Development of Next Generation Heavy Duty Bus Fuel Cells with Enhanced Durability

Wednesday, 8 October 2014: 10:25
Sunrise, 2nd Floor, Jupiter 3 & 5 (Moon Palace Resort)
E. Kjeang, S. Holdcroft (Simon Fraser University), S. Knights (Ballard Power Systems), K. Malek (Simon Fraser University), N. Djilali (University of Victoria), M. Eikerling, F. Golnaraghi, G. Wang, N. Rajapakse (Simon Fraser University), P. Wild (University of Victoria), J. Devaal, M. Lauritzen, M. Watson, and E. Rogers (Ballard Power Systems)
The large-scale commercialization of durable and cost-competitive Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cell (PEFC) technology for automotive applications still faces significant challenges. Fuel cell manufacturers need to develop low cost materials and fabrication approaches that surpass current levels of performance and durability. With funding from Ballard Power Systems and Automotive Partnership Canada, the present three-year project is dedicated to research and product development of next generation PEFC stack technology for transit buses [1]. The central objective is to advance the fundamental understanding of membrane degradation mechanisms and failure modes under drive cycles and conditions that are typical of heavy duty vehicle operation, and to leverage this knowledge to develop enhanced durability solutions.

The project involves a cohesive research team from Ballard Power Systems, Simon Fraser University, and University of Victoria, with complementary and multi-disciplinary expertise in fuel cell science and technology, materials design and fabrication, multi-scale modeling, system design and engineering, as well as system controls and diagnostics. A comprehensive experimental-theoretical research approach is pursued that ranges from fundamental theory to empirical analysis, with close university-industry collaboration. For validation purposes, the research benefits from extensive real-time field data and field operated material samples extracted from the Whistler, British Columbia fuel cell bus fleet. The results obtained to date have enabled substantial improvements in membrane stability under bus conditions (based on laboratory testing) and enhanced the ability to accurately predict the fuel cell stack lifetime over several years of on-road transit service. This understanding will guide the development of the next generation of heavy duty fuel cell modules that reduce both capital cost and operating costs of fuel cell buses, making them commercially competitive with diesel hybrid buses on a lifecycle basis.

References: [1] http://www.apc-hdfc.ca/