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7.9 Million Euros for Research into Hydrogen and Fuel Cells

By December 21, 2019 6   min read  (1123 words)

December 21, 2019 |

Hydrogen Refueling DPA

HyFab- research project for large-scale fuel cell production

In the future, hydrogen will play an essential role in a sustainable energy economy and in the transport sector. With the “HyFab” research factory, the state wants to play a pioneering role nationwide and make fuel cell products suitable for series production and cheaper.

The Ministry of the Environment is funding the ambitious project “HyFab-Baden-Württemberg – Research Factory for Fuel Cells and Hydrogen” with almost 7.9 million euros. Environment Minister Franz Untersteller presented the funding notices to the project sponsors. The Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen  Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) will receive 4,892,587 euros. The remaining 3,003,588 million euros will go to the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) .

“The mobility of tomorrow must be climate neutral and as emission-free as possible,” said Untersteller in Stuttgart. “In order to tackle the turnaround in traffic seriously and effectively, we need courage and must not rely exclusively on battery-electric vehicles. With the research project, we want to make fuel cell products suitable for series production and therefore cheaper. And thus become a pioneer nationwide. ” Hydrogen and fuel cell technology, the minister continued,“ will play a key role, especially in trains, buses, vans and in truck traffic. ”

Vehicles achieve a greater range with hydrogen

An investment of around 74 million euros is required to implement the HyFab research factory in Ulm. As part of the Baden-Württemberg automotive industry strategy dialogue, the state government will provide up to 18.5 million. The state funding is divided between the Ministry of the Environment and the Economy. In addition, the industry should start with about 20 million euros, the federal government also wants to participate in the financing of shares.

The aim of the research project is to strengthen the supplier industry. All involved actors strive for an open, flexible platform in which fast, automated manufacturing and quality assurance processes for so-called fuel cell stacks can be developed and tested.

HyFab Foerderbescheid

© Baden-Württemberg Ministry of the Environment
Presentation of funding notices in Stuttgart (from left): Prof. Dr. Fritjhof Staiß (ZSW), Ulf Groos (Fraunhofer ISE), Franz Untersteller (Baden-Württemberg Minister of the Environment), Dr. Ludwig Jörissen (ZSW), Prof. Dr. Christopher Hebling (Fraunhofer ISE).

Minister for Environment Franz Untersteller emphasized that there was enormous potential in the industrialization of fuel cell production, not only that the country could save a lot of harmful greenhouse gases, but also that it would profile itself as an innovative business location. “With hydrogen as an energy source, not only can vehicles be refueled faster, but even greater ranges can be achieved.”

In the context of hydrogen mobility, the fuel cell industry is about to scale up to mass production. The »HyFab« project will prepare this upscaling with appropriate production research and support market participants in their production development. The goal is to set up a platform for production research from component to stack manufacture, which offers the fuel cell industry and machine and plant manufacturers opportunities for order and collaborative research with regard to series production, including quality assurance. The two research institutes ZSW as coordinator and Fraunhofer ISE work together with an industrial control group to work out the quality features along the process chain from the membrane to the fuel cell stack and jointly develop training and training plans and workshops for the transfer of know-how into business. From a technical point of view, the ZSW focuses on the stacking process, the Fraunhofer ISE on the membrane electrode assembly, i.e. on the processes in the production chain that are located between the raw materials and the stack assembly.

Fraunhofer ISE has been researching fuel cell technology for almost 30 years. One of the focal points today is the production technology for the heart of the fuel cell, the membrane electrode assembly. It enables the electrochemical reaction of hydrogen to electricity. So far, the manufacture of membrane electrode units has been carried out in small numbers. For future mass production in the context of sustainable mobility, however, industry must increase production by about three orders of magnitude. This requires fundamentally new production processes and a comprehensive understanding of the relationships between the process parameters and the materials and components used in order to ultimately achieve the required stability and product quality at competitive costs. The process control in production has an influence on the morphology and structure of the membrane electrode assembly and is therefore decisive for its performance and aging behavior. In the field of process control, Fraunhofer ISE has extensive experience gained from many years of research in solar cell production. As part of »HyFab«, the transfer of this competence to the fuel cell production process can now be raised from the laboratory to the industrial scale and thus support the industry in scaling up. In the field of process control, Fraunhofer ISE has extensive experience gained from many years of research in solar cell production. As part of »HyFab«, the transfer of this competence to the fuel cell production process can now be raised from the laboratory to the industrial scale and thus support the industry in scaling up. In the field of process control, Fraunhofer ISE has extensive experience gained from many years of research in solar cell production. As part of »HyFab«, the transfer of this competence to the fuel cell production process can now be raised from the laboratory to the industrial scale and thus support the industry in scaling up.

At the same time, a detailed analysis is set up with which the raw materials and semi-finished products can be examined and evaluated with regard to their technological properties.

About the ZSW

The center for solar energy and hydrogen research Baden-Württemberg

(ZSW) is one of the leading institutes for applied research in the fields of photovoltaics, renewable fuels, battery technology and fuel cells as well as energy system analysis. Around 260 scientists, engineers and technicians are currently employed at the three ZSW locations in Stuttgart, Ulm and Widderstall. There are also 90 academic and student assistants.

The ZSW is a member of the Baden-Württemberg Innovation Alliance (innBW), an association of 13 non-university, business-related research institutes.

About Fraunhofer ISE

With more than 1200 employees, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, located in Freiburg, is the largest European solar research institute. Fraunhofer ISE is committed to a sustainable, economical, safe and socially just energy supply system based on renewable energies. For this purpose, the institute develops materials, components, systems and processes in a total of five business areas. A specialty of Fraunhofer ISE is its excellent technical infrastructure, which is currently divided into eight laboratory centers and four production-related technology evaluation centers. The institute also has several accredited test centers. The institute is a member of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the largest organization for application-oriented research in Europe.

 

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