Fuel Cell Demonstrator Vehicle, presented by MAHLE Powertrain and Bramble Energy
MAHLE Powertrain and Bramble Energy have jointly agreed to continue their collaboration to develop Bramble’s PCBFC™ hydrogen fuel cell technology. The companies launched the phase 1 demonstrator vehicle at the Cenex Low Carbon Vehicle show at Millbrook in the UK. Bramble Energy say its innovative PCBFC technology significantly reduces the manufacturing cost of hydrogen fuel cell powertrains.
“Hydrogen fuel cells offer an alternative to the heavy batteries and long recharge times that other electric vehicle technologies suffer from, and that makes them particularly relevant to the commercial vehicle sector as it looks to meet net zero CO2 emissions targets,” said Dr. Mike Bassett, MAHLE Powertrain’s Head of research & advanced engineering. “Our work with Bramble Energy has demonstrated that their innovative PCBFC™ technology represents a cost-effective route to the adoption of fuel cell propulsion for commercial vehicles. We’re delighted that visitors were able to see the results for themselves at the Cenex LCV show.”
Hydrogen fuel cells generate electricity using an electromechanical reaction rather than the combustion of a traditional engine. This not only eliminates harmful emissions but is silent in operation with no moving parts and produces only heat and water as by-products.
While conventional fuel cell stacks rely on stamped plates to hold the various layers, Bramble Energy’s approach leverages PCB manufacturing technology, which can be produced cheaply, in virtually any shape using flexible production techniques.
MAHLE Powertrain was chosen as the project’s integration partner for its decade-long experience in powertrain technology integration and its expertise in EV control systems and thermal management. In addition, its recent Memorandum of Understanding with Bramble strengthens the duo’s relationship ahead of the development of the phase 2 demonstrator.
The phase 1 results of the collaboration are based around a Renault Kangoo ZE delivery vehicle that sees a 5 kW Bramble Energy fuel cell integrated into the powertrain acting as a range extender. Future development will focus on creating a derivative with higher power output and increased overall efficiency.
“MAHLE Powertrain’s skills and expertise have enabled us to showcase the benefits of our PCBFC™ technology in a practical way,” said Dr. Tom Mason, Bramble Energy CEO and CTO. “The technical partnership between our two companies will help us accelerate our development and move towards small scale production.”
Bassett agreed: “Our collaboration has been a fascinating journey so far, and we look forward to working closely with Bramble Energy as the next phase of the project begins.”