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HÖRMANN Vehicle Engineering, WätaS Wärmetauscher Sachsen
Refining of fuel cell waste heat
The aim of the research project is to analysis of the possible applications of a fuel cell with recuperation in a rail vehicle. The focus is recognition of recuperation potentials from the waste heat flows within the rail vehicle and there especially the fuel cell drive. The waste heat that cannot be used directly is to be converted into electrical energy. The range of the vehicles is to be increased by partially substituting the drive energy for air-conditioning systems (fans, refrigerant compressors).
Recuperation via ORC / Kalina Process
Identified problematic fields
Low energy efficiency of the ORC process at given temperature levels
Economic use of this technology means:
- Cost ratio must be in relation to range extension Basis of Comparison H2 consumption of a fuel cell train without recuperation.
- Low additional weight - energy yield must be significantly higher than the energy requirement resulting from the additional weight of the ORC recuperator
- No additional environmental pollution due to working material
- No increased hazard potential due to technology used
Project Background / Motivation
The current climate protection targets and the resulting obligations to improve environmental compatibility and sustainability must result in rethinking processes in all areas of life and work.
Global networking and the resulting mobility of human as well as the transport of material goods are causing enormous environmental pollution, which is about to change through the choice of more suitable energy sources.
The expected ban on the burning of fossil fuels is forcing development concepts based on electric drives. One main problem is the storage of the energy source. There are concepts for using electric energy storage devices (batteries, accumulators). Another way is to distribute energy via overhead or underground lines. However, this requires an existing infrastructure, which cannot be built economically in all areas.
The detour via liquids with high energy densities, such as fuels (gasoline, diesel, methanol) is currently the most used common route.
Renewable energy sources, such as hydrogen, increasingly offer more and more an alternative despite high safety requirements.
Under these boundary conditions, a rail vehicle is to be developed which is to be used in regions that are oriented towards northern or central Europe with regard to geographic and climatic conditions. It is to be used on lines that cannot be electrified in an economically viable way.
The use of an ORC / Kalina process to convert waste heat into useful electrical energy in rail vehicles represents a particular challenge, as only low efficiencies can be achieved at the usable temperature level.
The aim of the project is to prove the usability of this technology. Thereby, economical aspects of application shall be considered. The increase in the range of a fuel cell powered rail vehicle, which is achieved by recuperating the waste heat from the fuel cells, is to be demonstrated.