Fuel CellCopyright: Graebener Maschinentechnik | ZBT
The political aim of reducing CO2 emitted by road traffic makes hydrogen as energy source and fuel cells as energy converters a promising alternative to the combustion engine in vehicle power trains. In combination with the goal of increasing the usage of renewable energies, the fuel cell powertrain enables locally and globally emission free mobility.
In contrast to pure battery electric vehicles, fuel cell vehicles offer both ranges and refueling time comparable to conventionally propelled vehicles. With regard to the entire vehicle powertrain layout, several topologies are examined with the main focus on full and plug-in hybrids as well as range extender concepts.
Further research fields are hydrogen supply, air supply and thermal management of fuel cell systems. General aim of these activities is the system optimization regarding complexity and costs reduction according to the specific application.
Especially in the fields of air supply and thermal management, synergies arise with other technical departments at VKA.
Focusing on the stack development, design and development methodologies established in combustion engines are transferred to the layout of structural elements of the stack. By means of CAE, innovative clamping systems are investigated at VKA assuring constant mechanical load on the cells over the entire operation range resulting in increased cell efficiency and durability.
Entire fuel cell system and vehicle tests are conducted on in-house test benches. Laboratory facilities are available for component tests. VKA cooperates with a number of partners in fuel cell development to offer further test methods.