Centrifugal compressors driven by electric motor are the promising type for fuel cell pressurization system. A low specific speed centrifugal compressor powered by an ordinary high-speed (about 25,000rpm) electric motor has been designed at Tsinghua University for automotive fuel cell engines. The experimental results indicate that the designed low specific speed centrifugal compressor has comparatively high efficiency and wide operating range. In the condition of designed speed (24,000rpm), the highest efficiency and pressure ratio of the centrifugal compressor is up to 70% and 1.6, respectively. The designed low specific speed centrifugal compressor can meet the requirement of air systems of automotive fuel cell engines preliminarily. Moreover, the low specific speed centrifugal compressor avoids difficulties of usage of ultra-high-speed electric motors (about 60,000rpm) in high specific speed compressor. Based on the preliminary results of this centrifugal compressor, a new low specific speed centrifugal compressor with higher performances is being developed.

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