AVL opens hydrogen and fuel cell test center

By Becky Schultz21 September 2022

Mobility technology company AVL has announced the official opening of the AVL Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Test Center at its headquarters in Graz, Austria. The new center has a maximum capacity of 20 test beds, making it one of the largest test sites for fuel cells and electrolysis systems in the world, the company said.

AVL covers the development of a range of vehicle applications, the fields of marine, rail and aviation, stationary power generation and hydrogen production. The test center will enable developments in these areas to be tested and characterized according to functional and safety criteria.

The 600 sq. meter test site provides space for up to 20 test beds, has a total capacity of up to 2 MW and includes a large infrastructure to supply the center with hydrogen. It also includes a separate control and service area to manage the fully automated, remotely controllable test beds.

The heart of the fuel cell system test beds is the AVL PUMA 2 automation system. All development-related test procedures are available, from performance characterization, model validation to durability tests, design verification and controls optimizations using AVL CAMEO.

The test center provides the ability to test polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell systems with an output of up to 400 kW, which AVL said corresponds to the scale of high-tech hydrogen concepts that will be used in heavy-duty transport in the future. In addition, tests of PEM stacks up to 200 kW as well as system, subsystem and component tests for solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC), solid oxide electrolysis cells (SOEC) and PEM electrolysis can be performed. Test beds with a capacity of up to 1 MW will be available in future for stationary and electrolysis applications.

In addition to the center in Graz, AVL runs a newly built fuel cell test center in Vancouver, Canada, with another fuel cell test center under construction in Kecskemet, Hungary.

“The demand for electrical energy is growing incessantly. In parallel, we are facing the challenge of reducing CO2 emissions. For this purpose, hydrogen and fuel cell technologies offer promising solutions, which are developed at AVL and can be brought to market readiness thanks to our test capabilities,” said Prof. Helmut List, chairman and CEO of AVL. “We already established AVL as a leading pioneer for this future technology several years ago. Now, we are further expanding our position with our new test center.”

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