Fuel cell test, hydrogen fuel stack tester
The tailored, cutting edge and fully flexible Hydrogen fuel cell test stand is designed to simulate real-life conditions and are therefore suitable for academic research as well as for industrial purposes. In general, the hydrogen fuel cell test stand has overcome most of the weaknesses and disadvantages of the competing products of large series producers and offers a high level of customization, professional service and after-sales support (i.e. installation, parameterization, development of tailored connectors to customers’ proprietary software and protocols).
The highly versatile system is suitable for research and development covering the broad field of fundamental and applied research of MEAs, GDLs, bipolar plates and catalysts. Moreover, an integrated pressure air output makes it possible to connect a pressure operated cell for gaskets evaluation.
Our fuel cell test stand portfolio is extended to automotive PEM FC stack testing systems. The testing benches will be customised in order to propose the most cost efficient solutions in function of the requested parameters. The new fuel cell test stand would be designed for testing large automotive stacks in the range of 30kW to 130kW.
- Gas inputs (H2, Air, N2, …) are controlled using mass flow controllers, beside H2, air and nitrogen, an additional gas can be supplied. Typically, regenerative load is proposed as a most economical solution.
- The humidification system is based on the manifold micro-bubblers with integrated water separators and dry bypass. Stack cooling systems and heat exchangers permits precise temperature control.
- Automation meets industrial standards; internal PLC is controlled by the user through a master PC. The system can be fully controlled remotely. Multiple pressure, temperature, humidity and conductivity sensors as well as voltage monitors allow precise control of the whole system in both manual and automatic modes.
|Technical parameters||30 – 130 kW *|
|Hydrogen flow||up to 2500 SPLM *|
|Air flow||up to 5000 SLPM *|
|Electronic load||Regenerative or liquid cooled|
|Humidification||Dew point up to 95℃, dry bypass|
|Back pressure||Automation controlled|
|Operating pressure||up to 4 Bar|
|Cell voltage monitor||available|
|Emergency shutdown||with nitrogen purge|
|Hydrogen sensors||Interlocked with software|
|Heat management||Water to water exchanger connected to the customer cooling system|
- Four gas lines have electronic flow controllers and back pressure valves controlled by the station operation software permitting maximum control performance.
- System operation is fully automated and programmable using an integrated computer; however, it still makes it possible to change testing parameters in a step by step mode through a keyboard and/or a touch screen. The station makes it possible to perform durability tests where reliable data collection is necessary.
- The advanced humidification system is equipped with automated water reservoir filling.
- The multi-range potentiostat has embedded cyclic voltammetry and an impedance analyzer as a basic configuration.
- The system is fully automated for safe, reliable and unattended operation in hydrogen safe area. The integrated computer is of an industrial standard for safe operation in hazardous environment.
- The remote control of all main station systems and solenoid valves makes the system suitable for multi-purpose operation in a closed area, e.g. in synchrotron hutches. It is even possible to interchange the anode and cathode without disconnecting the tested cell due to intermediate cell purging by nitrogen under the control of the automated safety process. However, if the customer does not want this option, this feature can be mechanically disabled.
- For reinforced safety operation, a connection to the hydrogen sensor in the lab for security shut down is possible, in such a case the customer should supply the interface technical data necessary for connection. Installation of an internal hydrogen sensor inside the station rack is possible too.
- The station is equipped with a computer controlled precision pump for direct methanol fuel cell operation.
- An additional heating system with temperature control of up to 1000°C is preinstalled for a possible SOFC testing. Methane line in addition to hydrogen line can be optional installed and remote switching between hydrogen and methane could be available free of charge.
- The station is provided in two version: 45U (height 2110 mm) and 33U (height 1500 mm).
Schematic of the hydrogen fuel cell test stand tubing
Hydrogen fuel cell test stand modular parts
- PC Unit with industrial computer (control, remote, safety procedures), Monitor – Integrated touchscreen for version 45 U.
- Potentiostat – full range operated EIS (up to 1MHZ), Electrochemistry analyses are included
- Humidification system (relative humidity u-t 95°C, 3 lines simultaneously: An, Cat, N2, By-pass control)
- Cell – Place for customers’ cell or cell with heaters, piston pressure, cooling connect.
- Mass Flow controller system (H, O2, Air, N2 and additive for mixing)
- Back Pressure control – all 4 lines, up-to 4 Bar
- Water management – fully automated water to refill humidificators
Hydrogen fuel cell test stand safety interlocks
- Inlets and outlets safety interlocks
- External hydrogen detector connectivity
- Provides inner hydrogen detector as an option
- Automatic safety purging by nitrogen at blackout.
Detailed specification of automation and software
The station is equipped with a Control Unit that contains all the necessary electronics. It includes power supplies, an industrial fan-less PC, I/O modules and terminal blocks for connecting peripherals (valves, heating elements, thermocouples, flow-controllers, gauges, …), circuit-breakers and safety elements, etc. and it is controlled by our PLC solution using integrated industrial computer.
The integrated computer runs the operating system MS Windows (Windows 7 32-bit or Windows 10 64-bit) and controls the automation and measurement equipment (potentiostat) using our software package.
Remote monitor for showing hydrogen fuel cell test stand state in real time
There are two options how to control station.
- Using TCP/IP server connection which is suitable for development and integration to customer’s software solution and for bridge through different platforms.
- Use our software solution with user friendly interface (GUI) including data acquiring and basic data analyses which is usually runs in integrated industrial computer but optionally could run elsewhere on MS Windows.
The provided GUI software is capable of controlling the station automatically in various measurement modes and configurations and proceeds with potentiostat acquisition by many electrochemical methods including CV (Cyclic Voltammetry) and EIS (Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy). Screenshots showing software, CV and EIS features are attached below figures.
Software screenshot – valves and heaters operating
Software screenshot – measuring durability test using batch of operation
Software screenshot – measuring of IV curve
The automation behavior is defined by scripts and ini files in simple text format, so it can be altered by an advanced and informed user easily.
Remote control and monitoring is possible by simple proprietary text-oriented TCP/IP protocol. This allows for platform independent solution required by customer. This protocol can setup modes, start acquisitions, monitor all states and also control each peripheral device separately.
Acquired large-volume data can be transferred by another TCP/IP connection or by standard file-sharing protocols. Alternatively, for both remote control and data transfer, REST/JSON protocol can be implemented.
Technical parameters of hydrogen fuel cell test stand
|Specification gas supply||Value||Accuracy or note|
|Gas flow – anode||0–1 NL/min||± (0.8% of Reading + 0.2% of Full Scale)|
|Gas flow – cathode||0–2.5 NL/min||± (0.8% of Reading + 0.2% of Full Scale)|
|Gas flow – nitrogen||0–0.5 NL/min||± (0.8% of Reading + 0.2% of Full Scale)|
|Gas flow – CO or other||0–0.1 NL/min||± (0.8% of Reading + 0.2% of Full Scale)|
|Operating gas pressure||1.1-3.5 BarA||± 50 mBar|
|Min. temperature of gasses||10 °C||± 1°C|
|Min. dew point||RT||± 1° stationary conditions|
|Max. dew point||95 °C||± 1° stationary conditions|
|Operation without humidification||yes||manual dry gas bypass|
|Temperature for humidification||RT-95 °C|
|Heaters||2x 230V/ 10A||±10%; 50-60Hz|
|Thermocouples||2x thermocouple of any standard (J,K,T,..)|
|Gas pressure usable for a piston compressed cell||16 BarA||±50 mbar, depends on supplying compressed air|
|Gas heating pipelines||yes||Heated inlet of gases to the cell|
|Electrode setups||2-, 3-, 4- and 5- electrode setups||Using a Working, Working Sense, Counter, Counter Sense, and Reference lead|
|Other values recorded on cell|
|Interfacing OPTIONAL SOFC cell||yes|
|Selectable feedback||yes||Working, Working Sense, Reference lead and Current|
|Standard working modes||Constant voltage, constant current||Or other using formula: Const. Power, Const. Resistance|
|Advanced working modes||Cyclic Voltammetry,|
Linear sweep electrochemical impedance spectroscopy
|Voltage range||±5 V||± 0.05 % of range ± 0.2 % of value|
|Useable maximum power||100 W||4-quadrant potentiostat up to ±20 A at a voltage range of ±5 V|
|Frequency range||10 μHz – 1 MHz|
|Voltage AC Amplitude||Max 400 mV|
|Current AC amplitude||Max 4 A|
|Integrated computer||yes||OS Windows 7 or Windows 10|
|Remote control||yes||Remote Desktop or TCP/ IP server|
|Software with graphic interface||yes||Software with graphic interface|
|TCP/IP server||yes||Ready to be controlled by another software solution independent of platform|
|Connectivity to lab security system||yes||Connection to the hydrogen sensor in the lab for security shut down or internal hydrogen sensor in the testing rack is possible, customer should supply interface technical data necessary for connection.|
|Security shut down with hydrogen/nitrogen purging||yes||Automatically activated in case of safety event/ power loss|
|Manual shut down switch||yes|
|Exhaust system||yes||Closed gas outlet, can be connected to lab gas exhaust system|
|Station supply and exhaust|
|Technical inlets||Compressed air (6 Bar)|
|For backpressure valve control|
barrel installed in the station
|Methanol experiment option||Methanol solution||From external flask|
|Gas outlets||Exhaust of H2||Containing additive gas if in use|
|Power input||230VAC/ 16A, 50-60Hz||±10%;|