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A Review of Fuel Cell Powertrains for Long-Haul Heavy-Duty Vehicles: Technology, Hydrogen, Energy and Thermal Management Solutions


Long-haul heavy-duty vehicles, including trucks and coaches, contribute to a substantial portion of the modern-day European carbon footprint and pose a major challenge in emissions reduction due to their energy-intensive usage. Depending on the hydrogen fuel source, the use of fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) for long-haul applications has shown significant potential in reducing road freight CO2 emissions until the possible maturity of future long-distance battery-electric mobility. Fuel cell heavy-duty (HD) propulsion presents some specific characteristics, advantages and operating constraints, along with the notable possibility of gains in powertrain efficiency and usability through improved system design and intelligent onboard energy and thermal management. This paper provides an overview of the FCEV powertrain topology suited for long-haul HD applications, their operating limitations, cooling requirements, waste heat recovery techniques, state-of-the-art in powertrain control, energy and thermal management strategies and over-the-air route data based predictive powertrain management including V2X connectivity. A case study simulation analysis of an HD 40-tonne FCEV truck is also presented, focusing on the comparison of powertrain losses and energy expenditures in different subsystems while running on VECTO Regional delivery and Long-haul cycles. The importance of hydrogen fuel production pathways, onboard storage approaches, refuelling and safety standards, and fleet management is also discussed. Through a comprehensive review of the H2 fuel cell powertrain technology, intelligent energy management, thermal management requirements and strategies, and challenges in hydrogen production, storage and refuelling, this article aims at helping stakeholders in the promotion and integration of H2 FCEV technology towards road freight decarbonisation.

Funding source: This work was conducted in the framework of the ZEFES project. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation program under Grant Agreement no. 101095856.
Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: Belgium ; Netherlands

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