Dana Holding Corp. has joined a consortium that includes fuel-cell component developers, academic institutions and automaker BMW Group for a three-year project to develop and validate next-generation automotive fuel-cell stack technology and materials. Called “Project INSPIRE,” the overall intent of the consortium is to accelerate the commercialization of high-performance, zero-emission fuel-cell-powered electric vehicles and to increase the competitiveness of the European fuel-cell industry on the world stage.
As part of the consortium, engineers at Dana’s technology center in Neu-Ulm, Bavaria, Germany, will lead the development of an advanced metallic bipolar plate design, which delivers hydrogen and air to membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs), a critical component of automotive fuel cells. Dana’s Neu-Ulm facility is recognized for its expertise in sealing technology, as well as for the stamping, joining and coating processes that are required for high-volume manufacturing of metallic bipolar plates. Dana’s patented metallic bipolar plate technology will help the fuel-cell industry meet its commercialization cost and performance targets.
“Dana is honored to be part of this consortium, which includes some of the top fuel-cell research and development organizations in the world,” said Dwayne Matthews, president of the Dana Power Technologies Group. “As a leader in the development of components for fuel cells and other alternative power sources, Dana looks forward to collaborating with our project partners to devise innovative fuel-cell technologies that will go beyond what is currently considered state-of-the art and which will help drive the future of the powertrain industry.”
Project INSPIRE is being supported by a grant of €7 million (approximately $8 million USD) from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU), a public-private partnership that supports research, technological development and demonstration activities in the fuel-cell and hydrogen energy sectors in Europe. FCH JU’s goal is to accelerate the introduction of these technologies and help realize their potential as an instrument in achieving a carbon-lean energy system, while meeting the cost, durability and power density targets critical for mass-market success.
FCH JU is composed of the European Commission; the fuel cell and hydrogen industries, represented by Hydrogen Europe; and the research community, represented by Research Grouping N.ERGHY.
Johnson Matthey, a global supplier of fully-integrated MEAs, will lead the consortium and coordinate the project activities; Pretexo will provide project management support. Other INSPIRE consortium partners include fuel-cell component developer SGL Carbon GmbH and academic partners CNRS Montpellier, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd., Technical University of Munich, Technical University of Berlin and the University of Freiburg. Each of the organizations participating in the consortium offers unique and valuable expertise in the field of fuel-cell capabilities.