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Schaeffler makes hydrogen applications more cost-effective

27 October 2023

With its coating solution Enertect, Schaeffler has won the prestigious MATERIALICA Design + Technology Award 2023 in the category ‘Material’.

The Enertect system enables cost-optimised and even more sustainable production of metallic bipolar plates for hydrogen applications. 

The award was presented at eMove360° Europe 2023, the international trade fair for electric and autonomous mobility, in Munich. 

Commenting on its decision, the expert judging panel highlighted among other things the up to 99 percent lower carbon footprint of the Schaeffler coatings compared with other coatings available on the market. 

A total of eight companies and organisations were nominated as finalists in the categories ‘Material’, ‘Product’, ‘Surface & Technology’, ‘CO2 Efficiency’, and ‘Student’. This is the fifth MATERIALICA Design + Technology Award that Schaeffler has garnered since 2014.

Professor Dr.-Ing. Tim Hosenfeldt, Senior Vice President of Corporate Research and Innovation & Central Technology at Schaeffler, commented as follows: “We are absolutely delighted to have won the MATERIALICA Award once again. 

“Innovative coating solutions like Enertect play a key role in the sustainable mobility of the future, for example in the strategic future growth segment of hydrogen. 

“This award shows that through our intensive R&D activities in surface technology, we are playing an important role towards making hydrogen technology sustainable and viable for the future.” 

Enertect: cheaper and less CO2 throughout the entire product life cycle
The innovative, high-performance Enertect coating system is used in metallic bipolar plates with proton exchange membrane (PEM) for fuel cells and electrolysers.

The coating maintains a high electrical conductivity over the entire service life of the fuel cells and protects the base material from corrosion. This means that in combination with the coating, less expensive and easily processed steel can be used instead of titanium. 

The coating, which was developed in-house, is particularly thin and is free of precious metals

Thanks to its special nano-structured design, it is as robust and effective as a solution containing precious metals, but much more sustainable and less expensive. This allows the carbon footprint of the coating to be reduced by more than 90 percent, while the carbon footprint of the entire metallic bipolar plate can be cut by 20 percent. 

From the beginning of 2024, Schaeffler will start producing bipolar plates with the Enertect PC+ coating in Haguenau, France in the Joint Venture “Innoplate” that it established in partnership with Symbio. Schaeffler is also continuing to develop the product for additional applications.

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