Fuel-Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) Drivetrain System
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Revolutionary fuel-cell electric vehicle technology with Infineon power solutions
The global reduction of CO2 emissions and the successful transition to new types of primary vehicle energy are two of the biggest challenges facing climate change on our planet today. At Infineon, we are convinced that hydrogen fuel-cell technology will play an important role in the future of transportation as a complementation to pure battery electrical traction. The decarbonization of both the energy and automotive industries is key when it comes to reducing CO2 emissions. In other words, we need to move away from CO2-emitting energy sources and begin the phase-out of fossil fuels.
Infineon supports next-generation fuel-cell electric vehicle drivetrain systems by helping developers meet current and future environmental legislation and customer requirements. At the core of electric vehicles fuel-cell technology is the hydrogen fuel-cell stack. Our power semiconductor solutions and smart control ICs enable multi-target optimization for system cost reduction, increased power density, higher application efficiency, and modular design. We offer dedicated software and design house partners, reference designs, boards, and layout resources to speed up your development process.
Is Hydrogen Fuel Safe?
Hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles are as safe, if not safer, than standard combustion-engine and battery-powered vehicles. Automotive manufacturers have spent years developing and testing hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles under extremely challenging trial conditions to ensure continual safety during the full lifetime. With water as their only output product, hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles produce best case zero emissions, which is one of the main reasons why they are being considered as a solution to CO2 pollution reduction.
Hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles are an economically interesting alternative to purely battery-operated electric vehicles when longer ranges and shorter refueling times are required. Better yet, this applies not only to long-haul trucks but also to smaller delivery trucks and light vehicles.
At the core of the fuel-cell electric drivetrain system is the PEM (polymer electrolyte membrane) hydrogen fuel-cell stack, which relies on a reaction of hydrogen and oxygen to generate the energy needed to propel the traction motor. Additionally, a lithium-based battery is used as an intermediate storage unit to cover peak loads during acceleration, as well as energy recovery during braking. It is also required to cover longer distances in cases where the fuel-cell stack is used as a range extender. Semiconductors, such as those from Infineon, are also an important component in the makeup of fuel-cell vehicles and play a vital role in all phases of energy conversion.
Compared to battery-operated electric vehicles, fuel-cell electric vehicles contain the following additional sub-systems:
- Super-insulated, double-walled 350 to 700 bar hydrogen tank(s)
- Hydrogen ejector(s) or hydrogen pump(s)
- Fuel-cell electric air compressor(s)
- Fuel-cell DC/DC boost converter(s)
- Fuel-cell pump(s) and fan(s) for thermal and water management
- Pressure regulator(s), valve(s), and injector(s)
- Fuel-cell monitoring (voltage-, pressure-, temperature-, leakage- and concentration surveillance)
- Fuel-cell control unit for superimposed process control
Infineon Fuel Cell Electric Drivetrain Solutions
Fuel cell vehicles are in fact a sensible complementary choice to electric battery-operated vehicles, as both technologies offer solutions to the immediate challenge of CO2 reduction. The future success of hydrogen fuel-cell technology, however, largely depends on the widespread establishment of hydrogen refueling stations and the total cost of vehicle ownership for the consumer. Infineon semiconductor solutions allow for minimum power losses and maximum overall efficiency in the manufacturing of green hydrogen production and consumption and can help pave the way for hydrogen fuel cell technology in the automotive and energy industries.
This is explained below on the basis of the individual system components which play a crucial role in the operation of vehicle fuel-cell technology:
The highly efficient fuel-cell electric air compressor directs air into the hydrogen fuel cell stacks, where oxygen is then extracted to generate a reaction at the fuel-cell cathode. Critical design parameters of an air compressor include the need for high efficiency and dynamics over a wide speed range, compactness and modularity, cost, low noise emission, safety, diagnostics, and preventing contamination of the fuel cell stack. The range of CoolSiC™ MOSFET products from Infineon are particularly suitable for this application due to very low conducting losses, even at very high switching frequencies.
Fuel-cell pumps and fans serve the thermal and water management of the vehicle drivetrain system and are used to supply hydrogen to the anode side of the fuel-cell stack. Depending on the system configuration, high-voltage, 24-volt, or 12-volt solutions make the most economic sense. Infineon supports this with a wide range of appropriate chip-set solutions for powertrain auxiliary inverters.
The fuel-cell DC/DC boost converter interlinks the fuel-cell stack with the DC link voltage of the main traction inverter and the high-voltage traction battery. It enables the energy flow between the different electrical subnets over a wide voltage range. One of the primary design challenges with the fuel-cell DC/DC boost converter includes achieving the highest possible level of efficiency while keeping overall system costs in check. The space required for the DC/DC should also be kept to an absolute minimum. Infineon’s portfolio is specially designed to help you overcome these design barriers with ease.
The fuel-cell control unit (FCCU) is responsible for the overall process control of the entire fuel-cell system. FCCU system requirements include a broad portfolio of high-performance processing units to allow for easy customization and fast time to market, as well as AUTOSAR and functional safety support. These requirements also include a comprehensive range of state-of-the-art communication interfaces, protection against cyber-attacks and manipulation, and must be easily expandable. Infineon’s broad portfolio of AURIX™ 32-bit microcontrollers allows engineers to choose from a wide range of memories, peripheral sets, frequencies, temperatures, and packaging options - and all with a high degree of compatibility across multiple generations.
Infineon solutions encompass a range of safety supplies that are inherent to hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle operation. Infineon's OPTIREG™ safety supplies, pressure and concentration sensors, and fuel-cell supervision ICs can be used in combination with the AURIX™ MCU product family to support functional safety critical applications up to ASIL-D/SIL3. The latest AURIX™ generation of products includes an EVITA HSM full (ECC256 and SHA2) for security-critical use cases. The protection level can be flexibly extended by Infineon's OPTIGA™ TPM and F-RAM solutions.
Similar to battery-operated electric vehicles, the traction inverter in fuel-cell electric vehicles controls the electric motor and determines driving behavior. In this main inverter, Infineon IGBT or CoolSiC™ MOSFET devices transform the direct current from the battery into the alternating current that drives the motor. The main inverter is controlled by an integrated PCB which minimizes energy loss and maximizes thermal efficiency, resulting in a longer driving range.
A high-voltage traction battery serves to absorb peak loads and provide additional traction energy. This process needs to be monitored to protect the battery from premature aging and to ensure that the battery capacity is maximized. With Infineon solutions, the Battery Management System (BMS) can successfully monitor the state of health, state of charge, and depth of discharge of the battery. It can also help to prevent illegal manipulation of both the system and battery packs.
In this training, you will:
- to know about the market trend “Electrification” in commercial, construction, and agricultural vehicles (CAV)
- Understand the importance of customer enablement and how Infineon serves eCAV
In this training you will:
- Be familiar with silicon carbide MOSFET structures and their characteristics
- Get to know Infineon's CoolSiC™ MOSFET, its features, its improvements over a typical trench MOS and how it performs against its competitors
- Distinguish the features and benefits of Infineon’s CoolSiC™ solutions in target applications and identify Infineon’s fully scalable CoolSiC™ portfolio to meet this automotive market transition
- Explain the reasons for the increasing introduction of silicon carbide technology in the automotive applications
In this training you will:
- Get to know Infineon’s IPOSIM tool, specifically for an automotive electric vehicle inverter
- Discover the steps involved in simulating different parameters and comparing the results of different Infineon products to see which is the best fit for your application
- Get to know how AURIXTM is able to answer the needs of the electric vehicle market
- Recognize and explore how AURIX™ TC3xx addresses key electric vehicle challenges, and understand the main features of the AURIX™ TC3xx microcontroller
To fully exploit the potential of hydrogen, solutions must be found to the challenges of production, storage, transport and use. Learn how the different systems are structured and how they work together. Gain insights into different production and consumption applications and learn about Infineon's best-in-class semiconductor solutions.