EKPO to develop and supply fuel cell stacks for a European carmaker

EKPO Fuel Cell Technologies GmbH to develop customised stacks for OEM with high peak power in challenging design space; initial contract volume in the mid-single-digit million euro range.

Autocar Pro News Desk By Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 22 Feb 2023 Views icon2340 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp

EKPO Fuel Cell Technologies GmbH (EKPO) has secured a contract from a European car manufacturer for fuel cell stacks to be fitted to a future series production vehicle.

The agreement includes the development of a custom-made stack for the global OEM's future mass-produced vehicle that is to be powered by a fuel cell. In addition to development work, the contract also covers the supply of prototypes and has an initial volume in the single-digit million euro range. Delivery of the stacks is scheduled to commence as early as this year.

Commenting on the latest contract, Dr Gernot Stellberger, Managing Director of EKPO Fuel Cell Technologies, said, "Our customer has exacting quality standards with regard to its vehicles and the associated production conditions. We are all the more delighted that we were able to present a compelling proposition based on our development and technological expertise."

EKPO's stacks meet the challenging demands for a durable and compact design combined with high power density, offering the best combination currently available within the market. Achieving in excess of 6.0 kW/l in the cell block, the existing EKPO stack family is seen as a market benchmark. In addition, EKPO already has the necessary facilities at its headquarters in Dettingen/Erms to ensure production of up to 10,000 stacks per year in compliance with automotive standards.

One thing is certain, as Dr. Stellberger points out: "Hydrogen plays a key role as an energy carrier on the path to climate neutrality. The latest contract illustrates that hydrogen is also set to become increasingly important when it comes to personal mobility. EKPO's fuel cell technology offers matching solutions for this purpose."

The customer will receive a tailor-made fuel cell stack for use in the vehicle. The challenge with regard to this project is the combination of performance and compact design, as the vehicle's installation footprint for the stack is limited. The combination of a customized bipolar plate and the matching high-power MEA is designed to ensure that the stack delivers an excellent peak performance. The bipolar plate developed and produced by EKPO is to include a seal on the metal plate and a special coating in support of high performance and durability. Initially, the stacks are to be produced at EKPO's headquarters in Dettingen/Erms.

Through its parent company ElringKlinger, EKPO has been actively pursuing fuel cell R&D for around 20 years. The compact stacks are based on proton-exchange membrane (PEM) technology and convert chemical into electrical energy using hydrogen and oxygen. EKPO offers stacks in various configurations for integration into customer systems.

Stacks with peripheral components and system functionalities integrated into the media module are also available as an option. These features enable considerable simplification and cost reduction with regard to the fuel cell system. Drawing on the system solutions of its parent company Plastic Omnium, EKPO can cover the entire value chain of a hydrogen-based fuel cell drive. EKPO has an initial production capacity of up to 10,000 stacks per year, which will be gradually expanded in line with its order intake.


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