A fuel cell, which acts as an energy converter from chemical to electrical energy, is usually based on the combustion reaction of hydrogen with oxygen to form water. Unlike purely thermal combustion to generate electricity, the conversion is direct and therefore much more efficient. Depending on the type of fuel cell, up to 60 % of the energy used can be converted into electricity. In addition, fuel cell systems can be used very flexibly, so that different energy sectors can be served depending on the number of cells in the so-called stack. Classically, a fuel cell operates with hydrogen as fuel and air (oxygen) as oxidant, for example in the form of the proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell. Hydrogen, which is the lightest of all chemical elements, is more demanding to handle due to its high permeability and volatility and is therefore often replaced by other fuels containing hydrogen. For example, methanol is used in the direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) or gaseous hydrocarbons in the solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC).
While PEM and DMFC primarily rely on polymer membranes as electrolytes, oxide ceramic electrolytes are used in SOFC. The electrolyte/membrane material is of great importance in a fuel cell: The charge transfer of protons (PEM and DMFC) or oxide anions (SOFC) takes place through these layers and both the efficiency and the performance of the respective fuel cell depend directly on it. Research and development of more efficient fuel cells therefore depends to a large extent on new types of membrane and ceramic electrolytes, as it is also necessary to replace expensive materials such as platinum in order to achieve an increase in market penetration. In particular, Scribner Associates of Southern Pines, North Carolina, offers outstanding all-in-one test systems for the fuel cell research sector, with which the focus of research can be placed entirely on optimising membrane or ceramic.
|DMFC||840 mit Liquid Fuel Cell Fixture||100 W|
The test stands are designed according to individual requirements, ranging from simple U-I characteristics at constant gas conditions to in-depth electrochemical characterisation (CV, EIS, etc.) and complex gas management.
Even more individual test benches for PEM and SOFC research are offered by MaterialsMates Instruments from Milan. Systems with a maximum power of up to 5 kW are manufactured here entirely according to customer requirements.
You need accessories for your existing test bench? We offer numerous measuring cells, components for gas management or various loads and potentiostats.