PEM Researches Fuel Cell Bus and Hydrogen Economy


The chair "Production Engineering of E-Mobility Components" (PEM) of RWTH Aachen University has started two research projects on fuel cell technology funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action. In the "H2Bus" project, researchers headed by Professor Achim Kampker are working with the regional public transport operator ASEAG, the Aachen-based rail vehicle manufacturer Talbot Services and other partners on the construction and real-world use of an 18-meter-long articulated bus with a fuel cell.


"By decoupling the battery as the energy supplier for the powertrain and using a fuel cell system as the energy supplier for the auxiliary consumers, we want to significantly increase the range of electric buses at manageable investment costs and extend their overall service life," explains Sebastian Biegler, who is in charge of the project at PEM. The research facility's tasks also include developing a concept for small-scale production and start-up planning for the fuel cell kit. After the step-by-step, complete assembly, the vehicle is to be tested in everyday operation for one year. The project, with a total volume of around 2.2 million euros, is scheduled to run for three years.

"H2Revier" aims to make companies fit for fuel cell system production

In the "H2Revier" project, meanwhile, RWTH researchers and partners from industry and science want to enable companies in North Rhine-Westphalia to produce fuel cell systems. The background to the project, which also envisages the establishment of fuel cell system production at the vehicle parts supplier "Neapco Europe" in Düren, is the currently still high manufacturing costs. "System assembly is a manual process and has hardly been standardized to date," says Julius Hausmann, fuel cell expert at the PEM Chair. He also says that quality control is not synchronized along the entire value chain: "Each player goes through its own protocols, and the tests are hardly coordinated. This leads to numerous tests being passed multiple times."

Therefore, among other things, the development of an efficient, reduced testing concept, the planning of a flexible, economical production of complete fuel cell systems, and a significant reduction in costs through the establishment of series production are on the agenda. "H2Revier" is scheduled to run for two and a half years and has a total project volume of just under 3.3 million euros.

Further information on the two projects is provided here and here.