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H Power Corporation
A Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC) is a device that electrochemically combines hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity and pure water. There are no other side-products or emissions produced. Pure oxyxgen is required for fuel cells used in outer space; but in most terrestrial applications the oxygen is supplied to the cathode by flowing air through the cell. In Genesis, pure hydrogen will be generated on-board by a novel liquid hydride technology developed for this project. The hydrogen is consummed at the rate required by the electrical load. In this way a fuel cell is different from batteries. A battery must be recharged each time it uses the electrical charge that was stored in it, but a fuel cell will continue to generate electricity as long as hydrogen and oxygen are supplied to its cells. The NJ Venturer, the only "fuel cell" car in the 1999 Tour de Sol race, is being entered again in the 2000 Tour de Sol. Its 64 cell, 4.2 kW fuel cell is being upgraded by the original manufacturer, H Power Corp of Belleville, NJ. The fuel cell will act as a "range extender" as it did last year by continuously recharging the car's battery pack. The NJ Genesis will be outfitted with two (2) 100 cell 5 kW fuel cell stacks wired in series. The unregulated voltage will vary from 120 to 200 VDC, because the voltage of the individual cells is proportional to the electrical load (0.6 to 1.0 V/Cell). The individual cells are "stacked" in series so the voltages add to provide the higher voltages needed by the drive motor and other ancilliary devices. A DC/DC converter regulates the variable voltage to a steady DC input to an inverter that transforms it to AC. In the NJ Genesis the traction motor and the air compressor operate on AC; all other components operate on the regulated 24 VDC power. The fully automated system incorporates a compressor to feed air to both stacks, a liquid cooling-system and a control board for monitoring the system's performance. The control board is a critical component and is responsible for varying the speed of the air compressor as the load on the car's motor changes and for continuously performing safety checks of the voltage and temperature of the fuel cell stacks. Data is recorded on-board the vehicle for detailed analysis later. The hydrogen side of the cells are pressurized with pure hydrogen and are periodically purged to remove any water that may accumulate. The average flow rate of the hydrogen will be 4.9 SCFM and both the air and hydrogen will be pressurized to 6 psi. Each Fuel Cell Stack will be 10" X 12" X 24" and will weigh 75 pounds each. The fully assembled integrated system will easily fit within the large engine compartment of the Mercury Sable.
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Last Updated: Monday, March 06, 2000