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There is an acute need for the development of long-lasting, efficient and portable power sources for further technology improvement in automobiles, commercial electronics devices, military and stationary applications. These systems all require the power source to be energy-efficient, and able to operate for long periods of time without...
Low-temperature fuel cells have historically used CNC-machined graphite as bipolar plates. Graphite’s high-cost, high-permeability, and precise machining processes have presented difficulties for the large-scale market. Due to this, many other materials have been investigated, including carbon composite materials and...
Most people wouldn’t think that much thought needs to be put into fuel cell components such as fuel cell gaskets, spacers, and end plates, however, every part of the fuel cell stack requires careful consideration. Incorrect fuel cell gaskets and end plates can lead to gas leaks and insufficient fuel cell stack...
In a previous blog post, we described bipolar plates and the associated materials for low-temperature fuel cells. The materials previously described are selected for fuel cell stacks at or slightly above room-temperature -- which means that the materials are chemically compatible with the stack between 0 – 140 °C. The fuel cells that operate at higher temperatures require...
After you understand the basic concepts around designing, building, and testing fuel cells, the next step is optimization. Optimization often involves extensive experimentation and testing, however, sometimes experimentation does not yield the expected results. Mathematical modeling is useful when phenomena cannot be visually...
Creating high-efficiency fuel cells requires proper temperature control, and heat management to ensure that the fuel cell system runs consistently. Depending upon the fuel cell type, the optimal temperature can range from room temperature to 1000 ºC, and any deviation from the designed temperature range can result in...
If you work with fuel cells, then you are definitely working with polarization curves. The polarization curve does not have a lot of specificity; however, it is one of the most common methods of testing a fuel cell. It also allows an easy comparison to other published polarization curves. The polarization curve displays the voltage output of the fuel cell for a given current density loading...
Different characterization techniques enable the quantitative comparison of every property and part of the fuel cell stack. By characterizing the fuel cell properly, you can understand why the fuel cell is performing well or poorly. These techniques help discriminate between activation, ohmic and concentration losses, fuel crossover, and...
Fuel cell operating conditions depend upon the cell and stack design. The operating parameters that affect fuel cell performance are: Operating Pressure, Operating Temperature, Flow Rates of Reactants, and Humidity of Reactants. Using the correct operating condition for each parameter is...
The design elements of a micro or MEMs fuel cell stack are the same as a larger fuel cell stack, except that there should be special considerations for...
Fuel cells are electrochemical devices that convert chemical energy from the reactants directly into electricity and heat. The device consists of an electrolyte layer in contact with a porous anode and cathode on either side. An illustration of a fuel cell with reactant/product gasses and the ion conduction flow directions through the cell is...
Fuel cells have been researched and developed for use in several applications since the early 1990's. Fuel cells can be used for portable, backup, transportation, and stationary power applications. This article briefly describes some of these uses for fuel cells.