For years auto manufacturers have talked about fuel cells as the future of clean transportation, but the high cost of the system has been the major roadblock for widespread adoption. Researchers at GE Global Research have now showcased a new battery dominant fuel cell bus that could deliver the effectiveness of fuel cells powered vehicles without the high cost factor.
The new zero-emission bus is powered by GE’s new Durathon battery working in tandem with a hydrogen fuel cell and a conventional lithium battery. The energy management system could accelerate both fuel cell acceptance and electrification of buses and other heavy-duty vehicles such as delivery trucks. Moreover, the use of this one-of-its-kind energy management system brings down the cost of a fuel cell bus by about 50 percent.
The Multi-Energy High Voltage Energy Management Technology combines two or more batteries to enable different power-to-energy configurations that match the vehicle’s needs. Most batteries are either optimized for power or energy storage. Like sodium batteries, such as the Durathon is optimized to store large amounts of energy but is less optimized for power. On the other hand, a lithium battery doesn’t do well in storing large amount of energy, but is optimized for power. The dual battery management system combines the best attributes of both battery chemistries into a single system, allowing the lithium battery to focus on acceleration and braking, while using the Durathon for better range.