PEM System Development

Perfect Balance of All Key Factors

As the industry leader, we develop high-performance polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell systems (PEM) for passenger cars, commercial vehicles, shipping, railroad, and aviation.

PEM System Development

The development of PEM systems focuses on power density, efficiency, cost, and durability. We find the optimum balance of these four key factors for you, or we make individual optimizations – depending on your target requirements. For example, we can increase the power density of your PEM system to accommodate high propulsion power in limited installation space – we are currently the market leader when it comes to power density of the system.

Our services range from consulting to “turnkey” development, including definition of the system requirements for the propulsion system, through to production-readiness, and even factory planning if required. We can provide support for the journey towards a safe start of production with our own high-performance test infrastructure – up to the megawatt range.

We are your independent, technology-neutral PEM system partner. Meaning that you have access to stacks and individual components from any manufacturer in the world. As part of development and design, we are happy to advise you on selecting a suitable supplier.

Ultimately, PEM system development is about affordable, market-attractive mobility in applications that are difficult to implement using battery power. Here, automotive manufacturers and suppliers face a key challenge: reconciling technical feasibility with market requirements and cost efficiency. Application-specific hurdles also have to be overcome.

Total cost of ownership (TCO) is a major issue for commercial vehicles in particular. Here you need a durable solution whose packaging adapts to your installation space and that is as efficient as possible.

Take the supreme discipline of PEM system development as an example: the 40-ton truck. This reaches full load at a gradient of two percent, which results in a constantly high level of heat. Added to this is the very narrow architecture and the dominant fuel consumption of this gigantic truck. Not to mention the immense investment. And it goes without saying that the usual truck lifetime of 1.5 million kilometers also needs to be guaranteed.

When it comes to technological challenges, power density and cooling are the top priorities. A normal internal combustion engine (ICE) dissipates a large percentage of the heat to the environment in the form of exhaust gas; in a fuel cell system with comparable performance, all of the waste heat goes into the coolant. In theory, about 1.8 times the area is required to dissipate the heat here – but it is space that is limited in commercial vehicles.

Hardware costs also play an important role: with technology like PEM that is not yet fully industrialized, large quantities that could reduce costs are not being achieved currently.

What you need in this environment are solutions in which technology and market considerations go hand in hand. And an engineering partner with the expertise, the development and test environment, as well as the IT portfolio, who will guide you through even the most complex of PEM projects until they are ready for the market.

Key Tech4EV
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With us as your partner, you can overcome all the challenges of PEM system development.
As experts in PEM system power density, we maximize the power density of your PEM systems for you with low weight, which also has a positive effect on the form factor. In addition, we optimize efficiency at system level – and thus the efficiency specific to the application.

As far as costs are concerned, we make sure that we fine-tune every technically feasible solution into a business case that creates value for you. To do this, we consider the global supply chain and provide production engineering. Hence, we guide your development projects towards industrialization and thereby emphasize aspects such as ease of assembly, process optimization, and factory design.

In all of this, our experience from fuel cell industrialization projects is of great benefit to you. We are also happy to support your development processes at your site. And we have a comprehensive test infrastructure available for the production-ready development of your PEM systems. We are fully integrated both vertically and horizontally, offering all the services you need.

Technological Competitive Edge

With our support, you get a PEM fuel cell system with market leading KPIs: power density, efficiency, durability. We have the right technical solutions for you in all these areas, whether at stack level or for system integration.

Reduced Risk

We counter technical, economic, and timeline risks with our special development process, which relies on frontloading through simulation. This enables you to efficiently assess and minimize risks in the early stages.

Market-ready More Quickly

We provide PEM system and stack experts, who work with you to develop the best possible solution. This allows us to optimize your development time and minimize your risk.

Expertise in Methods and Fuel Cells

We provide comprehensive development with precise simulations that move important process steps forward in time. In the same way as for the classic or hybrid engine area.

We know how to manage a Design Verification Plan (DVP) and combine this knowledge with the fuel cell expertise that is anchored in our company. We are applying our many years of experience in disciplines such as electrics and electronics (E/E), systems engineering, and design to your PEM fuel cell.

In detail: When developing a PEM system, our specialist department only accounts for around 12 to 14 percent of expenditure. The rest comes from classic disciplines, in which we apply existing knowledge from engine packaging, validation, etc. to the fuel cell.

Fuel Cell System Design

The system design is crucial to success when it comes to high power densities. To achieve the most compact implementation possible, we focus on the interfaces between the stack and the components.

Control Software

For system control, we develop production-ready, modular software for operation with implemented diagnostics, processes, and safety functions.

Validation and Testing

We validate and verify your PEM system up to the release recommendation for series production. For this, we have the proven methodology (DVP) as well as the state-of-the-art testing infrastructure at our test centers. Just like you are used to from the traditional field of the internal combustion engine (ICE).

Related Topics

We are constantly working on new solutions. The following might be interesting for you:

PEM Stack development
PEM Stack Development

AVL develops state-of-the-art, robust, durable stack solutions for your PEM fuel cells.

AVL PEM Testing
PEM Fuel Cell Testing Solutions

Testing solutions for every development step from cell to system for all applications from passenger car to aviation

Fuel Cell Simulation
Fuel Cell and Electrolyzer Simulation

Fuel cells and electrolyzers are excellent solutions for efficiently achieving a CO2-neutral future. Especially since their application is multifaceted. It ranges from vehicles of all sizes to energy generation and storage to the starting point for synthetic fuels (e-fuels). Develop and optimize targeted fuel cell systems by using our simulation.

Fuel Cell Virtualization
Fuel Cell Operating Strategy Optimization and Testing

Enhancing fuel cell system optimization and testing with simulation.

Moving steadily into the future: Find out what’s brand new in the field of PEM system development.

Press Release
AVL Opens New Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Test Center in Graz

Greater test capacities for innovative energy and propulsion solutions

Do you have questions or want to work with us?

Our experts are happy to help.

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