Integrated hydrogen power packs for portable and other autonomous applications
HYPER aims to develop and demonstrate a market ready, portable power pack comprising of an integrated modular fuel cell and hydrogen storage system that is flexible in design, cost effective and readily customised for application across multiple low power markets. The project will combine the development of scalable PEM fuel cell modules with an innovative portable pack that allows for the interchange of alternative hydrogen supply components. The resulting prototype will be field tested in specific end user applications.
Portable scale hydrogen-powered fuel cells have, to date, been held back by technological and economic barriers. This project will concentrate on overcoming challenges relating to performance and cost reduction (specifically via design for manufacture and supply chain development). It will generate and disseminate new scientific knowledge as well as develop application specific prototype systems, specified by end users and tested in the field under real-life conditions. This will represent a significant move forward in terms of demonstrating the commercial viability of hydrogen based systems.
There is a significant market opportunity for portable power packs (50 We to 500 We scale) across a wide range of applications, such as power tool charging, emergency lighting, security and surveillance.
However, technical barriers to the development of FCH-based portable power packs, such as increasing fuel cell power output, and reducing the size and weight of hydrogen storage modules, have to date, prevented exploitation of this market. Moreover, manufacturing economies of scale are difficult to realise as end user applications have diverse requirements that have traditionally been met via bespoke product offerings.
HYPER has been conceived to address these challenges through the development of a scalable and flexible portable power platform technology representing significant advances in terms of fuel cell development, hydrogen storage and associated supply. Specifically, the project will:
- Focus on developing a system based on application specific operational and performance targets;
- Embed cost improvement and design for manufacture within the development pathway;
- Demonstrate complete application specific prototypes in the field with end users;
- Deliver a market ready system that is flexible in design and cost effective, for rapid roll out across multiple applications.
The system will be based on modular LT PEM fuel cells with a common interface to use with alternative hydrogen supply modules. Two generic types of (interchangeable) hydrogen storage modules will be developed: a bespoke gaseous hydrogen storage module; and a novel solid-state hydrogen storage module that is based on nano-structured hydrogen storage materials.
Two proof of concept HYPER Systems will be developed and demonstrated: 100 We portable power pack/field battery charger, and a 500 We (continuous) range extender for a UAV, in order to validate the scalability and robustness of the system.