Fraunhofer ILT inaugurates Hydrogen Lab at AKL’22

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Bipolar plate functionalised with USP laser microstructuring (Credit: Fraunhofer ILT)

Fraunhofer ILT has opened a 300 square metre research laboratory dedicated to realising the cost-optimised series production of hydrogen fuel cells, helping unlock their technological/economic potential and accelerating their structured rollout in industry.

The ‘Hydrogen Lab’ was officially opened in Aachen on 5 May at the International Laser Technology Congress AKL'22. 

It offers a wide range of laser-based experimental facilities that cover the manufacturing steps for producing metallic bipolar plates used in hydrogen fuel cells.

This includes technology for welding and cutting, as well as for structuring and coating, which can be used to improve the efficiency and functionality of bipolar plates. Test rigs will also be available to evaluate laser-manufactured components in terms of both hydrogen tightness and efficiency.

Having such a space will encourage seamless interdisciplinary collaboration, giving public projects and industry collaborations a space to achieve synergy at the highest scientific and technological level. 

‘In Germany, of course, there are other well-known research institutes working on hydrogen, and we are in constant exchange with them,’ said Dr Alexander Olowinsky, head of the Micro Joining Group at Fraunhofer ILT.  ‘We could also work with component manufacturers for fuel cells as well as with partners who want to produce manufacturing technology such as scanners or tools for process monitoring, or with those who want to test beam sources.’

Innovation Award for Laser Technology presented at AKL’22

The 2022 Innovation Award for Laser Technology was won by Primes at AKL’22 for its ScanFieldMonitor, a laser scanner characterisation system. The development of the system, carried out by Primes’ head of R&D Stefan Wolf and his team, was prompted by many new applications in the field of additive manufacturing and e-mobility. 

The ScanFieldMonitor measures laser beam parameters by scanning vectors, with the resulting scanner characterisation providing all geometric and laser-related parameters relevant to remote applications. In the same operation, beam position and movement of the laser scanner unit in the scan area are determined. The quality of the ScanFieldMonitor's measurement principle becomes apparent whenever the behaviour of a dynamic laser plays a role.

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