Unique Mobility Announces Order for Fuel Cell Compressor Drive Motors

January 31, 2000 by Jeff Shepard

Unique Mobility Inc. (Golden, CO) recently announced that it has received an order from a tier-one automotive supplier for an additional 50 fuel cell compressor drive motors developed by the company last year.

According to Unique, nearly all fuel cell developers use an air-transfer system to facilitate the chemical reaction inside the fuel cell that leads to the production of energy. The air-transfer system uses a compressor driven by an electric motor that consumes a portion of the electricity produced by the fuel cell to enable the fuel cell's operation. Unique claims that its highly efficient, lightweight and power-dense electric motor technology is ideal for this application where efficiency, weight and packaging are critical design constraints.

"The voltage produced by a fuel cell changes during its operation from a high voltage when it is lightly loaded to a substantially lower voltage when producing maximum power," said Kevin Barnes, Unique's manager of product sales. "Unique has demonstrated that, with our compact motor and power electronics technology, high efficiency is possible over this relatively broad range of voltages. This exceptional performance is not readily attainable with more conventional motor technologies."

"Most major automakers, worldwide, are actively developing hybrid-electric and fuel cell electric power systems and the auxiliaries that support their operation," said William G. Rankin, Unique's president and CEO. "This order represents the next step in our cooperative development with this automotive supplier in meeting their customers' requirements for efficient and environmentally sounds alternatives to conventional engine-based systems. We believe that advanced products for the automotive industry, such as the one represented by this order, could become a potentially large opportunity for the company over the next several years."