The Centre for Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Research
, part of the School of Chemical Engineering at The University of Birmingham is a leading centre of research in fuel cell development. In recent years it has gained particular expertise in fuel cells for small passenger vehicles; an area where improving reliability and practicality of Proton Exchange Membrane fuel cells is still a major challenge.
The university participated in an Enterprise Europe Network brokerage event devoted to fuel cells and hydrogen technology. The event, was a forum of carefully scheduled one-to-one meetings, was designed specifically to promote commercial and technological collaboration in this increasingly dynamic niche sector.
Based on shared interests and strategy, a meeting was scheduled between Birmingham and a German SME with expertise in energy-related project development and consultancy, Planet (GbR)
. The initial meeting hosted by EEN led to the development of a project proposal - called the SWARM project - which was successfully approved.
The brokerage event was a valuable experience that helped us find the right partners for a successful project bid.
Professor Robert Steinberger-Wilckens from the Centre for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Research at the University.
The SWARM project
is worth over €17 million and ambitiously links three regions of Europe with fuel stations and fleets of fuel cell vehicles. The project demonstrates application of hydrogen fuel cells for passenger transport and has been designed to help researchers develop the technology better for practical usage.
The SWARM project will introduce a demonstration fleet of small passenger vehicles in three European regions (UK Midlands, Brussels/Wallonia, NorthWest German Weser-Ems), offering an extension of the ‘European hydrogen highway’ and preparing the way for the commercialisation of fuel cell vehicles over the coming years.