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cellcentric Begins Pilot Production of Fuel Cell Systems

cellcentric

cellcentric has launched pilot production of fuel cell systems at the Esslingen-Pliensauvorstadt site, marking a significant step

cellcentric has launched pilot production of fuel cell systems at the Esslingen-Pliensauvorstadt site, marking a significant step towards large-scale production. By the decade’s end, this facility will develop fuel cell systems for long-distance trucks, a key technology aimed at advancing sustainable mobility in heavy-duty and freight transport.

The aim of cellcentric is to develop, build and sell drive solutions in large series in Baden-Württemberg and worldwide that achieve the best possible total cost of ownership (TCO) in the highly competitive transport industry. In addition, cellcentric plans to cover the entire ecosystem surrounding fuel cell systems – from the product to maintenance to recycling at the end of the life cycle.

“Fuel cell technology is now a tried and tested solution for emission-free long-distance heavy-duty transport. However, there has not been any industrial-scale production to date. But this is precisely the key to achieving economies of scale, optimizing the total cost of ownership (TCO) and giving cellcentric a solid competitive position in the long term,” says Lars Johansson, Chief Commercial Officer and Chief Organizational Officer of cellcentric GmbH & Co. KG. “Today’s opening of our pilot production facility in Esslingen does not represent the end point of large-scale production, but rather forms the blueprint for the next step. At the Weilheim site, we will continue to consistently drive forward the industrialization and scaling of the production of fuel cell systems in the coming years,” explains Johansson.

At the opening ceremony on June 20, Lars Johansson and the cellcentric management team welcomed numerous guests from politics, business, associations and science & research, including the Baden-Württemberg ministers Dr. Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut (Economy, Labor and Housing) and Thekla Walker (Environment, Climate and Energy) as well as Heinz Eininger, District Administrator of Esslingen, and the mayors of Esslingen, Matthias Klopfer, and Weilheim, Johannes Zuefle.

Fuel cell systems for sustainable heavy-duty transport on the way to mass production

With its modern production facility in Esslingen-Pliensauvorstadt, cellcentric has the ideal location for the production of fuel cell systems. The more than 100 employees have around 10,300 square meters of production and logistics space as well as office and administration space at their disposal. The property, in the immediate vicinity of the B10 federal highway, is part of the Greenfield Esslingen business park.

In the next step, cellcentric will establish the necessary manufacturing processes at the site in order to prepare for the large-scale start of fuel cell systems with a high level of vertical integration. Thanks to complete production under one roof and a high degree of automation, the company also expects excellent added value, which will ensure stable economic development in the long term.

Fuel cell ecosystem beyond the lifetime of the products

In addition to the development and production of fuel cell systems for heavy-duty transport, cellcentric will establish a complete ecosystem around the highly complex assemblies. This means that customers not only get products of unique quality, but also seamless integration of the drive solutions into vehicle management. In addition, a comprehensive service package including all maintenance and repair services will ensure that maintenance-related downtime and unforeseen failures are reduced to a minimum for users – an important criterion in the transport industry for the best possible utilization of vehicles.

Finally, in line with its firmly anchored commitment to the highest possible sustainability in all business processes, cellcentric plans to return the fuel cell systems in an environmentally friendly manner at the end of their life cycle. In the spirit of the circular economy, the company’s circular economy concept aims to use resources, materials and products as carefully as possible in four steps:

  • Reuse – use of disused fuel cell systems for other applications with lighter requirements.
  • Refurbishment – ​​reconditioning for a longer service life.
  • Remanufacturing – complete overhaul to make the system as good as new.
  • Recycling – recovery of raw materials and their reuse in fuel cell production.

Sustainable drive solutions for heavy-duty transport worldwide

In May 2024, cellcentric presented its more compact, more powerful and more efficient NextGen fuel cell system for long-distance trucks powered sustainably with hydrogen for the first time at the ACT Expo in Las Vegas, USA. In addition, with the BZA150 fuel cell generation, the company has a pilot product that is close to series production and already suitable for practical use and has been successfully tested in demanding field tests by the truck manufacturers Daimler Truck and Volvo Group. The start of series production of the NextGen fuel cell system is planned for the end of the decade.

SOURCE: Daimler Trucks

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