Hydrogen-Electric Powertrain for the SWIM Project
Between 2020 and 2022, we have designed, built and tested a zero-emission hydrogen-electric drivetrain (E-Drive) for marine applications.
This development took place as part of the SWIM project. Flying Fish is part of the SWIM consortium together with partners Enviu and Zepp.solutions. Our role in this project has been to establish the user requirements, develop the electric drivetrain and integrate all hardware and software on board. We have done this by following the V-model for systems engineering.
Our developments included all hardware and software aspects of the drivetrain and its integration:
- The high-voltage distribution system that distributes power between the fuel cell system, battery, motor, shore-power charger and DC/DC converter on board. The use of a 700V DC bus for propulsion means small cables and efficient electronics can be used.
- The safety systems, such as electrical isolation monitoring and fire suppression systems.
- The skipper dashboard and interface, consisting of the throttle, an interactive touch display, buttons to enable or disable components and warning lights.
- The thermal management system, which cools all major E-Drive components and the FCS according to the specified requirements for each component.
- The low-voltage power and control system, which includes the Vessel Control Unit (VCU), electrical switchboard and power distribution to the powertrain components.
- The on-board data acquisition system, which allows us to remotely track the performance of the vessel via an online dashboard.
During normal operations, the E-Drive uses an average power of 40kW from the hydrogen fuel cell system (FCS). At full throttle, the peak power to the motor is 95kW, in which case 13 knots (25 km/h) can be achieved. To balance the fuel cell and motor power, a battery is included in the system: when the boat is waiting for passengers, the battery is charged by the fuel cell.
The customer performance requirements and system performance requirements were set up in 2020. Subsequently, the design and in-house prototyping phase took place in 2021. The system integration and verification steps were completed in 2022, after which the water taxi was officially launched in August 2022 by alderman Chantal Zeegers. The boat has been approved for passenger transport and is now in use by Watertaxi Rotterdam.
The SWIM project has received a widespread media attention, for example on Change.inc, Hydrogen Central, de Binnenvaartkrant (Dutch) and in La Repubblica (Italian).
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