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German-Canadian fuel cell project under way at ZBT

The ZBT Center for Fuel Cell Technology at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany has been awarded €380 000 (US$535 000) for its HiPerLoCo project, on the Development of High Performance and Low-Cost PEM Fuel Cells. ZBT will collaborate with the National Research Council Canada – Institute for Fuel Cell Innovation (NRC-IFCI) in Vancouver.

The project is funded by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy for the German state of Nordrhein-Westfalen (NRW), under the NRW-EU Objective 2 program. The award is part of the state government’s support for the development of versatile, low-cost polymer electroloyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells that could be used in the future for power generation or in transportation.

ZBT will work closely with the NRC-IFCI, a leading fuel cell research center. The international cooperation aims to exchange materials and scientists, and to enhance knowledge in a variety of technologies and processes.

The project will in parallel develop NRW as a focal point for the North American fuel cell sector. The technical and scientific exchange will be boosted through the involvement of companies in the NRW region, to create and consolidate jobs in research and industry.

‘Over the next three years, using mass production techniques, we will explore in the project how to create versatile, practical, low-cost fuel cell systems,’ says ZBT Director, Professor Dr Angelika Heinzel. ‘Applications include, for example, mobile drive applications with battery hybrid technologies, as well as stationary power generation.’

The project focus is technology development for system components and operational performance in the 5–10 kW range. Of particular interest are mobile power applications with battery hybrid technologies.

This ties in with the Electric Mobility Strategy of the EnergieRegion.NRW, in which batteries and fuel cells are seen as complementary technologies. Other activities within this strategy in the Rhine-Ruhr electric mobility region can also benefit from this project. In addition, stationary applications for high-quality power supply (e.g. UPS systems) will be optimized.

The ZBT Center for Fuel Cell Technology provides services in applied research, development and innovation. Its scientific and technical departments are conducting industry-related fuel cell research. Supported by funding from NRW and the European Union, the ZBT is a bridge between university research and the demands of industry in terms of possible applications.

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Energy storage including Fuel cells  •  Policy, investment and markets