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Technical Paper

Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Auxiliary Power Unit - A Paradigm Shift in Electric Supply for Transportation

Delphi Automotive Systems and BMW have been 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, 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.
Technical Paper

Fuel Cell Auxiliary Power Unit - Innovation for the Electric Supply of Passenger Cars ?

The first application in which the fuel cell will find a market in the passenger car is as an “electrochemical battery” serving the purpose the fuel cell can do best: To generate electricity for the electrical power bus with a high degree of efficiency. Such a fuel cell referred to as an APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) exceeds the power output and endurance of a battery and is able not only to supply power to all conventional electrical power-consuming items in the car, but also to provide new functions such as air conditioning when the car is at a standstill. In the long run, indeed, the fuel cell may even be able to replace the electrical alternator.