Energy for the hydrogen robot H2Bot
August 23, 2023 | Commissioning of the energy cell opens up new test possibilities for sustainable fruit-growing and horticulture
Smaller vehicles, such as machines used in fruit-growing, viticulture or horticulture, are particularly suitable for the electrification of agriculture. To date, however, there has been little experience of using fuel cell technology in such vehicles. With the recent commissioning of the energy cell of the hydrogen-powered agricultural robot H2Bot, new opportunities to test this technology in practice are opening up.
The energy cell is a joint development of TU Dresden, Chair of Agricultural Systems and Technology (AST), and Fraunhofer IVI as part of the project »Requirements for hydrogen drives for agricultural use« (in short: H2Bot). For the implementation, TU Dresden provided the autonomously driving robot ELWOBOT for vineyards and fruit plantages, and was in charge of the technical development of the energy cell. Fraunhofer IVI was responsible for the hazard analysis and risk assessment as well as the development of the electronic control of the energy cell. The core of the energy cell is a hydrogen-powered fuel cell from Proton Motor Fuel Cell GmbH, which provides electrical energy with an output of between 7 and 33 kW. At a pressure of 350 bar, H2Bot can carry up to 2.6 kg of hydrogen in two pressure tanks. As a range extender, the energy cell charges the agricultural robot's electrical energy storage system as needed.
Practical tests later on in the project will examine the interaction between the energy storage system and the energy cell, as well as recharging, in greater detail. In addition, field tests are planned to test the energy cell and the agricultural robot. On of the major objectives is to enable assessments about the transferability to other electrified equipment in agriculture. As a follow-up to the project, other machines could be equipped with fuel cell systems based on the same principle.