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Numerical Investigation of a Fuel Cell-Powered Agricultural Tractor


In recent years, growing awareness about environmental issues is pushing humankind to explore innovative technologies to reduce the anthropogenic sources of pollutants. Among these sources, internal combustion engines in non-road mobile machinery (NRMM), such as agricultural tractors, are one of the most important. The aim of this work is to explore the possibility of replacing the conventional diesel engine with an electric powertrain powered by a hybrid storage system, consisting of a small battery pack and a fuel-cell system. The battery pack (BP) is necessary to help the fuel cell manage sudden peaks in power demands. Numerical models of the conventional powertrain and a fuel-cell tractor were carried out. To compare the two powertrains, work cycles derived from data collected during real operative conditions were exploited and simulated. For the fuel-cell tractor, a control strategy to split the electric power between the battery pack and the fuel cell was explored. The powertrains were compared in terms of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) according to well-to-wheel (WTW) equivalent CO2 emission factors available in the literature. Considering the actual state-of-the-art hydrogen production methods, the simulation results showed that the fuel-cell/battery powertrain was able to accomplish the tasks with a reduction of about 50% of the equivalent CO2 emissions compared to traditional diesel-powered vehicles.

Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: Italy

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