After successfully designing the prototype of a cost-effective, series-production-ready bipolar plate (the core element of a fuel cell), the "HZwo" InnoTeam tapped into HANNOVER MESSE 2019 as the ideal forum for showcasing its bipolar plates as marketable hydrogen cell systems for mobility applications, such as buses or passenger vehicles. The team’s aim was not merely to show off its bipolar plate to a broad global audience as a key feature of specific drive solutions for eco-friendly mobility, but also to present it as a case in point for developing a competence center dedicated to fuel cells and hydrogen in the German state of Saxony.
"The 'HZwo' InnoTeam is a shining example of how our efforts to promote technology translate into reality," Martin Dulig, Saxony's Minister for Economics, Labor and Transportation, pointed out. "By encouraging the separate worlds of science and industry to share their expertise, we are making our small and medium-sized enterprises more competitive. Just recently, at the Forum for Fuel Cell Technology in Chemnitz, I was able to see for myself that 'HZwo' is developing specific drive solutions for eco-friendly mobility." Professor Thomas von Unwerth, who heads up the Department of Advanced Powertrains at TU Chemnitz as well as the "HZwo - drive for Saxony" innovation cluster, is also clear that Saxony plays an important role in Germany's automobile industry: "There has never been so much pressure to develop new and CO2-neutral drive technologies. As a hotspot for automobile production, Saxony still has the potential to establish itself as a pioneer on the markets for alternative vehicle drives, which are growing internationally at an ever-faster pace."
Besides TU Chemnitz and the Steinbeis Innovation Center, four local companies were also involved in the InnoTeam "HZwo" project, which since April 2016 has received 2.4 million euros in total through Saxony’s ESF technology funding program. Last year, the "HZwo" InnoTeam gave rise to the multidisciplinary innovation cluster "HZwo - drive for Saxony". As an initiative - which is run jointly by TU Chemnitz, the Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology (IWU), regional businesses and the Energy Saxony cluster - Saxony's "HZwo" network is set to continue. The objective is to develop an end-to-end value chain for fuel cell-powered vehicles and encourage society to embrace this advanced technology.