Skip to main content
European Commission logo print header

Programme Category


Article available in the following languages:


Development of Industrialization-ready PEMFC systems and system components


The project should focus on the improved industrialization-ready designs of high efficiency and low cost Balance-of-Plant (BoP) PEMFC system components on the cathode side (compressor, humidification, intercooler, valves, and turbine/expander). The FC stack is also within the scope to be funded, although it is not the focus of the innovation. The FC stack is required to demonstrate the system level performance and may therefore be adapted from existing technology.

Development of a new generation of systems using cost engineering to identify cost reduction potentials for each component and perform design-to-cost activities and trade-offs with other BoP components. As an example: low O2 permeation valves can be used to reduce O2 ingress into the stack and thus decreasing start-up (SU) degradation. The project must include durability testing of the components (or testing at the system level if meaningful) under automotive conditions.

The project must address the following key

Typical PEMFC systems still have important challenges before mass production in transportation may be realised, namely cost, reliability and durability. Some of these challenges can be tackled improving the system components as well as by introducing novel system configurations.

While the technical feasibility has been demonstrated in several configurations, a major challenge remains on the high cost of these solutions due to low production volumes, the use of expensive materials and designs not suitable for automated manufacturing. Moreover, the supply chain for some components is still not in place.

Some of the specific outstanding issues concern the freeze start that is still too long and not reliable for low cost stacks and the water management at low temperatures and subsequent freeze preparation. Some failure modes for key components such as compressor air bearings have still to be solved. Packaging in combination with cost effective solutions remain an issue in view of future integration

By addressing design to manufacturing and cost engineering tools, further cost-down potential should be reached on the main BoP components, thus bringing costs in line with positive business cases at the system level, not only for OEMs but also for the entire supply chain.

The project must show that the proposed BoP solutions support the targets at the FC system level. Details on the trade-offs between stack and BoPs including cost estimation are expected. All projects must also produce validated evidence of lifetimes; cost targets and efficiencies throughout life.

The following KPIs are expected to be reached at the FC system level:

  • FC system production cost: 100 €/kW at 50 000 units/year production rate
  • Maximum power degradation of 10% after 6000 h for passenger cars

Cold Start: Improved freeze start up performance and reliability closer to standard automotive conditions