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Fuel cells supply parked trucks with electricity

Converting diesel fuel quietly and with low emissions

Truck cabins provide both the workplace and home for drivers for days and even weeks. The communications technology, lighting and air conditioning in trucks therefore also require onboard power supplies during rest periods.

The current BINE-Projektinfo brochure “Low-emission energy supplies at truck stops” (02/2013) presents a high-temperature fuel cell that has been developed for this purpose. For the first time, a system using diesel fuel has been developed, which was previously problematic because of the sulphur content.

The list of requirements for supplying on-board electricity with high-temperature fuel cells is long: the system needs to be light, compact and very robust, and it must be able to withstand vibrations. The components are subject to considerable thermomechanical loads caused by rapid heating up and high operating temperatures. When reforming the gas from the diesel fuel, all components must be designed for a sulphur content of 10 – 15 ppm.
The developers have already been able to make some important breakthroughs with the aforementioned requirements and are approaching the pre-production stage. However, further optimisation stages are necessary, which are expected to take about three years, before production readiness is attained. In particular these concern the sulphur tolerance, the redox resistance, the thermomechanics and the heat transfer.

The system currently has an efficiency of 22%. The production-ready model is intended to achieve 30%, have a net electrical capacity of 3 kW and thus consume one litre of diesel per operating hour. The BINE-Projektinfo brochure “Low-emission energy supplies at truck stops” (02/2013), which can be obtained free of charge from the BINE Information Service at FIZ Karlsruhe, is available online at or by calling +49 (0)228 92379-0.

Press contact
Uwe Milles

About BINE Information Service

Energy research for practical applications

The BINE Information Service reports on energy research topics, such as new materials, systems and components, as well as innovative concepts and methods. The knowledge gained is incorporated into the implementation of new technologies in practice, because first-rate information provides a basis for pioneering decisions, whether in the planning of energy-optimised buildings, increasing the efficiency of industrial processes, or integrating renewable energy sources into existing systems.

About FIZ Karlsruhe

FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz Institute for Information Infrastructure is a not-for-profit organization with the public mission to make sci-tech information from all over the world publicly available and to provide related services in order to support the national and international transfer of knowledge and the promotion of innovation.
Our business areas:
• STN International – the world’s leading online service for research and patent information in science and technology
• KnowEsis – innovative eScience solutions to support the process of research in all its stages, and throughout all scientific disciplines
• Databases and Information Services – Databases and science portals in mathematics, computer science, crystallography, chemistry, and energy technology

FIZ Karlsruhe is a member of the Leibniz Association (WGL) which consists of 87 German research and infrastructure institutions.

Rüdiger Mack | idw
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