Hydrogen Fuel Cell: DC Motor Applications

PAC-Car, a joint project of ETH Zurich, Paul Scherrer Institute in Villigen, Switzerland and the University of Valenciennes, France.

PAC-CarThe goal of this event was to achieve the least fuel consumption on some 25 km at a minimum average speed of 30 km/h. Last year a fuel efficiency of 3494 km/liter of fuel was recorded. The Shell Eco-Marathon was opened to high school students as well as university students.

PAC-Car started for the first time and was one of only two vehicles in the competition powered by hydrogen. Other fuels were Gasoline, Diesel and LPG (liquefied petroleum gas).

Fuel Cell Supplies Energy

In the PAC-Car hydrogen is converted to electrical energy in a fuel cell. The energy is then used to supply two FAULHABER 12 Volt DC miniature motors with a maximum efficiency of 85%. The fuel cell delivers 400 W and is environmentally sound, since the only by-products are heat and water. Due to the inherently high efficiency potential of a fuel cell compared to the commonly used internal combustion engines, PAC-CAR was expected to exhibit outstanding fuel efficiency. To compare the PAC-CAR with the other competitors, the results have to be converted to equivalent gasoline fuel consumption.

The results of PAC-Car: 300 km covered with 0 failure. Fuel efficiency: 15.9 g hydrogen/100km (gasoline equivalent: 1,694 km/l).

Cooperation Of Universities With Industry

Researchers at ETH Zurich have designed the system, developed new controls and optimized the overall efficiency by mathematical modeling and computer simulations. Other important subsystems are optimized electric motors and power amplifiers as well as a metal-hydride hydrogen reservoir.
The fuel cell is a derivative of the system developed in the Power-Pac project of ETH Zurich and Paul Scherrer Institute. The chassis of the vehicle, a design with two front steering wheels and one rear powering wheel, was built at the University of Valenciennes.

The PAC-Car weighs approximately 115 kilograms including the driver. The project is sponsored by several industrial companies, among them MINIMOTOR SA. The main sponsor is the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (BfE).