European project Mobypost

Carbon neutral vehicle with novel technologies based on a solar hydrogen fuel cell system

MobyPost was a project co-financed by the European Commission's Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH-JU). It aimed at implementing hydrogen and fuel cell technology at a middle level based on an environmental friendly strategy. MobyPost entailed significant demonstration activities which proofed the viability of the technologies and, thus provided the basis for its commercialisation in niches market such as material handling vehicles.

The development of two hydrogen production and refuelling stations was a core component of the project. These have been installed in the French region Franche-Comté, where solar panels were installed on the roof of two different industrial buildings. Hydrogen is thus produced through electrolysis and stored in low pressure tanks, where it is available for the vehicles in order to power an embedded fuel cell, which produce electrons in a sufficient quantity through an electro-chemical process.

Moreover, the project developed and tested under real conditions two fleets of five vehicles for postal mail delivery. Consortium partner La Poste run the field tests in close coordination with other project partners involved. The advantage of this solar-to-wheel solution mainly consists in the fact that required energy to run the vehicles will be produced autonomously and following environmentally friendly principles.

In contrast to most of the development strategies that existed so far, MobyPost implemented low pressure solutions for hydrogen storage, fact that considerably lowers the risks implied in hydrogen storage. The development of vehicles and two refuelling stations were realised considering all certifications processes required in order to implement experimentation under real operating conditions and taking into account very closely public acceptance towards solutions that have been implemented. This approach served to improve the public perceptions on usage of hydrogen technologies, as people sometimes are sceptical regarding the safety of systems implementing hydrogen and pressured inflammable gas.

MobyPost aimed at transferring the concepts developed along the project to related business areas or interested industrial branches.

The novel technology was developed under the auspices of Institut Pierre Vernier in Besançon. Other partners were La Poste, small and medium sized enterprises (SME) and research institutions specialised in the fields of vehicle construction, low-pressure hydrogen storage and electricity production from photovoltaic solar cells.

Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum was responsible for the project’s administrative and financial management. Counting on its vast experience on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum was responsible for IPR related issues of MobyPost in order to ensure a good exploitation of the project’s results.

Project duration: 02/2011 - 01/2015
Countries: France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland

Portrait Anthony Salingre
Dr. Anthony Salingre
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