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EKPO supplying fuel cell stacks to Chinese premium car manufacturer Hongqi

EKPO Fuel Cell Technologies GmbH (EKPO) and China FAW Group (FAW) have signed a contract for the development and supply of fuel cell stack module prototypes. The stacks of the NM12-Single platform will be used in a next-generation fuel cell vehicle of FAW’s premium brand Hongqi.

The NM12 Single PEMFC stack module is currently available with a cell count of 359 cells. At 2.5 bar operating pressure it achieves a power output of up to 123 kW.


EKPO, headquartered in Dettingen/Erms (Germany), is a joint venture between ElringKlinger and Plastic Omnium for the development and large-scale production of fuel cell stacks for CO2-neutral mobility.

China has been strategically promoting its hydrogen economy for years and represents a key future market for EKPO. As a result, EKPO has founded a Chinese subsidiary in 2022 and installed development and production capacities there.

The NM12-Single PEMFC stack module is suitable for applications in the passenger car and light commercial vehicle sectors. It offers high power density combined with a compact design and low weight. It is based on a robust and reliable technology that focuses on low hydrogen consumption for reduced operating costs and longer ranges.



Great systems integration, making it perhaps almost plug and play


Also worth a look is Bramble Energy's integration of PCBs into fuel cells, which they reckon can greatly reduce costs, although I don't understand their figures:



In an even more impressive feat of systems integration, here is Cranfield Aerospace Solutions integration of a fuel cell sytem into the nacelle of an aeroplane:


' At the core of CAeS’s mission is the development of a hydrogen fuel cell drive train that will be a safe, certifiable, and commercially viable solution for the aviation market. By packaging the entire full power system (hydrogen fuel cell system and motor) into the nacelle, CAeS has identified all the key technical and packaging challenges of designing a safe and efficient hydrogen power train and found solutions for them all. This milestone is crucial as it lays the groundwork for engaging with regulators about certifying the technology for safe flight, a pivotal step towards realising the vision of commercially viable zero-emissions aviation.

While hydrogen fuel cell technology itself is not new, adapting it for aviation poses unique challenges. The successful integration of a 240kW system (110% of the power of the engine that it replaces) into the nacelle showcases CAeS’s ability to overcome these challenges and is a “miracle of packaging” that underscores the feasibility of hydrogen-electric propulsion systems for aircraft. Moreover, this achievement positions CAeS as a leader in commercialising zero-emissions aircraft, contributing to the industry’s efforts to mitigate its environmental impact.'

They are going for gaseous hydrogen as the supply, which can only work for small aircraft.

Personally I like Universal Hydrogen's liquid hydrogen swappable storage module which outputs gaseous hydrogen:


So there would be two modules, one in the nacelle, one in the hydrogen storage, with only the pipelines between the two custom designs.

That has got to make testability and certification easier.


Reading through the specs Universal Hydrogen says that they have a 'megawatt scale' supply system, whilst Cranfield Aerospace Solutions nacelle is rated at 240KW.

So for a 4 engine aircraft, it seems that they approximately match for scale.

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