A mobile charger for electric vehicles called H2BOT is being completed by experts from Jablonec nad Nisou. It produces electricity thanks to a hydrogen generator. The idea is the brainchild of DEVINN, a Czech development company that has long focused on similar hydrogen technologies. The charger should work for example in large car parks...
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A larger hall in Jablonec nad Nisou and in one of the corners there is a grey-blue-black four-wheeled vehicle with the sign H2BOT. This is the mobile charger that the local developers are still working on.
"It's shaped like a kind of design block with rounded corners. Basically, it is an electrically powered autonomous platform that is roughly 2.5 metres by 1.5 metres in plan, and the vehicle is just under 2.1 metres high. The height is determined by the hydrogen storage and it is also determined by the fact that we have to fit into covered parking spaces, underground garages," Petr Jeniš, the DEVINN engineer in charge of the project, told Radiožurnal.
Everything should work in such a way that the operator of the rover can be anywhere in the world and the rover will move independently in a large parking lot without enough fixed chargers.
It arrives at the electric car, the robotic arm slides out, knows exactly where to put the plug thanks to the camera, and then takes care of the charging.
"We are currently fine-tuning it so that we can drive the vehicle properly. The drive is working, the turning is working, but we still need to control the robotic arm or the charging power from the operator's workstation. Mechanically, the rover is more or less finished, but this is software debugging," Jeniš adds.
In the centre of the rover is a compartment for hydrogen supplies. "Where, like a bomb in a siphon, you can replace the supply, a pallet that has 225 kilowatts of electricity," explains Luboš Hajský, founder and director of the company.
"We have a fuel cell on the right side where the hydrogen is oxidised with oxygen to produce electrical and thermal energy and we transfer that to the front where we have a kind of discharge, that is, we have a battery there that we charge continuously and take from there to the DC DC charger. Then we have to have a communication that is safe so that somebody cannot take control of the vehicle. There's a lot of encryption, a lot of encryption. There are a lot of disciplines involved," Hajský adds.
The mobile charger is based on the same power generation technology as the H2BASE hydrogen generator. The company presented it in practice at last year's Rock for People festival, where it powered one stage.
It is awarded by Pavel Hrzina from the Department of Electrotechnology of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering of CTU. However, he is a bit sceptical about the electric car charger.
"Replacing a diesel generator with a clean source is great, but here I can't see it running around a parking lot somewhere, if only because the energy generated that way is going to be very expensive when you factor in the cost of the equipment and so on. But on the other hand, using it to recharge stranded electric cars in traffic and the like, that's where it wouldn't be bad," he explains.
DEVINN's mobile charger is expected to be operational with its first customer in a pilot project next year.
What most of us call "batteries", for example "pencil batteries", are actually cells. We only refer to a battery as a set of electrically connected cells. The basic parameters of a battery are minimum and maximum voltage, capacity and internal resistance.
Because of its low density, hydrogen must be stored compressed in cylinders. These must be pressure-resistant, shatterproof and very tight to prevent hydrogen leakage. Compressing hydrogen itself is energy intensive. Cryogenic storage tanks with liquefied hydrogen are also used for stationary storage.