Delphi and TotalFinaElf partner to advance fuel cell technology

Delphi Automotive is to collaborate on the research and testing of fuel cell technologies and fuel reformation with TotalFinaElf. The goal of the partnership is to better understand the impact of fuel composition and additives on the performance of fuel reforming devices.

Research and testing will take place at Delphi’s Rochester, NY technical centre and at TotalFinaElf’s European facilities.

‘Solid oxide fuel cells used as a vehicle’s auxiliary power unit could generate electrical energy for a wide range of potential vehicle systems and provide electrical replacements for existing mechanically driven sub-systems, such as the air conditioning and water pumps,’ said Jean Botti, Delphi’s European Director of Engineering and Director of Delphi’s Customer Solution Centre.

Last year, Delphi announced that it had teamed up with both BMW and Renault to develop a fuel cell auxiliary power unit that both the automakers would then integrate into their respective vehicles.

The first results of the co-development was shown on February 16th this year, when BMW and Delphi Automotive Systems took the wraps off the first development vehicle to be equipped with a Solid Oxide Fuel Cell. As Botti suggested, the development vehicle did indeed use the SOFC as the key component in an Auxiliary Power Unit (APU), providing electrical power for existing mechanically-driven subsystems, such as the airconditioning and water pumps.