2nd EU-Cluster-Workshop “Land Transport by Fuel Cell Technology“ –
Activities and Strategies of European Vehicle Manufacturers
Privatdozent Dr.-Ing. J.W. Biermann
Institut für Kraftfahrwesen der RWTH Aachen, Germany
Co-ordinator EU-Cluster “Land Transport by Fuel Cell Technology”
A growing demand for mobility, as well as limited crude oil reserves and increasing
environmental pollution have resulted in a substantial increase in alternative propulsion
systems research efforts by the automobile industry around the world. Against this
background the European Commission (EC) has declared “Fuel-cell powered vehicles” an
important theme in its research programme. Therefore, the EC is promoting a multitude of
research projects in this area.
As Fig. 1 depicts, nine projects concerned mainly with components (e.g. reformers, fuel cells
stacks and batteries) and automotive integration have been integrated within the cluster
“Land Transport by Fuel Cell Technology”. Apart from the internal exchange of information,
the aim is to reinforce the links with EC sponsored theme-based networks, for example
ELEDRIVE and HyNet, as well establish links with specialists not directly involved in these
Advanced Methanol Fuel Cell
Cluster Co-ordinator: ika Partners: AB Volvo,Tech. University of Denmark, Statoil ASA, Univ. of
Newcastle, Norwegian Univ. of Science and Tech., Proton Motor
Coordinator: AB Volvo
FUERO ERK6-CT1999-00024 Budget / EC: 3.358.966 EURO / 2.489.441 EURO
Fuel Cell Systems and Components General Research for Duration: 01.01.2001 – 31.12.2003
Partners: ika, CRF, PSA, RENAULT, VOLVO, VW, IFP PEM-ED ERK6-CT1999-00025
Coordinator: ika Proton exchange membranes for application in medium
Steering committee: Car manufacturers temperature electrochemical devices
Budget / EC: 4.517.260 EURO / 2.501.331 EURO Partners: FuMA-Tech, CNRS-LAMMI, CNR-ITEA, Univ. Strathclyde,
Duration: 01.07.2000 – 31.12.2003 Univ. Perugia, EDF, SEFAR, IFEU, De Nora
Budget / EC: 3.137.571 EURO / 1.601.342 EURO
PROFUEL ERK6-CT1999-00023 Duration: 01.03.2000 – 28.02.2004
On-Board Gasoline Processor for Fuel Cell Vehicle
Application ASTOR NNE5-1999-20138
Partners: Johnson Matthey, CRF, ECN, FEV, ANSALDO, Politecnico de Assessment & Testing of Advanced Energy Storage System for
Coordinator: Johnson Matthey
Hybrid Electric Vehicle
Budget / EC: 6.844.684 EURO / 3.628.352 EURO Partners: VW, BMW, CRF, DaimlerChrysler, OPEL, PSA, Renault, Volvo
Duration: 01.07.2000 – 30.06.2003 Coordinator: VW
Budget / EC: 3.000.000 EURO / 1.200.000 EURO
Duration: 01.04.2001, 36 months
Production of clean Hydrogen for Fuel Cell by Reformation of MINIREF ENK6-2001-00515
Bioethanol Miniaturised Gasoline Fuel Processor for Fuel Cell Vehicle
Partners: CRF, ENEA, PCA, REN, IRC, QUB, UPAT, ECN Applications
Coordinator: CRF Partners: PSA, IMM, ACA, IRC, CIRIMAT, Uni. Prague, Infragas
Budget / EC: 3.807.123 EURO / 2.228.562 EURO Coordinator: PSA
Duration: 01.07.2000 – 30.06.2003 Budget / EC: 4.700.000 EURO / 2.800.000 EURO
Duration: 01.02.2002 – 31.01.2005
DREAMCAR NNE5-2000-00213 / ENK6-CT-2000-00315
Direct Methanol Fuel Cell Development for ACCEPT ENK6-2001-00580
Hybrid car Ammonia Craking for Clean Electric Power Technology
Partners: THALES, CRF, CNR-ITAE, SOLVAY, RAMOT Partners: INTEMA, Uni. Roma, RISOE, VITO, AM, ALE, DFG-Energie, Uni.
Coordinator: THALES Graz, NERF
Budget / EC: 4.989.710 EURO / 2.899.946 EURO Coordinator: INTEMA
Duration: 01.02.2001- 31.07.2004 Budget / EC:2.920.000 EURO / 1.780.000 EURO
Duration: 01.01.2002 – 31.12.2004
Fig. 1: Cluster “Land Transport by Fuel Cell Technology”
For this reason, it was decided to organise an annual information workshop, first held in
2001 at the Volvo Technology Corporation in Gothenburg, and then on June, 12 2002 at
Centro Ricerche Fiat (CRF) in Turin. During each workshop, the individual cluster projects
were presented and the main theme of the workshop, the activities of the European car
manufacturers in the area of alternative drive concepts, were discussed. In addition
specialists from DaimlerChrysler, FIAT (CRF), Ford, GM/Opel, PSA, Renault, Volkswagen
and Volvo were invited by the Cluster Steering Committee to give presentations on the
activities and assessments of their respective companies.
Mr. Dr.-Ing. A. Docter, project manager of fuel cells system at DaimlerChrysler AG, chose
the theme “Fuel Cell Demonstration Programs – DC Field Test Activities” for his
presentation. DaimlerChrysler introduced in 1994, with the Necar 1, their first FC-prototype
automobile. The prototypes that followed Necar 1, as depicted in Fig. 2, employed hydrogen
and also methanol as energy carriers.
Fig. 2: Concept Vehicles of DaimlerChrysler AG.
Currently, DaimlerChrysler is engaged in several international FC projects. In the USA these
are the Demonstration Programs of DoE, FreedomCAR, PowerMichigan and the California
Fuel Cell Partnership. In Japan, DaimlerChrysler is involved, as a board member, along with
other automotive companies, in the Fuel Cell Commercialisation Conference of Japan. Of
special interest is the National Fuel Cell Demonstration Project (Automotive), which starts in
2002/2003. In Germany, DaimlerChrysler, as an automotive manufacturer, participates in the
Clean Energy Partnership (Berlin). The demonstration programme starts in 2003. As shown
in Fig. 3, DaimlerChrysler will provide in total 30 FC-buses for the EC funded demonstration
projects CUTE (seven European countries involved) and ECTOS (in Iceland).
Fig. 3: FC-Bus Projects CUTE and ECTOS
Altogether DaimlerChrysler AG has made a significant commitment to the introduction of fuel
cells as propulsion system in vehicles, both in terms of F&E research, and also as regards
maturing first-hand practical experience in international demonstration projects.
Mr. G. Rovera, Executive Vice President at CRF and Director of the Vehicle Research
Division, introduced the work underway at FIAT on FC drives in his presentation “Fuel Cell
Research Activities at CRF.” As with in other automobile manufacturers, the FC activities of
FIAT concern the so-called Clean Vehicle Technologies including, among others, CNG,
Electric and Hybrid powertrains, as shown in Fig. 4. In particular CNG and Hybrid
powertrains, are considered in Italy to be the transitional technology toward hydrogen
Fig. 4: CRF Activities in the area of “Clean Vehicle Technologies”
The current Hydrogen FC-Prototype vehicles and Seicento H2 FC from FIAT were
introduced together with the Iveco FC bus. The R&D activities of FIAT include research on
specific components (for example the high efficiency air compressor depicted in Fig. 5),
system integration and prototype testing.
Fig. 5: Very Efficient Blower FC Air Supply.
At present the second generation of FC city car is under development at CRF. CRF is also
assisting IRISBUS in the development of FC-buses. It is envisaged that these vehicles will
be introduced into niche markets, in particular “Urban Mobility Services” and “Public
Dr.-Ing. R. Krüger from the Ford Research Center, Aachen (FFA) reported on “Fuel Cell
Activities at Ford Motor Company – From Past to Future”. Mr. Krüger is responsible for
European H2 and FC projects at FFA. In 1994 Ford began with five other partners the
development of a 5 kW fuel cell and in 1996, of a 50 kW fuel cell. Ford then built different FC
vehicles, some equipped with a hydrogen tank and some with a methanol-reformer. These
are shown in Fig. 6.
The most recent car in this series is equipped with a fuel cell in a hybrid powertrain structure,
in which the stack can be decoupled from dynamic power peaks. The interaction between
energy carrier and resulting energy requirements, emissions and costs was illustrated by Mr.
Krüger with Fig. 7.
Fig. 6: Ford Motor Company FCVs
Fig. 7: Fuel/Infrastructure
Although considerable R&D effort is still required, Ford believes that fuel cell technology is
the most interesting powertrain technology for the future.
The theme of the presentation from Mr. H. Mettlach was “General Motors/Opel Fuel Cell
Vehicle Program”. Mr. Mettlach is project engineer in the Global Alternative Propulsion
Centre at General Motors/Opel. General Motors/Opel are convinced that fuel cells have the
highest potential of all alternative powertrain systems in terms of reducing environmental
pollution. Their first FC-prototype vehicle, “HydroGen1”, was introduced in 2000 to
researchers worldwide and successfully took park in different competitions. In 2001 the
“HydroGen3” (Fig. 8) followed with improved performance and practicality.
Milestones achieved with “HydroGen3”
Improved performance and day-to-day practicality compared
• No high-performance
• Increased fuel cell unit
power density, no external
• Compact propulsion module
• Air conditioning system,
• Same loading space as
Fig. 8: HydroGen3 from General Motors/Opel.
Hydrogen, produced with the assistance of environmentally-friendly, renewable energy and
in connection with an FC powertrain system, is seen at General Motors/Opel as the long-
term fuel of the future. As shown in Fig. 9, the on-board reforming of fossil fuels is seen as
the transition strategy to hydrogen, but it should not hinder the implementation of the long-
term vision hydrogen.
Gasoline Fuel Processing
• On-board fuel processing
• On-site fuel processing
Challenges for on-board fuel
• System size
• Product costs
“Bridging” solution not to hinder implementation of long-term vision
Fig. 9: Gasoline Fuel Processing.
Methanol is not seen as a alternative because of cost and little potential for reduction of CO2
emissions. Mr. Mettlach reiterated in his conclusion, that the efforts of the automobile
industry towards the successful introduction of FC-technology in automotive powertrains is
only possible with the support of governments and energy companies. In addition customer
acceptance of the new technology has to be guaranteed.
Mr. J. Beretta delivered the presentation “PSA Peugeot Citroen Fuel Cell Strategy” authored
by Mr. A. Klein, programme manager for fuel cells at PSA.
At PSA the development of environmentally-friendly automobiles is a main area of research,
together with the improvement of conventional propulsion systems (combustion engines),
PSA is concentrating on the introduction of alternative fuels and the development of electric
vehicles with batteries, fuel cells and hybrid powertrains, and is currently involved in several
national and international research programmes.
PSA has developed its fuel cell strategy based on long experience, concentrating on the
PEM in fuel cell technology. Between 2005 and 2010 hydrogen (compressed at 300-
350 bars) is seen as the fuel source (at first, only in specialised automobiles). Most likely
FCs will be introduced in light commercial vehicles, such as the Peugeot Partner in the
HYDRO-GEN program (Fig. 10) and the TAXI PAC (Fig. 11).
Fig. 10: HYDRO-GEN Programme
Fig. 11: Taxi FC Demonstrator
Currently it is envisaged that in the mid- to long- term (i.e. 2010–2020) on-board reformers
will be introduced, with bio-ethanol and synthetic petrol being the preferred option. It is also
predicted that in the long term (i.e. after 2020) hydrogen, stored on board, will be used. PSA
believes in a progressive, adaptive development of FC powertrains for automobiles.
The “Renault Fuel Cell Program” was presented by Mr. J.P. Büchel. Mr. Büchel is head of
the fuel cell projects at Renault.
In terms of CO2-reduction, the Renault company sees new technologies like hybrid drives
(series and parallel) as well as fuel cells as very promising to fulfil the requirements in the
future. Renault started 1991 its R & D activities on fuel cell powertrains. Since that time they
are involved in many national and international research projects.
Fig. 12 shows a fuel cell driven prototype car, that Renault has presented 1998.
Fuel cell powertrain with hydrogen
Fuel type Liquid
Stack power 3 x 10 kW
Maximum speed 120 km/h
Range 500 km
electric energy Battery
Fig. 12: Renault’s Fuel Cell Vehicle FEVER (1995-1998)
Since 2001 a joint programme with Nissan is on the way. In this alliance Nissan is
responsible for the vehicle related R & D work, focussing on the key technology “direct
hydrogen”. Target is a series production, starting in California and Japan. In parallel Renault
is concentrating on the development of advanced components. Until 2010 the application of
fuel cell powertrains is exclusively seen in fleet tests. From 2010 onwards Renault expects
the development and launch of series produced cars. They also believe in achieving
80 g CO2/km by using fuel cell systems with reformer.
Dr. W. Steiger from Volkswagen AG reported on the theme “Fuel Cell Research – Part of
Volkswagen’s Sun Fuel Strategy”. Mr. Steiger is head of research field energy
transformation at VW.
The evaluation of future vehicle’s powertrains, with a strong focus on the environmental
criteria of exhaust emission reduction and available energy sources, is based on the
integration of alternative energy sources at VW. There is no alternative fuel that fulfills all
requirements for a future fuel. For example, the on-board storage, infrastructure and
production costs are areas in which hydrogen has difficulty in fulfilling all the requirements.
Presently synthetic fuels from fossil sources are rated the most suitable energy source for
the short to mid term. So called Sun-Fuels from biomass or other regenerative energy
sources offer the advantages of unlimited availability and CO2 neutrality; fluid Sun-Fuels are
therefore seen as the mid term energy source, while hydrogen is seen as energy carrier for
vehicles in the long term.
On the basis of the energy evaluation above, i.e. the utilisation of these fuels, a scenario
created at VW considers both, conventional powertrains with combustion engines and
alternative propulsions systems, logically with reference to a FC-System with reformer in the
alternative powertrain system. The comparison with an internal combustion engine shows
clearly the consumption advantages of the fuel cell powertrain in the part load area. Fig. 13
depicts a FC BORA developed at VW in conjunction with work done at the Paul Scherer
Taking everything into consideration, the question for VW is “Which fuel and which
powertrain technology will be applied in the future?”. This is shown in Fig. 14.
In approximately ten years, it is probably that synthetic diesel/petrol in combination with FC
vehicles and pure hydrogen FC vehicles will be introduced in fleet operation. Five years later
the transfer to Sun Fuels will begin using a CCS-hybrid combustion process. In the long-
term, i.e. twenty to twenty-five years, the introduction of hydrogen in combination with fuel
cells will be introduced to the mass market.
Fig. 13: VW – PSI Fuel Cell Vehicle
Fig. 14: Fuels and Powertrains
Mr. G. Wirmark reported on the theme “Fuel Cell Activity of the Company” for the Volvo
Group, who specialises in buses and heavy duty vehicles. Mr Wirmark is head of Energy
Conversion & Physics at Volvo Technology Corporation.
Volvo is active in a range of international and national research projects in the area of FC
vehicle powertrains and the components thereof. An example of this is Fig. 15, which depicts
Volvo’s FC laboratory, in which fuel cell stacks with a maximum output of 50 kW electrical
energy can be tested. It is the largest of its kind in Scandinavia.
The first and second generation of a Nova FC bus developed at Volvo are shown in Fig. 16.
Fig. 15: Volvo Fuel Cell Laboratory
Volvo sees FC powertrains as an alternative to combustion engines only in the event that the
production and operating costs become competitive. If and when these conditions are met, a
large potential is seen for city driving. Correspondingly, in the short-term, the introduction of
buses with FC powertrains is planned in city areas, where zero emission operation can be
provided by FC powertrains. Heavy duty vehicles are not seen to be a potential market for
FC powertrain systems in the short to mid term.
Fig. 16: Nova FC Bus
When the presentations of the 2nd Cluster Workshop “Land Transport by Fuel Cell
Technology” are considered together, the following conclusions can be drawn. Each of the
vehicle manufacturers (according to their representatives at this workshop) consider that
hydrogen will be the fuel of the future for vehicles in the long term. Correspondingly all
manufacturers are involved in national and international R&D projects. However the
manufacturers differ on the way to this aim, as regards on their estimates of which fuels and
powertrains will be implemented in the short and mid term and what the resulting strategies
on the way to hydrogen as fuel will be. In the short term FC powertrains are seen to be only
possible for vehicles such as buses and other commercial vehicles. Nevertheless alternative
fuels such as synthetic diesel and petrol, as well as ‘Sun Fuels’ from biomass (as estimated
by VW), may offer an interesting alternative as energy carriers. Clearly a unique technology
has not yet been determined.
The European Commission has declared hydrogen and the corresponding powertrains to a
major research theme in the sixth framework programme. The manufactures working in the
Cluster ‘Land Transport by Fuel Cell Technology’, represented in the European interest
group EUCAR, have prepared a project outline for an integrated project in line with the
objectives of the Sixth Framework Programme. Fig. 17 outlines this proposal, as illustrated
by Mr. Rovera (CRF) in his presentation.
Fig. 17: Integrated Project „Fuel Cell Technologies for Road Transport“
On the basis of the current FC projects within the Fifth Framework Programme such as
FUERO and FUEVA, further project proposals will be submitted to the corresponding EC
‘Calls for Proposals’. Correspondingly all major European stakeholders are invited to
contribute to the proposals with a view towards applying and increasing expertise by
participating in the collaborative projects of the future.