Scalable Thermal Management and Drivetrain for Fuel Cell Commercial Vehicles




Michael Laumen

Chief Engineer Power Electronics and Electrical Drives


+49 241 80 99577



The project “SkalTABs” addresses scalable powertrain and thermal management architectures as well as the associated hardware components for future commercial vehicles with fuel cells. The optimization of the system architectures is based on a holistic view of the electrical and thermal energy flows, aiming for the highest possible overall efficiency. By combining a high overall efficiency with the scalable approach of the fuel cell system, a wide range of commercial vehicles from different application and power ranges are covered. In this way, the project helps making fuel-cell powertrains cost-efficient and thus accessible to smaller vehicle manufacturers in particular.

A central component for the entire powertrain management is the multiport DC/DC converter that regulates the energy flows between the fuel cell, battery and drive inverter. In addition to a high efficiency, dynamic control techniques for the converter and loss-reduction methods for the overall system are addressed.

Within the scope of the project, the following aspects, among others, are investigated in detail:

  • Increasing life time of components
    • The commercial vehicle-specific requirements demand a significantly increased component service life compared to passenger car applications. 3D-printed high-performance coolers and special power modules are used to ensure the required service life.
  • Scalability of the converter topology
    • To enable scalability of the DC/DC converter, different variants of parallelization are investigated and benchmarked. An optimum is targeted, taking into account the parameters cost, efficiency, volume, manufacturability, etc.
  • New control methods for the traction machine
    • The joint control of DC/DC converter and traction converter is investigated. New control methods for the traction machine are being researched with regard to efficiency, THD and torque ripple.


08/2021 - 07/2024