DESTA Project to Develop Fuel Cell Auxiliary Power for Volvo Trucks

26 Mar 2012

A consortium research project has been launched with the goal of developing a European solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) auxiliary power unit (APU) for heavy duty trucks. The intention is to establish a 100% European value chain for the unit, which is expected to sell to both European and export markets, and thereby create new job opportunities. A demonstration of the unit is slated for 2014, with production runs to follow shortly after that.

The ‘Demonstration of first European SOFC Truck APU’ (DESTA) project partners are:

J. Eberspächer GmbH (Germany) – developer of environmentally-friendly vehicle exhaust technology, vehicle heaters, automotive electronics and bus AC systems;

AVL List GmbH (Austria) – an independent company developing powertrains as well as engine instrumentation and test systems;

Volvo (Sweden) – automotive OEM, supplier of commercial vehicles (trucks, buses and construction equipment);

Topsoe Fuel Cell (Denmark) – specialist developer of SOFC technology; and

Forschungszentrum Jülich (Germany) – independent research institute with a focus on new energy technologies.

The first phase of the project will define the requirements for the use of SOFC APU in a Volvo heavy-duty truck for the US market and the final deliverable will be a market-ready system.

DESTA SOFC APU PrototypeDESTA partners Eberspächer and AVL are currently developing prototypes (image). Extensive tests will be done on these to establish production costs, controllability and ease of manufacturing, with the aim of ultimately producing an optimised system that combines the superior features of individual systems. In parallel, Topsoe Fuel Cell will work on optimisation of the SOFC stack.

The DESTA project is targeting a carbon dioxide reduction of 75% with its SOFC APU by displacing much of the diesel used in engine idling to keep auxiliary systems powered. The fuel cell will also allow for a dramatic reduction in noise, vibration and other pollutants.

For more information on DESTA contact:

Project Coordination: DI Jürgen Rechberger, AVL List GmbH (

Project Communication: Mag. (FH) Ingrid Kundner, AVL List GmbH (


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