General Dynamics Delivers Fuel Cell Power Unit

November 19, 2002 by Jeff Shepard

General Dynamics C4 Systems (Taunton, MA), a business unit of General Dynamics Corp. (Falls Church, VA), has delivered a fuel-cell-based auxiliary power unit for installation aboard "The 21st Century Truck," a government-industry collaborative effort for development of commercially viable technologies that will dramatically cut the fuel use and emissions of commercial trucks and buses.

As configured for the 21st Century Truck, the 5kW power unit will act as a battery charger to electrify the air conditioning and other driver utilities in the concept Class 8 tractor when it is parked, avoiding the noise, emissions and expense of running the vehicle's engine for electrical power.

General Dynamics has integrated an Acumentrics Corp. (Westwood, MA) 5kW fuel cell stack, which is based on Acumentrics' proprietary solid-oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology, into a specially designed cabinet housing the power plant, thermal management system, power electronics and controls. The advanced fuel cell system is mounted behind the experimental truck's cab and provides a continuous charge to a 42Vdc battery system to power the environmental control unit and other engine loads.