General Electric Global Research has put together a team of researchers who have accomplished a milestone in the reduction of the price of zero emission buses, by using GE’s new Durathon battery together with a hydrogen fuel cell and a lithium battery.
As stated by GE, developing this new way to manage the energy consumed by buses could enhance their electrification and fuel acceptance together with that of delivery trucks as well as other bigger, heavy-duty vehicles to enable more use of clean vehicle technology.
Systems Engineer for the Electric Propulsion Systems Lab in GE Global Research, Tim Richter, said, “For years fuel cells have been talked about as a clean transportation alternative but cost has always been a roadblock to widespread adoption… With GE’s battery technology and dynamic dual battery management system, we’re starting to push that roadblock aside.”
The researchers at GE hope that the architecture of their new energy management system will enable buses to function optimally with much smaller fuel cells than was thought possible. Power plants for fuel cells increase cost significantly, whereas the energy management system by GE may potentially halve costs.
“What we want to deliver is a cost-effective bus that emits no harmful pollutants,” Richter added.
Most of today’s batteries either provide a lot of power or are able to store a lot more energy. For instance, lithium batteries are optimized for power to accelerate by do not store much energy for a longer driving range. GE’s Durathon, which are sodium batteries, are the exact opposite in that they are capable of storing more energy but do not provide that much power. The dual battery by GE finds a middle ground enabling the lithium battery to deal with acceleration and braking and the Durathon battery to deal with a stable flow of electric power, thus, extending the bus range.