Advanced Fuel Cell Development for Automotive Operation 2006-01-0035
Proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells are recognized as a good alternative to the internal combustion engine for automotive applications. During the past several years, many companies around the world have investigated this technology as potential solution in terms of efficiency improvements and emission targets for the future.
However to be competitive with the internal combustion engine, the fuel cell must withstand the severe conditions imposed by the automotive environment while being economically affordable. At the current time, most original equipment manufacturers (OEM's) are targeting an allowable cost of about 30 $/kW in the 2010 timeframe.
In order to help achieve this cost goal, one potential solution is to reduce the number of components in the fuel cell system. Along with reducing cost, the removal of components can lead to a reduction in system complexity and control. Drawing on over 14 years of experience, Nuvera Fuel Cells has designed a new type of fuel cell stack specifically for transportation applications. The goal of this design is to simultaneously achieve the reduction of cost while increasing system reliability, durability, and efficiency.
The objective of this paper is to present the challenges associated with designing a simplified fuel cell power plant, taking into account tradeoffs in pressure, stoichiometry, humidification, and materials choices. The paper will then explore how the new design operates in a typical stressed automotive environment.