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Intelligent Energy unveils next generation, integrated and compact fuel cell power unit

Intelligent Energy, the international power technology company founded on Loughborough University research and headquartered at its Science and Enterprise Parks, has introduced its Gen4 air-cooled fuel cell power unit, designed for easy integration into two-wheel and four-wheel vehicles. The technology has been developed in collaboration with the Suzuki Motor Corporation and was announced at the JSAE Annual Congress.

The Gen4 fuel cell power unit incorporates the necessary ancillary components to enable vehicle manufacturers to more easily integrate the system into their products. Incorporating Intelligent Energy’s latest proprietary fuel cell technology, Gen4 is a power-dense, compact and self-contained system. Rated for continuous operation at 3.9kW and capable of providing in excess of 4kW for short periods, the power unit has been designed as a prime-mover power source for smaller fuel cell electric vehicles and also as a range extender for larger vehicles, offering a zero-emission alternative to conventional internal combustion engines and to address range anxiety often experienced with battery only electric vehicles. 

Gen 4 has been subject to a comprehensive development process to satisfy demanding automotive requirements based upon an extensive operational and performance test programme, including shock and vibration testing and repeated thermal cycling over a range of operating temperatures. A ready-to-scale production line capable of manufacturing Gen4 fuel cells was commissioned in 2013 at SMILE FC System Corporation, the joint venture company established by Intelligent Energy and Suzuki in Yokohama, Japan.

James Batchelor, Managing Director of Motive, Intelligent Energy said, “This is a significant step in designing for manufacture and scalable production volume at a time when a number of automotive OEMs are bringing fuel cell electric vehicles to market. Our new Gen4 fuel cell power unit will help vehicle manufacturers to save space, reduce weight and cost without compromising on performance. By making Gen4 available as a self-contained fuel cell power unit, we are able to offer new and existing customers a simple solution, reducing time to market for a broad range of zero-emission production vehicles without the high cost and risk associated with in-house development. Intelligent Energy’s fuel cell portfolio includes some of the highest power density stacks available in the industry, engineered for mass-market adoption in the automotive market.”

Batchelor continues, “Applications for Gen4 extend beyond the automotive industry (for example, as an auxiliary power unit or for aerospace applications) and we look forward to expanding sales with our existing customers and markets and also commercialising this product in new and innovative applications.”

Professor Steve Rothberg, Loughborough University Pro Vice Chancellor for Enterprise, said: “This is yet another significant milestone for Intelligent Energy.” He continued: “Last month, at our annual Enterprise Awards, we awarded the founding academics Dr Paul Adcock, Philip Mitchell, Jon Moore and Tony Newbold an Outstanding Contribution to Enterprise Award for their fuel cell breakthrough which gave rise to a new generation of clean power systems championed by Intelligent Energy.”