According to powertrain specialist Mahle, the first demonstrator vehicle for a new hydrogen fuel cell technology is currently under development. As integration partner to hydrogen fuel cell specialist Bramble Energy, Mahle says it is helping to optimize the integration of the company’s printed circuit board fuel cell (PCBFC) technology within the powertrain of a Renault Kangoo ZE.
The vehicle, which will be unveiled in 2021, is set to showcase the reduced-cost, high-performance potential of high-power-density liquid-cooled fuel cells.
“Hydrogen is certainly a viable option for the light commercial vehicle sector,” said Jonathan Hall, Mahle Powertrain’s head of research and advanced engineering projects. “We are delighted to be working with Bramble Energy on such an exciting and timely project. The commercial vehicle sector is currently exploring alternative fuel options as several large fleet operators pledge to meet net-zero CO2 emissions.
“PCBFC technology provides a high-power density solution that is perfectly suited to typical commercial vehicle duty cycles. In addition, we hope accelerated development of fuel cell technologies will inspire increased deployment of supporting infrastructure for areas where it is currently lacking.”
Utilization of PCB technology is claimed to enable Bramble Energy to offer a bespoke fuel cell capability and enhanced production flexibility, plus a robustness inherent in the printed circuit board manufacturing process.
Additionally, the company says it enables a reduction in fuel cell complexity and weight, negating the need for separate sealing materials and lowering the number of components without negatively impacting build quality or performance.
Bramble Energy’s fuel cell solution has already been demonstrated for air-cooled applications and will be launched – as the SD product range – in collaboration with BOC in the near future.