Current hybrid electric vehicle power trains comprise on-board energy generation, energy storage and traction drive, where the battery is used for energy storage is heavy or expensive or both and requires regular maintenance.
The Intellicon power train replaces batteries with a novel DC/DC converter (the Project deliverable) as an interface between the fuel cell and traction system and super-capacitors. Supercapacitors are light weight high power energy storage devices which have a operational life typical equal to that of the vehicle.
The DC/DC converter will monitor fuel cell operational safety and reliability through intelligent control that will allow super-capacitor voltage to vary within acceptable limits as the traction system accelerates and decelerates, whilst maintaining a steady optimized power flow from the fuel cell without risk. The simple replacement of batteries by super-capacitors alone would result in system instability because the super-capacitor need to take charge until their maximum rated terminal voltage is reached.
The DC/DC converter will be light-weight with a small dimensional profile, its unit cost will allow the new power train to be competitive against its more conventional battery counterpart. The key objectives of intellicon being to reduce unit overall power train weight, unit cost and maintenance.
To achieve a high power density, a high operating frequency is used circa 200 kHz to ensure high efficiency, modern soft switching techniques will be employed in the power topology, coupled with state-of-the-art high frequency magnetics. This represents a substantial research challenge since these techniques are not normally applied at such power levels, especially in weight/space/cost critical applications. The system thermal management may also have water or oil cooling