In February, Nuvera announced the expansion of its hydrogen fuel cell engine testing capabilities with the commissioning of the Nuvera® Fuel Cell Engine Test Module (ETM) in Osio, Italy near our offices in Milan. This fully-equipped testing ground is unique in the industry and highlights our ongoing commitment to providing OEMs with the technology needed to build high-performance, zero-emission vehicles.
Our team dedicated significant time and resources to the multi-year effort to design and construct the automated ETM facility. Our aim is to advance the possibilities of hydrogen-powered vehicles as a solution to the zero-emission motive power needs of vehicle manufacturers and their fleet customers.
To explain its significance for our customers, we asked Giampaolo Sibilia, director of Nuvera EU operations, to give a behind-the-scenes look at what the project involved.
What was the motivation for building the ETM?
As Nuvera continues to grow and expand its product line, there is a critical need for expanded testing capabilities. The commissioning of the ETM was driven by the need to demonstrate that the reliability and durability of our fuel cell engines supports our customer needs and expectations for performance under their specific applications and duty cycles.
What value does the ETM provide for OEMs, integrators, and other customers?
The ETM offers customers the capabilities required to successfully deploy fuel cell systems in real-world commercial applications. By being tested at the facility before integrating a fuel cell engine into a vehicle, OEMs and integrators can greatly reduce time to market and reduce the duration of costly field testing.
What was entailed in its design, development, and construction?
The design, development, and construction of ETM was a multi-faceted development project. After obtaining and considering input from both internal and external stakeholders, applications and engineering teams from Nuvera Italy established specifications for the required functions and performance of the ETM, designed the facility, and then sourced the components and created the construction plan. It then proceeded to lay the groundwork for the infrastructure and finally the commissioning of the site.
What makes the ETM facility unique?
The ETM is designed to provide fully automatic, configurable, and high-capacity testing capabilities at scale. This allows Nuvera to meet the needs of a wide range of applications and take a customized approach to testing customer-specific load cycles. This will be a major benefit for our customers and for the advancement of the fuel cell industry.
What are the range of applications being tested and why is the ability to test engines at customer-specific load cycles so important?
The ETM is designed to test medium- and heavy-duty applications including trucks, buses, coaches, and heavy machinery. To demonstrate that Nuvera’s power systems meet the requirements of this range of commercial motive applications, the ETM provides the capability to simultaneously test up to eight fuel cell engines at different customer-specific load cycles, 24/7. Using specific load cycles allows us to fine tune and customize our product for the intended customer application, thus demonstrating optimal performance and addressing each customer’s unique needs.
What challenges did you encounter?
Many challenges arose during the process, including those from COVID-19 related delays due to certain local health restrictions and technical and logistical challenges. The Nuvera Italy team met these with determination and perseverance, and succeeded in bringing the ETM to life. Their efforts were aided by the company’s investment in remote working tools and software that enabled the project to proceed even during strict lockdown periods.
What is your vision for how the ETM will help Nuvera to support its fuel cell product line?
While the ETM is geared toward testing the currently available Nuvera® fuel cell engine products, it can be expanded for other products we plan on introducing ─ including higher-power systems ─ and for special application testing as well. As Nuvera continues to grow its product line, this testing capability will continue to play a vital role in the company’s innovation and growth, and ultimately in our customers’ success.