Background: This project represents the first step in the development of an entirely self-contained fuel cell powered power system of the future. OREC was determined to create a fuel cell car that had the latest advances in fuel cell storage and distribution capability. OREC sees fuel cell technology as the energy resource of the future.
Goal: The purpose of this project is to manufacture a single person fuel cell powered car. This system utilizes a Proton Exchange Membrane Ballard 1.2 KW Hydrogen fuel cell as its sole power source that is capable of driving the 280 pound vehicle at 55 MPH. This project represents the first step in the development of an entirely self-contained fuel cell powered vehicle of tomorrow that will run clean, efficient, and virtually silent.
Outcomes: One of the biggest problems encountered with integrating fuel cells into similar systems so far has been that most small fuel cells cannot directly produce enough power to operate high power devices. Currently batteries are used as the main form of energy storage. Batteries are too high-maintenance, too heavy, and have less than desirable chemical properties. This car proved that they are not necessary to make a fuel cell power system useful.
A bank of super capacitors (devices that store electric charge) is used to store the electricity from the fuel cell rather than batteries. Modern capacitors can be purchased much smaller and lighter than batteries, ideal for this small, light racecar. With the potential of zero fuel costs and pure water as the only by product, it is a free, clean energy source that has yet to be adequately tapped.
The storage cylinder for thy hydrogen is the latest light weigh carbon fiber storage tank. The motor drive, electrical generator and controller are the newest generation of electrical and electronic control technology.