Helping fuel cells make their breakthrough

Hydrogen is considered a promising alternative for a future without fossil fuels. In order to further develop fuel cells and prepare them for market entry, Empa is strengthening its cooperation with H2 Energy Holding AG and the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI).

Hydrogen plays an important role in the decarbonisation of the energy system and for the reduction of fossil fuels consumption. It allows to use temporary surplus electricity for its production and thus replace fossil fuels. In addition to vehicles, ships, non-electrified railways, off-grid and emergency power supplies are particularly suitable for the use of hydrogen. For such applications, hydrogen is a zero-emission technology that is economical in many cases.

In the course of its application-oriented research, Empa was able to demonstrate that today’s electrolyser, storage and fuel cell systems can be operated safely and reliably – this was possible with the development of a hydrogen-powered road sweeper and the “move” demonstration platform. With these pilot applications, Empa made a significant contribution to the commercialization of hydrogen-electric drives and at the same time acquired a high level of technological knowledge for the adaptation and operation of fuel cell systems.

The Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) has also been researching fuel cells for many years. In cooperation with Swiss SMEs and with worldwide automobile manufacturers as well as suppliers, it conducts research in the field of component development and diagnostics. On its ESI platform (ESI stands for “Energy System Integration”), PSI will now also provide its partners with a test infrastructure for large fuel cell systems and their integration into higher-level energy systems.

The production of renewable hydrogen and its supply to the first public hydrogen refueling station are one of H2 Energy’s core activities. H2 Energy also carries out projects for the application of hydrogen in non-automotive applications. H2 Energy has acquired extensive market knowledge and detailed application knowledge.

The objective of the now agreed partnership is to combine and network Empa, PSI and H2 Energy’s infrastructure as well as the technology, market and application knowledge to create scientific and commercial added value. The aim is to develop and manufacture fuel cell systems for non-automotive applications. The PPP is scheduled to start work in the third quarter of 2018.


Christian Bach, Empa, Tel. +41 58 765 4137,
Dr. Felix Büchi, PSI, Tel. +41 56 310 2411,
Thomas Walter, H2 Energy AG, Tel. +41 79 236 66 61,