Rheinmetall, a German technology company, has announced that its Sensors and Actuators division has won a contract for the production of more than 150,000 HRB 1800 hydrogen recirculation blowers.
The deal, valued in the mid-double-digit million-euro range, was awarded by a new customer after extensive testing of the new technology.
The blowers, developed by Rheinmetall subsidiary Pierburg, play a critical role in fuel cell technology by returning unused hydrogen to the fuel cell stack, improving efficiency and longevity. They will be installed in buses and trucks, with production starting in 2026 and ending in 2030.
The HRB 1800 blowers are available in high- and low-voltage versions and feature excellent noise, vibration, and harshness characteristics. The electric output ranges from 0.7 to 2 kilowatts, or up to 400 watts in the low-voltage model. They are powered by a brushless motor controlled without sensors, and communication is facilitated through LIN and CAN bus communications and diagnostic functions.
The blowers are balance-of-plant (BoP) products, meaning they are components for supplying media to the fuel cell stack. The two systems ordered will provide active cooling of the electronics and e-motor, resulting in greater performance density. Rheinmetall has more than 20 years of experience in the fuel cell business, making the Group a leader in the field.
Rheinmetall’s move towards BoP products and the anticipated growth of the market has led to a series of innovative new components being developed. The company aims to play an enduring role in the industry’s shift away from the internal combustion engine to new, environmentally friendly drive technologies for motor vehicles and stationary industrial applications. Rheinmetall is committed to becoming climate-neutral by 2035.
While this contract is an important milestone for Rheinmetall’s fuel cell technology development, challenges remain. One potential challenge is the limited availability of hydrogen refueling stations, which could limit the adoption of fuel cell technology in the transportation sector. The high cost of fuel cell technology compared to traditional internal combustion engines could also hinder widespread adoption. Nevertheless, Rheinmetall’s success in securing this significant contract highlights the growing interest in hydrogen fuel cell technology and the potential for its continued growth in the coming years.