FEV, the engineering service provider, recently put into operation its first hydrogen fuel pump in Aachen. The fuel pump station at Aachen is seen as a joint effort of RWTH Aachen University, FEV and other innovative automotive manufacturers.
Professor Stefan Pischinger, president and CEO of FEV Group said, "Even though battery-powered electric vehicles are currently considered to be the alternative to the conventional combustion engine, fuel cell drives offer many advantages. On the one hand, such a vehicle does not emit any pollutants and keeps the air in cities clean, on the other hand, the refueling with hydrogen only takes a few minutes and provides a range of up to 700 kilometers."
According to FEV, this drive form is an interesting option especially for the transportation of goods by commercial vehicles or rail, since long distances must be covered. Fuel cell drives also do not require any compromises in terms of driving comfort. The driving behavior, the acceleration, and the acoustics match those of battery-powered electric vehicles. However, the high purchasing and operating costs of the vehicles, as well as the low number of hydrogen filling stations, have prevented market penetration to date.
For more than twenty years, FEV claims to have been working on solutions to make the fuel cell a more efficient and practical drive alternative. To this end, the company uses special test benches to examine and optimise fuel cell systems worldwide with outputs of up to 200 kW. Environmental tests are also possible at the system and the vehicle level. Through many development projects for the design of fuel cell systems, vehicle benchmarks, and cost analyses, FEV works on making this drive technology usable for a broad range of target applications. In 2015, with the ‘BREEZE!’ project, FEV showed via a demonstration vehicle that a fuel cell can be effectively utilised even in small vehicle types, such as the Fiat 500.
Thanks to the recently opened hydrogen filling station in Aachen, the infrastructure in the Rhineland metropolitan region will be strengthened. By the end of the year, the infrastructure in Germany is to be expanded to a total of 100 hydrogen filling stations.