Research Factory for Fuel Cells and Hydrogen

June 2019

Powering vehicles – and especially trucks and buses – with hydrogen is considered a very promising and particularly climate-friendly alternative as long as it comes from water whose molecules have been split into hydrogen and oxygen using electricity generated by renewable source. Among the German organizations aiming to further develop this technology is Hyfab Baden-Württemberg, a research factory for fuel cells and hydrogen. The project involves a number of organizations in industry and science, including the Ulm-based Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) and the Freiburg-based Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE).

The ultimate goal is to advance the industrialization of fuel cell production. To do so, the project strives to create an open, flexible platform on which fast automated manufacturing and quality-assurance procedures for so-called fuel stacks can be developed and tested. It also wants to establish an open platform to strengthen the related efforts of suppliers and research institutes.

The southwestern German state of Baden-Württemberg is providing up to EUR 18.5 million in funding for the research facility as part of the Strategy Dialogue for the Automotive Industry (SDA), and it is hoping that the federal government will supply some of the EUR 74 million the project is expected to need in the next 10 years. Baden-Württemberg is already helping to fund four research institutes trying to optimize the green hydrogen-producing process of an electrolyzer pilot project in Grenzach-Wyhlen, which is operated by the ENBW Group subsidiary Energiedienst.

ZSW research lab for battery technology in Ulm © ZSW