Partnership with Hydrogenious LOHC

Schaeffler develops safe and cost-effective fuel cell

2. Februar 2022, 14:08 Uhr | Irina Hübner
In Zusammenarbeit mit mehreren Partnern entwickelt Schaeffler eine Brennstoffzelle auf LOHC-Basis.
In cooperation with several partners, Schaeffler is developing a fuel cell that enables direct CO2-free operation with hydrogen bonded in the LOHC.
© Schaeffler

The joint goal of Schaeffler and Hydrogenious LOHC Technologies is to develop a hydrogen fuel cell that runs on a liquid organic hydrogen carrier (LOHC). This is intended to make the use of fuel cells safer, more cost-effective and more sustainable.

For the development of such a fuel cell, automotive and industrial supplier Schaeffler has signed a cooperation agreement with Hydrogenious LOHC Technologies and the Helmholtz Institute Erlangen-Nuremberg for Renewable Energies (HIERN).

LOHC for greater safety and cost efficiency

Hydrogen is usually stored and transported in gaseous form at high pressure or in liquid form at extreme sub-zero temperatures in special containers. Liquid organic hydrogen carriers, or LOHCs, offer an alternative. In Hydrogenious' proprietary process, benzyltoluene is used. This is an oil-like organic substance that chemically binds the hydrogen and allows it to be transported under normal ambient conditions.
Unlike the classical design, there would be no molecular hydrogen in a LOHC fuel cell or in the supply chain. The liquid carrier material can be used multiple times, making it particularly sustainable.

Complementary to other hydrogen technologies

The project builds on Hydrogenious' and HIERN's extensive pioneering achievements in research and development in the field of LOHC as well as corresponding know-how and patents. Together with the Helmholtz Institute Erlangen-Nuremberg, Schaeffler is developing the corresponding fuel cell technology for the direct use of hydrogen bound in LOHC.

For this purpose, adaptations have to be made in the design of the fuel cells. Schaeffler manufactures the bipolar plates, drawing on know-how from previously developed fuel cell technology. The catalysts and membranes required for this technology are being developed specifically for this application at the Helmholtz Institute in Erlangen-Nuremberg. Schaeffler sees the use of LOHC in fuel cells as complementary to classic hydrogen technologies.

»Hydrogen technology plays a crucial role for CO2-neutral, sustainable mobility, including energy supply, and is of strategic importance to Schaeffler,« says Uwe Wagner, Schaeffler's Executive Vice President Research and Development. »With this partnership, we will make an important contribution to the application of LOHC technology in fuel cells. In doing so, Schaeffler is leveraging its industrialization expertise and decades of know-how in materials, forming and surface technologies.«

Dr. Daniel Teichmann, CEO and founder of Hydrogenious, explains, »The direct use of LOHC in fuel cells for power generation eliminates the need to handle hydrogen as a gas and allows a particularly low-cost and safe supply for mobile and stationary energy consumers. We are very pleased that Schaeffler will apply its extensive know-how with the aim of industrializing this technology.«

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Schaeffer AG, Schaeffler KG, Schaeffler Technologies GmbH & Co. KG