UK team boosts hydrogen fuel cell engine performance

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Hydrogen fuel cell engines could become 30 per cent more power dense thanks to research by a consortium of UK engineering firms including Dyson and Ricardo.

The team working on the Enhanced Fuel Cell System claim to have demonstrated the increase by improving the performance and reducing the weight of a fuel-cell engine produced by project leader Intelligent Energy.

The £2.8m collaborative project, which also included TRW Conekt and was partly funded by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), saw the engine’s power output boosted from 30kW to 40kW, the team clams.

The researchers also developed a new coolant module, which they claim enables reliable cold-start performance at temperatures as low as -20°C.

Intelligent Energy worked on improving the overall design and integration of the fuel cell system, while Ricardo acted as the customer, providing a comprehensive automotive specification and sign-off at the end of the project.

Meanwhile, test specialist TRW Conekt validated the integrity of the fuel cell modules and Dyson Technology used its digital motor expertise to develop a compact and efficient compressor  for delivering air into the fuel cell system.

James Batchelor, managing director for Intelligent Energy’s motive division, said in a statement: ‘Fuel cell systems offer one of the most promising solutions to reducing carbon emissions from road vehicles.

‘This collaborative programme between leading industry players helps to accelerate the introduction of our automotive technology at scale with even greater levels of system power density and performance, making our fuel cell systems even more attractive to our OEM customers.’