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An Evaluation of Turbocharging and Supercharging Options for High-Efficiency Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles


Mass-produced, off-the-shelf automotive air compressors cannot be directly used for boosting a fuel cell vehicle (FCV) application in the same way that they are used in internal combustion engines, since the requirements are different. These include a high pressure ratio, a low mass flow rate, a high efficiency requirement, and a compact size. From the established fuel cell types, the most promising for application in passenger cars or light commercial vehicle applications is the proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC), operating at around 80 ◦C. In this case, an electric-assisted turbocharger (E-turbocharger) and electric supercharger (single or two-stage) are more suitable than screw and scroll compressors. In order to determine which type of these boosting options is the most suitable for FCV application and assess their individual merits, a co-simulation of FCV powertrains between GT-SUITE and MATLAB/SIMULINK is realised to compare vehicle performance on the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) driving cycle. The results showed that the vehicle equipped with an E-turbocharger had higher performance than the vehicle equipped with a two-stage compressor in the aspects of electric system efficiency (+1.6%) and driving range (+3.7%); however, for the same maximal output power, the vehicle’s stack was 12.5% heavier and larger. Then, due to the existence of the turbine, the E-turbocharger led to higher performance than the single-stage compressor for the same stack size. The solid oxide fuel cell is also promising for transportation application, especially for a use as range extender. The results show that a 24-kWh electric vehicle can increase its driving range by 252% due to a 5 kW solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) stack and a gas turbine recovery system. The WLTP driving range depends on the charge cycle, but with a pure hydrogen tank of 6.2 kg, the vehicle can reach more than 600 km.

Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: France ; United Kingdom

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