The hydrogen and
fuel cell center

Looking at: The fuel cell anode

With various projects and activities, ZBT is currently looking on optimization potentiuals for the anode and the anode circuit of the PEM fuel cell. This includes developments for the fuel cell stacks, bipolar plates, fuel cell systems and also the catalyst systems.

Model based optimization of the anode recirculation controls

The developmenmt of anode optimized flow fields offers high optimization

From a technical point of view, the cathode of the PEM fuel cell usually is in focus of optimization in terms of performance, efficiency and also lifetime stability. With the tangible market maturity of fuel cell systems, however, the anode and its BOP system also have to be adapted to the current state of development. An unsufficiently supplied anode potentially causes capital damage to the fuel cell and is of at least equal importance in issues such as freeze start. Furthermore, decisive percentage points in the efficiency of the overall system can be gained at the anode, which can be translated directly eg. into range for fuel cell cars. For this reason, special attention is currently being paid to the anode and the anode circuit of the PEM fuel cell in different projects and activities of ZBT.
This for instance includes developments for the fuel cell stacks such as new, innovative flow fields for the anode - optimized for operation with and without external cathode humidification - (EU project GRASSHOPPER) and dynamic reference electrodes with a minimum overall height, which can also be integrated in metallic stacks (project SAFEREF).
On the other hand, the anode recirculation circuit is being investigated: developments around a new recirculation fan with additional integrated functions (REZEBT) are supported by extensive simulation work, which can be located in the area of soft sensor technology and control strategy and is partly based on artificial intelligence.
A further field of research are in-situ analyses of system materials on the anode (VALIDATE). The aim here is to develop reliable test procedures in order to be able to use new, cost-effective materials in systems with long-term stability in the future. With the increased use of plastics, the topic of lightweight construction is also being focused on.
Investigations into the influence of hydrogen impurities are being carried out in conjunction with ZBT's own hydrogen quality laboratory (HyLAB) as part of the Hydraite and H2Fuel projects, among others. Aims include the identification of the influence of different MEA configurations and operating strategies, the development of regeneration processes and the elaboration of proposals for the adaptation of the current hydrogen quality standards.

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