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ZBT expands test bench capacities for PEMFC material qualification

Without in-situ tests, a final qualification of materials intended for use in PEM fuel cells is not possible. Our capacities for this have now been expanded due to the high demand from the industry.

Next-Generation ZBT double test station allows flexible testing of cell components under real conditions.

ZBT test cell integration based on quickCONNECTfixture from Baltic fuel cells for in-situ testing of metallic bipolar plate materials and coatings.

Performance comparison in the stray band (current density @ 0.6 V cell voltage) for various bipolar plate coatings during in-situ testing

The performance and service life of a fuel cell is highly dependent on the material composition of the cell components used and the type of stress to which they are exposed over the product life cycle. This is also reflected in the current great interest of industry in material qualification and ageing prediction. For this purpose, a variety of methods for the characterization of coatings of metallic bipolar plates, MEA, sealings and system components have been developed at ZBT in recent years. In particular, in-situ tests on small-format test fuel cells (25 cm² active area) have proven their worth in the area of conflict between meaningful tests and testing costs. Due to the high demand from the industry for support in in-situ material tests, ZBT has significantly expanded its test bench capcities.

For this purpose, a new test bench concept tailored to this type of testing was developed and implemented at ZBT. Two test stations are accommodated in one test bench housing and can be used completely independently of each other. The equipment of the double test station allows the operation of single cells and small stacks (up to 5 cells with 25 cm² active area) in a very flexible operation range with regards to the operating parameters stoichiometry, pressure, humidity and temperature. Specific test protocols can be provided by ZBT or flexibly adapted to customer requirements and can run autonomously and automatically 24/7 over a defined test period.

With this approach, ZBT is perfectly positioned to address future challenges and problems of material selection for long-life fuel cells with partners from industry and research.

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