Proton Motor, a developer of industrial fuel cells, fuel cell systems and hybrid systems, and AVL List GmbH, an independent developer of powertrains, have signed a framework contract to collaborate on the development of fuel cell hybrid systems for powertrains as well as related measurement and diagnostic technology.
AVL will serve as the powertrain engineering and measurement technology provider while Proton Motor will be the PEM (proton exchange membrane) fuel cell system provider. The acknowledgment establishes the formal basis for the joint activities of the two companies. Furthermore, it will accelerate the offer and order procedure, as well as setting the parameters for future projects.
Proton Motor focuses on back-to-base applications such as materials handling, utility vehicles and mass transport. These applications can be commercialized at an early stage as they do not depend on the existence of a ubiquitous hydrogen infrastructure. In September 2007, for example, Proton Motor unveiled the world’s first triple-hybrid forklift combining a fuel cell, a battery and supercapacitors to form an energy-efficient power system. (Earlier post.)
Proton currently offers a “PM Turnkey” package to OEMs, using modular fuel cell hybrid systems of between 5 and 200 kW. A modular system of this type comprises a fuel cell stack, storage elements such as batteries and supercapacitors, power management and an electrical converter as well as hydrogen tanks appropriate for the type of operation in question.
AVL has been active in the development of hybrid drives for more than 15 years and has expanded capacity significantly in recent years to meet a rapidly increasing demand for development and testing solutions. It has completed more than 60 hybrid powertrain development and testing projects at its engineering centres in Europe and the US for customers around the globe.
AVL has also established a fuel cell system engineering team supporting the development of PEMFC and SOFC systems as well as the integration and control in mobile applications.