Fuel Cell for Vehicle-to-Grid Power

Hydrogenics Corp., a designer and manufacturer of fuel cell technology, has been contracted by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) to integrate Hydrogenics’ power module technology into a next-generation fuel cell-powered transit bus. NRCan will contribute CDN$3 million (US$2 million) toward the project which is scheduled for completion in March 2005.

Toronto, Canada – December 9, 2002 [SolarAccess.com] Under the terms of the agreement with NRCan, Hydrogenics’ HyPM power module will be integrated into a next-generation technology bus demonstration. A major difference between this bus project and earlier projects is Hydrogenics’ proprietary vehicle-to-grid technology. This vehicle-to-grid capability enables a vehicle’s power supply to provide off-board power and power to the electrical grid, while the vehicle is sitting idle. The company has been developing technology around the concept of using vehicles as a source of distributed power and has been aggregating key intellectual property in this area over the past two years. “We believe the potential of using fuel cell vehicles as a source of clean power creates a tremendous value proposition for utility markets in the future,” said Rivard. “The first opportunities may be in those parts of the world, with emerging economies, that do not have an existing infrastructure for the distribution of electricity.” Another distinct feature of this 40-foot transit bus will be the use of ultracapacitors for peaking demands and regenerative braking. According to Hydrogenics, these ultracapacitors have demonstrated a higher recovery of energy from braking than batteries, and are considerably lighter. They also have a longer economic life and are more environmentally friendly in their manufacture and disposal, said the company. Also, rather than designing a singular 180 kW power module in the rear engine compartment where it exerts an excessive load on the rear wheel axle, Hydrogenics’ design will incorporate a distributed array of discrete power modules, resulting in higher reliability, maintainability and flexibility for both grid and road power, said the company. Hydrogen fuel will be stored in high-pressure storage tanks.
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