UQM Technologies Announces Fuel Cell Product Development Program

August 22, 2001 by Jeff Shepard

UQM Technologies Inc. (Golden, CO) CEO William G. Rankin told shareholders at the company's annual shareholder meeting that it currently has two new fuel cell products under development for a major fuel cell development company. These new products are in addition to the air compressor drive motors currently being supplied to Ford's and DaimlerChrysler's next generation fuel cell engine vehicles, through their Ecostar Electric Powertrain and Power Conversion Systems joint venture with Ballard Power Systems.

"The development of additional products for another major player in fuel cell technology is more evidence of our growing role as a leading subsystem component supplier to this market that is expected to experience significant growth in coming years," said Mr. Rankin, "Fuel cells have various subsystems that require highly efficient motors and power electronic inverters that are small and lightweight and can meet challenging operating specifications across a broad range of operating conditions. These attributes are the hallmark of our proprietary technology, and the principal reason fuel cell developers are seeking us out to develop and supply products for fuel cell subsystems."

One of the new products is an air compressor drive motor that is partially integrated with the compressor and the power electronic inverter that controls operation of the system at rotational speeds up to 17,000rpm and at voltages from 180V to 400V. The electronic inverter includes digital signal processor (DSP) technology and controller area network (CAN) communications protocol.

The other product is a power electronic inverter to control the compression of hydrogen required by a fuel cell. The inverter contains DSP technology and CAN communications protocol, can control rotational speeds up to nearly 50,000rpm, and operate at voltages from 100V to 400V. The inverter is fully integrated and packaged inside the compressor housing, is less than 5in x 15/8in tall, and uses sensorless control technology. Sensorless control eliminates the need for rotor position feedback devices such as encoders, thereby reducing the manufacturing cost of the product.