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In order to enhance the capabilities of fuel cell test stations, a new tool for fuel cell diagnostics based on nonlinear frequency response analysis (NFRA) will be developed. NFRA applies a perturbation of the operating current and measures the voltage response of the cell. By varying the frequency of the perturbation, processes with different dynamics (i.e. fast or slow processes) are excited and can be probed individually. From this frequency response, the state of the cell can be determined. Of foremost interest in this project is the reactant transport in the catalyst layer, which limits the performance of the cell at high currents. The reactant transport can be hindered by product water that accumulates in the catalyst and gas diffusion layer. Our aim is to find out whether NFRA can be used to distinguish and quantify the transport losses in those layers. This would enable a targeted development of these important fuel cell components.
Simon Fraser University
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