Dana's fuel cell tech to be used in public transportation vehicles

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 01 Apr 2019


Dana is applying its fuel cell expertise for designing and manufacturing composite and metallic bipolar plates for public transportation systems, such as the eBus and hydrail applications. 

The company says developing and validating the fuel-cell component solutions for emerging, environmentally friendly public transportation vehicles is the company's efforts to enable the commercialisation of fuel-cell applications.

"Dana has a long history of developing innovative alternative-energy solutions, including fuel-cell technologies, that support the launch of long-range, zero-emission transportation solutions across many different industries," said Dwayne Matthews, president of Dana Power Technologies. 

According to Dana, hydrogen-powered fuel cells are an ideal power source for electric vehicles with long-range requirements due to the fast refilling time of the hydrogen tanks. Featuring integrated seals, Dana says its composite bipolar plate assemblies are manufactured with superior quality standards, providing a reliable, high-performing, and cost-effective solution for ultra-efficient fuel-cell stacks.

The Tier 1 states that bipolar plate assemblies play an important role in a fuel-cell stack's operation, working to evenly distribute hydrogen and air, conduct electrical current from cell to cell, and remove heat from the active area while preventing leakage of gases and water.  In addition, because there are hundreds to thousands of plates in large fuel-cell systems – enough to power a train – they play an important role in system volume, weight, and cost.  Through Dana's flexible manufacturing process, the durable composite plates can be customised to meet the individual needs and requirements of each customer.

"Dana continues to demonstrate leadership in advancing the new era of sustainable mobility and is well-positioned to capitalise on the small- and large-scale adoption of electric and fuel-cell systems in the future," added Matthews.

In addition to composite bipolar plates, the company also designs and manufactures metallic bipolar plates, another critical component for enhancing the performance of fuel-cell powered vehicles.  Manufactured with Dana's patented integrated sealing technology and in-line conductive coating, the company's ultra-thin metallic bipolar plates deliver better power density, reliability, and durability.  Likewise, Dana's unique plate manufacturing, which utilises high-precision, high-speed stamping and sophisticated laser welding, aids in its ability to streamline production and offer customers a cost-effective product.

Dana is a member of the Autostack Industry (previously Autostack CORE) project, which is a joint initiative of the German automotive and supply industries and aims to provide the technical, economic, and technological basis for the commercial introduction of fuel cell vehicles in Germany and Europe by 2020.  Dana is also a member of INSPIRE, a unique public-private partnership supporting research, technological development, and demonstration in fuel cell and hydrogen energy sectors in Europe.