Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Fuel Cells, Electric Drives and Other Fun Stuff

When I am playing with my fantasy designs I contact a few manufacturers to get more information on products that I am going to use. Ballard Power is one that I have been following a long time. The FC Velocity 9SSL is the main fuel cell they make that I use for my pseudo designs because it has good power density, long rated life and reasonable pricing. The cost of the FCV 9SSL is $10,000 for 19.3kW which is $500 per kW, but in the articles I typically use the total system cost per kW which may be confusing. For example:

For electric motor drives I have switched to Azure Dynamics products. The big AC90 and controller they make costs $10,900 plus shipping. With estimates for the remaining drive train and fuel storage that brings the system cost with fuel cells to about $1000 per usable kW. Where possible I will list the individual prices, but unfortunately some have to be approximations.

Nanosolar solar cells are estimated at $1.00 US per Watt. That is just the panels so shipping, installation and associated equipment, inverters etc. need to be factored in for your application.

Another thing that I have mentioned is servicing fuel cells. The FCV 9SSL has a life listed of 10,000 hours. That is basically the life of the PEM before efficiency is degraded to 70%-80%. The PEM can be replaced to rebuild the FCV 9SSL back to original performance for a cost that is not clear. The PEM material cost is approximately $500 per square meter. So I estimate approximately $1500 US for a rebuild which I feel is reasonable. Of course, that can vary.

If you are planning to use a Ballard FCV9SSL for power generation for example, the total system cost would be less than for an automotive application. The use would also impact the estimated life and thus the warranty of the product, since it is not rated for that application. That also applies to my automotive uses until in production.

Ballard makes fuel cells for remote power applications which are designed that function and have specific estimates for that purpose.

Anyway, I find that hydrogen fuel cells have made great progress in the past 5 years and honestly expect they will become a part of every day life within the next decade.

No comments:

Blog Archive