As part of the FC Komp funding project of the German government, which runs until 2021, Pierburg GmbH, a member of the Rheinmetall Group, is currently involved in the development of a highly integrated high-power fuel cell driveline.
The Neuss-based automotive supplier is contributing an innovative hydrogen recirculation blower, the development of which is being funded by a six-digit euro sum. Partners in this project of the Federal Ministry of Transport and the German National Organization for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NOW - Nationale Organisation für Wasserstoff- und Brennstoffzellentechnologie) are the car manufacturer BMW, the University of Siegen and other suppliers.
The task of Pierburg's innovative blower is to feed the hydrogen not consumed during the reaction in the fuel cell back into the stack. The blower thus increases the fuel cell's efficiency and extends its service life. Moreover, by distributing the hydrogen homogeneously in the cell, it enables improved cold-start response. The blower was developed in both a low- and high-voltage version with up to 800 volts.
The project aims to reduce the currently still high manufacturing costs of these systems by using low-cost, space-saving components and a high level of integration. The fuel cell should thus be able to be used instead of combustion engines in the front of passenger cars without detrimental effects on weight or installation space. In view of road-traffic approval, the entire fuel cell system in the vehicle is also subjected to numerous tests. These include crash tests as well as investigations into the safe functioning of hydrogen tanks.
As German government states, background of the project is the fundamental contribution of battery and fuel cell drivelines to the development of sustainable mobility. "We are noticing increasing interest in the market from almost all manufacturers," says also Dr. Michael Becker, Director for Advanced Engineering at Pierburg and coordinator of the company’s fuel cell activities. “This applies, on the one hand, to larger passenger cars and SUVs, and increasingly to commercial vehicles, buses and stationary applications.”
Rheinmetall was established in 1889 as Rheinische Metallwaaren- und Maschinenfabrik Aktiengesellschaft. Today, Rheinmetall AG, publicly listed and based in Düsseldorf, is a powerful, internationally successful corporation and is the management holding company of the Rheinmetall Group. As an integrated technology group, Rheinmetall is a market leader in the areas of environmentally friendly mobility and threat-appropriate security technology. The group´s operating activities are split into the two corporate sectors, Rheinmetall Automotive and Rheinmetall Defence. In 2018, its 24,949-strong staff generated annual sales of €6,148 million.
Rheinmetall Automotive AG is the parent company of Rheinmetall’s Automotive sector. As a global first-tier supplier to the automotive industry, Rheinmetall Automotive thanks to its vast capabilities commands foremost positions in the product and component segments air supply, emission control and pumps as well as in the development, manufacture and aftermarket supply of pistons, engine blocks, and plain bearings.
Product engineering and development are conducted in close liaison with the leading car assemblers. Low emissions, reduced fuel consumption, upgraded performance, reliability, quality, and safety - these are forces that drive innovation at Rheinmetall Automotive.
In line with its strategic focus, the Group has three premium brands: Kolbenschmidt, Pierburg und Motorservice and employs a workface of around 11,500 employees at its production locations in Europe, North and South America, Japan, India plus China.