28 February 2022 Entrepreneur Highlights: Redesigning fuel cell technology As the world accelerates its decarbonisation pathway, hydrogen fuel cells are destined to play a major role in tackling emissions from heavy duty mobility in areas ranging from trucking to maritime and even to aviation. However it faces the challenges of cost of complexity. Established in 2017, EH Group had a vision to challenge these two main commercial hurdles. It’s founder, Dr Mardit Matian, had been deeply focused on these issues over his 20-year career in fuel cells but felt that despite gradual improvements in the underlying technology, a radical new approach was required. He brought on Christopher Brandon, who had previously co-founded a successful macro hedge fund, with 20 years’ experience of managing risk for institutional clients. Four years later of intense R&D, and with a highly experienced engineering team established, EH Group’s innovative fuel cell product emerged. The result: Patented fuel cell stack technology, based on a wholly redesigned microstructure, which delivers market leading power density; A transformative assembly and production processwhich enables a rapid scale-up and aims to significantly reduce the price of stacks; A simplified fuel cell system architecture, with lowerparasitic loads, thereby cheaper and more efficient. Scalability Early on, the company realised that scalability was a key feature which needed to be addressed, on two fronts. Firstly, design scalability was inherent to our engineering process. As such, EH Group’s fuel cell stacks can operate across three platforms from sub 1kW to 100kW, with the same underlying performance characteristics. A fourth platform, which delivers up to 250kW on a single stack, aimed at larger power applications, has been recently added. But scalability in production was also at the heart of our development process. EH Group’s fuel cell technology was ‘designed for manufacturing’, and together with various Swiss industrial partners, we have developed ultra-fast fully-automated stack production machinery. It targets the assembly of a large stack within minutes, and will enable us to deliver large scale annual production targets of well over 1GW. Cost Reduction It is widely acknowledged that to realise the widespread deployment of fuel cells, costs have to be driven down. Our automated stack production process will enable us to drive swiftly down the cost curve even at moderate volumes, and ultimately towards the previously elusive DOE target prices. “This is at the core of EH Group’s vision, not only for the fuel cell stacks themselves but also at the system level”, says Mardit Matian. It requires a more compact system, with a simplified component architecture and higher efficiencies. Production Facilities EH Group’s centre of its activities are in new state-of -the art laboratory and production facilities in Nyon, Switzerland. It offers nearly 500m2 of curated lab space, with dedicated hydrogen supply, multiple fuel cell testing stations of up to 250kW, rapid prototyping, and production capabilities. Within a high-tech hub of aerospace and specialised engineering companies, it is ideally located 30 mins from Geneva Airport and world class academic institutions such as EPFL. EH Group has earmarked a further 4000m2 of dedicated production space onsite for further expansion into 2022-3. Objectives With the nascent hydrogen ecosystem accelerating rapidly, EH Group aims to become a leading player in the hydrogen fuel cell market. “Our product will directly address the challenge of unsustainable or pollutive technologies that power our economy, but that are unfit for purpose in our times” says co-founder Christopher Brandon. EH Group’s high power density fuel cell solution is particularly well suited for mobility applications. Commercial vehicles and public transport both on land, water and airthat require extended use, range or heavy payloads are primed for disruptive decarbonization that cannot be met by batteries alone (trucks, buses, trains, mining, maritime, aviation, etc.). These are just some of the markets that are poised to benefit from the widescale implementation of EH Group’sinnovative technology.