EU Science Hub

Fuel Cell Test facility

The Fuel Cell and Electrolyser Testing facility in Petten, the Netherlands was established to support developments in Regulation, Codes and Standards through the validation of testing procedures and measurement methodologies for the performance assessment of fuel cells. It is also used in the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Joint Technology Initiative for pre-normative research and harmonization of fuel cell and electrolyser test protocols and testing methodologies and their experimental validation. The facility allows testing of low and high temperature polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell stacks, components and entire systems for up to 100 kW electrical power in stationary and transport applications. In addition, electrolyser cells and high temperature solid oxide cells and stacks can be tested in fuel cell and electrolyser mode. The facility also has capabilities for testing under simulated environmental conditions including temperature, relative ambient humidity (up to 95 %), and vibrations and shocks.

Fuel cells produce electricity by combining hydrogen fuel and an oxidant (oxygen or air) electrochemically in a more energy-efficient and environment-friendly way than today´s modern combustion-based power technologies. However, fuel cell technology is not yet mature and needs to be further developed. To assess and validate technology improvements, commonly agreed measures for system efficiency, such as power density, dynamic behaviour and durability are indispensable. These in turn require harmonisation of testing procedures for entire fuel cell systems and system components for different applications (stationary, transportation and portable). At present, such harmonisation is lacking, and this also applies for assessment of fuel cell performance against user requirements. In practice, many developers have drawn up their own test protocols to meet their needs and those of their customers. Harmonisation of testing procedures and methodologies is indispensable for smooth and widespread introduction of fuel cells into the market, and for providing customers with a reliable and trustworthy basis for comparing the performance of fuel cells to that of other power generation technologies.

The facility has the following capabilities:

  • Operating fuel cells on various fuel and oxidant compositions (with deliberate controlled additions of contaminants & diluents) and other controlled operating conditions
  • Performance testing of fuel cell power systems in off grid and grid-connected configuration
  • System testing under simulated environmental conditions (-40 to 60 ºC, up to 95 % RH) and multi-axial shock and vibrations at frequencies up to 250 Hz