Title: A Comparison of Fuel Cell Test Protocols
Citation: ECS Transactions vol. 30 no. 1 p. 227-235
Publisher: The Electrochemical Society
Publication Year: 2011
JRC N°: JRC60540
ISSN: 1938-5862
URI: http://www.ecsdl.org/ECS/
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1149/1.3562478
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: As the global fuel cell technology develops, information exchange across international boundaries becomes more important. There is a large effort, both in the US and in the European Union (EU), to harmonize and, at a later stage, to standardize fuel cell testing protocols and procedures nationally and internationally. Such standardization may overcome critical barriers to commercialization by allowing all involved to better understand the test results. Independently, the US and EU have developed test protocols for characterizing the performance and durability of cells and stacks. For example, even though both protocols started from the same understanding of the basic electrochemistry of the fuel cell, the different protocols that arose reflect different applications, such as transportation, portable, or stationary uses. The protocols for the transportation application developed in the US represent inputs from the US Fuel Cell Council and from the testing of batteries being developed for electric vehicles. On the other hand, the protocols developed by the EU represent a compilation of existing testing procedures used in Europe and, from them, the development of harmonized ones. The EU protocols, which were developed under the Fuel Cell Testing Network (FCTESTNET) Framework Program, are being validated under the Fuel Cell Testing, Safety and Quality Assurance (FCTESQA) Program in a number of EU laboratories. Based on the genesis of the protocols, differences in the nature and level of stresses placed on the fuel cell or stack may be expected. The US durability protocol was based on the accelerated testing of automotive-class traction batteries; that used by the EU was based on different assumptions, such as on-off cycling or a smooth power increase followed by power decrease with time. The US and EU test protocols, while similar in many respects, do have significant differences. It is not known, therefore, how the results of the tests conducted with the two sets of protocols would compare with one another. For example, does one set of protocols stress the cell or stack more than the other? Is the quality of the resulting data significantly different? To answer these and other questions, tests were conducted using both test protocols on a common fuel cell stack. Initially, these tests were limited to characterization (polarization curves) to minimize degradation in the stack. After both sets of experiments were completed, the results were compared. The two sets of protocols, significant differences between them, and the significance of any differences between the results obtained under each protocol are discussed.
JRC Institute:Energy, Transport and Climate

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