New consortium to develop advanced hydrogen fuel cell technology for heavy-duty trucks
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New consortium to develop advanced hydrogen fuel cell technology for heavy-duty trucks

A major new European consortium has been launched to develop advanced hydrogen fuel cell technology for heavy-duty trucks.

The €3.8m ($4.5m) project, called Immortal, hopes to decarbonise freight transport by developing high-performance hydrogen fuel cell components for heavy-duty trucks that have a predicted lifespan of at least 30,000 hours.

Backed by major stakeholders in Europe’s fuel cell supply – Johnson Matthey, Bosch, AVL, FPT Industrial, CNRS Montpellier, AVL, CNH Industrial – a major focus of the group is on long term durability which in turn, would make hydrogen fuel cell technology a more attractive choice to power heavy-duty trucks.

Johnson Matthey will work on fuel cell electrocatalysts and membrane components, and integrate them into catalyst-coated membranes with catalyst layers to tailor for enhanced performance and longer life.

Automotive supplier Bosch will utilise its expertise in fuel cell systems to develop cell and stack testing protocols to reflect realistic use in the field as well as accelerated stress protocols, and attach them to large size MEAs and short stacks.

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FPT Industrial, the powertrain brand of CNH Industrial, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of powertrains for commercial vehicles and leaders in the transition to electrification, will provide the industry system requirements and analysis leading to estimation of the Immortal stack cost.

A second stack platform will be provided by AVL, a privately-owned and independent company for the development of powertrain systems.

CNRS Montpellier will lead the project and work on developing novel membrane reinforcement and reinforced membranes and electrocatalysts.

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IMTEK, a research group at the University of Freiburg, will focus on understanding degradation mechanisms using chemical and structural techniques, and Pretexo will provide project management and communication support.

Bart Biebuyck, Executive Director of the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU), said, “With the ambitious target of cutting its transport emission by 90% by 2050, we need to ensure that EU companies remain ahead of the game in the heavy duty sector.

“Projects like Immortal are absolutely essential in driving down the costs of components and enhancing the competitiveness of hydrogen fuel cells powered trucks, a sector posed to grow exponentially in the next decade.”

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