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

 

Technical parameters30 – 130 kW *
Hydrogen flowup to 2500 SPLM *
Air flowup to 5000 SLPM *
Electronic loadRegenerative or liquid cooled
HumidificationDew point up to 95℃, dry bypass
Back pressureAutomation controlled
Operating pressureup to 4 Bar
Cell voltage monitoravailable
Emergency shutdownwith nitrogen purge
Hydrogen sensorsInterlocked with software
Heat managementWater to water exchanger connected to the customer cooling system

* customised

 

Hydrogen fuel cell test stand

 

  • 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).

 

Fuel cell test stand tubing schematic

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.

 

Fuel cell test automation and software

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.

 

Fuel cell test valves and heaters operating

Software screenshot – valves and heaters operating

 

Fuel cell durability test using batch of operation

Software screenshot – measuring durability test using batch of operation

 

Fuel cell test measuring IV curve

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 supplyValueAccuracy or note
Gas flow – anode0–1 NL/min± (0.8% of Reading + 0.2% of Full Scale)
Gas flow – cathode0–2.5 NL/min± (0.8% of Reading + 0.2% of Full Scale)
Gas flow – nitrogen0–0.5 NL/min± (0.8% of Reading + 0.2% of Full Scale)
Gas flow – CO or other0–0.1 NL/min± (0.8% of Reading + 0.2% of Full Scale)
Operating gas pressure1.1-3.5 BarA± 50 mBar
Min. temperature of gasses10 °C± 1°C
Humidification
Min. dew pointRT± 1° stationary conditions
Max. dew point95 °C± 1° stationary conditions
Operation without humidificationyesmanual dry gas bypass
Temperature for humidificationRT-95 °C
Cell connectivity
Heaters2x 230V/ 10A±10%; 50-60Hz
Thermocouples2x thermocouple of any standard (J,K,T,..)
Gas pressure usable for a piston compressed cell16 BarA±50 mbar, depends on supplying compressed air
Gas heating pipelinesyesHeated inlet of gases to the cell
Electrode setups2-, 3-, 4- and 5- electrode setupsUsing a Working, Working Sense, Counter, Counter Sense, and Reference lead
Other values recorded on cell
  • 2x Temperature,
  • Piston pressure,
  • Anode and cathode inlet pressure
  • Anode and cathode dew point
  • if available
  • if available
Interfacing OPTIONAL SOFC cellyes
Potentiostat characterization
Selectable feedbackyesWorking, Working Sense, Reference lead and Current
Standard working modesConstant voltage, constant currentOr other using formula: Const. Power, Const. Resistance
Advanced working modesCyclic Voltammetry,
Linear sweep electrochemical impedance spectroscopy
Current ranges
  • ±20 A
  • ±2 A
  • ±200 mA
  • ±20 mA
  • ± 0.1 % of range ± 0.2 % of value
  • ± 0.1 % of range ± 0.2 % of value
  • ± 0.1 % of range ± 0.2 % of value
  • ± 0.1 % of range ± 0.2 % of value
Voltage range±5 V± 0.05 % of range ± 0.2 % of value
Useable maximum power100 W4-quadrant potentiostat up to ±20 A at a voltage range of ±5 V
Impedance spectroscopy
Frequency range10 μHz – 1 MHz
Voltage AC AmplitudeMax 400 mV
Current AC amplitudeMax 4 A
PC control
Integrated computeryesOS Windows 7 or Windows 10
Monitoryestouch screen
Remote controlyesRemote Desktop or TCP/ IP server
Software with graphic interfaceyesSoftware with graphic interface
TCP/IP serveryesReady to be controlled by another software solution independent of platform
Security
Connectivity to lab security systemyesConnection 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 purgingyesAutomatically activated in case of safety event/ power loss
Manual shut down switchyes
Exhaust systemyesClosed gas outlet, can be connected to lab gas exhaust system
Station supply and exhaust
Working gases
  • H2
  • N2
  • O2 and/or AIR
  • Additive
  • Methane
  • e.g. for CO for poisoning test
  • Optional
Technical inletsCompressed air (6 Bar)
Deionized water
For backpressure valve control
barrel installed in the station
Methanol experiment optionMethanol solutionFrom external flask
Gas outletsExhaust of H2Containing additive gas if in use
Power input230VAC/ 16A, 50-60Hz±10%;
Size
  • Standard 33U rack
  • Standard 45U rack
  • 600 x 600 x 1500 mm
  • 600 x 600 x 2110 mm
Weight110 kg





About dynamometer hyperlink..