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Stationary fuel cell system diagnostics: development of online monitoring and diagnostics systems for reliable and durable fuel cell system operation

Specific challenge: Low-cost and reliable monitoring technologies are urgently needed for stationary applications, where to date no monitoring or diagnostics approach is available. A low-cost prognostics/diagnostics/monitoring approach during operation would enable more reliable systems, effective failure detection and prevention before irreversible damage occurs, more efficient maintenance and drastically reduced warranty costs.

Scope:  The overall objective of the project is to develop a low cost and online system/stack monitoring and diagnostics technology which can be integrated easily into existing fuel cell systems.

The following aspects should be addressed:

•             The approach should primarily be used for the detection and hence prevention of damaging conditions during the operation of stationary fuel cell systems

•             Detection of major failure modes like air/fuel starvation, sulphur trap breakthroughs, cross-leakages/cell breaks, other cell contamination,…

•             State-of-health monitoring (degradation monitoring, remaining lifetime prediction,…)

•             Focused on low cost and easy integration into existing systems

No basic research is expected, a proven approach (e.g. with other fuel cell types) should be available already at the beginning of the project.

Expected impact:             The following targets should be met:

•             Demonstration of the detection of major stack/system failure modes in stack laboratory tests with at least 2 different stack platforms

•             At least 5 of the following failure modes must be detectable and should be demonstrated with the developed approach:

o             Air starvation

o             Fuel starvation

o             Sulphur poisoning (trap breakthroughs)

o             Carbon build-up on cell

o             Cell breaks/cross over leakages

o             Delamination

o             Major change in fuel composition (reformer malfunction or bad fuel quality)

•             Lab or field- demonstration of the monitoring/diagnostics approach integrated into at least 2 different fuel cell systems (CHP, APU, backup power,…)

•             A methodology for state-of-health monitoring incl. degradation measurement and remaining lifetime prediction should be shown

•             It has to be shown that the added cost of the monitoring/diagnostics approach does not increase the overall system manufacturing costs by more than 3%

A liaison with the currently running relevant FCH JU projects shall be established and activities should build on existing results from those projects.