German Aerospace Center, Robert Bosch and ionysis won €10,000 each after winning the R&D, Products and Markets and Start-up categories respectively in the hy-fcell awards at this year’s show.
The Aerospace Center’s ‘H2-Expansion Machine’ project from the Institute of Vehicle Concepts saw scientists develop a machine generator system which converts the excess energy in fuel cell vehicles with hydrogen pressure tanks into electrical energy.
By recovering energy in this way, it is possible to increase the range of the vehicles by up to 5%. This method represents an entirely new approach to improving efficiency and could be an option for approximately 400,000 fuel cell vehicles around the world by the year 2035. There is also further market potential in the hydrogen- and natural gas-based, mobile and stationary applications with combustion engines.
Robert Bosch was recognised for its Bosch Plug-&-Play 100kW SOFC System, a modular fuel cell system scalable up to megawatt range.
With its solid oxide fuel cell technology (SOFC), it has plenty to offer for a decentralised and highly efficient energy supply. With an electrical efficiency of about 60%, the system can achieve an overall efficiency of up to 90% by using the heat.
The multi-fuel system is operated with natural gas, biomethane (in accordance with DVGW G 260 from the German Technical and Scientific Association for Gas and Water) and, in the future, 100% hydrogen. When operating only with hydrogen, the system generates electricity and heat without any CO² emissions. Furthermore, the fixed oxide fuel cell emits next to no nitrogen oxide, sulphur oxide or particulate matter.
‘H2-tech from Baden-Württemberg – entirely free of forever chemicals’ was the project that won the Startup category. The young scientists from ionysis are developing membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs), the core components of hydrogen fuel cells and electrolysers, with the aim of minimising the use of fluoride compounds that are harmful to the environment – without any compromise on performance or financial penalties.
To do this, they have replaced the Nafion (PFSA) material currently used as standard with hydrocarbons. Using innovative electrochemistry with a focus on electrochemical converters, ionysis is looking to achieve a sustainable scaling of green hydrogen technologies.
The startup was founded in 2022 as a spin-off of the University of Freiburg and the Hahn-Schickard-Gesellschaft für angewandte Forschung (an association for applied research) and currently has 15 employees.
The awards ceremony was attended by Dr. Michael Munter, Ministerial Director and Head of the Ministry of the Environment, Climate Protection and Energy Sector at Baden-Wurttemberg, and Dr. Franziska Brantner MdB, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action.
Commenting on Germany’s recently updated hydrogen strategy, Dr. Brantner said, “It’s more pragmatic and real in terms of the frameworks, and integrated new elements about energy security. With the Inflation Reduction Act and other policies, we wanted to adjust our plans. We are working on a Hydrogen Acceleration Act which aims to speed up procedures and make hydrogen easier to use in industrial applications.”