Technical Expertise in Fuel Cells

With more than 30 years of experience in fuel cell components and systems, Freudenberg e-Power Systems has the technical expertise to offer significant value for customers, with minimized fuel costs, reduced maintenance, and long operational lifetime. Our fuel cell systems uniquely combine materials, system design, and operating strategy. We take a holistic approach to system functionality and reliability, from the complete system and sub-systems down to the nano-level of the electrochemistry. Based on our proven technical know-how, our true heavy-duty fuel cell systems fulfil the tough segment-specific requirements, while providing best-in-class total cost of ownership.  

The SMARTR Stack

The heart of each fuel cell system is the fuel cell stack. When the stack has a true heavy-duty design, it determines the efficiency and operational lifetime of the complete system. Our SMARTR heavy-duty stack platform is designed and produced with our unique vertical integration. Starting from the cell level, the selection of raw materials and the proper component configuration result in a unique level of technical performance.

The materials we use, such as graphite bipolar plates, as one example, meet the long operational requirements of heavy-duty applications, for more than 100,000 hours. 

The SMARTR stack has a unique temperature distribution of less than five degrees Celsius on cell level across the complete stack by a colling water spread of 10 degrees Celsius, enabling the system to maintain efficiency while performing in challenging environments and situations without compromising on lifetime, such as a truck driving up or downhill with a full load. 

Designed for high-volume industrialization and involving a strategy of using identical parts, the SMARTR stack helps to maximize economies of scale across all heavy-duty segments and provides our customers with a competitive solution.

MEGA - Membrane Electrode Gasket Assembly

Robust, stable, durable, and resilient to hydrogen impurities, our membrane electrode gasket assemblies (MEGA) are ideal for fuel cell systems powered by pure hydrogen or reformate. In our proprietary MEGA designs, we combine manufacturing technologies with component know-how to maximize the operational lifetime and performance of our fuel cells while producing the assemblies in a cost-efficient and scalable way.

These multi-component parts are designed for high-volume production, with in-house sealing compounds ensuring the long-term protection of the active area and all MEA layers. Our MEGAs perform efficiently in harsh heavy-duty operating conditions and are operable under low and high humidity, able to withstand a wide range of temperatures and pressures without impacting the operational lifetime. 

We have the cell expertise and production expertise to customize affordable and highly efficient MEGA solutions, to help our customers achieve the lowest fuel consumption and maintenance costs for every application.    

The True Heavy-Duty Experts

We are ready to answer your questions and offer advice on the most suitable e-power solutions for your heavy-duty fuel cell applications.

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Proprietary Catalyst Production

Our proprietary catalyst production enables low manufacturing cost while ensuring superior efficiency and an extraordinary lifetime through highly reactive and long-lasting catalyst layers. To boost the performance and durability of our catalysts, we develop next-generation catalyst nano-structures, including core-shell and alloy particles, using a patented manufacturing process compatible with our highly cost-efficient roll-to-roll technology. This enables us to control the catalyst designs and tailor them to fit specific heavy-duty requirements.

We have the expertise to take new generations of catalysts from the lab to an industrial scale in a fast and cost-efficient way, allowing for high-volume industrialization at competitive prices, while our use of platinum solution as a raw material, instead of using standard catalyst-coated membranes, offers significant cost reductions. 

Our patented manufacturing process results in small particle sizes with maximum surfaces and lower platinum loading. This enables tailor-made solutions such as CO-tolerant anode catalysts for applications in the maritime industry or start-up-shut-down tolerant catalysts for trucks and buses, to serve our customers with reliable and long-lasting products.

Graphite Bipolar Plates

For long-term resistance against chemical stress on the cell level, our graphite bipolar plates are the right solution. They are designed to withstand harsh conditions occurring due to the electrochemical reactions in the cells. This is a huge advantage over metal bipolar plates, which are unable to handle heavy-duty lifetimes and are subject to corrosion. Our graphite bipolar plates last more than 100,000 hours, also support high efficiency and robustness with an innovative cooling concept on cell level.

The unique cell cooling results in a narrow temperature distribution of only five degrees Celsius, which helps avoid accelerated degradation from thermal stress, the number one factor impacting lifetime and efficiency. 

This feature allows for temporary overheating of the cells in challenging situations, such as a truck driving up or downhill with a full load, without compromising on the operational lifetime or overstressing the vehicle’s cooling system. The result is full power output and best-in-class fuel efficiency, as well as a compact and cost-efficient cooling system for heavy-duty vehicles.

Testing and Validation

Testing and long-term validation of our products are an essential part of our development process, ensuring the production of safe and reliable high-performance products. Testing takes place at our innovation centers in Munich, Germany, one of the largest fuel cell test centers in Europe with a test capacity of more than 4 MW, while another test center in Plymouth, Michigan, completes our test facilities and supports product testing close to our customers in North America.

The all-encompassing testing process starts at the cell level with in-depth electrochemical analysis, and continues with long-term validation of the short stacks, full stacks, and complete system, to prove the reliability and performance of every system. We also run long-term validation programs over several years with detailed periodical cell characterization, generating crucial insights into degradation mechanisms down to the raw material level. 

This testing is complemented by research and development of new generations of catalysts, to reduce platinum usage and create highly reactive catalyst layers that further improve the efficiency and durability of our products, resulting in best-in-class total cost of ownership for our customers.