General Dynamics equips 21st Century Truck with fuel cell-based power unit

General Dynamics C4 Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics, has delivered a fuel cell-based auxiliary power unit (APU) to SunLine Transit Agency for installation aboard “The 21st Century Truck,” a government-industry collaboration to develop commercially viable technologies that will cut fuel use and emissions of commercial trucks and buses.

As configured for the 21st Century Truck, the five-kilowatt power unit will act as a battery charger to electrify the air-conditioning and other driver utilities in the concept Class 8 tractor when it is parked, avoiding noise, emissions, and expense of running the vehicle's engine for electrical power. Class 8 trucks consume about 68% of all commercial truck fuel used, according to the United States Department of Energy.

General Dynamics integrated an Acumentrics Corp 5-kw fuel cell “stack,” which is based on Acumentrics' solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology, into a specially designed cabinet housing the power plant, thermal management system, power electronics, and controls. The advanced fuel cell APU system is mounted behind the experimental truck's cab and provides a continuous charge to a 42-volt DC battery system to power the environmental control unit and other engine loads.

Partners in the 21st Century Truck program include the US Army, the US Departments of Energy and Transportation, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the US trucking industry. The National Automotive Center, Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) is the Army's lead agency for the program.

TAGS: Vehicles
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