Jürgen Emig is sure this is about to change. “The market has never been readier than it is now,” says the Freudenberg Sealing Technologies (FST) project manager. “We are working on renewable energy, electromobility, and Germany’s energy transition in general, this is the future.” Fuel cells - more precisely a stack of many fuel cells - can be used to power electric vehicles and significantly expand their range. “We can also use the technology to solve the problem of what to do with excess electricity produced in solar power plants and wind farms,” says Emig. If renewable sources are used to produce hydrogen, this could then power fuel cell vehicles and - completing the circle - this hydrogen can then be converted back into energy.
A challenge for the success of fuel cells is their price. They are five to six times more expensive than combustion engines. “We have several areas where we need to work and make sure that they become more affordable,” explains Jürgen Emig. So, several Freudenberg sites in Germany and the US are working hard on product and process optimization.
As a full-range supplier of important seals needed in every individual cell and to guarantee a safe media transfer and prevent any leaks, FST has an innovation in just this area - with support from other Freudenberg Business Groups and departments, such as Freudenberg Performance Materials (FPM) and Freudenberg Technology Innovation (FTI): “We were able to offer a product that is truly competitive thanks to optimized materials and processes,” says Jürgen Emig.