Franco-German cooperation project on fuel cell research launched

EPISTEL Kick-Off-Meeting in Nancy (from left): Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Bessler, Lutz Schiffer (Hochschule Offenburg), Prof. Dr. Francois Lapicque, Dr. Caroline Bonnet, Prof. Dr. Stéphane Raël, Anantrao Vijay Shirsath (CNRS Nancy)

In March 2018 the project "Electrochemical pressure impedance spectroscopy for the characterization of transport processes in electrochemical cells (EPISTEL)" was started. The development of a new diagnostic technology for polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells is being investigated, which will make it possible to better measure operating parameters which are still difficult to access - and thus optimize the operation of the fuel cell.

Fuel cells are an elementary component of the strategy for the storage of regeneratively generated electricity surplus ("power-to-gas"). They can be used to recover electricity from the hydrogen previously produced by electrolysis. The electricity generated can then be fed into the power grid or used directly in vehicles for propulsion. Especially in vehicles where battery capacities reach their limits, the fuel cell is an interesting alternative. Market integration is currently hampered by insufficient efficiency and too short a service life. Both factors can be improved by optimized operation, which is to be made possible by the new diagnostic technology to be researched.

The project pursues a combination of a model-based and an experimental approach. The model-based development is carried out at the Institute for Energy System Technology (INES) at Offenburg University of Applied Sciences. Computer-aided research into batteries and fuel cells is one of the core competences at INES. The experiments are carried out by the project partner in Nancy in the LRGP (Laboratoire Réactions et Génie des Procédés) laboratory of the CNRS. Professor Lapicque's research group has many years of experience in the research of electrochemical energy converters, especially fuel cells.