Green Gardening with the Fuel Cell EcoMotion Truck

19 Dec 2011

Four Danish companies joined forces to develop the fuel cell powered EcoMotion Truck, which has been very successful in a number of test applications and is seeing its first sales.

EcoMotion Truck4

The EcoMotion Truck is a mobile power station, powered by two high-temperature polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (HT-PEMFC) that run on methanol. The HT-PEMFC allow for a simplified balance of plant and improved carbon monoxide tolerance, which makes it possible to use liquid methanol as fuel. This is reformed into hydrogen-rich gas internally in the system. The system developed by Serenergy is the first commercially available mobile RMFC (reformed methanol fuel cell) system in the world, based on HT-PEMFC technology.

The fuel cell truck was tested by gardeners in the grounds of Holstebro Cemeteries, where it has three key advantages: its near-silent operation, low emissions and the fact that it does not require constant recharging. Gardeners can operate the EcoMotion for up to a week before the ten litre fuel tank needs refilling. The truck also produces power for an inverter and two built-in 230 VAC power outlets so that the gardeners don't need long cables for equipment such as electric hedge trimmers.

The gardeners at Holstebro Cemeteries were so impressed by the demonstration that they ordered a customised EcoMotion Truck for the cemetery, which was delivered in September.

The EcoMotion also proved useful in Aalborg Zoo, where the baboons had their daily meals delivered by it. The green keepers at the Danish Odder Golf Club used it for mowing the green and at the large Danish Skanderborg Festival the truck was used for transportation of equipment and musicians between the different stages. A special towing truck for luggage hauling is being produced for Billund Airport.

The use of methanol in fuel cells allows for reduced carbon dioxide and other emissions, and becomes carbon-neutral when the methanol is produced from biomass or using renewable energy such as wind power. This is the route that the consortium behind EcoMotion is advocating.

The EcoMotion consortium was formed when companies GMR maskiner, Serenergy and Energiselskabet OK joined forces with the Danish Technological Institute. The consortium works to develop fuel cell electrical vehicles powered by reformed methanol. Although GMR maskiner began back in 2003 to investigate opportunities for an environmentally friendly work truck, the consortium was formally created in 2010 with support from the Danish Energy Agency and Danish Development Funds (EUDP, EnergiTekMidt). The EcoMotion Prototype Truck is the first commercial result of the partnership and four other trucks are now also under development. GMR maskiner constructs the trucks and integrates the fuel cells. Oil and energy company OK supplies fuel and logistics, while Serenergy A/S develops and produces the fuel cell systems. The Danish Technology Institute handles tasks such as project coordination, construction, tests and data collection.

The EcoMotion Truck will be on display at the Group Exhibit Hydrogen + Fuel Cells at HANNOVER MESSE 2012 from 23 to 27 April.

See www.ecomotion.dk/engelsk/ for more information on EcoMotion.

EcoMotion Truck1

(All images from EcoMotion)

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