General Motors to use fuel cells to power DC chargers

General Motors is planning new commercial applications for its Hydrotec fuel cell technology. In addition to its use in heavy-duty trucks and locomotives, it will also be used in a mobile power generator to help petrol stations offer low-cost DC charging without expanding the grid.

In total, GM announces three products in the release: A mobile power generator (Mobile Power Generator or MPG for short) mounted on a trailer is designed to provide temporary electric car charging points completely off the grid – for example at events.

The second device, called ‘Empower’, will be installed in a stationary location and, with its fuel cell, will enable fast charging when the grid connection is weak. In this way, petrol stations, for example, should also be able to offer fast-charging points “without significant investment” in the grid infrastructure.

The third device is an MPG on a pallet intended for the military. Provided an external hydrogen storage facility is available, the MPG should be able to provide power to military storage facilities “quietly and efficiently”, GM says.

All three units offer a power generation capacity of between 60 and 600 kW. The MPGs will be built by Renewable Innovations of Lindon, Utah, which will be supplied with the so-called power cubes by GM. Renewable Innovations then combines the GM fuel cells with its own power integration and management systems.

“Our vision of an all-electric future is broader than just passenger vehicles or even transportation,” said Charlie Freese, GM executive director of Hydrotec’s global business. “Our energy platform expertise with Ultium vehicle architectures and propulsion components and HYDROTEC fuel cells can expand access to energy across many different industries and users, while helping to reduce emissions often associated with power generation.”

GM is not alone in the idea of using fuel cells to generate off-grid power for charging stations: As early as 2019, the British company AFC Energy presented such a solution, and in the meantime, there is a cooperation with ABB.


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