Funding Sought for Project for Hydrogen Range Extension
Plug Power is proposing to test its GenDrive brand hydrogen fuel cells as range extenders on pure-battery delivery trucks, thereby making the zero-emission vehicles more mission-capable.
"They need about 150 to 175 miles per route," says Plug Power project manager Jim Petrecky. Current battery trucks are getting only about 80 miles per charge, he says.
"By adding a 10-kilowatt fuel cell and 5 to 6 kilograms of hydrogen, they can use their electric vehicle for all of their routes," he told F&F.
20 Trucks Would get 10-Kilowatt GenDrive Units
Plug Power and un-named partners are seeking funding to augment 20 battery trucks with lithium ion battery trucks with 10-kilowatt Plug Power GenDrive fuel cells.
The partners envision a four-year initiative - one year of development and three years of deployment in real work applications.
Fueling will take place at an existing Plug Power installation and at public charging stations in Southern California.
"For a range of 150 miles, the truck will get roughly half of the required energy from the batteries and half from the fuel cell," Petrecky says in a summary prepared for F&F.
Still Cheaper than Diesel
The FC-RE - fuel cell range-extended - "truck will be fitted with the batteries, fuel cell, and hydrogen tank in such a way that the payload will not be depreciably reduced."
Operators will still save money, as "It is cheaper to charge the batteries at night and fuel with hydrogen due to the fuel cell's high efficiency than to fuel the truck with diesel."
Petrecky notes battery electric trucks are used in commercial operations by multiple companies, and that GenDrive fuel cells are used commercially in some 4,000 material handling vehicles - forklifts and airport ground support equipment vehicles - and that the GenDrive architecture has accumulated 12 million run hours.
Plug Power fuel cells are also being tested on reefers - over-the-road refrigerated trucks (F&F, August 28).