U.S. Air Force Gets Fuel Cell Bus in Hawaii

Torrance, California-based Enova Systems, a builder of digital power management systems for hybrid and fuel cell vehicles, heavy-duty buses, trucks and stationary applications, has successfully integrated a fuel cell system into the U.S. Air Force’s first hybrid fuel cell bus at Enova’s facilities in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Honolulu, Hawaii – December 30, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] The U.S. Air Force’s first battery dominant fuel cell hybrid bus, passing final acceptance tests, was completed through a teaming effort between Enova, the U.S. Air Force, Hawaii’s High Technology Development Corporation (HTDC) and Hydrogenics. Enova provided the enabling technologies to convert fuel cell energy into useable power for propulsion and operation of the Air Force bus. Enova’s technologies optimize the hybrid fuel cell bus by requiring a reduced fuel cell power module size through the introduction of a battery pack and the ability to capture “regeneration” energy from braking which is transferred back to the batteries. “Enova’s engineering and integration teams have once again proven their prowess in the development and implementation of advanced digital power management and propulsions systems for heavy-duty applications,” said Enova CEO and President Carl D. Perry. “Drawing on our over three years of experience in fuel cell system development and integration programs with Ford Motor Company, Hyundai Motor Company, United Technologies and others, Enova has demonstrated its skill in providing the optimal solution.” Enova was chosen to be the team leader for this ground transportation program and has accomplished its goal in three months from system design to completion and final acceptance. The U.S. Air Force’s hybrid fuel cell bus’s configuration consists of Enova System’s Panther 120-kW drive system integrated with Enova’s newly developed Dual 8-kW inverter, 380V DC/DC converter, an advanced version of its Hybrid Control Unit and a Mobile Fuel Cell Generator, incorporating a Hydrogenics 20-kW fuel cell power generation module and a battery pack. “By providing standard modular components, Enova is bringing us very close to commercializing the fuel cell powered drive train required to transform the Air Force for the ‘hydrogen economy,'” said Carl Perazzola, Chief, Advanced Power Technology Office, Robins Air Force Base. “This will reduce both overdependence on foreign oil and logistical requirements going forward, while helping clean our environment. Enova and Hydrogenics are partners with us that are making this win-win scenario a reality for the Department of Defense and our Nation.” This program follows several technology efforts between Hawaii and Enova including electric-powered Hyundai SUVs, an electric 120-kW 30-foot bus (also for use at Hickam Air Force Base) and a multi-car tram system. “Enova Systems continues to contribute greatly to Hawaii’s ongoing efforts of being an environmentally friendly State,” said Tom Quinn, Director of the Hawaii Electric Vehicle Development Program (HEVDP) at HTDC. “Over the past ten years, the joint efforts of Enova, the HEVDP and the U.S. Departments of Defense and Transportation, have developed and commercialized many advanced alternative transportation systems for automotive, transit and commercial use. Enova has demonstrated that they continue to be at the forefront of technology in the alternative power management markets.”
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