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Energy for the Future
technology in brief
Geneva, Mar 02, 2005 Is hydrogen
an energy source or an energy medium?
What is a turbocharger, and what is an intercooler? The
vocabulary of sustainable mobility is complex and often
complicated. You will find the most important technical terms
relating to DaimlerChryslers initiative Energy for
the Future briefly explained in our compact mobility
BTL (biomass to liquid):
Synthetic fuels, for the production of which any type of biomass
can be used.
Plants derive CO2 from the air during growth. In the combustion
of BTL, no additional CO2 from fossil sources is released. The
atmospheric CO2 balance remains neutral, and the cycle is closed.
Charge air cooling:
DaimlerChryslers state-of-the-art CDI engines are fitted as
standard with a charge air cooler (intercooler), which enhances
the charging effect. This unit cools the pressurized air from the
compressor. The principle: since cold air is denser than hot air,
a greater quantity can enter the inlet valves over a given time
interval. The cooling effect is provided by the air stream and
the engines coolant fluid.
Cold-starting fuel cell:
The fuel cells inadequate ability to start at sub-zero
temperatures was long seen as the greatest obstacle facing market
introduction of this technology: when the fuel cell froze, the
sensitive electrodes were damaged and the gas supply to the fuel
cell stacks was also cut, so that the generation of electricity
was immediately prevented. DaimlerChrysler achieved the
breakthrough in 2004: the use of new materials and strategic
modifications to the electrode structure prevent water from
freezing as soon as it is formed in the synthesis of hydrogen and
oxygen. DaimlerChryslers fuel cell vehicles will therefore
be able to start at temperatures as low as 20 °C (4
°F) in future.
Energy medium: Energy media
include for example coal, natural gas and petroleum. Hydrogen is
also an energy medium; it occurs in nature above all in bonded
form as water and therefore must be generated. In terms of
overall energy balance, the use of hydrogen only makes sense if
it is derived by regenerative means. Such methods include
hydrogen production by electrolysis with power generated from
hydroelectric, wind or geothermal power plants, and the
derivation of hydrogen from biomass.
F-Cell: Successor to the
NECAR vehicles based on the Mercedes-Benz A-Class. Sixty of these
cars are currently undergoing fleet tests with customers. The
experience gained in these tests flows directly into the
development of DaimlerChryslers future fuel cell vehicles.
Fuel cell: Power unit in
which hydrogen and oxygen are subjected to a controlled reaction
to produce water; this reaction also generates heat and
electrical energy. GTL (gas to liquid): Synthetic liquid fuels
derived from natural gas. GTL diesel fuel contains neither sulfur
nor aromatic hydrocarbons.
Especially in the diesel engine, the very even distribution of
fuel and air in the combustion chamber gives rise to an even
temperature distribution, which prevents oxides of nitrogen and
soot particles from arising. DaimlerChryslers researchers
achieve a homogenous fuel-air mixture through fine adjustment of
the fuel injection and of the air stream within the cylinder.
Hybrid: The combination of
two or more independent drive units (e.g. internal combustion
engine and electric motor) is referred to as hybrid drive. By
using the electric motor as a generator, energy can be recovered
during the vehicles braking and deceleration phases and
temporarily stored in the battery. Especially in city traffic
with frequent stops and starts, this can bring about considerable
savings in fuel consumption.
Hydrogen: Energy medium for
fuel cell vehicles. Can be generated on a largely CO2-neutral
basis from renewable energy sources.
Injectors: Powerful valves,
actuated to regulate the injection timing and fuel quantity for
each individual combustion chamber as required. In modern engines
from DaimlerChrysler, the injection valves are controlled by
special actuators (piezo crystals). When a current flows, the
piezo element expands and triggers an injection of fuel. Thanks
to the rapid reaction of the piezo elements, a large number of
highly precise injections can be realized within a very short
time interval. This enhances mixture formation and helps reduce
Regenerative energy sources from wind, hydroelectric, geothermic
or solar heat power stations, solar cells and biomass.
and VWs designation of synthetic fuels produced from
biomass in a specialized process. These fuels are chemically
highly pure and thus give rise to only a minimum of noxious
exhaust on combustion. They are also largely CO2-neutral, since
the same amount of carbon dioxide released on combustion was
derived from the air by the plants during growth.
Turbocharging: A method of
enhancing the performance of internal combustion engines. An
auxiliary aggregate (e.g. compressor, turbocharger) compresses
the air required for combustion, so that the engine is supplied
with a greater mass of air. At the same tine, the mass of fuel
supplied to the engine can also be increased; this results in
increased torque and power output. Engines with a smaller
displacement can thus by used with no loss in performance,
thereby reducing fuel consumption.