Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Fuel cell powered electric vehicle efficiency and range - FEVER

The project aimed to develop and build a fuel cell driven passenger car which is powered by a 30 kW fuel cell and uses hydrogen as a fuel. The primary objective of the project was to minimise the weight, size and fuel consumption of polymer electrolyte membrane or proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells for the integration into the passenger vehicle. A secondary objective was to achieve a range of around 500 kilometres on one tank full of liquid hydrogen.

Fuel cell driven vehicles are expected to have efficiencies of between 1.5 to 2 times more than conventional petrol or diesel engine driven vehicles. There are two types of fuel which can be used in the fuel cell - hydrogen and methanol. The advantage of a fuel cell running on hydrogen is, of course, the fact that pure water is the only reaction product of the electrochemical combustion process within the fuel cell. Furthermore, no contaminants can then inhibit the fuel cell's operation. The emissions of such a vehicle, operating on ambient temperature hydrogen fuel cells, are therefore zero. However, the production of hydrogen may be associated with pollutant generation. For example, if an on-board reformer is used to generate hydrogen from methanol, the driving range of the vehicle can be greatly increased. Unfortunately, in this particular case, the gas output of the vehicle is mainly CO2 . This is clearly not a desirable outcome in the light of concerns over global warming, unless methanol is produced from renewable sources.

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Technocentre Renault
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