Progress In Development and Application of Fuel Cell Power Plants For Automobiles and Buses 1999-01-0533
Fuel cell development at United Technologies Corporation has pioneered the successful application of fuel cell power plants for space craft electrical power and for stationary electric generation in building applications. A major effort is now underway to utilize proprietary Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell stack technology and fuel processing technology in power plants designed for application to vehicles. This activity is carried out at International Fuel Cells, LLC which was formed by United Technologies specifically to pursue transportation applications of its fuel cell technology. This paper reports on the status of development and demonstration activities for automobile and bus applications. A 100 kW, methanol-fueled power plant is providing power for operation of a 18 meter transit bus. This 1727 Kg power plant has achieved impressive efficiency, response and emission characteristics in testing to date. The ambient pressure power plant can be configured for operation on other fuels such as compressed natural gas and naphtha. A 50 kW hydrogen-air power plant operating at ambient pressure has achieved specific weight of 2.7 Kg per kW and efficiency ranging from nearly 50 percent at rated power to 60 percent at the part load conditions associated with most automobile operation. IFC is currently developing a 50 kW gasoline fueled power plant for application in both automobiles and buses. The status of these activities will be presented.