The automotive supplier Schaeffler has recognized the enormous potential of hydrogen technology as the energy carrier of the future. To enter hydrogen mobility, the company has developed metallic bipolar plates wich are regarded as key components for fuel cells and fuel cell stacks.
According to Uwe Wagner, Chief Scientific Officer at Schaeffler, the global CO2 emission problem cannot be solved with battery electric vehicles alone. "Heavy freight vehicles in particular need alternative energy storage systems. Here, hydrogen in combination with fuel cells offers excellent possibilities," says Wagner. According to the expert, hybrid storage systems, i.e. the combination of battery plus hydrogen, also offer an interesting solution for longer ranges in passenger cars.
Schaeffler focuses on the value chain of key components for the fuel cell and makes use of its traditional core competencies. Bipolar plates are produced by forming and coating in the thin-film range. They are stacked to form the core of a fuel cell system. These fuel cell stacks are energy converters that allow H₂ and O₂ to react to water. This produces electricity that can be used to drive the electric motor in the vehicle. Further competencies such as electronic controls, special airfoil bearings, smart thermal management modules or components for passive hydrogen recirculation expand the Schaeffler portfolio for optimized fuel cell systems.
At the 46th Tokyo Motor Show, Schaeffler will present these approaches to future, sustainable energy chains and CO2-neutral mobility solutions, including fuel cell expertise, to the public.