Solid Oxide Fuel Cell For Truck APU?

Posted on July 22, 2008

Delphi Corp. and Peterbilt Motors Co. said they have successfully demonstrated a Delphi solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) auxiliary power unit (APU) powering a Peterbilt Model 386 truck’s hotel loads. During recent testing at Peterbilt’s Texas headquarters, the Delphi SOFC provided power for the Model 386’s electrical system and air conditioning and maintained the truck’s batteries – all while the Model 386’s diesel engine was turned off.

This demonstration, held in June, leveraged development supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and Fossil Energy Solid State Energy’s Conversion Alliance (SECA) program.

Delphi’s SOFC converts chemical energy in conventional fuels directly into useful electrical power without combustion. The new Delphi technology will have the capability of using a variety of fuels, including natural gas, diesel, biodiesel, propane, gasoline, coal-derived fuel and military logistics fuel. In addition to its fuel flexibility, the SOFC will be compact in size.

“The SOFC system provides a technologically advanced solution to meet anti-idle requirements while surpassing expectations for reduced emissions, noise and fuel consumption,” said Landon Sproull, Peterbilt chief engineer. “This system has the potential to revolutionize future APUs by setting new benchmarks for performance and ease of operation with no adverse effects on the environment.”