Revolve Technologies has successfully developed fuel cell technology using a printed circuit board construction. This will be the first time that a PCB-based fuel cell has been developed for an automotive application.
Revolve believes the approach will reduce systems costs, deliver weight reductions for set power output and provide greater flexibility in form factor.
A Renault Kangoo ZE van with a PCB fuel cell range extender was displayed at the recent Cenex Low Carbon Vehicle Event at the Millbrook Proving Ground in the UK. The 5kW PCB fuel cell utilizes cost-effective production methods and materials from the PCB industry to reduce the cost and complexity of manufacturing proton exchange membrane fuel cells.
With the PCBFC fitted, an additional range of around 80 miles can be expected on an NEDC cycle with 1.7kg of hydrogen on board, and by fitting additional hydrogen storage capacity, the range can be further extended.
On the demonstration model, the fuel cell – along with the control system and electronics – is integrated on the vehicle roof under a covered enclosure. The hydrogen storage tank is currently in the loading bay, although a future development could see the tank relocated to the roof.
The fuel cell range extender module is designed as an aftermarket kit for all commercial pure EVs. The technology can also be adopted by OEMs in other pure EV segments.
Revolve Technologies worked with its partners on this project and carried out the system integration, benchmarking and testing at its HQ in Brentwood.
Bramble Energy was responsible for fuel cell development and manufacture, UCL provided fuel cell testing and manufacturing support, STI performed the electronics development, and manufacturing consultancy HSSMI worked on manufacturing upscaling.
“This project met all our expectations,” said Paul Turner, engineering director at Revolve Technologies. “We were delighted to be able to show this exciting outcome at the LCV Show, and we received a very enthusiastic reception.”