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Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Gybrid (EKUPD)

Reporting period: 2016-09-01 to 2016-11-30

Although diesel is acknowledged as one of the largest contributors to environmental pollution and severe health problems worldwide, diesel-fueled engines and power drives for existing off-road and industrial power drive applications remain an instinctive choice because there is currently no attractive alternative without having performance trade-offs. EKU has identified an unmet need in the market to substitute diesel engines for less contaminant alternatives, particularly in the off-grid, high horsepower off-road & industrial applications where current high fuel consumption rates and its associated costs are compromising operations’ efficiency. New stringent emission regulations (EU’s Stage V, US’ Tier 4, IMO’s ECAs) are pushing innovation towards cleaner fuel alternatives. Phasing out diesel in favor of natural gas (NG) by replacing diesel engines inherently reduces CO2 emissions by 20%, NOx by 80% and eliminates particulate matter. Cheaper and increasingly available (there is a solid infrastructure for distribution and storage of NG, underpinned by a growing number of gas terminals at key industrial places), NG contributes to a competitive, low-carbon European Union. EKU’s aims to replace current dirty and inefficient diesel powertrain technology with GYBRID, a smart NG-electric hybrid power drive solution that facilitates electrification in off-grid industrial and off-road applications in the range of 500 to 3,000 kW. The objectives of the development of GYBRID are to reduce emissions from sources currently dominated by diesel by integrating and combining the dynamic capabilities of an electric motor with the efficiency and low emissions of a gas engines. A proprietary IT power control unit solves technical barriers of conventional NG engines and a proprietary software allows power pattern prediction to optimize operations. Engine and motor are supported by a smart dense high-energy battery array. GYBRID reduces impact of off-road vehicles & equipment across industries, reduces downtime (up to 80%) and maintenance, lowers operating costs (up to 50%), and provides operation-related data for further analysis. EKU has identified early adopters in companies which have urgent needs for cutting off operational costs through improved efficiency, and which have high and cheap availability of NG, i.e. Oil&Gas. EKU will leverage the initial market’s revenues to launch commercialization for industrial off-road & marine applications in Germany and Europe.
GYBRID innovation project is currently at the TRL 6 (prototype system verified). GYBRID has been scaled down (1:500) to a fully functional prototype that serves as a hardware in-the-loop test bench that can simulate real customer power profiles data of different applications. With the prototype, EKU enhanced the control functions including the innovative hydrocarbon (hybrid electric-gas) algorithm. The following milestones have been achieved: 1) Development of the system control unit to manage the gas engine and electric motor (electric drive). 2) Smart battery management and monitoring system (SBMS). 3) The Power Control electronics to distribute the electrical power between Generator, Battery, and the electric motor. 4) User interface to be customized to specific needs, which enables new diagnosis data acquisition & interaction with predictive maintenance IT system. Additionally, during the time of the execution of Phase 1 EKU conducted several pre-commercial activities: assessments and industry inquiries with potential partners, and attendance to the Natural Gas High Horsepower Summit. Our findings helped us segment EKU’s market and set commercial priorities. We have identified 4 potential markets for GYBRID: 1) hydraulic pumping (early adopters segment), 2) tug boats, 3) mining heavy-duty trucks, 4) railways. In addition, EKU has hired consultants to build up business cases for GYBRID on Mining and Oil&Gas. The conclusions of the pre-commercial activities helped us configure our strategy for a successful adoption of GYBRID in the market. EKU has assessed key manufacturing processes at EKU’s workshops and gained manufacturers’ support that will reinforce our strategy and provide cross-sales opportunities. Dissemination will be supported by engaged entities to create awareness and expand our outreach within industry end-users and key stakeholders.
The next stage to prepare market readiness is estimated to be 24 months. During the execution of this feasibility study, we have prepared a plan for implementation covering that period. EKU will conduct activities to upgrade, implement and validate GYBRID components, assemble them and validate the final solution in real industrial conditions, to further demonstrate the readiness of the solution before its market launch. Breaking down by component: 1) Battery and power electronics upgrade: design, implement and validate the system for both the diesel and the natural gas engine. The battery module design will be upgraded and validated. 2) The embedded power control software will be further calibrated and tested for fleet management. Improvements will also be made in the operational software to obtain a user-friendly man machine interface. 3) A system prototype will be assembled and tested against parameters of fuel efficiency, maintenance intervals, non-productive time (NPT), and emissions, in real operational field environment of one end user. 4) Further planning of the production of GYBRID units: design of the supply chain; planning of the storage and assembling of the components (power electronics, battery system, and master control unit); inspection, quality assessment and shipment to clients. Documentation and testing necessary for Functional Safety according to IEC 61508 International Standard will be prepared. Moreover, EKU has built a network through the whole value chain of Oil&Gas early adopters, from the components manufacturers, system integrators and technical service providers and operators.
EKU will initially target the replacement of diesel-fueled power drives in the hydraulic pumping market, with the progressive commercialization of the three systems derived from the work undertaken in the project, i.e. ESC (Engine Stand-By Controller), Mild Hybrid (hybrid diesel-electric) and Gybrid (hybrid natural gas-electric). After 2022, GYBRID technology will also help electrification of other off-road transport applications in segments with strong demand for GYBRID technology (near shore vessels such as tugs and tow boats, dump trucks for mineral and construction industries, and rails expected in the future). The initial market price for the technology has been set, related to the short payback time for EKU’s customers, estimated at two years. EKU forecasts a cumulative revenue of ~€78M by 2022 and the creation of 75 new jobs.