Germany is facing the challenge of accelerating the transition to a new era of environmentally friendly, reliable and affordable energy supply. This also includes promoting the development of innovative concepts and advances in technology to ensure sustainable mobility with electrically powered vehicles.
Besides hydrogen as a storable and extremely versatile secondary energy source, an integral aspect of sustainable mobility is fuel cell technology. With its high efficiency, the fuel cell has the potential to guarantee the provision of a reliable, competitive and environmentally friendly source of energy.
As the world’s leading company for the development and production of fuel cell systems, NeCellSys is going to great lengths to ensure the expectations and demands for emission free, sustainable mobility are met. In the NIP Anode project, NuCellSys pursued the goal of developing components for the anode and hydrogen circuits of fuel cell systems. The technological simplification of the anode module was paramount in order to create a basis on which large numbers could be economically manufactured: this was achieved through innovation, a higher degree of integration, fewer overall components, easier assembly and optimised production processes. A further focus was the involvement of German firms in the research and development activities in order to retain the innovative power along with the associated technological and manufacturing competencies within Germany as well as initiating competition. Based on the insights gained from and the results of the preceding generation of individual anode circuit components and taking into account the demands for operational stability, service life and anticipated costs, new innovative concepts were developed, analysed and evaluated. Using suitable simulation models, by ascertaining the interrelationships between disturbance variables and system functions and by carrying out tests series, the foundations for fulfilling the requirements were laid down.
The technological targets defined at the commencement of the project for the anode module in regard to the reduction of weight and volume could be reached and even exceeded, respectively. The number of interfaces could be reduced by up to 60 % while the service life of the entire module could be doubled. With the integration of further components in the operations management software of the anode module, resistance against disturbance levels and thereby the overall operational stability of fuel cell systems could be substantially improved. In addition, specific services for the diagnosis of various types of operating states are now available. Furthermore, the project funding was also an incentive that helped motivate more suppliers to support the development of fuel cell technology. All results and insights form a basis that will ultimately lead towards the mass production of fuel cell system technology.