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First step in harmonisation of polymer-electrolyte fuel cell test procedures

Fuel cell stack in a lab Fuel cell stack undergoing testing at the JRC facility in Petten, The Netherlands
©EU, 2006
Aug 14 2013

With their overview of international polymer-electrolyte fuel cell (PEMFC) test procedures, the JRC, together with the Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) of the US Department of Energy (DoE), made the first step towards global harmonisation of testing protocols.

PEMFCs and fuel cell stacks are being considered for automotive applications and it is important to understand how different organisations characterise their performance and durability. This way different test methods can be harmonised and standardised, facilitating information exchange and possibly accelerating their commercialisation.

The report 'Fuel Cell Testing Protocols: An International Perspective' lists two different ways to conduct performance tests (sequential and random polarisation curve measurements) and 5 load profiles (duty cycles) for durability testing, including the DoE Dynamic Stress Test (DST) duty cycle and the new European driving cycle (NEDC) simulating vehicle power demand in a European city.

Some approaches impacted the data and data quality, others did not. Two methods for measuring polarisation curves showed minimal result differences. The magnitude of the differences between the various ageing duty cycles – some reflected vehicle power demands of a typical European city, others those of an average US city with a higher average speed – needs to be further examined.