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Game changer fuel cell stack for automotive applications


To develop a higher performance stack for automotive application, all components (BBP, GDL, MPL, electrodes, and membrane) have to be designed accordingly, in a full size single cell approach. For this purpose, there has to be a focus on interface optimisation between components where new material and processes will have to be investigated, in order to optimise performance and durability while decreasing production cost. An integrated solution at the single cell level is highly recommended.
Beyond performance increase, thanks to new design and associated processes, new stack architecture allowing a simplified BOP will be privileged in order to have a global system approach for system cost reduction. As an example, new stack concept working at lower pressure without compressor is among the possible solution.
New innovative material solutions (such as new membrane) will be also a disruptive way to be associated to the previous challenge.
Furthermore, new concepts for stack integration and interfaces with BOP will have also to be investigated (integrated terminal plates, innovative connection with BOP…).
The selection between best material/process solutions should be justified and documented, possibly through modelling.
TRL start: 2 and TRL end: 3.
The consortium should include component and stack suppliers, component-testing organisations. The project should build on the activities and results reached in previous or existing FCH 2 JU projects, e.g. Autostack or Autostack Core projects, dealing with stack and stack component development.
Any safety-related event that may occur during execution of the project shall be reported to the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) dedicated mailbox, which manages the European hydrogen safety reference database, HIAD.
Test activities should collaborate and use the protocols developed by the JRC Harmonisation Roadmap (see section 3.2.B ""Collaboration with JRC – Rolling Plan 2018""), in order to benchmark performance of components and allow for comparison across different projects.

The FCH 2 JU considers that proposals requesting a contribution of EUR 3 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
Expected duration: 3-4 years

The present PEMFC stack technology for automotive application shows limitations (performances, durability, production cost) which appear to be difficult to overcome by incrementing each component such as membrane, catalyst or MEA. In order to reach the OEMs targets and to prepare the next generation of stack for transport applications and in order for Europe to stay competitive versus North America or Asia, new disruptive stack concepts are needed involving new stack architecture, new materials and new processes.
For a next generation with higher performance new concepts considering the stack as a whole and no more as the sum of individual components have to be investigated. In this approach, each stack component will be designed and optimized simultaneously, as part of a more complex system.

The main impacts to be addressed are the following:

  • Power density > 2 W/cm2 at 0.66 V;
  • Volumetric power density > 5 kW/l at nominal power;
  • Specific power density > 4 kW/kg at nominal power;
  • Durability: > 6,000 hours;
  • Stack production cost < 20 €/kW (for > 100 000 units/year);
  • Stack max operating temperature of 105 °C;

The outcome will be at least a short-stack (minimum power 5 kW), to be tested with AST protocol representative for at least 6 month real operative conditions.

Type of action: Research and Innovation Action
The conditions related to this topic are provided in the chapter 3.3 and in the General Annexes to the Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2018– 2020 which apply mutatis mutandis.