British supplier Aeristech has revealed a breakthrough in electric compressor technology that it says could double the output from a hydrogen fuel cell.
The company says its new air compressor design enables OEMs to significantly increase performance or specify a more compact fuel cell, improving packaging and weight.
“The power output of a fuel cell is limited by the rate at which air can be supplied to sustain the reaction between hydrogen and oxygen,” said Aeristech CEO Bryn Richards.
“The hydrogen is already at high pressure, having evaporated from the liquid state, but air is usually pressurized using a blower. Our proprietary high speed motor and control technology allows us to deliver air at a much higher pressure increasing the rate at which the oxygen passes through the permeable membrane.”
Aeristech says that with output voltage from a fuel cell fluctuating, a conventional electric compressor needs an intermediate voltage regulation to provide constant pressure, adding system losses.
The company says its unique motor control technology delivers constant torque independent of air volume or variation in input voltage, so it can be powered directly from the fuel cell.
“Compared to a competing electric compressor providing the same boost pressure, Aeristech’s compressor saves 70% mass on a full system basis including control unit, motor, and compressor,” added Richards. The company is currently testing a 10kW air compressor with a customer, but says that it has also designed a 20kW version for testing purposes.
November 19, 2015