Green energy – no longer an empty promise bandied around by hopefuls seeking political office, but a genuine alternative to powering Britain’s infrastructure. All without the need to dredge up primordial slime, or torching fossil fuels, at potential environmental cost. Being the UK capital with a population of over 8 million, London has more than its fair share of air pollution. A significant part of that is likely produced by those iconic black cabs that line the city’s packed streets. But how do we reduce those carbon emissions? Pulling up to the cab rank are technology developers, Intelligent Energy.
What is Intelligent Energy?
A patent-rich company with more ideas than London has tourists, Intelligent Energy specialises in the development of modular, low carbon fuel cell systems for products and vehicles, worldwide. In short: if it goes and it’s green, chances are Intelligent Energy designed it. The Guardian newspaper holds them in high esteem, listing them in their much-respected CleanTech 100 rundown of 2008.
As part of the EU’s Hytec programme, Intelligent Energy was tasked with introducing Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Taxis onto London’s roads in a bid to reduce the capital’s air pollution. Its task was basically to turn London’s black cabs, green.
How did SOLIDWORKS help Intelligent Energy?
Adapting fuel cell technology to the demands of a busy, work-intensive vehicle like a London cab, was a huge task. The team employed the use of SOLIDWORKS to engineer the final design of the product, offering far greater clarity to its designers and customers, due to the program’s ability to render crystal clear 3D blueprints.
Intelligent Energy’s engineers exploited SOLIDWORKS to its fullest, both for the structural design of the fuel cells and PhotoWorks to visualise the fuel cell system with the drive mechanism of the vehicle.
The benefits of the 3D model were clear: reduced design concept and detail modelling lead times. Thanks to SOLIDWORKS Simulation valuable time was saved by stress-checking the interfaces of the digital model. Simply put, with properties of materials and components on screen, tests were simpler, faster and more precise.
Intelligent Energy reported that the process streamlined and simplified communication with the contracted machine shops where the manufacturing was carried out. Previously, sending the vital information and manufacturing drawings was a complicated and tricky process, with multiple versions of the same document being sent to and fro in the digital ether, as the design progressed. SOLIDWORKS has now rendered that cumbersome process almost obsolete. With programs such as eDrawings Professional, Intelligent Energy was able to share designs across digital platforms easily – and the designers retained the flexibility to make last minute changes, without starting from scratch.
What next for Intelligent Energy?
With the taxis built and targets met, the Hytec cleaner emissions programme can be considered a great success. Yet Intelligent Energy, much like the vehicles they power, don’t ever stop. The company continues to research and develop new fuel cell technology for an ever-expanding range of transport possibilities. With SOLIDWORKS a continual part of that progress, it’s a journey we are very happy to take. Taxi!
To find out more about Intelligent Energy, be sure to check out nt CADCAM’s case study here.
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