MAHLE Powertrain is developing the first demonstrator vehicle for a novel new hydrogen fuel cell technology. As integration partner to hydrogen fuel cell specialist Bramble Energy (earlier post), MAHLE Powertrain 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 later this year, will showcase the reduced-cost, high performance potential of high power density liquid cooled fuel cells.
The commercial vehicle sector is currently exploring alternative fuel options as several large fleet operators pledge to meet net-zero CO2 emission. 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 have the knock-on effect of inspiring increased deployment of supporting infrastructure for areas where it is currently lacking.—Jonathan Hall, MAHLE Powertrain’s head of research & advanced engineering projects
MAHLE Powertrain was chosen to support Bramble Energy on the integration project, which leverages high volume printed circuit board manufacturing techniques to reduce cost and ease of production scalability, due to its expertise in EV control systems, zero-emission vehicle systems integration and cooling system development.
Utilization of PCB technology enables Bramble Energy to offer a bespoke fuel cell capability and enhanced production flexibility, plus a robustness inherent in the printed circuit board manufacturing process. It also enables the company to strip-back fuel cell complexity and reduce 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.