skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Fuel Cell Research at the University of Delaware

Abstract

The grant initiated nine basic and applied research projects to improve fundamental understanding and performance of the proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells, to explore innovative methods for hydrogen production and storage, and to address the critical issues and barriers to commercialization. The focus was on catalysis, hydrogen production and storage, membrane durability and flow modeling and characterization of Gas Diffusion Media. Three different types of equipment were purchase with this grant to provide testing and characterization infrastructure for fuel cell research and to provide undergraduate and graduate students with the opportunity to study fuel cell membrane design and operation. They are (i) Arbin Hydrogen cell testing station, (ii) MTS Alliance RT/5 material testing system with an ESPEC custom-designed environmental chamber for membrane Durability Testing and (iii) Chemisorption for surface area measurements of electrocatalysts. The research team included ten faculty members who addressed various issues that pertain to Fuel Cells, Hydrogen Production and Storage, Fuel Cell transport mechanisms. Nine research tasks were conducted to address the critical issues and various barriers to commercialization of Fuel Cells. These research tasks are subdivided in the general areas of (i) Alternative electrocatalysis (ii) Fuel Processing and Hydrogen Storage and (iii) Modeling and Characterizationmore » of Membranes as applied to Fuel Cells research.. The summary of accomplishments and approaches for each of the tasks is presented below« less

Authors:
;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
University of Delaware
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
875409
Report Number(s):
DOE/ER/63820
TRN: US201006%%615
DOE Contract Number:
FG02-04ER63820
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
08 HYDROGEN; CATALYSIS; CHEMISORPTION; COMMERCIALIZATION; DESIGN; DIFFUSION; ELECTROCATALYSTS; FUEL CELLS; HYDROGEN; HYDROGEN PRODUCTION; HYDROGEN STORAGE; MEMBRANES; PROTONS; STORAGE; SURFACE AREA; TESTING; TRANSPORT

Citation Formats

Chen, Jingguang G, and Advani, Suresh G. Fuel Cell Research at the University of Delaware. United States: N. p., 2006. Web. doi:10.2172/875409.
Chen, Jingguang G, & Advani, Suresh G. Fuel Cell Research at the University of Delaware. United States. doi:10.2172/875409.
Chen, Jingguang G, and Advani, Suresh G. Fri . "Fuel Cell Research at the University of Delaware". United States. doi:10.2172/875409. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/875409.
@article{osti_875409,
title = {Fuel Cell Research at the University of Delaware},
author = {Chen, Jingguang G and Advani, Suresh G},
abstractNote = {The grant initiated nine basic and applied research projects to improve fundamental understanding and performance of the proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells, to explore innovative methods for hydrogen production and storage, and to address the critical issues and barriers to commercialization. The focus was on catalysis, hydrogen production and storage, membrane durability and flow modeling and characterization of Gas Diffusion Media. Three different types of equipment were purchase with this grant to provide testing and characterization infrastructure for fuel cell research and to provide undergraduate and graduate students with the opportunity to study fuel cell membrane design and operation. They are (i) Arbin Hydrogen cell testing station, (ii) MTS Alliance RT/5 material testing system with an ESPEC custom-designed environmental chamber for membrane Durability Testing and (iii) Chemisorption for surface area measurements of electrocatalysts. The research team included ten faculty members who addressed various issues that pertain to Fuel Cells, Hydrogen Production and Storage, Fuel Cell transport mechanisms. Nine research tasks were conducted to address the critical issues and various barriers to commercialization of Fuel Cells. These research tasks are subdivided in the general areas of (i) Alternative electrocatalysis (ii) Fuel Processing and Hydrogen Storage and (iii) Modeling and Characterization of Membranes as applied to Fuel Cells research.. The summary of accomplishments and approaches for each of the tasks is presented below},
doi = {10.2172/875409},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Fri Jan 27 00:00:00 EST 2006},
month = {Fri Jan 27 00:00:00 EST 2006}
}

Technical Report:

Save / Share:
  • Five projects are proposed, in an effort to supplement the efforts of fuel cell research at the University of South Carolina and to contribute to the Technical Plan for Fuel Cells of the Department of Energy. These efforts include significant interaction with the industrial community through DOE funded projects and through the National Science Foundation’s Industry/University Cooperative Research Center for Fuel Cells. The allocation of projects described below leverage all of these sources of funding without overlap and redundancy. The first project “Novel Non-Precious Metal Catalyst For PEMFCs,” (Dr. Branko Popov) continues DOE award DE-FC36-03GO13108 for which funding was delayedmore » by DOE due to budget constraints. The purpose of this project is to develop an understanding of the feasibility and limitations of metal-free catalysts. The second project, “Non Carbon Supported Catalysts” (Dr. John Weidner), is focused on improved catalysts and seeks to develop novel materials, which are more corrosion resistant. This corrosion behavior is critical during transient operation and during start-up and shutdown. This second project will be leveraged with recent, peer-reviewed, supplemental funding from NSF for use in the National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center for Fuel Cells (CFC) at USC. The third project, “Hydrogen Quality,” (Dr. Jean St-Pierre) will support the cross-program effort on H2 quality and focus on supporting subteam 1. We assume this task because of we have performed experiments and developed models that describe performance losses associated with CO, NH3, H2S contaminants in the hydrogen fuel feed to laboratory-scale single cells. That work has been focused on reformate fed to a stationary PEMFC and relatively high concentrations of these contaminants, this project will seek to apply that knowledge to the issue of hydrogen fuel quality as it relates to transportation needs. As part of this project USC and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) will explore, in a collaborative effort, the usefulness of a techniques developed at ORNL to measure differences in the extent of contaminates adsorption with a spatially resolved mass spectrometer. A subcontract will be issued to ORNL for this part of this task. The fourth project, “Gaskets” (Dr. Y.J. (Bill) Chao), will complement industrial sponsorship of Project 25C in the National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center for Fuel Cells (CFC) at USC. We have found some materials that give relatively good initial performance and minimal long-term stress relaxation but their raw material cost is higher than that desired by stack and component suppliers. In this fourth project our goals is to obtain a fundamental understanding of the degradation mechanisms of existing gasket and seal materials in a PEMFC environment. We seek to explain the interactions of chemical and mechanical stresses that decrease the long-term durability of both existing and new sealing materials. The fifth project, “Modeling the Acid Loss in PBI-type High Temperature Membranes,” (Dr. Sirivatch (Vatch) Shimpalee) will support the development of stationary, but the fundamental studies of acid transport should have applications as new high-temperature membranes are developed for transportation and other early market fuel cells. We will work with Plug Power, Inc. (PLUG) to develop a model that will allow for long-term prediction of acid loss from PBI-type High Temperature Membranes (HTM) fuel cells. This project seeks to complete tasks which were under funded in FY2006 due to DOE budget constraints.« less
  • Five projects were conducted in an effort to supplement the efforts of fuel cell research at the University of South Carolina and to contribute to the Technical Plan for Fuel Cells of the Department of Energy. These efforts include significant interaction with the industrial community through DOE funded projects and through the National Science Foundation's Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (NSF-I/UCRC) for Fuel Cells at USC. The allocation of projects described below leveraged all of these sources of funding without overlap and redundancy. 1. "Novel Non-Precious Metal Catalyst For PEMFCs" (Dr. Branko Popov) 2. "Non Carbon Supported Catalysts" (Dr. John Weidner)more » 3. "Hydrogen Quality" (Dr. Jean St-Pierre) 4. "Gasket Materials: Mechanical and Chemical Stability in PEMFC" (Dr. Y.J. (Bill) Chao) 5. "Mathematical Modeling of PEM Fuel Cells," (Dr. Sirivatch (Vatch) Shimpalee)« less
  • Specifically, the work under this CRADA includes, but is not limited to, the development of test procedures for an offshore test site in Delaware waters; testing of installed offshore wind turbines; performance monitoring of those turbines; and a program of research and development on offshore wind turbine blades, components, coatings, foundations, installation and construction of bottom-fixed structures, environmental impacts, policies, and more generally on means to enhance the reliability, facilitate permitting, and reduce costs for offshore wind turbines. This work will be conducted both at NREL's National Wind Technology Center and participant facilities, as well as the established offshore windmore » test sites.« less
  • This demonstration project contributes to the knowledge base in the area of fuel cells in stationary applications, propane fuel cells, edge-of-grid applications for fuel cells, and energy storage in combination with fuel cells. The project demonstrated that it is technically feasible to meet the whole-house electrical energy needs of a typical upstate New York residence with a 5-kW fuel cell in combination with in-home energy storage without any major modifications to the residence or modifications to the consumption patterns of the residents of the home. The use of a fuel cell at constant output power through a 120-Volt inverter leadsmore » to system performance issues including: • relatively poor power quality as quantified by the IEEE-defined short term flicker parameter • relatively low overall system efficiency Each of these issues is discussed in detail in the text of this report. The fuel cell performed well over the 1-year demonstration period in terms of availability and efficiency of conversion from chemical energy (propane) to electrical energy at the fuel cell output terminals. Another strength of fuel cell performance in the demonstration was the low requirements for maintenance and repair on the fuel cell. The project uncovered a new and important installation consideration for propane fuel cells. Alcohol added to new propane storage tanks is preferentially absorbed on the surface of some fuel cell reformer desulfurization filters. The experience on this project indicates that special attention must be paid to the volume and composition of propane tank additives. Size, composition, and replacement schedules for the de-sulfurization filter bed should be adjusted to account for propane tank additives to avoid sulfur poisoning of fuel cell stacks. Despite good overall technical performance of the fuel cell and the whole energy system, the demonstration showed that such a system is not economically feasible as compared to other commercially available technologies such as propane reciprocating engine generators.« less
  • A SERC reassessment of fuel cells was prompted by a letter in early August 1981 to Sir Geoffrey Allen, then Chairman of SERC, from the Chief Engineer and Scientist of DoI, Dr Duncan Davies. A copy of the Davies letter was passed on to ERSU with a request for information about university research activity within the UK in this field. The consensus of opinion at these meetings was that the UK should not attempt to repeat the work on first-generation fuel cells being carried out in the USA, Japan, Belgium, and Germany. However, it was felt that universities should bemore » encouraged to strengthen their research efforts in a few fundamental areas that were identified as essential for the materials breakthroughs needed to develop a viable second-generation fuel-cell technology, and it was decided to recommend that the Energy Committee of SERC give ERSU a watching brief with a mandate to review the situation in 18 months. Having considered the recommendations arising out of the Fuel-Cell Appraisal Meeting and the follow-on meeting between SERC and government departments, the Energy Committee set up a Working Group on Fuel Cells and asked it: to identify problems and those areas where work could usefully be carried out in the universities, to consider how university research into identified areas can be initiated and supported, and to prepare a report for the Energy Committee of SERC containing recommendations relating to university research in this field. This report has been prepared in response to that request.« less