At present, the global energy and environmental problems are becoming more and more serious. All countries in the world are actively seeking solutions. The same is true of the purpose of vigorously promoting new energy vehicles in the automotive field. There are different types of new energy vehicles, of which FuelCell Cars(FCV) can not only achieve complete substitution of fuel in fuel, It is also considered to be one of the important directions for achieving the sustainable development of the automotive industry in the future. It is also one of the ideal solutions to global energy and environmental problems.
At present, the fuel cell vehicle technology is not yet mature, but the degree of attention of various countries is constantly increasing, showing a trend of increasing efforts to advance. Japan, the United States, the European Union and South Korea have invested a lot of money and manpower in fuel cell car research. Toyota, Honda, GM, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai and other companies have developed fuel cell models and demonstrated the operation, into the initial phase of application.
For China, as car ownership continues to rise, the energy and environmental pressures from the auto industry are increasing:
On the one hand, the dependence of oil on foreign sources has increased year by year, from 26 % at the beginning of this century to more than 65 % in 2016. This poses a serious challenge to energy security, and it is urgent to implement energy substitution.
On the other hand, fossil energy plays an absolute role in the energy structure, and environmental protection pressure is huge. It is also urgent to optimize the energy structure.
Hydrogen energy has high calorific value, rich reserves, diverse sources, and wide applications. In particular, it has excellent environmental friendliness. It represents a possible prospect for human energy to decarbonize into hydrogen and completely avoid carbon emissions. It is one of the ideal long-term alternative energy candidates.
From the point of view of hydrogen energy application, fuel cell vehicles are one of the key directions. If hydrogen energy can be applied on a large scale and widely influenced automotive industry, it will have a profound impact. In other words, the development of fuel cell vehicles has special strategic significance for improving China's energy structure, promoting low-carbon transformation in transportation, and enhancing the international competitiveness of key industries and technological innovation. For this reason, in the programmatic documents such as "Made in China 2025", the Chinese government has put forward a clear development plan for fuel cell vehicles and related technologies, and the degree of attention has continued to increase.
In view of this, this paper combs the core technology, key issues and development status of fuel cell vehicles, especially analyzes and discusses the characteristics of the fuel cell automotive industry in China, and puts forward some relevant development suggestions at this stage.
Progress in the Application of Fuel Cell Vehicle Technology
1, fuel cell car technology brief introduction
A fuel cell is an energy conversion device that converts the chemical energy of fuel(hydrogen) and oxidant(air) into electrical energy by electrochemical reaction. In the 1830s, people proposed the initial concept of fuel cells. Since then, with the development of technology, different levels of fuel cells have been introduced and gradually expanded from military to civilian areas, as shown in Figure 1.
Since the second half of the 20th century, major auto manufacturers have conducted research on fuel cell vehicles, with Japan being the most leading. At present, there are many high-performance fuel cell automotive products in the world, which have initially entered the stage of commercialization. According to the different electrolytes, fuel cells can be divided into alkaline fuel cells, proton exchange membrane fuel cells, phosphoric acid fuel cells, molten carbonate fuel cells, solid oxide fuel cells, etc.. The fuel used and the application scenarios for adaptation are different. The proton exchange membrane fuel cell has the advantages of high specific power, fast start, non-corrosive, low reaction temperature, and low oxidant demand. It is currently the first choice for fuel cell vehicles.
Fuel cell vehicles use on-board hydrogen as an energy source. The fuel cell converts the chemical energy of hydrogen into electricity, and then drives the vehicle with electric motors. Obviously, this involves two entirely new elements: the fuel cell car itself and the hydrogen energy supply:
Fuel cell vehicles include new elements such as in-vehicle hydrogen storage systems, fuel cell systems, electric drive systems, vehicle control systems, and auxiliary energy storage devices;
Hydrogen energy supply includes the entire process of hydrogen from production, storage, transportation to filling and use. The promotion and application of fuel cell vehicles cover a wide range of areas, whether for the vehicle itself or for the preparation, storage, transportation, and application of hydrogen. There are higher requirements: the preparation of hydrogen mainly includes coal gasification to produce hydrogen, water electrolysis to produce hydrogen, natural gas reforming gas to produce hydrogen, methanol cracking to produce hydrogen and other processes; The storage of hydrogen mainly includes high-pressure gaseous storage, solid hydride storage, low-temperature liquid hydrogen storage, etc.. Correspondingly, its transportation methods mainly include vehicle-ship transportation and pipeline transportation;
At the application level of hydrogen, the construction of hydrogen refueling stations and other infrastructure is the focus of future development. The fuel cell car itself is an interdisciplinary discipline in many fields such as machinery, chemistry, materials, and electronic control, as shown in Figure 2. Countries are committed to gradually improving performance and reducing costs in order to speed up the promotion of applications.
Fuel Cell Vehicle Technology and Its Industrialization
Based on the promising future of fuel-cell vehicles, countries are paying increasing attention to them(see table 1). As one of the strategic directions of the country, it attaches great importance to the development of hydrogen energy and fuel cell-related industries. The government, scientific research institutions, and companies have continued to invest a lot in the development and application of fuel cell and fuel cell automotive technologies. Mirai developed by Toyota Motor Corporation and Clarity of Honda Motor Company are the world's leading fuel cell sedan products.
The United States also attaches great importance to the development of fuel cell and fuel cell automotive technologies. As early as 2005, hydrogen energy was included in the mainstream energy options, and hydrogen energy and fuel cell programs were successively released. The United States has mainly promoted the application of fuel cell vehicles in special areas such as material transportation. By 2015, more than 8,000 fuel cell forklifts have been put into operation in 34 companies, and good commercialization has been achieved. At the same time, road demonstration vehicles have also been applied.
The European Union, with the impetus of organizations such as the European Industrial Commission and the European Research Community, has carried out a large number of research and demonstration applications in fuel cells and fuel cell vehicles. At the same time, Systematic planning was carried out for the investment of funds for fuel cells and fuel cell vehicles, the promotion of fuel cell fleet projects, and the construction of hydrogen refueling stations.
In general, fuel cell vehicles are in a phase of transition from technology development to commercialization, with increasing attention and investment in the technology. By contrast, the government is pushing fuel cell and fuel-cell car technology even more aggressively and technically, and its advanced fuel-cell passenger car models have begun to be commercialized, leading the world in fuel cell vehicles.
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