Cost still remains one of the key challenges for widespread adoption of Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC ) technology in the automotive sector. The stack still represents about 50% of total fuel cell system cost and MEA components ca. 60% of the total stack cost. Therefore, despite considerable progress over the last 10 years in increasing performance, durability and reducing platinum loadings, research and development activities are still required to provide materials and designs that can address the cost issue whilst reaching other important targets like durability, reliability and operating temperature.
Additionally, even though several materials were developed that meet performance at BOL, they tend to degrade rapidly and have other issues (e.g. power instability at lower temperatures). Thus, the purpose of this topic is to address these issues by focusing on MEA development to meet all the requirements at the same time, with a greater focus on achieving a world leading power density of 1.8 W/cm2 @ 0.60 V.
As a step towards the final cost goal, proposals should focus on reducing the total platinum loading compared to current state of the art MEAs (currently in the range of 0.25 to 0.35 mg/cm2) and increasing current density to levels that enable a significant reduction of the total stack active area.
As the targets are very ambitious, the proposals will need to address several areas of development at the same time, which will include work on the following areas:
The proposal should set targets for each individual component. Those targets need to be quantifiable in single cells relevant for automotive application. The consortium has to demonstrate how the targets have been fixed and how those targets will allow the MEA to achieve the required power density (1.8 W/cm2 @ 0.6 V) in the described operating conditions (already described above).
The output of the project should be a sufficient numbers of MEAs incorporating the new constituent materials and designs that are manufactured by a commercial supplier, by methods compatible with high-volume manufacturing, (but not necessarily using processes already validated for the fuel cell industry), to enable a short-stack test (minimum 10 Cells) of a practical automotive fuel cell.
A cost estimation with assumptions on the quantity of materials, material costs and production costs of the MEA is also expected as an output at the end of the project.
Development of bipolar plates, seals, frame/sub-gasket materials and designs are not in scope of this topic.
TRL at start: 2-3 and TRL at the end of the project: 5.
The proposal is expected to contain at least one OEM as a partner, to provide system and fuel cell design points and counsel on trade off studies. Similarly, to fulfil the manufacturability requirement, it is expected that at least one MEA supplier to be part of the proposal.
Any safety-related event that may occur during execution of the project shall be reported to the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) dedicated mailbox JRC-PTT-H2SAFETY@ec.europa.eu, which manages the European hydrogen safety reference database, HIAD.
Test activities should collaborate and use the protocols developed by the JRC Harmonisation Roadmap (see section 3.2.B "Collaboration with JRC – Rolling Plan 2018"), in order to benchmark performance of components and allow for comparison across different projects.
The FCH 2 JU considers that proposals requesting a contribution of EUR 4 million would allow the specific challenges to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
Expected duration: 3-4 Years
The proposed development activities shall reach the following collective targets, demonstrated at MEA level:
Type of action: Research and Innovation Action
The conditions related to this topic are provided in the chapter 3.3 and in the General Annexes to the Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2018– 2020 which apply mutatis mutandis.