AVL and Spark EV fine-tune energy management system for FC trucks

The Austrian drive developer AVL and the British start-up Spark EV are developing an intelligent energy management system for fuel cell lorries. This should allow routes to be planned in a more "energy- and cost-efficient" way in future.

Image: AVL

According to the partners, the energy management system from the German-British cooperation is based on “patented control algorithms and new software for predicting energy requirements”. With the help of the technology, routes with the fuel cell lorry can be planned in advance via a digital map provider. To do this, AVL and Spark EV simulate a journey with a virtual lorry – in other words, a digital twin. This shows the energy requirement per kilometre based on route characteristics, altitude profile and driving behaviour. Parameters such as load or traffic volume are also taken into account.

Spark EV’s energy prediction software works on an AI basis and is designed to make the predictions increasingly accurate over time through machine learning. As a result, the operation of the fuel cell can be optimised and energy consumption reduced, AVL explains in its press release. This is because fuel cells and batteries work hand in hand in hydrogen drive systems. The technology from AVL and Spark EV suggests “when it is advisable to draw energy from the battery in order to reduce the load on the fuel cell”, it says. If the power requirement is high or the battery charge level is too low, the fuel cell is activated.

According to the German-British duo, such an intelligent operating strategy can reduce hydrogen consumption and minimise the size of the battery. What’s more, the gentle operation extends the service life of the cost-intensive components and reduces maintenance costs.

The system should already be relevant in the run-up to the fuel cell truck ramp-up: “Fleet operators can use the technology in the preliminary planning of their drive systems,” says AVL. It shows how profitable the inclusion of fuel cell lorries can be for the fleet.

According to Justin Ott, CEO Spark EV Technology, hydrogen will play a crucial role in the energy mix for commercial vehicles. “Our plan is to offer a solution that can optimise the capability of FCEVs and eliminate range and refuelling anxieties by building trust in highly accurate, live range availability, and the optimisation of Hydrogen fuel consumption, helping more fleets transition faster and offering manufacturers a viable FCEV option.”

Dominik Brunner, Lead Engineer Integration & Validation at AVL, added: “By choosing the right energy source at the right point of the journey, the solution reduces energy consumption and is therefore an important step towards sustainable and more cost-effective transport. We look forward to seeing what comes out of the partnership with Spark EV Technology and exploring how we can help more manufacturers make the transition to zero-emission

avl.com, sparkevtechnology.com


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