Home » Freudenberg Collaborates with Quantron AG on Heavy-Duty Truck Fuel Cell System
Freudenberg Collaborates with Quantron AG on Heavy-Duty Truck Fuel Cell System
September 11, 2020
Freudenberg Sealing Technologies has launched the development of a special fuel cell system for heavy-duty trucks. The company is collaborating with Quantron AG, a specialist in the field of commercial vehicle conversion. The project’s first fuel cell system will be installed in a heavy-duty truck for real-world testing in the near future. These collaborative efforts are being supported by the Energy Research Program of the Bavarian State Ministry of Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy in Germany.
Freudenberg Sealing Technologies’ fuel cell expertise is focused on making emission-free, economically viable heavy-duty transportation a reality. In the past year, the company has launched successful development projects for buses and cruise ships with partners such as FlixBus and Meyer Werft in Germany. With the cooperation of Quantron AG, a specialist in retrofitting existing commercial vehicles with electric powertrains and batteries, Freudenberg has now turned its attention to truck solutions in the 40-ton weight class to create a low-emission alternative to standard commercial heavy-duty trucks powered by diesel drivetrains. The goal is to test the fuel cell systems for performance, durability and range under continuous commercial driving conditions. The project is funded by the Energy Research Program of the Bavarian State Ministry of Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy and is one of the first initiatives that explicitly supports the development of a fuel cell for use in heavy-duty trucks. A first test vehicle with the new drive technology is expected to be rolling across Bavarian roads in mid-2021. The vehicle named Energon was presented to the public in early August this year.
“Fuel cell trucks are the only economical, emission-free alternative that permits large payloads as well as significant ranges and fast refueling cycles,” said Dr. Manfred Stefener, vice president fuel cell systems at Freudenberg Sealing Technologies. “That's why we are looking forward to working with Quantron AG to create fuel cell applications that are explicitly designed for the maximum load and operating points of trucks.”
Fuel cells for trucks must cover completely different load and operating profiles than those for passenger cars: On average, a passenger car drives for a maximum of one hour per day and stands still for the remaining 23 hours. This is why passenger car systems are designed for only 5,000 to 8,000 operating hours. Truck systems, in contrast, require a service life of at least 35,000 hours. This is because commercial vehicles earn money exclusively through reliable, continuous operation.
As it focuses on heavy-duty trucks, the current project offers additional innovations. These include, for example, the consistent use of material combinations that optimize the service life as well as the development of special interfaces for space-optimized application in a commercial vehicle. This makes it possible to perform maintenance, repair and replacement tasks with a minimal effort at any time and, thanks to the standardization, to operate a maximum range of vehicles. Existing fuel cell systems were originally developed for passenger cars. For heavy-duty applications, however, all essential design aspects of the system have to be optimized for a long service life.
“The goal is to develop fuel cells that can manage a long service life and real heavy-duty profiles to outshine the diesel when it comes to total cost of ownership,” Dr. Stefener said. “We intend to launch a sustainable, emission-free alternative for heavy-duty traffic on the market.”