Sensors for Failure Modes in Fuel Cells

Researchers at the University of British Columbia have developed a novel fuel cell diagnostic apparatus and method. The system uses micro-scale sensor electrodes strategically placed at various places in the fuel cell such that the electrodes provide an electrical response indicative of the fuel cell performance. The localized information of the fuel cell operating conditions can be used to rapidly detect failure modes in the fuel cell in real-time. The size and nature of the electrodes means that there is no significant perturbation of the fuel cell’s operation, and no significant alterations to conventional fuel cell materials or methods of assembly are required. By monitoring the electrical response of the sensor electrodes, failure modes such as fuel starvation, flooding and dehydration are detected. The information can be used to adjust the operating parameters of the fuel cell to maintain optimum performance, or to prevent damage to the fuel cell components. Because the potential of the sensor electrodes is monitored, the response of the sensor electrode relative to the anode, cathode and/or other sensor electrodes at other locations in the fuel cell can be continuously monitored. This allows the detection of several failure modes and location specific information about fuel cell performance parameters. Advantages:

Sensors provide location specific information about the operating conditions and performance of the fuel cell

Compatible with standard fuel cell materials and manufacturing designs

Real-time monitoring of fuel cell conditions

Simple system that is capable of detecting many different failure modes

Type of Offer: Licensing

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