12 teams to take part in Up Great hydrogen fuel cell design competitions


RVC, the Skolkovo Foundation and ASI summed up the results of the collection of applications for the participation in Up Great technological contests “The first Element. Ground” and “The first Element. Air”. The prize fund of the competition will amount to RUB 200M, the names of the winners will be announced in 2019.

12 teams applied for participation in Up Great “First Element” technology series. Competitions are held as part of the National Technology Initiative and aimed at overcoming the world's most complex technological barrier. Participants have to develop hydrogen fuel cells for land and air transport, which in terms of efficiency can be compared with internal combustion engines and batteries.

Seven teams claim victory in the "First element. Air" competition. Five another applications were submitted for participation in the “First Element. Ground" contest. Among the participants are the developers of the Samara NRU (National Research University) named after the Academician S.P. Korolew, Skoltech, UrFU (Ural Federal University), D. Mendeleev University of Chemical Technology of Russia, representatives of companies “InEnergy”, “Unmanned helicopter systems”, “EcoTEnergy”, “RusNovTech” , and others.

As part of the competition, applicants will have to develop hydrogen fuel cells with given characteristics of power, energy density and weight, and then test them on multicopter and unmanned automotive platforms. The winner’s installation must stay in the air or on the track for at least three hours. The final of Up Great will be held in 2019. The prize fund of the “First Element. Air" contest is 60 million rubles, “The first element. Ground" contest — 140 million rubles.

“The participants of the competition are facing an enormous challenge — to develop fuel cells that surpass all the world counterparts in terms of their energy storage capacity. If this barrier is taken, we will open up completely new opportunities for the commercial use of hydrogen — first of all, in the segments of motor vehicles and unmanned aircraft. The strongest of the 12 teams will be determined in the course of open trials. We wish all the applicants a good start,” said Alexander Povalko, General Director of RVC.

“Hydrogen energy opens up such prospects for humanity that are difficult to estimate even in the boldest claims. At the same time, from the point of view of technology, this is a complex and knowledge-intensive subject. Therefore, we relied not so much on the quantity, but on the quality and qualification of the participating teams, for which we developed high requirements as well as difficult competition conditions. 12 applications are a very good indicator confirming interest in topics within the scientific, technical and business communities,” commented Igor Drozdov, chairman of the board of the Skolkovo Foundation.

“The development of independent energy supply sources is the key to overcoming technological barriers. Perhaps we will find a solution in hydrogen fuel cells, and our companies and developers will be able to take a leading position in the international UAV markets. After all, a government decree has already been signed on conducting an experiment on using unmanned vehicles on public roads, agricultural enterprises are starting to actively use unmanned tractors, and the UAV market, despite regulatory restrictions, is developing,” said Dmitry Peskov, the special representative of the President of the Russian Federation on digital and technological development.

As forecasted by Frost & Sullivan consulting company, the global automakers are about to launch more than 20 new models with hydrogen engines to the market by 2020. By 2030, the total sales of hydrogen fuel vehicles will reach 583 thousand units per year.

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