Article | Energies | Fuel cells
The Fuel Cell Platform tackles
PEMFC (Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell) research from
a unique angle, addressing materials, membrane-electrode assemblies, bipolar plates, stacks and the associated system environment, and testing, both in the lab and in conditions representative of actual use cases. The Fuel Cell Platform brings more than 25 years of experience and a robust intellectual property strategy to its core mission of accelerating the transfer of new technologies to the transportation and stationary market segments.
One example of how CEA-Liten is driving innovation is the integration of printed components into fuel cells. The institute developed a 1 kW PEMFC fuel cell stack concept made up of around 20 cells with
screen printed patterns. This innovation brings several major benefits. First, in-line printing processes will
bring costs down. Second, printing could boost power densities to 6 kW/L. Finally, printing has the potential to enable affordable fast prototyping.
The Fuel Cell Platform has extensive PEMFC durability and performance testing resources, with 30-odd test benches that can handle fuel cells
up to 100 kW. It also has system testing capabilities for systems
up to 400 kW and can set the temperature, humidity, and atmospheric pressure to replicate severe environments
in the real world.
Fuel-cell safety is
a major topic of research, especially for hydrogen-powered road vehicles. Data from the platform's
tank safety testing campaigns will be used to develop future regulations for vehicles and civil engineering structures.
The platform's holistic approach also encompasses research on PEMFC durability, performance, and integration.
The platform's activities are organized in five units:
The current maximum operating temperature for commercial PEMFCs of 80°C acts as a brake to the wider use of this technology in the decarbonizing of the heavy transportation sector.
CEA-Liten, a CEA Tech institute, improved and updated its dimensioning software for energy systems combining fuel cells and batteries. The new release should help make developing hybrid electric vehicles more efficient.
A 50 kW SOFC-type fuel cell will be installed on board the MSC Europa cruise ship (built by the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard) in 2022. The project* is financed by French energy agency ADEME and marks a major step toward making cruise ships more environmentally friendly.
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CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.