Go directly to
      Press Release
      July 17, 2019

      Inauguration of the new fuel cell laboratory together with TU Chemnitz

      • As part of the strategic partnership with Chemnitz Technical University, the Division Powertrain celebrates the inauguration of the newly established fuel cell laboratory
      • Facility will further boost production capacity for low-emission combustion technologies and new energy vehicles
      • Electric drives with fuel cells are expected to be part of the future mobility mix, especially for larger vehicles and long-range commercial vehicles 

      Regensburg, Chemnitz, 17 July 2019. Technology company Continental AG is expanding its fuel cell technology sector. In strategic cooperation with the Chemnitz University of Technology Professorship of Advanced Powertrains (ALF), the newly established Fuel Cell Laboratory for Fuel Cell Technology was dedicated on 17 July. Taking part in the dedication were Martin Dulig, Saxon State Minister for Economy Affairs, Labor and Transport (SMWA) and Deputy Premier of the Free State of Saxony, Stephan Rebhan, Head of Powertrain Technology and Innovation at Continental AG, Prof. Dr. Gerd Strohmeier, President of Chemnitz University of Technology, Prof. Dr. Thomas Unwerth, Chair of the Professorship ALF at Chemnitz University of Technology, and Miko Runkel, Mayor of the City of Chemnitz. With the installation of a large hydrogen tank (H2 Tank) in February 2019 at a laboratory belonging to the Professorship ALF, a central requirement for the expansion to more extensive measuring capabilities was put into place. The Professorship ALF, headed by Prof. Dr. Thomas von Unwerth, has an excellent reputation in the field of research and development of fuel cells, due in large part to Unwerth‘s expertise. By working together with Continental AG as the largest industrial partner in the „HZwo – Antrieb für Sachsen“ Cluster of Innovation, the new Fuel Cell Materials Laboratory on the Chemnitz University of Technology campus is now one of the most modern H2 laboratories in Germany.

       “Hydrogen-based fuel cells have the potential to become an important part of the future of mobility. Therefore, we are intensifying our research and development efforts in this field,“ says Stephan Rebhan, Head of Technology and Innovation at Continental AG‘s Powertrain Division. “With Chemnitz University of Technology, we have gained an outstanding partner for the testing of materials, components and entire fuel cell systems. This continues a long series of successful collaborations with technical universities, and we are proud of this long tradition at Continental“, continues Rebhan.

      High-performance testing with unparalleled characteristics

      “The special technical equipment at the laboratory is unparalleled in the European university landscape“, says Prof. Dr. Thomas von Unwerth. “The heart of the new system is a high-performance test bench that accommodates permanent testing of powertrain performance up to 150 kilowatts. In the future, the test bench can also be converted up to 300kW. This lays the foundation for the development of next-generation fuel cells and fuel cell systems at Chemnitz University of Technology.“ Geared towards a networking-based outlook, third-party companies can also use the laboratory.

      “It is clear that Chemnitz University of Technology takes on critical, future-oriented questions dealing with the economy and society as a whole. Undoubtedly, this includes the question of an economically and ecologically sensible alternative to the internal combustion engine. The fact that Chemnitz University of Technology is a leader in the field of hydrogen fuel cell technology is quite evident, as shown by the commissioning of this test bench, something unparalleled in the university sector throughout Europe“, explains Prof. Dr. Gerd Strohmeier, President of Chemnitz University of Technology.

      Electric drivetrains with fuel cells are expected to be an important option, especially for larger vehicles and long-range commercial vehicles. In order to test the performance of the fuel cell under different conditions, the new test bench is able to simulate changing environmental conditions and workloads, something that is essential for assessing the performance of a hydrogen fuel cell. The tests are carried out at different temperatures, pressure conditions and humidities, and additionally under simulation of different load requirements, such as weight or mountainous terrain. Initial measurement tasks having to do with research projects involving innovative materials for fuel cells are already underway, and are creating the basis for mass production of particularly efficient and economical components and elements.

      As a representative of state government, State Minister Dulig agrees that it is of primary strategic interest to the region to play an active role in shaping the change towards electrification of mobility, thereby ensuring a continuation of its success. In doing so, he emphasizes the importance of powertrain technology, particularly in Saxony, in order to ensure competitive, innovative employment in the medium-sized business sector.

      Creating the basis for application and mass production

      Powertrain fuel cells are still struggling to deal with high costs. Therefore, one of the first two Continental projects in the fuel cell laboratory is dedicated to the development of new so-called “bipolar plates“. These metallic plates are a central component of the fuel cell stack. They disperse gases and dissipate the current generated by their reaction. “The goal of the project is the preparation of a large-scale production of new bipolar plates with a higher energy density, which allows for smaller dimensions and overall makes more economical systems a possibility“, explains Rebhan. In addition, controllers and control algorithms for the efficient operation of fuel cells will be developed during the course of a second project.

      Thomas von Unwerth sees the cooperation as a win-win for both sides: “Continental, as the largest industrial partner in the “HZwo” Cluster of Innovation network, brings extensive knowledge of vehicle utilization, control technology and components for fuel cells. Combined with our expertise, this makes for an ideal foundation for the development of efficient fuel cell solutions and the development of further economic industrialization.“

      Available documents

      Cookie Policy

      We use cookies to provide you with the best experience on our website. Click on "Accept all" to allow all cookies or "Change cookie settings" to decide individually.

      Note: If you consent to the use of performance cookies, you also consent to the transfer of your personal data to insecure third countries (e.g. to the USA). These insecure third countries do not provide a level of data protection comparable to EU standards. In the case of certain third party providers, such as Google and Mouseflow, no other guarantees are offered to compensate for this deficit. There is therefore a risk that the transmission of your personal data may result in state authorities accessing your personal data without you having effective legal protection options.

      For more information on performance technologies and the transfer of data to third countries, please refer to the privacy policy.

      By clicking the "Accept all" button, you explicitly consent to this. Consent can be revoked at any time by changing the cookie settings. The further processing of data already collected before revocation by the third-party provider cannot be excluded.

      A cookie is a small data file that is stored on your device. We use cookies to provide basic and convenience functionalities, measure website performance and analyze user behavior on the website. 

      Required cookies are always activated because they are indispensable for the operation of the website and to store your cookie consent. Functional and performance cookies are optional. All optional cookies are deactivated by default.

      You can change your cookie settings at any time by visiting our Cookie Policy or by clearing the cache in your browser. 

      Show more Show less
      Required cookies Required

      These cookies are required to provide you with key functions.

      Functional cookies

      These cookies are used to provide certain functionalities to you.

      Performance cookies

      These cookies are used to measure website performance and user behavior. All collected data are analyzed anonymously.