EKPO Fuel Cell Technologies GmbH is a joint venture between ElringKlinger and Plastic Omnium. Our fuel cell stack modules, and components meet the highest of demands in terms of robustness, functionality, and performance. Both customer-specific developments for each integration level and standard solutions can be provided.
ElringKlinger has been actively involved in the field of fuel cells for around 20 years and launched its first series production project back in 2008. We have assumed a pioneering role in this segment thanks to a variety of collaborations and projects. In March 2021 there was the launch of EKPO Fuel Cell Technologies GmbH, a joint venture between ElringKlinger and Plastic Omnium.
Our product portfolio encompasses both customer-specific solutions for each integration level and high-performance standard components. These include PEMFC stack modules for integration into customer systems, and various stack components such as metallic bipolar plates, media modules or gaskets.
In addition, lightweight components, sealing systems, shielding technology, and dynamic precision parts from ElringKlinger are fitted in electric cars and commercial vehicles.
A fuel cell stack is usually a stack of cells consisting of bipolar plates, membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs), seals and end plates, and the tensioning system.
Stack modules from EKPO also include other system functionalities that make integration into customer systems vastly easier and significantly reduce the potential for leakages in the system. These are integrated into a special media module made of plastic and typically contain sensors for pressure and temperature, valves, condensate separators for the anode circuit and optional customer-specific functionalities.
ElringKlinger currently offers three standardized stack platforms: NM5-EVO, NM12, and NM12-TWIN. We additionally develop customer-specific stack solutions that are optimally tailored to the respective system environment.
Metal bipolar plates offer tangible advantages with regard to costs and – an aspect that is particularly important for mobile applications – power density as well as the cold-start capability of fuel cells. Using high-precision, progressive tooling suited to volume production, EKPO produces bipolar plates in a fully automated, interlinked manufacturing process.
PEMFC stacks consist of alternating stacks of membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) and bipolar plates. They are interspersed with porous layers that serve to distribute the gas and transfer the electric current. The bipolar plate separates the media and distributes them within the stack. It also ensures uniform cooling of the stack and transfers the electric current to the adjacent cells.
Fuel cell stacks have to be permanently tensioned with a uniform contact pressure over the entire surface of the cell. This is achieved by means of end modules consisting of the tensioning system and possibly media modules.
Production-ready end modules for PEMFCs are hybrid assemblies consisting of metal components and high-performance plastics that meet the full range of requirements while offering excellent dimensional stability. Like the media modules, they have to be mechanically stable, chemically resistant, and as light as possible. Using injection molding processes, EKPO produces highly complex end modules that meet the most stringent tolerance specifications. A special feature of these modules is the integration of parts of the system technology directly on the stack in the form of a media module, thereby extensively simplifying the system.
Thanks to our comprehensive expertise in sealing technology and stack platform production, we are also able to offer bespoke sealing systems for fuel cells. These seals can be fitted both on the soft goods (GDL, sub-gasket) and on the bipolar plates. To do this, we employ our own materials or materials specified by the respective customer as well as cutting-edge production processes. For high-performance, reliable, and low-cost sealing solutions.
For further details, please refer to the website of EKPO Fuel Cell Technologies.
Automated series production processes in metalworking and plastic injection molding, automated stacking, ultra-modern joining and coating technology, and our in-house tool and mold making capabilities make us the ideal partner for the industrialization of fuel cell products.
All processes and procedures necessary for the products are validated and constantly refined. Thanks to the close interaction between Development, Prototype Production, and Industrialization, an optimum quality standard can be achieved from the very start of production. EKPO Fuel Cell Technologies also operates high-performance production lines for manufacturing the various components in series. Adapted to specific customer and product requirements, we implement highly flexible, scalable, or fully automated production solutions.
Possible application areas for our PEMFC modules, stack modules, and components include cars, commercial vehicles, and buses, but also trains, ships, and aircraft.
The PEMFC (Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell) is a low-temperature fuel cell that converts chemical energy to electrical energy using hydrogen and oxygen. This technology can be deployed to advantage wherever pure hydrogen is available as a fuel and high electrical efficiency is required. If the hydrogen is produced via electrolysis from electricity generated through renewable sources, zero-emission mobility is possible.
EKPO Fuel Cell Technologies is a leading joint venture working on the development and large-scale production of fuel cell stack modules for carbon-neutral mobility.
The electrolysis process breaks down various chemical compounds into their individual components using electricity. Accordingly, this can be used to produce the raw material for hydrogen-based applications. The electrical energy used is converted into chemical energy and stored in hydrogen. In case the hydrogen is produced from electricity from renewable sources, a completely emission-free mobility is feasible.
To achieve high electrical efficiency, high-quality seals and components made from high-performance plastics are required. Our subsidiary ElringKlinger Engineered Plastics offers a wide range of high-performance plastics and validated manufacturing processes. This means that both small quantities or prototypes and large quantities can be produced economically.
Our in-house series processes in machining and plastic injection molding make us an ideal partner for scaling up electrolysers. Our portfolio includes, for example, seals and components up to a diameter of 3 meters as well as hoses and pipes made of fluoropolymers.
More information about components for electrolysers can be found here.
VOLUMETRIQ is a Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Undertaking project funded under the call FCH-01.2-2014 on “Cell and stack components, stack and system manufacturing technologies and quality assurance”. It will demonstrate operational OEM stack performance requirements for ElringKlinger’s automotive PEM fuel cell platform, with production readiness via validated volume capable manufacturing processes and quality control systems for both automotive fuel cell stack platform, and for major constituent cell components. Stack components will be manufactured, involving improvement of existing methods and enhancement through automated manufacturing processes and tests to achieve robust volume yield and cost delivery.
The project will validate a complete “at scale” stack production package which will be overseen by the automotive OEMs, BMW and Daimler.
More information: http://www.volumetriq.eu/
The Giantleap project is an European project funded by the European Commission’s Fuel Cell and Hydrogen 2 Joint Undertaking, with the objective of improving the lifetime and reliability of fuel-cell systems in city buses.
Giantleap is a recursive acronym for Giantleap Improves Automation of Non-polluting Transportation with Lifetime Extension of Pem fuel cells; the objective of the project is to realise a control system that can increase the lifetime and reliability of fuel-cell systems installed in buses by means of novel diagnostic and prognostic approaches.
More information: http://www.giantleap.eu
The project aims at the development of a design of a flexible, scalable, high quality production line (process steps) for the manufacturing of PEMFC’s (Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells).
The spectrum of automation in fuel cell manufacturing tasks investigated in the project includes tasks that require:
The design that will be considered in the project include the manufacturing of parts of smaller quantity as well as very large quantities of PEMFC’s.
More information: http://www.inline-project.eu/
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