A consortium of researchers coordinated by the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany is currently working on a research project to enhance the reliability of hydrogen fuel cells, specifically low-temperature polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (NT-PEM-BZ), for use in commercial vehicles.
The project, known as “Assessing and designing fuel cell system reliability under multi-physico-chemical stress in commercial vehicles – multiPEM,” aims to accelerate the development of tailored fuel cell solutions for commercial applications. By focusing on the unique demands of commercial vehicles, this research seeks to improve the durability and performance of fuel cells in the rapidly growing market of hydrogen-powered commercial fleets.
Unlike passenger cars, commercial vehicles powered by fuel cells must meet significantly higher operating time requirements, making reliability a critical factor. As hydrogen fuel cell technology gains traction in the commercial sector, there is a growing need for robust and durable fuel cells that can withstand the demanding conditions of continuous operation. The Fraunhofer Institute and its partner organizations are addressing this challenge by conducting extensive analysis, evaluation, and testing of fuel cells to identify and mitigate potential failure modes.
The research conducted by the Fraunhofer Institute goes beyond pure academic inquiry. The goal is to support a rapid and sustainable transition towards the widespread adoption of hydrogen fuel cell technology in commercial vehicles. By developing specifically adapted fuel cells, the consortium aims to pave the way for the broad application of fuel cells in commercial fleets.
The Fraunhofer LBF (Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability) confirms that the use of low-temperature polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (NT-PEM-BZ) is a more promising solution for commercial vehicles compared to battery-electric trucks. The researchers highlight the advantages of hydrogen fuel cells over rechargeable electric vehicles due to the higher energy density of hydrogen and the limitations of current and future battery cell technologies.
The research project “multiPEM” led by the Fraunhofer Institute marks a significant step forward in the development of reliable and durable hydrogen fuel cells for commercial vehicles. By addressing the unique challenges faced by fuel cell systems in commercial fleets, this initiative aims to accelerate the transition towards a greener and more sustainable transportation future. As hydrogen fuel cell technology continues to evolve, partnerships between research institutions, industry players, and governments will play a vital role in driving the broader adoption of hydrogen-powered commercial vehicles and contributing to the global efforts to mitigate climate change.