Fuel cells, a technology once relegated to the lab, is starting to look like a moneymaker for suppliers.
Dana Holding Corp. has joined a research consortium that aims to develop a cheaper fuel cell. The consortium, dubbed Project Inspire, has given itself three years to do so. And Brian Cheadle, director of Dana's global business development for advanced technologies, expects fuel cells to achieve decent sales early next decade.
"Toyota, Hyundai and Honda all have them, and automakers are talking about higher volumes around 2022," Cheadle said in a phone interview.
One of Dana's core areas is gaskets, seals and membranes, which the company originally developed for conventional internal combustion engines.
Seals are a key component in fuel cell stacks, which convert hydrogen into electricity. Dana began developing seals for fuel cells 15 years ago. Its r&d center in Neu-Ulm, Germany, will work with the consortium.