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Fuel Cell Systems Performance Testing and Standardisation


Specific Objectives:

1. To complete the JRC Fuel Cell Testing Facility The JRC Fuel Cell Testing Facility will be part of the European Virtual Testing Facility will take part in the validation of the results of the FCTESTNET network;
2. To co-ordinate FCTESTNET and to take part in the technical tasks of the Network;
3. To prepare, as co-ordinator, a proposal for a Specific Targeted Research Project (STREP) for modeling of fuel cells and fuel cell stacks;
4. To provide input to the SETRIS activity.

Anticipated milestones and schedule:
1.1 Completion of the testing facility infrastructure in October 2003 1.2 Complete installation of the equipment in December 2003 1.3 Commissioning of the facility by December 31, 2003 2.1 Technology map available in September 2003 2.2 2-D modelling ready in December 2003 3.1 Proposal ready for submission to the first call (Call identifier: FP6- 2002-Energy-1, Fixed deadline at 18.03.2003) 4.1 Dates to be determined ad hoc.
Planned Deliverables:
1.1 Completed infrastructure for the facility. This comprises preparing and submitting the application for the environmental licence to the local authorities, launching and completing a call for tender for modification of infrastructure and infrastructural modifications. 1.2 Completed installation of the equipment. This comprises finalising the investment plan (a geothermal cooling system, installing the testing facility with a number of auxiliary equipment (deionized water generator, steam generator, geothermal cooling system, environmental chamber and gas analysers), and a final commissioning of the laboratory. 1.3 Commissioned facility;

2.1 Technology map of fuel cell testing competences in Europe An inventory (mapping) of industrial activities, institutes and consortia that work on fuel cell development, including their RTD, demonstration and commercialisation targets and strategies, collaborative links, and an assessment of their specific strength will be made. This includes the main testing results of the different technologies, as far as published. 2.2 Two-dimensional mathematical modelling of flow, heat and mass transfer phenomena in a single fuel cell. It will entail the solution of Navier-Stokes equations as well heat and mass transfer within the porous medium of a single fuel cell;

3.1 Prepared project proposal;

4.1 Reports to SETRIS in the area of fuel cells, pending on customer DGs requests.
Summary of the Action:
The main goal of the Action is to initiate a European Reference System for Fuel Cell Testing, through the operation of the Fuel Cell Testing and Standardisation Network (FCTESTNET) that will start operating at the end of 2002 with 55 partners. The action also supports the creation of a European Virtual Testing Laboratory for Fuel cells. Accordingly, the action works towards integrating European research activities in testing and standardisation in the field. It will result in short and medium term developments that can be delivered to the industry, but that will benefit policy development as well. In 2003 the main focus is to guarantee a smooth start of the activities. This action will remain in close working relationship with ISA 2.3.1. Rationale Fuel cell systems offer a clean and highly efficient way to convert energy carriers (e.g. hydrogen, natural gas) into electricity.

This has been recently acknowledged at the highest political level of the Commission by the President Prodi, Vice-president Mrs. De Palacio, and Commissioner Busquin during the launch of the High Level group on Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in October 2002. According to the summary of President Prodi "This is an important choice for Europe, Hydrogen technology will not only reduce our energy dependency and gas emissions; in the long run it will also change considerably our socio- economic model and create new opportunities for developing countries". However, the technology is not yet mature and needs to be further developed. Significant technological challenges still need to be addressed. For the rating of improvements in fuel cell technology, commonly agreed measures for system efficiency such as power density, dynamic behaviour and durability are indispensable.

This requires the definition of harmonised testing procedures both for entire fuel cell systems and for system components. To be successful, a large variety of boundary conditions need to be tracked (e.g. caused by different applications, different stack technologies, various types of fuel, fuel quality, etc). To date, no standardised test procedures for fuel cell systems, stacks and cells are available. Similarly, no standardised test procedures exist for the assessment of fuel cell systems against user requirements for stationary, portable and transport applications (e.g. homologation testing of fuel cell vehicles). In practice many laboratories have developed their own test protocols to meet the needs of their own or national R&D programmes. In spite of the fact that fuel cells are still in pre-competitive phase, the issue of harmonisation of testing procedures and measurement methods needs to be addressed now to ensure a smooth introduction of the technology.

Field of science

  • /engineering and technology/environmental engineering/energy and fuels/fossil energy/natural gas
  • /engineering and technology/environmental engineering/energy and fuels/fuel cell

Funding Scheme

JRC - Joint Research Centre research


Institute for Energy
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1755 Zg Petten