To reduce CO2 emissions of road-bound traffic, the transition from conventional combustion engines to electrical drives is inevitable. Overhead lines for trucks are an effective solution for the electrification of freight traffic on highways, for both ecological and economic reasons. The installation of overhead lines in sections rather than a full electrification minimizes the cost of expanding the infrastructure. The trucks are equipped with a battery to enable emission-free driving in between and beyond the electrified sections of the highway. The battery is charged via the overhead lines using a pantograph and a power-electronic charger. In 2018, Dr. Mareev from ISEA has demonstrated in his dissertation that trucks with overhead lines can achieve an average primary energy consumption that is 2.5 times lower compared to pure diesel trucks. Even with today's electricity mix, emissions can be reduced. In addition, life-cycle costs can be achieved that are approximately at the level of pure diesel drives, with potential cost reductions in the future.
In the scope of the publicly funded project ConverT, modular, highly integrated power-electronic chargers for trucks with overhead lines are developed and built for the first time. The requirements are an output power of 200 kW, galvanic isolation and a high power density at acceptable cost. One charger is based on the current state of the art, whereas ISEA will develop a high-end prototype to identify and estimate future technology potentials. The prototype aims for a high switching frequency and thus a low weight and volume by the use of silicon carbide semiconductor devices. Using innovative approaches, the prototype should feature highest efficiency. A particular challenge is the high voltage of the overhead line.
Alongside with ISEA, Futavis GmbH, WZL of RWTH Aachen University and Siemens are involved in the project ConverT. Other central research topics are the safety and communication interfaces that are required for the integration of the charger into a truck. Moreover, additively manufactured forming tools for the production of near-series connectors for power electronics are investigated and tested to demonstrate commercial manufacturability and, additionally, to reduce the required installation space.
01st September, 2019 – 31st August, 2021