New fuel cell manufacturing technology receives funding


Optima Life Science receives state funding which goes into the development of a test converter. The funding supports new ideas and manufacturing processes for fuel cells that can be rapidly implemented, optimized and validated. Juergen Bareiss (Optima Life Science Business Unit Manager, right) and Werner Volk (Optima Life Science Business Development Manager) display finished Membrane Electrode (MEA) assemblies. (Source: Optima)

OPTIMA continues the development of fuel cell manufacturing technology The Land of Baden-Württemberg finances the construction of a new test system at Schwaebisch Hall with the “Future Program Hydrogen BW”

Fuel cells generate electricity from hydrogen through an electrochemical process. Efficient manufacturing processes for fuel cells are a crucial topic. Optima Life Science, a specialist in the field of web processing technologies, is currently developing a test converter specifically for the development and testing of innovative manufacturing processes for fuel cells. Therefore, the company receives considerable funding from the Land of Baden-Württemberg. Optima Life Science already offers high efficiency fuel cell production systems. Based on this experience, the company is currently developing a modular test converter. Innovative ideas and process optimizations as well as product developments can thus be implemented quickly and easily. In the future, fuel cell production processes will first be verified in a development environment and then transferred to successful systems.

Test Converter: Implement Ideas, Accelerate Development

New developments in fuel cell technology will always require new structures and dimensions of the fuel cells and thus also of the membrane-electrode assembly (MEA). The need for development and refinement of manufacturing processes is in high demand. The OPTIMA MTC (Modular Test Converter) is precisely designed for this purpose. The adaptable arrangement of different processes, the reconfiguration and the addition and deletion of process steps become a reality. Individual processes and complex process sequences, up to the finished MEA for the fuel cell can be tested.

Another benefit is reduced economic risk when product development and manufacturing process development can go hand in hand. Process and product optimization ideas can also be implemented quickly and validated during product development. The knowledge gained can be quickly implemented in production. Finally, sampling and small series production can take place on the OPTIMA MTC system.

Complex processes

The heart of the fuel cell is the membrane-electrode assembly. Hydrogen and oxygen are present and electrical energy and water are produced in an electrochemical reaction. Individual components such as membranes, frame material and gas diffusion layers are each fed from the roll into Optima systems. Individual parts are custom cut and assembled in the MEA in a complex and continuous process. For fuel cells to achieve the desired level of efficiency, all process steps require maximum precision.

In addition to the manufacturing technologies required for MEA production, Optima offers the traceability of each individual MEA with its digital solutions.

Experiences from already implemented projects and demands from the hydrogen industry have shown that there is a huge need for product and process development. Optima Life Science responds to this request by developing and building the OPTIMA MTC Test Converter.

Financing of the “Future Program Hydrogen BW”

In order to exploit the full potential of the production methods and to support the rapid growth of this future technology, Optima has received funding from the Land of Baden-Württemberg. Under the “Future Program Hydrogen BW”, the Ministry for the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Industry has been funding a total of 20 hydrogen and fuel cell technology projects since the start of 2022. The state government provides budgetary funds of 26.4 million euros for the development of this technology.

At f-cell in Stuttgart, the leading international trade fair and conference for hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, Optima will present on October 4 and 5, 2022 current solutions for the production of fuel cells and electrolysis ( stand no. 2A37 in hall C2).

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