Fuel Cell Degradation

Fuel cells (FC) are subject to constant aging (degradation), which leads to a loss of performance and efficiency and ultimately determines the service life. Dynamic operation and air pollutants are particularly challenging in vehicles. This in-house research project is dedicated to the influence of pollutants on the cell. It is a joint project with HyCentA Research GmbH.

The project was also FVT's entry into the subject of fuel cells. The existing equipment of the test stands (especially H2 infrastructure and battery simulator), the experience with hydrogen and the competence of the partner HyCentA made it possible to put the cell into operation and start measuring very quickly.

The subject of the investigations is the damage to the fuel cell through contamination of the intake air with pollutants, especially nitrogen monoxide. Even the smallest concentrations can lead to a reduction in performance and efficiency. However, it is also known that the decrease can be reversed. The aim of the investigations was to examine the exact course of the damage, but also the subsequent regeneration. There are only a few sources on this topic in the international environment, especially at the system level.

Source: Lunghammer - TU Graz

A complete fuel cell system with 25 kW power was used, as it could be installed in smaller vehicles, for example. The air pollutants were dosed into the intake air during operation and the behavior of the FCs was measured. The selected concentrations are derived from assumptions about possible environmental conditions. Many different scenarios with regard to NO dosing(even, intermittent, long-term ...), different load cases and different regeneration procedures led to an extensive database for further evaluation.

The investigations are still ongoing.