Ballard and Eaton’s Vehicle Group partner on fuel cell technology for trucks

Ballard and Eaton’s Vehicle Group partner on fuel cell technology for trucks

September 15, 2021 1 By Angie Bergenson

The companies will work together to develop the tech for heavy-duty vehicles.

Ballard Fuel Cell Systems and the Eaton’s Vehicle Group power management company have partnered together with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) from the Department of Energy (DoE) for the development of new fuel cell technology.

The partnership will focus on developing hydrogen tech to be used in heavy-duty truck applications.

This partnership is the outcome of a US Department of Energy grant awarded to the Eaton’s Vehicle Group to develop hydrogen fuel cell technology that can power heavy-duty machinery. The new tech will be focused on improving fuel efficiency through the use of Eaton’s Twin Vortices Series (TVS) tech.

“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,” explained Eaton’s Vehicle Group vice president and chief technology officer Karl Sievertsen.Fuel cell technology - heavy duty truck

The partnership will improve the resources available for the fuel cell technology development.

The tech will be produced using 3D printing, and advanced power electronics at the Eaton Corporate Research Labs in Golden, Colorado, and at the Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence in Southfield, Michigan. The company will design and test a proof-of-concept system in subscale prototype which will use Eaton’s TVS technology. It will provide a notable air system power consumption reduction and boost in fuel cell efficiency for applications in heavy duty trucks and machinery.

The TVS tech from Eaton is suited to harsh conditions, able to tolerate water, containing operating maps with broad efficiency, and providing accurate air flow control with respect to speed. These features make it possible for the humidifier to be replaced by a water applicator for 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,” said Sieversten in a news release issued to announce the partnership for the heavy-duty truck fuel cell technology development.

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