Master Thesis

Analysis of Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell Degradation

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Supervisor/s

Information

  • If you are interested in the proposal, please contact with the supervisors.

Description

Expected duration: 6 months
Relevant fields of interest: Electrical system theory, material sciences, electrochemistry, physics and chemistry
General Project description: PEM fuel cells are energy conversion devices based on electrochemical reactions
capable of delivering electrical power continuously when properly supplied with oxygen (air) and hydrogen.
However, these devices suffer from several degradation mechanisms that lead to a decrease in lifetime. In this
context, electrical and chemical analysis of an already degraded cell can improve the comprehension of these
degradation phenomena and lead to the development of control strategies in order to increase the cell’s durability.
It is worth mentioning, that this work activity is framed within the scope of a project funded by the European
Union.
Objective: The objective is the investigation, identification and separation of degradation phenomena that occur in the different parts of the membrane electrode-assembly of a PEM fuel cell.

Methodology:
1. Analysis of existing experimental data of a degraded fuel cell stack
2. Design of new experiments and test setup (e.g. single cell spectroscopy) based on the results of the data analysis
3. Testing of the degraded stack and test analysis
4. Chemical and physical analysis of the degraded stack and cell components at the nanoscale (e.g. SEM-FIB, TEM, XPS)
The project may consist of all or part of these tasks!

Expected results: Identification of different degradation mechanisms by electrical and chemical analysis. Thus, important knowledge on causes for degradation will be obtained, in order to improve operating conditions for avoiding degradation and finally to design proper system controllers.
Contact: Please send an email containing the application letter and a complete CV to MSc. Stephan Strahl (sstrahl@iri.upc.edu), Dr. Attila Husar (ahusar@iri.upc.edu) and Dr. Jordi Llorca (jordi.llorca@upc.edu).