrogen fuel cells have solidified themselves as a prominent part in the future of the transportation industry. These energy systems are capable of generating large quantities of electricity without releasing any greenhouse gas emissions. This has made them a target for automakers around the world, many of whom are facing pressure from governments to manufacture more environmentally friendly vehicles. Hydrogen fuel cells are beginning to get more attention for their use in heavy-duty vehicles, such as buses, trains, boats, and large scale trucks. Making these fuel cells viable systems for these vehicles has become the focus of a new European initiative.

Program focused on implementing SOFCs and PEFCs in heavy-duty transportation

The FP6 program aims to develop hydrogen fuel cells specifically for heavy-duty road, rail and marine vehicles. The program will construct new polymer electrolyte fuel cells and solid oxide fuel cells, both of which are popular in the world of industry because of their ability to generate large amounts of energy and their durability. These two fuel cell variants were chosen because they have a recorded 10,000 hours of operation time and a system efficiency exceeding 60%. FP6 officials believe that these fuel cells are well suited for the demands of heavy-duty transportation.

Fuel cell system already in use in Germany

Researchers with the program have already developed a hybrid polymer electrolyte fuel cell system that is ideal for public transportation. This system has been used successfully in Germany and other European countries to power buses, urban trains and trams. The program has also been working on developing a solid oxide fuel cell system that is based on technology from Rolls-Royce. This system was meant to be used for marine transportation but is currently undergoing a revamp due to technological problems.

FP6 receives funding from EU as part of the group’s continued focus on hydrogen fuel

The FP6 program is funded by the European Union. The EU has grown increasingly fond on hydrogen fuel cells in recent years, believing that they may be capable of helping European countries reduce their impact on the environment. Hydrogen fuel cells may also help these countries break their reliance on fossil-fuels and help improve the economy of the region.