Development of an 80 Kw Oil-Free, High Speed Blower for Fuel Cell Applications

Heshmat, H., Walton II, J.F.  “Development of an 80 Kw Oil-Free, High Speed Blower for Fuel Cell Applications,” ASME 6th International Fuel Cell Science, Engineering & Technology, Conference, Denver, CO, June 16-18, 2008.

This paper presents the design and development methodology used to develop an air blower on an integral motor rotor /impeller system, operating at 60000 rpm, all supported completely by compliant surface air foil bearings.  The 80 kW air blower with a single stage centrifugal compressor wheel capable of delivering 340 gram/sec at 3 bars discharge pressure is driven by an integral advanced PM brushless DC motor.  This novel concept, air handling unit was developed for both fuel cell systems and industrial uses where the focus is to provide clean air, free of any organic, inorganic or synthetic coolants and lubricant contamination.  This paper describes methodical design and development strategy in the development of high-speed, oil-free centrifugal blower/compressors. Sample computational analyses including FE based rotor dynamic, heat transfer and compliant foil bearing design analysis, which lays the foundation of system integration are discussed.  This paper also addresses design optimization, thermal management and component integration techniques.  Performance tests, health monitoring data, and related system diagnostics of the prototype unit are reviewed here.

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