Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Expected Impact:

Overall impacts of the results of the project have to be:

  • Tank-to-electricity efficiency of at least 35%
  • Cost reduction of the APU system enabling a return of investment period of the APU system of below 2 years
  • Lifetime to be compatible with the selected vehicle application
  • Minimized fuel cell APU system packaging volume/weight to be compatible with the selected vehicle application

All projects must produce validated evidence of lifetimes, cost targets, performance and efficiency throughout laboratory- and field tests.


The overall objective is to design, develop and test APU fuel cell systems against realistic specific requirements covering the main application field, i.e. on- and off-road vehicles. Requirements of other applications have to be collected and considered as far as possible. The project should also address auxiliary subsystems optimization on the basis of automotive FC systems for road propulsion.

In more detail, the objective of this project is to develop low cost fuel cell APU systems for transport application by means of latest system and component level RTD methodologies and tools. Also all balance of plant components need to be addressed. After key component and system testing, the components and systems shall be further developed towards the target system for the surface transport APU application. Design-to-cost methodologies shall be applied to analyse cost and to identify cost reduction opportunities for further improvements of the respective components.

Project proposals should focus on development of APU systems which can be integrated in (already existing) vehicles. Consortia shall define and identify all external operating conditions which are specific to the particular application. All transport applications are eligible under this topic.

Projects are expected to cover the following top-level objectives:

  • Electric power output relevant for real life operations depending on the actual application.
  • Significant improvement of the complete powertrain efficiency due to integration of a fuel cell APU
  • Integration of fuel cell APUs into final application with the coupling to pre-existing electric (e.g. battery) systems in order to optimize the whole energy chain on board.
  • Advanced hybrid operating strategies enabling elimination of idling or warm-up losses etc.
  • Validation of the results in a prototype APU systems in applications under real world operating conditions including monitoring for operating feedback analysis for further developments
  • Prototype testing in a relevant end user environment
  • Proof of the safety of the FC system for embedded applications due the integration and system architecture with regards to safety needs


Fuel cell APUs can contribute not only additional electric power vehicles but also heat for cabin temperature control. Possible applications include hybrid and electric passenger cars, vans and trucks as well as other manned commercial off-road vehicles such as for municipal, airfield-, agricultural- (etc.) use. Later on, a carryover of these fuel cell systems to non-road applications such as airplanes, electric boats etc. can be easily achieved. Further, such systems could also be the basis for range extender concepts as explicitly addressed in the MAWP.

The main specific challenge to be tackled is also addressed in the techno-economic objective 1 of the MAWP of the FCH 2 JU: reduce the production cost of the fuel cell system to be used in an APU transport application, while increasing its lifetime to levels competitive with conventional technologies and also reducing weight and volume where space is at a premium.

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