Case Study Unveils Real Time Metrology for Fuel Cells

11 Jul 2013

NPL CCM

Scientists at the Centre for Carbon Measurement in the UK, which forms part of the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), have developed a new diagnostic tool for monitoring the state of health of fuel cell stacks. As the fuel cell industry approaches widespread commercialisation, improvements to durability become a key objective and it is hoped this new technique will become a valuable tool in stack lifetime studies.

The tool is a novel in-situ diagnostic technique that, for the first time, allows monitoring of the active area of platinum catalyst in each individual cell in a polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell stack. A constant current is applied to the stack and the active area in each cell is then determined simultaneously from analysis of the resultant potential transients. The technique was developed at single cell level at NPL and subsequently adapted to fuel cell stacks by Johnson Matthey in a joint research project funded by the Technology Strategy Board. A joint paper by NPL and Johnson Matthey on this work has recently been published in the Journal of Power Sources.

The tool has not been patented because the scientists believed that publication of the tool was the most efficient way of maximising the impact of their work.

More information about the tool can be found in this case study.

The paper published in the Journal of Power Sources can be downloaded here.

     

Source: National Physical Laboratory.

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