Pillars of Progress: Faster, cheaper, high-quality fuel cell production

Fuel cells and hydrogen technologies are key in the EU’s switch to low-carbon energy to protect the climate and environment. For adoption across Europe, fuel cells must be cheaper to produce, perform better and last longer, and be made in large enough volumes to meet market demand.

The Clean Hydrogen Partnership (formerly Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking[1]) has invested EUR 31 million in several, complementary manufacturing projects to help produce fuel cells in greater quantities, to strict quality standards, and at lower cost. These projects tackle different aspects of a complex puzzle, bringing together research institutes, universities and vehicle makers to ensure that manufacturing improvements are commercialised.

DIGIMAN and Fit-4-Amanda projects increased automation in the manufacturing process and simplified the design of fuel cell stack parts. DIGIMAN has taken a proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell production line from semi- to full automation. The blueprint for a fuel cell assembly production line developed by DIGIMAN allows production to be scaled up to 50 000 fuel cell stacks per year. The project raised the design’s manufacturing readiness (MRL) to level six, the pre-production stage. Meanwhile, Fit-4-Amanda consortium built a scalable mass-manufacturing machine.

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