EKPO Fuel Cell Technologies secures high-volume series production contract for fuel cell stacks
- Subsidiary of ElringKlinger and Plastic Omnium receives series production order covering a projected total volume in the high double-digit million euro range
- Contract with AE Driven Solutions for exclusive, multi-year supply of NM5-evo fuel cell stacks from 2022 onward
- AE Driven Solutions equips delivery vehicles for urban spaces with fuel cell systems
The order pipeline of EKPO Fuel Cell Technologies GmbH (EKPO), the joint venture between ElringKlinger (60%) and Plastic Omnium (40%), is continuing to fill up: Aachen-based mobility company AE Driven Solutions GmbH (AEDS) has awarded EKPO an exclusive, multi-year contract to supply fuel cell stacks of the type NM5-evo. The order covers a planned volume in the high double-digit million euro range. The stacks are designed to meet AEDS's key criteria of performance, durability, and smooth operation and are to be fitted to delivery vehicles as part of the company's system integration efforts, the aim being to offer environmentally friendly drive technology in urban spaces. Series production of the stacks is scheduled to commence in the first half of 2022.
The NM5-evo stack is the newest addition to EKPO's stack portfolio. Alongside high power density of up to 4.6 kW/l in the cell block, it meets the customer's exacting standards in respect of durable, compact fuel cell stack design. In addition to the comparatively low weight, this includes a high power spectrum of up to 76 kW in pressure mode. Furthermore, the stack design offers the best possible basis when it comes to scaling and modularization, thus allowing the end customer to design its usage application with maximum flexibility and efficiency.
Like EKPO, AEDS has geared its business to next-generation mobility. The Aachen-based company equips vehicles for inner-city transport with eco-friendly fuel cell systems. In this context, the AEDS team can draw on its extensive expertise in the field of e-mobility. Following the successful development of the Streetscooter as a battery-powered delivery vehicle by the company's core team and its launch as a series application, AEDS is now using its experience to deploy fuel-cell-powered vehicles in conjunction with new mobility concepts in urban regions. In addition to CEO Tobias Reil, a former member of the executive board and head of production at Streetscooter GmbH, the AEDS team includes the shareholders Prof. Achim Kampker, one of the founders of Streetscooter GmbH, and Stefanie and Alexander Peters, managing partners of the NEUMAN & ESSER GROUP, which covers the entire value chain from the generation, compression, production and storage of hydrogen as well as green gases. In collaboration with other companies and institutions such as TÜV Rheinland, the PEM Group, and RWTH Aachen University, a next-generation mobility cluster centered around battery and hydrogen technologies is currently being created at the AEDS site in Aachen.
When it comes to evolving climate-friendly mobility, AEDS sees, similar to EKPO, the significant benefits associated with hydrogen-based technologies. In those cases in which the requisite hydrogen is produced by wind, solar, or water power, the drive system that relies on such fuel cell technology can be considered completely CO2-neutral. In the field of mobility, the advantages of hydrogen come to the fore wherever idle time is costly. In addition to long-distance transport, this applies above all to the area of last-mile delivery, i.e., applications with a long range or cyclical operation. Areas of use for vehicles include commercial and delivery vehicles as well as buses, but also industrial applications in the mobile sector such as special vehicles and materials handling equipment. In addition, hydrogen-based fuel cell drives are suitable for trains, ships, or aircraft.
Through its parent company ElringKlinger, EKPO has been actively pursuing fuel cell research and development for around 20 years. The compact stacks are based on proton-exchange membrane (PEM) technology and convert chemical into electrical energy using hydrogen and oxygen. EKPO offers stacks in various configurations for integration into customer systems. Stacks with peripheral components and system functionalities integrated into the media module are also available as an option. These features enable considerable simplification and cost reduction with regard to the fuel cell system. Drawing on the system solutions of its parent company Plastic Omnium, EKPO can cover the entire value chain of a hydrogen-based fuel cell drive. EKPO has an initial production capacity of up to 10,000 stacks per year, which will be gradually expanded in line with its order intake.