Skip to main content

Engineering design and development

Axane designs and manufactures fuel cells, stacks, and systems based on PEM technology (proton exchange membrane), with power ranging up to hundreds of kilowatts.
This know-how extends to elements specific to stacks (fluid circulation, sealing...), and to complete systems (auxiliary components, operating conditions, and safety...). Our customers are supported by our experts at all stages of their project, from analysis of needs, and co-writing specifications, to product development, and the eventual transfer of skills required for production start-up.


Axane's engineering services for fuel cell design

Our engineers are experts in the design of stacks and fuel cell systems for a variety of application areas. This unique know-how attracts companies including one of the world leaders in fuel cells for forklift trucks to partner with our teams in developing a new range of fuel cells for the European market.

Looking for performance? Improved lifetime? To solve reliability and safety issues? Optimise production costs?

  • Our design office helps you define technical specifications, drawing on expertise in the choice of technology.
  • Your project benefits from state-of-the-art testing facilities at our Sassenage test centre.
  • You benefit from the safety guarantees and access to hydrogen in large quantities that only a group such as Air Liquide can provide.

Looking for a service provider to test your products? To acquire test benches?

  • Our teams take charge of testing products you have developed at our Sassenage test centre.
  • We can design and manufacture test benches adapted to tests required for your products.


Stages of project development in partnership

Co-construction of technical specifications

Our engineers analyse your needs, a fundamental step for your project. Knowing how to identify the fundamental characteristics is crucial to guarantee the efficiency and profitability of your product. What are your priorities? Fuel Cell lifetime, compactness, performance, reliability, production cost?

At each stage our design office provides the advice you need to make the best decisions, which we then incorporate together in your specifications.

Customised product design (stack, system, bench)

Throughout this process, our experts subject your products to several tests that evaluate their performance, reliability and suitability in accordance with your specifications. 

Our project management method – Cycle V – results in a high-performance product based on quality design.

Preliminary design

To define the system architecture, we study the structure of the fuel cell system, draw up the functional architecture diagrams and measure potential risks.

Detailed design

At this stage, our experts design the detailed drawings of the stacks and fuel cell systems. This work includes the specification of all materials and components of the assembly, as well as the tools and software required for its implementation.

We validate the technical hypotheses and perform the necessary calculations for the brief, with certain elements prototyped. For example, sub-component testing allows us to validate hypotheses and identify potential problems, with the aim of reducing the level of risk and uncertainty. In this way, our experts can ensure that production complies with specifications and decide to proceed with the assembly of your system or stack.


Prototyping is to validate whether your fuel cell system confirms with specifications such as:

  • Electrical performance
  • Mechanical characteristics
  • Reliability
  • Lifetime
  • Manufacturing cost.

The prototype is subjected to multiple tests at our dedicated site in Sassenage. Our teams can then manufacture pre-series for testing of your products in real-life situations.

Transfer of skills

Our collaboration can conclude with a transfer of skills to your teams, allowing you to operate the manufacturing of your hydrogen fuel cell system in full autonomy.

Fuel cell: how does it work?

For 1 to 120 kW cells, Axane uses PEM (proton exchange membrane) technology. Through an electrochemical reaction, the cell produces electricity and heat while only emitting water.

The fuel cell consists of several cells, each containing a membrane electrode assembly (MEA), which is the active heart of electricity generation. The MEA consists of two electrodes, the anode (negative) and cathode (positive), on either side of the PEM membrane.

At the anode, H2 hydrogen molecules are transformed into H+ ions (protons) and electrons. The H+ ions are directed to the cathode through the PEM membrane. At the cathode, they react with oxygen and electrons to form water. The production of electrons and their consumption generate the expected electrical current and power.

The electrochemical reactions at the electrodes are:

at the anode 2 H2 → 4 H+ + 4 e-

at the cathode O2 + 4 H+ + 4 e- → 2 H2O

The resulting overall electrochemical reaction is:

O2 + 2 H2 → 2 H2O 

What is an hydrogen fuel cell?

AXANE develops reliable and high-performance products

Stacks: carbon and metal 

Why choose one technology over another for the development of your fuel cell? The field of application, as well as the environmental constraints, may be determining factors in your choice.

Carbon technology

Metal technology


Transport - heavy vehicles (truck, bus, train) & stationary applications

Power density 

2 kW.L-1 and 1.4 



Power density 

4 kW.L-1 and 2 


  • Average power density
  • Long service life
  • Low development cost
  • Low production cost for small and medium production runs


  • Very high power density
  • Compact and lightweight stack (high power density)
  • Low production cost for very large series


  • Bipolar plates for optimised compactness
  • Formed in place seals for increased reliability and reduced assembly cost
  • New MEAs & improved flow fieldsfor exceptional electrical performance: 1.2W/cm2 from 1 barg
  • New clamping device for better compactness


  • Thin metal bipolar plates for optimised compactness
  • Formed in place seals for increased reliability and reduced assembly cost
  • Compatible with high pressure: up to 2.5 barg
  • Composite clamping plates to optimise the stack weight 
  • Complies with requirements of the automotive industry


Fuel cell systems

Our teams have designed and developed hundreds of systems for 20 years. Choosing AXANE for the design and development of your fuel cell system is the guarantee of benefiting from the expertise of a leader in its field.


  • Reduce project lead times and time to market: Our teams focus on the technical development of fuel cells, so you can focus on the application of the final product.
  • Reduced development costs: Our expertise in the development of stacks and systems means we can handle your specific request, mobilising a technical and specialised field of expertise.
  • Relevant identification of the supply chain: You benefit from our selection of the best suppliers. We evaluate your logistic needs according to the set objective (quality, price, production volume).
  • Selection of technologies in full control: We choose the suitable technologies and develop these in accordance with your strategic challenges.
  • Prowess in hydrogen safety by a recognised industrial player
  • Integration in the hydrogen energy ecosystem: We guarantee access to hydrogen for end-users.


  • Low hydrogen consumption = a controlled fuel budget
  • Long component life = reduced maintenance costs
  • High reliability = a long-lasting investment.


  • Battery hybridisation
  • High tolerance to variations in the amplitude of environmental conditions (temperature, humidity, ambient pressure)
  • Integrated safety at a SIL 3&4 level (safety integration loop)


Systems & stacks developed by Axane

Products - metal technology

Stack M240

Name: Stack M240

Project: Axane designed this commercial stack for a Chinese car manufacturer

Description: Liquid cooled metal stack for automobiles

Dimensions: 450 x 110 x 210 mm 

Weight: 20 kg

Power: 40 kW @ 145 cells

(can be mounted with 360 cells for 100 kW)

240 cm² active/cell

4 kW/L and 2 kW/kg

Cell pitch 1.18 mm

Products - carbon technology

Stack C260

Name: Stack C260

Project: Axane developed this stack for bus and freight transport (trucks, trains, ships).

Description: Liquid-cooled compact carbon stacks for heavy vehicles (trucks, buses, trains, boats)

Dimensions: 230 x 200 x 965 mm @ 100 kW

Weight: 26.9 to 58.8 kg (30 to 300 cells)

Power: 40 kW @ 145 cells

260 cm² active/cell

2 kW/L and 1.4 kW/kg

2.1mm cell pitch

Stack HPS

Name: Stack HPS

Project: Axane developed this commercial stack for application on forklift trucks. The Stack HPS has been integrated with the third-party GenDrive™ systems.

Description: Liquid-cooled carbon stacks for forklift trucks and stationary generators

Dimensions: 261 x 208 x 340 mm

260 cm² active/cell

14 kW @ 60 cells

Thousands of copies produced and operated daily

Stack G1

Name: Stack G1

Project: Axane developed commercial stacks for permanent stationary applications. The Stack G1 has been integrated into the GaEL 2 kW standalone system and into the HyES 5 kW stationary system.

Description: Liquid-cooled carbon stack for stationary and portable applications

76 cm² active/cell

3 kW @ 60 cells


HyES generator

Name: HyES-G1

Description: High-efficiency stationary electric generator for permanent power supply of isolated sites.

Dimensions: 280 x 112 x 105 cm

Weight: 580 kg

Power: 5kW - 48 VDC or 230 VAC

GaEL generator

Name: GaEL 

Description: Compact electric generator. The components of the GaEL can be assembled without their casing, such as in a vehicle.

Dimensions: 940 x 450 x 385 mm

Power: 2 kW - 48 VDC

Temperature resistance (-10°C to + 45°C)

Contact us

For more informations, contact us : +33 476 43 60 47

or by email :

More about

Expert in fuel cells, Axane designs and develops stacks and systems based on PEM technology (proton exchange membrane).

Read more