Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Auxiliary Power Unit - A Development Update 2002-01-0411
Delphi Automotive Systems and BMW are jointly developing Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) technology for application in the transportation industry primarily as an on-board Auxiliary Power Unit (APU). In the first application of this joint program, the APU will be used to power an electric air conditioning system without the need for operating the vehicle engine.
The SOFC based APU technology has the potential to provide a paradigm shift in the supply of electric power for passenger cars. Furthermore, by supplementing the conventional fuel with reformate in the internal combustion engine, extremely low emissions and high system efficiencies are possible. This is consistent with the increasing power demands in automobiles in the new era of more comfort and safety along with environmental friendliness.
Delphi Automotive Systems and BMW were successful in demonstrating an Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) based on Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) technology in February, 2001. A SOFC APU generates power using hydrogen and carbon monoxide reformed from fuels such as gasoline, diesel, or natural gas. The proof-of-concept unit and the advantages of using a SOFC APU will be activities in the development of a second generation APU. This development has been targeted towards resolving the fundamental issues with the following key subsystems: fuel cell stack, fuel reformers, and energy and thermal management. Major focus has also been directed at system integration challenges to make a more robust and efficient product.