Hydrogen strategy: Rheinmetall wins multi-million euro orders for fuel cell components

The Düsseldorf-based technology group Rheinmetall has received major orders in the double-digit million euro range for the supply of fuel cell components. Leading fuel cell manufacturers have selected the company to supply hydrogen recirculation blowers and cathode valves.

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The package of orders is another success in the context of the hydrogen strategy of the group, which intends to continue to consistently expand its position in the field of alternative drives. As a proven technology partner, Rheinmetall has been making contributions to the optimization of hydrogen use for many years and thus also in the sense of the desired energy transition - both for vehicles in various categories and for stationary systems. The order for recirculation blowers in the high-voltage version has a total value in the multi-million euro range, with series production starting in 2024.

Other orders from two fuel cell manufacturers for more than 300,000 cathode valves total a double-digit million euro amount over the entire period. Based on the already delivered and successfully verified samples of the flap systems, the production lines at the Rheinmetall production site in Berlin will be adapted for higher series volumes from 2023. On the one hand, the orders show the great market potential of hydrogen components and, at the same time, Rheinmetall's ability to develop future-oriented solutions in close cooperation with customers.

As part of the national German hydrogen initiative, Rheinmetall AG is the industrial partner of the new innovation and technology center for hydrogen technology in Duisburg. In its Sensors and Actuators division, Rheinmetall develops innovative solutions to support industry with high-quality hydrogen products and to enable efficient and reliable use of fuel cells.

One of these components is the ordered hydrogen recirculation fan, the development of which was supported as part of a project funded by the Federal Ministry of Transport and the National Organization for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NOW). Rheinmetall's hydrogen recirculation fan is used on the anode side of the fuel cell system to increase the usability of hydrogen as a fuel. It enables a controlled return flow of unused hydrogen to the stack, which leads to increased efficiency and thus a longer range. In addition, the blower ensures a longer service life through a more homogeneous distribution of the hydrogen in the cell.

The flap systems (cathode valves) ordered from Rheinmetall regulate the fresh and exhaust air mass flows and on the cathode side isolate the fuel cell stacks at the inlet and outlet points from the environment. The very low leakage, which is achieved through a special design, has been successfully demonstrated. Operating times of up to 12,000 hours can be achieved and, with a new generation currently under development, the service life should be increased to at least 30,000 hours for commercial vehicles, maritime and stationary applications. Rheinmetall had already received orders from well-known OEMs for these components in the past. The company is currently in detailed talks with other customers for mobile and stationary applications of fuel cell technology, which will expand the business potential and promise further nominations.