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Standardisation of components for cost-efficient fuel cell systems for automotive applications


Components suitable for OEM-wide standardisation include air supply, fuel supply, valves, sensors, cooling, water management, DC/DC converters, current connectors, etc. In addition, some of these components affect safety classification of fuel cell systems and must be qualified and tested in order to comply with Automotive Safety Integrity Level (ASIL*) standards. Differentiation between OEMs is expected with regard to fuel cell architecture, fuel cell stack and system controls and, therefore, these should not be the focus of the project.

Successful proposals must address the following objectives:

  • identify and select a minimum of three components or subsystems suitable and relevant for standardisation
  • align specifications and interfaces for each component and subsystem
  • define and agree on standardized verification, validation and qualification test protocols
  • benchmark components and subsystems in conjunction with their operating range with the state-of-the-art. This includes testing of available market components and engineering samples from project partners
  • develop and build the selected components and test them against the agreed specifications
  • generate inputs for further development of advanced PEMFC system components in order to fulfil broader requirements of OEMs
  • if meaningful, liaise with relevant ISO and IEC committees and transfer of recommendations for standardized system components and subsystems to industry codes & standards
  • assess the cost impact upon standardisation

The consortium should include at least two automotive OEMs, a fuel cell system integrator, and relevant suppliers to the automotive industry capable of fulfilling automotive standards. To strengthen the industry consensus and acceptance of the proposed component standardisation, participation of further OEMs and main automotive suppliers is highly recommended, even if only with an observer role. The components to be standardized are expected to be at least TRL 4 at the start of the project and TRL 7 at the end of the project.

The FCH 2 JU considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of EUR 3 million each would allow the specific challenges to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected duration: 3 years

A maximum of 1 project may be funded under this topic.

*ASIL is a risk classification scheme defined by the ISO 26262 - Functional Safety for Road Vehicles standard

PEMFC system technology has demonstrated its maturity for automotive application, but still does not meet the cost requirements for a broad market introduction. The reasons are diverse, including proprietary system architectures and component concepts, low volume and lack of a competitive chain of suppliers. Standardisation of interfaces and system components is considered to be an efficient pathway to reduce cost, accelerate market introduction of automotive fuel cell technology. Moreover development and qualification of a capable European supplier base is of major importance to strengthen Europe's competitiveness in the emerging international market for fuel cell electric vehicles.

For the sake of clarity, by standardisation is meant the development of common components and their interfaces and not the developments of new standards and regulations.

Whereas standardisation of refuelling infrastructure is approaching maturity, on the fuel cell system component level the variance is still very high and needs more alignment. Each manufacturer of a fuel cell system typically develops and uses its own components and interfaces, mainly based on proprietary requirements, whereas the similarity of requirements appears to be high (compare with “Auto Stack”* specification).

*FCH JU funded project AutoStack;

The expected impact must include:

  • Industry supported recommendations for aligned interfaces and specifications for key PEMFC system components
  • At least three PEMFC system components or subsystems modified, adapted and built to the recommended specifications/interfaces, including the component validation in an existing complete PEMFC system
  • A set of standardised verification, validation and qualification test protocols for selected components
  • Transparency on the reduction of development and manufacturing costs leveraged by standardisation
  • Clear added value for the competitiveness of the European component supplier base
  • Reduced certification efforts based on dissemination of a white paper for industrial standards