The Emitech Group offers a variety and a number of unique test facilities in France, constantly evolving with the aim of supporting its customers’ innovation, in particular in the field of electric mobility. The Group already has significant test facilities available in this field. For example there is the EMCEM facility, which aims to characterize an electric vehicle motor from the electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) point of view, as well as test benches for high-voltage (HV) batteries, power electronics, calculators etc. It announces new equipment and facilities for tests in the field of hydrogen (fuel cells systems, tanks + valves). The implementation of the hydrogen sector by several stakeholders and regions in France is a strong axis of the energy transition.
Hydrogen activities: EMC, electrical, mechanical, climatic and fire testing
Hydrogen fuel cell testing requires complex facilities that incorporate a large number of constraints. These installations must be secured because hydrogen (H2) is a potentially explosive gas when it reaches a concentration of 4% in the air. Moreover, a power equivalent to 50% of the electrical production of the hydrogen fuel cell system is also dissipated as heat. This is why Emitech, after having selected a hydrogen supplier and installed H2 supply systems, had to fit out its laboratories to secure its installations with H2 sensors and to equip laboratories with dedicated cooling units.
The Emitech Group has now two laboratories in France adapted to receive all kinds of equipments, including high power hydrogen fuel cells (45kW testing capabilities now, 100kW in mid-2022). A third laboratory installation more specialized for H2 tank applications testing is also in preparation.
The first electromagnetic compatibility and electrical test laboratory has a 70m² semi-anechoic Faraday cage (H>5m) with facilities dedicated to hydrogen: an H2 supply unit connected to four V18 cylinder racks (4x158m3 of H2 compressed to 200 bars / 15°C), hydrogen detection sensors, an ATEX extractor hood for any vapors and a 45kW cooling unit.
In the mechanical and climatic second test laboratory, the climatic chamber has been completely adapted and secured to receive a complete fuel cell system with a H2 supply unit connected to two V18 racks of cylinders (H2 compressed to 200 bars at 15°C) and detection sensors.
The third mechanical and climatic test laboratory has a unique expertise in fire testing as well as tank testing capabilities (hydraulic and pneumatic testing: endurance, pressure resistance, bursting, puncture, impact, overloading). It is currently being adapted to become a type IV H2 tank testing center.
Testing: a first complete 45kVA fuel cell system
Emitech is currently working with one of the leaders in Fuel Cell System in France and Europe on a project for utility vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells.
The equipment supplier provides the manufacturer with the electrical energy, a fuel cell, for integration into a conventional electric vehicle architecture. It is a complete and complex system that includes cooling system as well as regulators for humidity, air compression, etc. In addition, the fuel cell is completed by a high-voltage battery for transient power requirements such as acceleration and for energy recovery storage, especially during braking.
The system is tested in EMC, climatic and mechanical domain in Emitech laboratories according to the automotive manufacturer’s specifications involved in this project. Emitech is the only one French laboratoy to offer these campaigns and the qualification of the system regarding environmental parameters.
Emitech was able to adapt its laboratories in a few months to meet its customer’s needs regarding hydrogen and to conduct these tests. Testing began in autumn 2020 for mechanical and climatic, and then in January 2021 for EMC. Other campaigns are planned and international customers have already expressed their interest for these installations. In order to support the sector’s development and the increase in the power of the various equipment manufacturers’ fuel cell building blocks, laboratory upgrades are already planned for 2022 to enable tests performance on 100kW FCS (Fuel Cell System).
An expansion of the developing skills
Emitech has become a member of two major networks in France in the field of hydrogen. Emitech has been a member of FRANCE HYDROGENE since january 2021, an association federating the actors (more than 400) of hydrogen and fuel cells in France. EMITECH also belongs to the general H2 circle within the NEOPOLIA network, which brings together more than 250 companies mainly from the French region Pays de la Loire.
At the same time, Emitech actively monitors standards and technical normative working group in order to keep on developping its facilities and adapt them to the customers’ future needs while meeting test standards requirements. This is the case, for example, for the use of hydrogen in ports, whether for recreational boating or for the merchant marine in the long term, but also for automotive or aeronautics and its green aircraft.
Emitech is also referenced as H2 testing laboratory in the “Guide for conformity assessment and certification of hydrogen systems”, a reference synthesis document on the subject published in July 2021 by INERIS (National Institute for Industrial Environment and Risks) on behalf of ADEME (French Environment and Energy Management Agency) and FRANCE HYDROGENE.