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Rheinmetall bags €7.7 mn German subsidies for hydrogen, electrification projects

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German automotive and arms supplier Rheinmetall has confirmed funding from the federal government of Germany and the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) worth about €7.7 million for the development of products and solutions in the areas of hydrogen and electrification. 

The three projects at Neuss, Berlin and Hartha selected for the state funding are intended to increase the competitiveness of the future technology hydrogen and promote sustainable mobility, the company claims. 

The 'H2.MODUS' funding project is being funded by the Rheinisches Revier and the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection (BMWK), as part of the Charging Infrastructure for Electric Vehicles (LIS) funding guideline with a total of €5.7 million for a duration of four years. 

The funding scheme is also part of the German Recovery and Resilience Plan (DARP) via the European Recovery and Resilience Facilities (ARF) in the 'NextGenerationEU' program. 

At the Neuss site, Rheinmetall is working together with project partners FEV and the Chair of Thermodynamics of Mobile Energy Conversion Systems (tme) at RWTH Aachen University on simplifying the construction of fuel cell systems to bring down manufacturing costs and achieve competitiveness advantages viz-a-viz other technologies. 

For this purpose, the functions of several individual components are bundled and brought together in modular units and subsystems, according to Rheinmetall. 

As part of the program "Research, development and innovation measures as part of the National Innovation Program Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology Phase II", the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV) is supporting Rheinmetall at its Berlin location with around €1 million. 

At Berlin facility, new solutions are being developed to further reduce CO2 emissions in the mobility sector, to improve fuel cell systems in terms of service life and to reduce costs.

In this regard, as part of the M-KaV joint project, a functionally integrated multi-way valve is being developed for the cathode path of fuel cell systems. It combines the functionality of multiple valves in one product. The multi-way cathode valve thus reduces the number of valves that previously had to be installed in the fuel cell. 

As part of the project, the project partner FuelzellenTechnik GmbH (ZBT) from Duisburg is dealing with the simulation of the valve, endurance tests of the valve in the real system and studies of material resistance, which is essential when dealing with the corrosion-promoting, highly volatile hydrogen. 

At Hartha, Rheinmetall will receive about €1 million from BMWK for its participation in the 'HZwoBoost' funding project. The aim of the project is to develop new production processes for the industrialization of a hydrogen recirculation blower (HRB) for low and high voltage. 

The HRB enables the controlled recirculation of hydrogen in the fuel cell, thereby ensuring both higher efficiency and an extended service life of the fuel cell. Rheinmetall is also working on integrating the new process into the production process. Chemnitz University of Technology has the task of redesigning the end-of-line test in order to shorten production time. The project is expected to run until the end of 2026.

The company considers these three projects as important building blocks for further expanding its market position and contributing to a sustainable hydrogen economy. As part of its hydrogen strategy, Rheinmetall claims to develop innovative solutions and products for industry that enable the efficient and reliable use of fuel cell systems, electrolyzers and tank systems. 

The group is already one of the leading providers of products for fuel cell systems used in various applications. 

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