USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
PEM fuel cells remain an emerging technology in the vehicle market with several cost and reliability challenges that must be overcome in order to increase market penetration and acceptance. The DOE has identified the lack of a cost effective, reliable, and efficient air supply system that meets the operational requirements of a pressurized PEM 80kW fuel cell as one of the major technological barriers that must be overcome. This project leveraged Roots positive displacement development advancements and demonstrated an efficient and low cost fuel cell air management system. Eaton built upon its P-Series Roots positive displacement design and shifted the peak efficiency making it ideal for use on an 80kW PEM stack. Advantages to this solution include: • Lower speed of the Roots device eliminates complex air bearings present on other systems. • Broad efficiency map of Roots based systems provides an overall higher drive cycle fuel economy. • Core Roots technology has been developed and validated for other transportation applications. Eaton modified their novel R340 Twin Vortices Series (TVS) Roots-type supercharger for this application. The TVS delivers more power and better fuel economy in a smaller package as compared to other supercharger technologies. By properly matching the helix angle with the rotor’s physical aspect ratio, the supercharger’s peak efficiency can be moved to the operating range where it is most beneficial for the application. The compressor was designed to meet the 90 g/s flow at a pressure ratio of 2.5, similar in design to the P-Series 340. A net shape plastic expander housing with integrated motor and compressor was developed to significantly reduce the cost of the system. This integrated design reduced part count by incorporating an overhung expander and motor rotors into the design such that only four bearings and two shafts were utilized.
Stretch, Dale; Wright, Brad; Fortini, Matt; Fink, Neal; Ramadan, Bassem; and Eybergen, William, "Roots Air Management System with Integrated Expander" (2016). Mechanical Engineering Presentations And Conference Materials. 112.