Cummins Demonstrates Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Auxiliary Power System
(Archive News Story - Products mentioned in this Archive News Story may or may not be available from the manufacturer.)
Cummins Power Generation Americas
1400 73rd Ave. NE
Minneapolis, MN, 55432
Press release date: May 5, 2010
MINEAPOLIS - Cummins (NYSE: CMI) successfully demonstrated a tubular solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) in a hybrid-configured auxiliary power unit (APU) configured to power a Class 7/8 truck's "hotel loads" while running on commercial ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) fuel. The Cummins APU incorporated hybrid power electronics, system controls, and balance-of-plant components combined with SOFC modules supplied by Protonex Technology Corporation (LSE: AIM: PTX and PTXU).
The SOFC power unit was integrated with a modified power electronics section derived from Cummins Power Generation's Hybrid Quiet Diesel(TM) (HQD) recreational vehicle power system. The hybrid power electronics provide dynamic load sharing between the SOFC and a battery pack.
The testing replicated the ten-hour rest period that is part of the daily routine of a typical over-the-road truck. Specific achievements demonstrated were:
o Operation on "straight from the pump" ULSD fuel during the entire test
o Operating a truck cab's air conditioner and lighting solely from the SOFC sub-system power
o Hybridization of APU for instant-on capability and increased peak loading capacity-up to 3,800W AC available from the combination of fuel cell and battery boost
o Combined heat and power (CHP) generation
o Recharging batteries from the SOFC sub-system
o 1,260W net peak demonstrated DC power
o 940W net peak demonstrated AC power
o Average net power produced over test period: 1,100W DC or 820W AC
This demonstration, held at Cummins Power Generation facilities in Minneapolis, leveraged development supported by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). The APU combines Cummins Power Generation's HQD hybrid power electronics, controls and systems integration expertise with Protonex' SOFC technology to address increasingly stringent anti-idling requirements aimed at reducing commercial truck emissions, noise and fuel consumption.
The HQD architecture-which can combine power from an engine-driven generator or fuel cell and a battery pack to supply AC and DC loads-potentially provides a versatile platform for a wide range of power system applications such as recreational vehicles, consumer marine, commercial mobile, truck APUs, and off-grid power for telecom or remote residences.
The SOFC APU system form factor and mission capabilities are comparable to commercially available diesel engine-based APU generators, highlighting the ability of the SOFC APU to be integrated into the same form factor as existing production hardware.
The hybrid-configured APU provides both AC power and DC power to the truck's hotel loads. It intelligently controls charging of the energy storage system by regulating the power output of the SOFC sub-system and dynamically distributing loads between the fuel cell and stored energy. The SOFC sub-system efficiently converts chemical energy in the ULSD fuel directly into useful electrical power.
The inherent efficiency and nature of the SOFC reduces the carbon footprint and dramatically limits harmful emissions. This technology shows the potential to provide truck operators with a viable method to eliminate main-engine idling during rest periods. This demonstration of SOFC technology points the way toward significant fuel savings, while virtually eliminating noise and exhaust emissions. It also represents a significant step forward in Cummins' evaluation of SOFC technology for possible future products.
"This demonstration marks a real milestone in Cummins' experience: an integrated SOFC power system-in a package consistent with conventional technology-operating on the main engine fuel without supplemental water that's capable of supporting a real-world mission of providing heating, cooling, and electrical convenience to a Class 7/8 truck sleeper," said Dan Norrick, manager, Advanced Development, Cummins Power Generation.
"This is a testament to the feasibility of tubular-based SOFC systems in real-world applications. The cycling stability and robustness of the tubular architecture, combined with the inherent ability of SOFCs to operate on hydrocarbon-based fuels, makes it an ideal candidate for APU systems of this nature," stated Dr. Caine Finnerty, vice president, SOFC Operations, Protonex Technology Corporation.
About Cummins Power Generation
Cummins Power Generation, a subsidiary of Cummins Inc. (NYSE: CMI), is a global leader dedicated to increasing the availability and reliability of electric power around the world. With more than 90 years' experience, its global distributor network in over 190 countries delivers innovative solutions for any power need-commercial, industrial, recreational, emergency, peaking and residential.
Products include alternators, generator-drive engines and pre-integrated power systems, combining generator sets and power control and transfer technologies. Services range from system design, project management, and operation and maintenance contracts to development of turnkey power plants.
About Protonex Technology Corporation
Protonex Technology Corporation develops and manufactures compact, lightweight and high-performance fuel cell systems for portable power applications in the 100- to 1000-watt range. The Company's fuel cell systems are designed to meet the needs of military, commercial and consumer customers for off-grid applications underserved by existing technologies by providing customizable, stand-alone portable power solutions and systems that may be hybridized with existing power technologies. The Company is headquartered in Southborough, Massachusetts.
For more information, contact Madeline Foss, Cummins Power Generation, 1400 73rd Ave. NE, Minneapolis, Minn. 55432. Phone: 763-574-5942; fax: 763-574-5298. Or visit www.cumminspower.com.