Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Specific challenge: Fuel cell system technology has already demonstrated its maturity for automotive application, but still does not meet the cost requirements for a broad market introduction. The reasons are proprietary system architectures and component concepts, too low volume and lack of a competitive chain of suppliers. Therefore a standardization of interfaces and components may be an efficient path to reduce cost and consequently accelerate market introduction of automotive fuel cell technology including qualification of a capable supplier base.

Whereas standardization of refuelling infrastructure is approaching maturity, on the fuel cell system component level the variance is still very high and needs more development. Each manufacturer of a fuel cell system develops and uses its own components and interfaces, mainly based on proprietary requirements, whereas the similarity of requirements appears to be potentially high (e.g. compare with “Auto Stack” specification). Components suitable for OEM-wide standardization include components of air supply, fuel supply, valves, sensors, cooling, water management, DC/DC converters, current connectors, etc. Alignment of requirements and standardization of these Balance-of-Plant components can help keep production costs low. In addition, some of these components affect safety classification (ASIL) of fuel cell systems and must be qualified and tested in order to comply with ASIL standards. In contrast, differentiation is expected to focus on fuel cell system architecture, fuel cell stack and system controls and therefore, these components should not be the focus of the targeted standardisation.

Current RCS are particularly based on manufacturing specification and should be simplified and adapted to performance oriented specifications.

Scope:  The objectives of this action are to:

•             Identify and select components or subsystems suitable for standardization of TRL 6 and higher

•             Differentiate between power-class-dependent and power-class-independent components

•             Benchmark concepts of components and subsystems respectively in conjunction with their operating range and higher

•             Align specifications and interfaces for each component and subsystem, respectively

•             Define and agree on standardized verification, validation and qualification test protocols

•             Select, modify and adapt components complying with the agreed specifications

•             Generate inputs for further development of advanced fuel cell system components in order to fulfil broader requirements of OEMs

•             Transfer of proposals for standardized Balance-of-Plant-components to industry codes & standards and regulations

•             Involve suppliers capable of fulfilling automotive standards

Expected impact:             The expected milestones are:

•             Components and subsystems identified and selected for standardization in scope of this project

•             Compilation of components / subsystems according to their dependence /independence on a power-class

•             Specifications and interfaces are aligned

•             Test procedures and protocols are defined

•             Suitable samples of standardized components are available and testing conducted

•             Test reports and corresponding conclusions provided

•             Viable supply chain identified

•             Whitepapers for RCS prepared

A standardization of Balance-of-Plant components will lead to aligned common interfaces and specifications and will enable higher production volumes for such components, accelerating development of a competitive supplier market, which will in turn enable cost reduction and likely, commercialisation. Furthermore, due to reduced variance of every standardized component, the effort for certification will also be reduced, which allows for an additional cost reduction.

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