Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : Manufacturing technologies for PEMFC stack components and stacks

Topic identifier: FCH-01-1-2016
Publication date: 19 January 2016

Types of action: FCH2-RIA Research and Innovation action
Opening date:
19 January 2016
Deadline: 03 May 2016 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Societal Challenges
Work Programme Year: H2020-JTI-FCH-2016
Work Programme Part: FCH2 Work Plan 2016
Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

Even though the development of PEMFC components and stacks for transport applications have reached a mature level in which the operational performance specifications are met, certain aspects like manufacturability, production efficiency and production cost have a large improvement potential since they have not been the focus up to this point. Currently, stack production is based on a number of well-established and time efficient processes, while others are still inefficient with respect to cycle time, cost, yield and reliability. To enable a cost efficient production and thereby marketable products in the transport sector it is of paramount importance to address manufacturing and production issues.

Moreover, there are several production steps that haven’t been thoroughly investigated regarding cost reduction potential in a serial production and integration capability in automated lines.


This topic is intended to include process development of critical steps of PEMFC stack manufacturing, including the production of component engineering samples. The topic is not intended to cover basic research on new materials nor fundamentally new cell and stack designs. Also demonstrations of full pilot lines are excluded. The fuel cell system manufacturing is explicitly excluded from this topic since it is addressed in topic FCH-01.3-2016. The overall process chain must be considered for the sake of the analysis of cycle time, covering the complete value chain including the development of inline non-destructive control tools in order to reduce the amount of defective components. Potential project proposals should have the main focus on the development of manufacturing technologies specific for PEMFC components and stacks for transport applications. The successful consortium must show evidence that critical bottlenecks specifically related to the stack and/or stack component manufacturing, including e.g. end-of-line testing and stack conditioning are addressed. The minimum TRL for stacks and stack components is 5.

Projects should achieve at least a manufacturing readiness level, MRL of 7* (Capability to produce systems, subsystems or components in a production representative environment) at project end, starting from a MRL of 5 (Capability to produce prototype components in a production relevant environment).

To demonstrate advancement with respect to the state-of-the-art on four critical parameters: cycle time, manufacturing cost, yield and reliability of the production process, project proposals are expected to cover the following top-level objectives:

  • Development of manufacturing technologies, beyond state of the art, specific to the PEMFC stack production processes, equipment and tools
  • Transpose established automotive industry best practices on production and quality to the manufacturing of PEMFC stack and stack components, such as (but not limited to) lean manufacturing, Kaisen, six sigma
  • Identification of bottleneck processes in stack or stack component production lines
  • Identification and revision of critical sub-processes (e.g. low yield/high cost)
  • Improvement, modification, adaptation or even new development of at least two critical stack or stack component production steps
  • Integration of inline non-destructive quality control tools
  • Adaptation of stack and/or stack components design to optimize manufacturability
  • Development of QA strategies relevant for the transport sector compatible with ISO/TS 16949

Duplication with already funded project VOLUMETRIQ (topic FCH-01.2-2014) should be avoided. Consortium should include at least one transport OEM and one or more stack component supplier(s), stack developer and manufacturer with existing cell/stack design and a partner specialized in manufacturing automation and production systems.

The FCH 2 JU considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of EUR 3 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected duration: 3-4 years

A maximum of 2 projects may be funded under this topic.

*For more information on the use of MRL in this topic, please see Section 3.3 Call management rules

Expected Impact:

Expected impacts of the project include:

  • Demonstrate that with the improvements in the production process and eventually some product changes, the stack production can be increased from few 100 stacks/year up to 50,000 stacks/year in 2020, for a total power range about 5 MW per year with a single line.
  • Produce engineering samples of the improved design for manufacturability of at least two relevant stack components, including their product validation.
  • Validate in hardware, with cycle time measurement, cost analysis and statistical evaluation, the performance of the improved stack production steps.
  • Validate the performance of the full stack (or stack component) production in an existing production line upgraded with the optimized process steps.
  • Achieve components yields > 95% for the improved stack component production steps
  • Feedback and structure the project results into future stack and stack component development.
Topic conditions and documents

Please read carefully all provisions below before the preparation of your application.

  1. List of countries and applicable rules for funding: described in part A of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme.
    Note also that a number of non-EU/non-Associated Countries that are not automatically eligible for funding have made specific provisions for making funding available for their participants in Horizon 2020 projects (follow the links to China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Taiwan).

  2. Eligibility and admissibility conditions: described in part B and C of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme. The following exceptions apply (see 'chapter 3.3. Call management rules' from the AWP2016 and specific topic description):  'For some, well-identified topics it is therefore duly justified to require as an additional condition for participation that at least one constituent entity of the Industry Grouping or Research Grouping is among the participants in the consortium.'

    Proposal page limits and layout: Please refer to Part B of the FCH2 JU proposal template.
  3. Evaluation

    3.1  Evaluation criteria and procedure, scoring and threshold: described in part H of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme. As part of the Panel Review, hearings will be organised for Innovation Actions (IA) proposals. 

    3.2 Submission and evaluation process: Guide to the submission and evaluation process

  4. Indicative timetable for evaluation and grant agreement:

    Information on the outcome of evaluation: maximum 5 months from the deadline for submission.
    Signature of grant agreements: maximum 8 months from the deadline for submission.
  5. Provisions, proposal templates and evaluation forms for the type(s) of action(s) under this topic:

    FCH2 JU Research and Innovation Action (FCH2-RIA):

    Specific provisions and funding rates
    Proposal templates are available after entering the submission tool below.
    Standard evaluation form
    FCH2 JU Model Grant Agreement
    Annotated Grant Agreement

  6. Additional provisions:

    Horizon 2020 budget flexibility
    Classified information
    Technology readiness levels (TRL) – where a topic description refers to TRL, these definitions apply.
    Financial support to Third Parties – where a topic description foresees financial support to Third Parties, these provisions apply.

  7. Open access must be granted to all scientific publications resulting from Horizon 2020 actions, and proposals must refer to measures envisaged. Where relevant, proposals should also provide information on how the participants will manage the research data generated and/or collected during the project, such as details on what types of data the project will generate, whether and how this data will be exploited or made accessible for verification and re-use, and how it will be curated and preserved.

  8. Additional documents:

    FCH2 JU 2016 Work Plan
    FCH2 JU Multi Annual Work Plan
    FCH2 JU – Regulation of establishment
    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: General Annexes
    Legal basis: Horizon 2020 - Regulation of Establishment
    Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation
Additional documents

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