Siemens plans to work on the success of the current BZM34 and BZM120 fuel cell modules for air-independent underwater vehicles with its new BZM evo fuel cell module. A single BZM evo has a nominal power of 40 kW but the company is working on versions with a maximum power of 320 – 480 kW, depending on the selected type of installation and number of fuel cell modules. These will fit into the footprint of the existing BZM34 or BZM120 plant.
In these fuel cell plants, the BZM evo modules are connected individually via DC-DC converters to the onboard power supply along with hydrogen and oxygen tanks for underwater operation. This type of connection allows control of individual modules and supports backup modules that increase redundancy to improve system availabilit.
The BZM evo series evolved from the SINAVY Fuel Cells series, which was originally designed in close cooperation with the German Navy and HDW over 20 years ago. Continuous feedback from the crews of operating submarines which use the BZM34 and BZM120 has been extremely helpful for the optimization of the plant.
With a considerable weight reduction, the new module series is easier to handle and quicker to transport within a submarine. The optimized module replacement process now takes just a few hours and ensures uncomplicated and fast mounting, while the plug and play installation supports easy module commissioning.
The BZM evo series is available both for new systems and for refitting older submarines and should be available on the market from 2023, or a year earlier for UUV integration.