Fuel cells (FC) stand out by their high-power density, low operation temperatures, high efficiency, low noise and a clean energy transformation. FC are promising candidates for a wide variety of applications ranging from mobile operation in vehicle to stationary energy supply in buildings.
Fuel cells do not reach the life expectancy neither for mobile nor for stationary applications, yet. One of the reasons is the poisoning of the cathode due to airborne contaminants. Even small concentrations of nitrogen oxides, ammonia or sulfur containing compounds may lead to a severe performance reduction.
The overarching objective of this project is to contribute to an increase of the life expectancy of a FC by investigating the cathode poisoning and improve the understanding of the damaging mechanism. This project focuses on real world applications. Following subgoals are defined:
• Determination of the pollution of the cathode under normal operation conditions on roads as well as on construction sites.
• Set up of fuel cell which is optically transparent on the cathode.
• Determination of the degradation of this optically transparent fuel cell on a fuel cell test bed exposed to real world concentrations. This will be done either by well-established methods like electrochemical impedance spectroscopy as well as by spectroscopic methods which will be developed in this project. These methods will deliver spatially resolved concentrations of noxious gases. Fluoride ions will be measured by surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy.
• Simulation models will be set up to determine ageing and life expectancy of a fuel cell under consideration of real-world loading on road as well as at construction sites.