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Brass-board integration of a reformer/fuel cell/battery/electric motor system for electric traction


Fuel cell driven electric vehicles are expected to achieve efficiencies which are 2 to 3 times higher than petrol or Diesel engines. Two options for fuel exist: hydrogen and methanol. This project deals with a stationary test facility which simulates a fuel cell driven electric vehicle which uses methanol as a fuel. The objective is to develop the technology needed to integrate key components for a reformer/fuel cell/battery hybrid electric vehicle, to perform this integration as well as to assess the performance of the system using realistic drive patterns.

The integration of the components of a fuel cell/battery hybrid power source for an electric vehicle will be carried out in the laboratory, in a 'brass-board' set-up. The system should be able to provide the power needed for van of 5 tonne gross weight, used for delivery services in an urban area. Except for the periodic refuelling with methanol, the brass-board will be completely self supporting in terms of sustaining all internal use of electricity and compressed air. The project will not be aimed at developing fuel reformers, fuel cells or batteries.
The methanol reformer will be constructed by Tecnars (I). It will be a scaled-up version of the reformers developed and built by Tecnars. Only modest modifications will be applied in order to enable the application on the brass-board. The fuel gas will contain trace components that are detrimental to the functioning of the fuel cell. The removal of these by-products of the reforming process will be the responsibility of the Loughborough University of Technology (LUT), thereby assisted by Tecnars.
LUT is also responsible for the initial modelling during the design phase, for the acquisition of realistic drive patterns, for the selection of control strategies as well as for the comparison of test results and model predictions.

The solid polymer fuel cell stacks will be purchased. The design and construction of the system around the stacks will be the responsibility of the Netherlands Energy Research Foundation (ECG). This system will comprise an air compression system to provide the pressurized oxidant flow for the stacks. ECG is also responsible for the final integration and will carry out part of the performance tests. ECG is co-ordinator of the project.

The selection and purchase of the batteries and the testing in combination with an permanent magnet type motor will be done by TNO (Delft, NL). TNO is also responsible for testing of the complete brass-board on a dynamometer test bed, using realistic drive patterns.

Holec Machines & Apparaten BV (NL), is responsible for the design and construction of a supervisory control unit and the communication network needed for the data-acquisition and the control of the various sub-systems.

The brass-board project will result in new knowledge and techniques pertaining to the integration of reformers and fuel cells in an electric vehicle. This knowledge will be useful for setting the goals for the application specific development of fuel cells, reformers, batteries and super-capacitors. The brass-board facility could in future be used to test such new components in an integrated environment resembling that of an electric vehicle.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


Westerduinweg 3

Participants (4)

Holec Machines en Apparaten BV
2980 GB Ridderkerk
United Kingdom
Ashby Road
LE11 3TU Loughborough
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Toegepast Natuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek
2600 JA Delft
Tecnologie Avanzate, Ricerca e Sviluppo SrL
Via Pionieri Del Commercio Barese
70123 Bari