From passenger cars to long-haul trucks, locomotives, and heavy equipment, internal combustion engines (ICEs) are being replaced with greener alternatives, including hydrogen fuel cells. Fuel cells offer the power density and range needed for a vehicle to make it through an 8-hour shift. To design the software that controls their fuel cell engine—which typically includes hundreds of fuel cells stacked together with coolant flowing between them, plus a coolant pump and an air compressor—Nuvera uses MATLAB® and Simulink®.
“Fuel cells are better than batteries whenever long range is required, or when battery charging takes too long—making them good for boats, planes, trucks, buses, and emergency response vehicles.”Gus Block, Nuvera Fuel Cells
To meet their objective of putting future power generation to work, Plug Power Inc. designs and develops onsite energy systems based on fuel cells. They use MathWorks® tools to enhance product performance, reduce costs, and improve manufacturing and integration processes. With MATLAB® and Simulink®, they develop and test algorithms, simulate components and systems, and streamline the development process from idea to implementation.
"We don’t have time to investigate our algorithms with C or C++. Fortunately, MATLAB lets us test our ideas with just a few lines of code. It saves a lot of time and moves us toward our goal of creating a commercially viable onsite energy system."Rebecca Dinan, Plug Power
More than 100 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in the Daimler AG (formerly DaimlerChrysler®) test fleet are operated by ordinary drivers in real-world driving conditions around the world. For development purposes only, each vehicle is equipped with a powerful telematics system that captures data on vehicle performance and driver usage patterns—from the vehicle’s GPS coordinates, fuel tank fill level, and vehicle velocity to the position of the gas pedal beneath the driver’s foot.
“Previously, Daimler used Excel to perform this analysis, a task that required hundreds of engineer-hours to set up, a full-time employee to maintain, and many manual steps to complete each time. Today, an automated MATLAB script lets the team access the same results via a Web browser."Tim McGuire, Mercedes-Benz RDNA, Inc.
Challenge X, a competition sponsored by General Motors and the US Department of Energy, challenges 17 North American student teams to re-engineer a Chevrolet Equinox so as to reduce emissions and fuel consumption without sacrificing vehicle performance or safety. The University of Waterloo Alternative Fuels Team (UWAFT) won first place overall in the first year of the three-year competition with their fuel-cell-powered vehicle design. UWAFT also won The MathWorks Crossover to Model-Based Design Award for outstanding achievement in creating, simulating, and analyzing models for vehicle design and subsystem control.
“We were the only team to use fuel cells in the powertrain. MathWorks software for Model-Based Design not only cut down on the time it took for our team to prototype and simulate our vehicle system designs, but also enabled us to establish the viability of the fuel cell technology.”Professor Roydon Fraser, UWAFT
The fuel cell hybrid bus (FCHB) that shuttles University of Delaware students and faculty across campus on the six-mile Express Route serves as a highly visible demonstration of the power and benefits of hydrogen fuel cell technology. The bus is zero-emission and much quieter than its diesel counterparts; it can be refueled and maintained at a single location, reducing infrastructure costs; and its series-hybrid design makes it particularly effective for the start-and-stop driving and relatively low speeds on urban bus routes.
“Using MATLAB and Simulink, University of Delaware researchers modeled the FCHB, analyzed data from its many onboard sensors, improved its power management strategy, and gained key insights into fuel cell bus design optimization.”Ajay K. Prasad, University of Delaware
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