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Tests lead to doubling of fuel cell life
Date:5/22/2013

Researchers working to improve durability in fuel cell powered buses, including a team from Simon Fraser University, have discovered links between electrode degradation processes and bus membrane durability.

The team is quantifying the effects of electrode degradation stressors in the operating cycle of the bus on the membrane lifetime.

The findings of the study, led by SFU graduate student Natalia MaCauley, are the latest in a long-term study at Burnaby-based Ballard Power Systems and funded by Automotive Partnership Canada that aims to make fuel cell buses competitive with diesel hybrids.

To improve fuel cell module durability and predict longevity, researchers are studying the degradation mechanisms of the fuel cells that occur under real-world transit bus conditions.

Says SFU project lead Erik Kjeang: "Our strong multidisciplinary collaboration between chemistry and mechatronic systems engineering (MSE) is bearing fruit. The fuel cell is a mechatronic device, and the bandwidth of this project allows advances in chemistry to be engineered and implemented into Ballard's products."

Adds Ballard lead Shanna Knights: "We are pleased with the progress that our multidisciplinary team from SFU and UVic is making to develop improved membrane lifetimes for our next-generation fuel cell bus module and to understand the details of these complex failure mechanisms."

"With continued work, this research will permit significant product costs savings and improved fuel cell lifetimes so we can directly compete against incumbent diesel technology."

The research team, comprising 40 highly qualified personnel (HQPs) graduate students, undergraduate co-op students and post-doctoral fellows is also developing simulation tools that can eventually be used by industry partners in their testing protocols and operations of fuel cell buses.

SFU post-doctoral fellow Amir Niroumand, who heads the research on system level
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Contact: Marianne Meadahl
Marianne_Meadahl@sfu.ca
778-782-9017
Simon Fraser University
Source:Eurekalert

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