Climate protection is a topic that has a significant impact on our current daily lives. It was particularly present at the beginning of November due to the UN climate summit in Glasgow, which went through all the media for several days. For new products, e.g. in the green power supply, this summit represents a highly significant multiplier.
For this reason, our development project of a fuel cell element of the mtu brand with the Power Systems business unit of Rolls-Royce picked up speed considerably at short notice when it became known that this product was to be presented at the summit in Glasgow.
In a very short time, therefore, a haptic design model was created from the first product design concept sketches.
The project started with the goal of further developing the new hydrogen-powered fuel cell modules with their purely technically driven external appearance into modern and representative products, e.g. for central, highly frequented locations.
The challenge for the product design was in particular the versatile applications from stand-alone (e.g. for presentations at trade fairs or as an active component of an infrastructure) up to the arrangement in a container (e.g. as a central emergency power generator for a data center or a hospital). On the one hand, the number of cladding elements varies, while at the same time the weighting of the product design varies within the use cases.
In the first concept phase, various basic aesthetic approaches were developed and visualized, some of which evoked associations with other product sectors such as fossil fuel engines or the animal world. The conceptual approach that was rather neglected in the pre-sketching phase became the favorite in the further conceptual phase, as it strikingly presents the letter H as the chemical symbol for hydrogen. In addition, this approach scored with the argument of scalability. So we started the detailing phase with the current concept approach and worked out further details, color variants and variations of the mtu branding.
With the transfer of the product design into 3D reference surfaces, we also started the race against time, as at the same time the decision was made to present a design model at the climate summit. From then on, short decision-making processes and proactive forward-looking material procurement, as well as close coordination of the various processes, characterized the day-to-day work on the project. Various manufacturing processes were used, only some of which will still be used in later series production.
In the end, we managed to complete the design model on schedule and send it on its journey to Glasgow. There, at the stand of the British technology group Rolls-Royce, the mtu fuel cell element was an exhibit that attracted a lot of attention from visitors, pointing the way to a climate-neutral future of energy supply, since such a fuel cell emits only hot water and steam.
We are now looking forward to tackling the further development steps up to series production.