Quiet Reliable and Compact Fuel Cell Based APU (QRCFC-APU)EPA Contract Number: EPD07079
Title: Quiet Reliable and Compact Fuel Cell Based APU (QRCFC-APU)
Investigators: Namazian, Mehdi
Small Business: Altex Technologies Corporation
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Project Period: May 1, 2007 through April 30, 2009
Project Amount: $224,996
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase II (2007) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) , SBIR - Air Pollution
There are more than 480,000 trucks on U.S. roads, and each vehicle produces up to 20 tons CO2, 420 lbs of CO, 11 lbs of particulates, and 250 lbs of nitrous oxides per year, when idling, and producing auxiliary power needed for the driver’s comfort. A Quiet Reliable and Compact Fuel Cell Based APU (QRCFC-APU) is proposed to significantly reduce these emissions. The QRCFC overcomes challenges with current diesel fuel reforming and fuel cell reliability, when converting diesel fuel to power on trucks. Under the Phase I effort, a QRCFC test article was designed and its critical reformer component was tested to show that it can limit reformate CO and sulfur contents to levels that are compatible with the fuel cell. In addition, an individual cell test showed that the fuel cell can reliably operate with the reformate generated by the reformer. These tests showed the feasibility of the QRCFC system. Under the Phase II effort, the individual QRCFC reformer and fuel cell components will be refined and scaled up, and the system tested at the 2kWe power level. Emissions, efficiency, reliability, and short-term durability will be proved in these tests. In addition, test data and analysis will be used to project the performance of the QRCFC as a truck-based APU, and both first and operating costs will be estimated. These results will then be contrasted with alternative APU approaches, as well as simple truck idling. Under the proposed Commercialization Option, the QRCFC components will be further refined and capacity will be increased to 6kWe and the unit tested. Lastly, the 6kWe unit performance will be verified through testing at an EPA-supported Verification Test Organization, which will help drive commercialization of the unit.
If the QRCFC penetrated just 20 percent of the truck APU market, it will result in the reduction of more than 12,000 tons of NOx, 20160 tons of CO, 544 tons of particulate, and 1.5 million tons of CO2 emissions each year. Besides this important application, the QRCFC also could provide similar benefits to military and civilian boat, mobile power and remote power applications. These represent a market of more than 100,000 additional units, with a related large beneficial emissions reductions.